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Title: The Brighton Boys in the Radio Service
Author: Driscoll, James R. [pseud.]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Brighton Boys in the Radio Service" ***

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SERVICE***


THE BRIGHTON BOYS IN THE RADIO SERVICE

by

LIEUTENANT JAMES R. DRISCOLL

Illustrated



[Illustration: "At Least Ten Thousand of Them," He Announced.]



The John C. Winston Company
Philadelphia

Copyright, 1918, by
John C. Winston Company



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                                      PAGE

I.     "FOR UNCLE SAM"                                          9
II.    INTO THE SERVICE--A SPY                                 21
III.   UNEXPECTED ACTION                                       34
IV.    FAREWELL, UNITED STATES                                 43
V.     THE FIGHT IN THE WIRELESS ROOM                          54
VI.    THE MYSTERY OF THE IRON CROSS                           67
VII.   THE TIMELY RESCUE                                       77
VIII.  THE DEATH OF THE SPY                                    88
IX.    THE PERISCOPE AT DAWN                                  101
X.     FRANCE AT LAST                                         110
XI.    TAPPING THE ENEMY'S WIRE                               118
XII.   THE S O S WITH PISTOL SHOTS                            131
XIII.  THE CAVE OF DEATH                                      140
XIV.   DESPERATE MEASURES                                     153
XV.    THE SURPRISE ATTACK--PROMOTION                         164
XVI.   A TIGHT PLACE                                          176
XVII.  THE LIEUTENANT'S INVENTION                             191
XVIII. SLIM GOODWIN A PRISONER                                200
XIX.   TURNING THE TABLES                                     211
XX.    THE GREAT NEWS                                         221



ILLUSTRATIONS

"At Least Ten Thousand of Them," He Announced        Frontispiece

                                                             PAGE

There was an Instant of Terrible Whirling
about the Room                                                 66

They had Accidentally Discovered an Enemy
Wire and had Tapped It                                        130

Scores of Huge Armored Tanks Rolled Through                   168



The Brighton Boys in the Radio Service

CHAPTER I

"FOR UNCLE SAM"


"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their----"

It was that old practice sentence of typists, which is as old as are
typewriting machines, and Joe Harned, seated before the told-style,
noisy, but still capable machine in Philip Burton's telegraph office,
had rattled it off twenty-five times and was on his twenty-sixth when
suddenly, very suddenly, his mind began to work.

Or rather it might be said that an idea, the _big idea_, danced
unceremoniously into his brain, and, beginning to take definite and
concrete form, chased a score of other smaller ideas through all the
thought-channels of his handsome, boyish, well-rounded head.

He came to a full stop and gazed steadily at the upturned paper in the
typewriter in front of him. Twenty-fives times he had written that
sentence, and twenty-five times with mechanical precision and true
adherence to time-honored custom he had finished it by tapping off the
word "party."

It was a formula of words which some genius had devised for the
fingering practice it gave one on the keyboard, and Joe Harned had
written it hundreds of times before, just as thousands of others had
done, without giving a thought to its meaning, or the significance that
the substitution of a single word would give it.

He read it again, and as if it were the result of an uncontrollable
impulse, his fingers began the rapid tap-tap-tap. And this time he
substituted the new word that the _big idea_ had suddenly thrust into
his mind.

Joe gave the roller a twirl, the paper rolled out, dropped to the floor,
and he grasped for it eagerly.

Even Joe was surprised. He hadn't realized that in his enthusiastic
haste he had pushed down the key marked "caps."

In bold, outstanding letters near the bottom of the sheet was an
historic sentence, and Joe Harned--Harned, of Brighton Academy--had
devised it.

"NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY!"

Joe gazed at it again for a moment, and then let his eyes travel across
the little office to where red-headed, freckle-faced, big-hearted and
impetuous Jerry Macklin was rapping away at another typewriter, and, two
feet away from Jerry, "Slim" Goodwin, "one-hundred-and-seventy pounds in
his stockinged feet, and five-feet-four in his gym suit," was working
the telegraph key with a pudgy hand.

"Jerry!" he called. "Oh, Slim! Come over here a moment, both of you. I
want to show you something."

Jerry immediately ceased typewriting, but Slim was reluctant to release
the telegraph key. However, as Joe began folding the paper in such a way
that only the last sentence showed, their aroused curiosity brought both
of them to his side.

"Read that," said Joe, trying to suppress the quiver in his voice, and
holding the paper up before them. "Read it carefully."

One lad on either side of him, they hung over Joe's shoulder and
followed his bidding.

"Right!" shouted Jerry, as he came to the last word. "Joe, you're a
wizard, and what you've written there is the truth."

"Ain't it--I mean isn't it?" added the delicate Slim Goodwin, and,
partly to hide his grammatical error, but mostly to express his
enthusiasm, he gave Joe a one-hundred-and-seventy-pound whack on the
back that sent him sliding out of the chair and half way under the
typewriter table.

"Say!" Joe remonstrated. But just then Philip Burton, telegraph operator
and genial good friend of all three of the lads, bustled into the room,
a sheaf of yellow telegrams in his hand.

"What's all the excitement?" he asked, striding toward the typewriter
just left by Jerry.

"Why," explained Slim, "Joe's just done something that means something."

"Impossible," said Mr. Burton, turning toward them with one of those
irresistible smiles which long ago had made him the boys' confidant.

"If you don't believe it, read this," commanded Jerry, thrusting the
paper before the telegrapher's eyes.

Mr. Burton read it through and then turned to the three boys again.
"Well?" he asked.

"It means what it says," explained Jerry. "Now is the time for all good
men to come to the aid of their country."

"And we're 'good men,' ain't--aren't we?" demanded Slim, drawing in his
stomach and throwing out his chest as he straightened up to his full
five-feet-four-inches "in his gym suit."

"None better anywhere," said Mr. Burton in a tone that showed he meant
it. "But just how do you contemplate going to the aid of your country?"

It was Joe's turn to say something, and he did. "By enlisting," he
announced, briefly but firmly.

"Yes," agreed Slim, "that's it, by enlisting."

"Uh-huh," said Jerry, nodding his head vigorously and watching Mr.
Burton's face for evidence of the effect of their decision.

"And when did you determine upon that?" the telegrapher asked, with
increasing interest.

"Well," said Slim, his face now painfully red from his efforts to keep
chest out and stomach in, "it was finally decided upon just now,
although we have talked about the thing in a general way many times."

"You really mean to enlist--all three of you?" Mr. Burton demanded.

"Yes, sir," they chorused, "all three."

"Good!" exclaimed the man who had been their friend and helper. "Fine!
I'm proud of you," and he proceeded to shake hands heartily with each in
turn.

"Have you decided upon the branch of the service you intend to enter?"
he then asked.

Joe looked at Jerry, Jerry looked at Slim, and Slim cast a helpless
glance back at Joe.

"I see you haven't," said Mr. Burton hastily, "and I'm glad of it. Now
how about the Signal Corps?"

"What do men in the Signal Corps do?" asked Jerry.

"Do they fight?" demanded Slim.

"Yes," Mr. Burton replied, "they do some fighting on their own account,
and often in tough places and against discouraging odds. But they do
even more than that. Without their assistance no general would dare lay
plans for a battle. The Signal Corps keeps the commanders posted, not
only as to the whereabouts and disposition of his own troops, but also
of those of the enemy. The Signal Corps is the telephone, the telegraph,
the wireless, and often the aviation section as well, of the American
army, and often of the American navy, too."

"Isn't that great?" exclaimed the breathless Slim, as Mr. Burton went
over to the ticker to answer the code call for his station.

During the ten minutes that he was engaged in receiving and sending
messages, the boys perfected plans for notifying their relatives of
their intention. Had their attention not been so entirely taken by the
subject under discussion they would have seen Herbert Wallace--another
and very unpopular student at Brighton--pass by the office window, stop
for a moment to stare at them, and then step away quickly in the
direction of the door, near which they were standing.

"Well, what's the verdict?" asked Mr. Burton, having finished his
duties.

"The Signal Corps is our choice," said Joe, speaking for all, "but how
do we go about getting into it?"

"I think I can arrange that," Mr. Burton informed them. "You boys have
been studying telegraphy under me for more than six months, and I'm
willing to certify that each of you can now handle an instrument. In
addition to that, you are able to take down messages on the typewriter
as they come over the wire. Yes, sir," Mr. Burton finished, "I think
your Uncle Sam will be mighty glad to get three such lads as you, and I
know the recruiting agent to put the thing through."

So it was arranged that the three lads should return to the dormitory,
write the letters which were to procure them the desired permission to
enlist, and then inform the headmaster of their intentions.

Joe and Jerry, who had roomed together throughout their entire three
years at Brighton, already were well on with their epistles of
explanation when Slim, whose room was seven doors down the corridor,
dragged himself in, looking more downcast than any boy in Brighton ever
had seen him look before.

"No use," he informed his two friends, a choke in his voice. "They won't
have me. I'm overweight."

"Oh, now, Slim, what are you worrying about that for? I don't believe
any such thing," counseled Joe.

"It's true, though," affirmed Slim. "That's the worst part of it; I saw
it in the book. I'm toting around about twenty pounds more than the
government wants, and I'd have to stand on tiptoe in high-heel shoes to
meet the requirement in height."

Poor Slim! He showed his disappointment in every look and every action.

"What kind of a book did you see it in?" asked Jerry, in a tone almost
as sad as Slim's.

"In the manual," Slim groaned. "Herb Wallace showed it to me."

"That settles it," exclaimed Joe. "If Herb Wallace had a hand in it
anywhere there's something wrong. I'll tell you what we'll do, fellows.
We'll go and ask the headmaster."

Now the headmaster of Brighton had once been a boy himself. He could be
stern, even cruelly severe, when occasion demanded, but he was kind of
heart and broad of understanding.

Before him the three lads laid their case, as before the final tribunal.

"H'm," said he, when all the details had been related and the
all-important information asked. "You say Herbert Wallace showed you
this in a manual?"

Slim solemnly affirmed that that was the case.

The headmaster pushed a button on the side of his desk and in a few
seconds his secretary, a big, bluff fellow, appeared.

"Bring Herbert Wallace here at once," said the headmaster. And in five
more minutes, while the headmaster was shrewdly questioning the three
lads as to the seriousness of their determination to enlist, the
secretary returned, accompanied by young Wallace, flushed and
shamefaced.

"Well, Wallace," said the principal of Brighton, "I hear you've been
studying up on military subjects. Intending to get into the fight?"

Herbert Wallace hung his head and muttered an unintelligible reply.

"Now look here, Wallace," spoke the headmaster sternly, "where did you
get the military manual from which you gave Goodwin the information that
he could not pass the examination for the army?"

"I--I got it from the library, sir."

"Got it without permission, too, didn't you?" pursued the headmaster.

"Yes, sir," said Wallace, in confusion.

"And didn't know that it was out of date, and that the requirements were
completely changed after the United States entered this war, eh?"

"No, sir," answered Wallace, on the verge of a breakdown.

"I'll decide upon your punishment later," announced the headmaster.
"See me here at four o'clock. Meanwhile, Wallace, be careful where you
get information, and be careful how you dispense it."

And Herbert Wallace, utterly humiliated, was glad to flee from the room.

"I don't think," said the headmaster, "that any of you will have
difficulty passing the examinations. I dislike to see you go, but you
speak the truth when you say that your country does need you, and I pay
a great tribute of respect to you for the patriotism and courage with
which you step forth to shoulder your obligations. Others already have
gone from Brighton. Still others will go in the future. God bless all of
you, and may you return safe and sound to reap the full benefits of the
democracy for which you are going to fight."

The suspicion of tears dimmed the kindly eyes of the headmaster, and
each boy choked up as he bade him good-by.

But, after all, this was no time for sadness. Young gladiators were
going forth to the fray. And so we will skip over the farewells the
following day, in which the parents of each lad, with many a heartache
but never a word of discouragement, bade the boys Godspeed in the
service of their country.

The three lads, together with fifteen others, formed a detachment of the
recently enlisted who were to go to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for
further assignment. Just before the train pulled out a students' parade
that seemed to include every boy in Brighton marched to the station to
see them off.

One of the lads carried a large transparency on which was printed:

               "THEY BRIGHTEN THE FAME OF BRIGHTON"

And just as the train pulled out, and there was great cheering and
waving of hats and handkerchiefs, Joe, Jerry and Slim, leaning from
adjoining windows, sang out in chorus:

"For Uncle Sam."



CHAPTER II

INTO THE SERVICE--A SPY


A brilliant October morning was just breaking when a final bump of the
train ended the none too musical snoring of Slim Goodwin and he came to
a sitting posture, his first yawn almost instantly to give way to an
exclamation of surprise.

It was strange scenery he was gazing upon, and for the moment he had
forgotten where he was. The grinning faces of Joe and Jerry, whom he had
awakened half an hour before with his sawmill sleeping serenade, brought
him to a realization of his surroundings.

"Where are we?" he asked, now fully awake.

"I imagine it's Philadelphia," answered Joe, "although I've never been
there."

"Well, let's climb out and see," was a suggestion from Jerry which found
ready response in the other two; and a moment later, while half the
passengers were still asleep, they were investigating the mysteries of
Washington Avenue, near Broad Street, in the Quaker City.

Strings of freight cars were stretched out on the sidings, and either
side of the railroad yard was flanked by large manufacturing buildings,
which already were showing preliminary signs of industrial activity.

"You are enlisted men, sirs?" queried a deep voice just behind them, and
all three turned, somewhat startled to find they were not alone.

They faced a young giant of a fellow, who wore the khaki uniform of
Uncle Sam, with a sergeant's stripes upon his sleeve. He was unable
wholly to suppress a smile as Slim came to a difficult and not entirely
regulation salute.

"We are," answered Joe. "We just stepped off that train to get a breath
of fresh air and to learn where we were."

"No harm done," the sergeant responded in a friendly tone. "You are in
Philadelphia, and the only restriction upon you now is that you are not
to stroll too far away. We leave here in a short while for the navy
yard, where mess will be served."

"Mess? That's breakfast, ain't--isn't it?" asked Slim anxiously.

"Yes," the sergeant replied, "and a good one, too."

Each boy touched his cap respectfully as the non-commissioned officer
turned to return to the train.

"Hope we have sausage," said Jerry in an undertone; "but I'm hungry
enough to eat anything they give me."

"Same with me," Slim added in melancholy tones; "but I guess I'll have
to diet some until I'm sure, certain, and solidified in the service."

At that instant the shrill blast of a whistle brought their attention
back to the train, where the sergeant was signaling them to return.
Three automobiles had arrived, and into these our three friends and the
other fifteen recently enlisted men climbed, for the trip to League
Island, where is located one of the Nation's largest and most important
navy yards.

Down wide, asphalted Broad Street the party sped, past solid rows of
handsome dwellings, and then across the stretch of beautiful park that
was once a mosquito-ridden marshland, and to the gates of the navy yard.

Here the detachment of marines on guard gave the boys their first close
association with the spirit of war. As they swung through the gates a
virtual wonderland of the machinery of sea battles greeted their
eyes--powerful battleships, lithe and speedy cruisers, spider-like
destroyers, tremendous colliers capable of carrying thousands of tons of
coal to the fleets at sea, and in the distance a transport, waiting to
take on its human freight of Uncle Sam's fighters for foreign
battlefields.

On the parade ground several companies of marines were going through
maneuvers, while on every ship bluejackets were engaged in various
tasks, and activities were in full sway in the many large manufacturing
buildings at the lower end of the yard, near the waterfront.

It was a scene to inspire the lads with a full appreciation of the great
military and naval service of which they were to become a part, and in
their patriotic enthusiasm they forgot even their healthy young
appetites.

Mess was in one of the big barracks, where they mingled with hundreds of
others, some of whom were raw rookies like themselves, others of longer
experience, and some of previous service in Haiti and elsewhere.

The big sergeant, whose name they learned was Martin, brought the
entire eighteen together immediately after the meal, and they joined a
score of others who had arrived a few days before. All were then marched
to another building, where their instructions began, and they were
informed that before night they would be uniformed.

This was welcome information, indeed. To get into the uniform of Uncle
Sam! Every young man in the group breathed a little deeper and drew
himself up a little straighter at the thought.

We will not trace Joe, Jerry and Slim through their initial instruction,
for it had lasted less than an hour, when an orderly hastily entered the
room, saluted the officer who was acting as instructor, and then talked
to him for a moment in an undertone.

The officer's countenance underwent a curious change. Finally he turned
toward the youths before him.

"Are there any men here who are already telegraphers?" he asked.

Instantly Joe, Jerry, and two others arose, while Slim tried to, but had
great difficulty getting himself out of the small, school-child's sort
of desk at which he was seated. Finally he managed it by sliding out
sidewise, the way he had entered, instead of attempting a direct upward
rise.

"How many of you can use the international code?" the officer continued.

Thanks to good old Burton, Joe, Jerry and Slim were as familiar with
that as they were with the Morse American code. The other two men
resumed their seats. Sergeant Martin had entered the room. Apparently he
was not at all displeased to find the three polite young men whom he had
addressed earlier in the day, now able to show greater capabilities than
the other men in the detachment.

"You are excused from further instruction here at this time," the
officer announced to the trio. "You will accompany Sergeant Martin for
further orders."

And they hurried from the room with the non-com., who they instinctively
knew was their friend.

What was this new experience that lay before them? They were not long in
learning, and the information almost carried them beyond the restraints
of good discipline and to the indulgence in three ripping good cheers.

Sergeant Martin could be a hard taskmaster when it was necessary to be
so, but, like the headmaster of Brighton, he did not believe in needless
red tape, nor did he delude himself that the stripes upon his sleeve
made him a better man--except in official authority--than the one who
wore none at all. He realized the curiosity that must be consuming the
three lads, and he was not averse to satisfying it.

"Selected for service aboard a transport bound for Europe," he announced
briefly.

"Thank you, sir," said Joe, not entirely able to control the happiness
in his voice, while Slim's excess stomach almost entirely disappeared in
the abnormal expansion of his chest. Jerry could find no other dignified
way of expressing his great pleasure than by quietly poking Slim under
the ribs, to the entire undoing of that young man's military attitude.

"Do we go at once, sir?" inquired Joe deferentially.

"Probably to-morrow evening," said Sergeant Martin, as they arrived at
the building housing the captain and staff in charge of men of the
Signal Corps then stationed at the navy yard.

It was the busiest office the three boys had ever seen. Typewriters
were clicking, telegraph instruments were at work, orderlies were
hurrying about, and every man in the place was engrossed in his own
particular task.

Sergeant Martin guided them to an inner office. Here they confronted an
austere gentleman whose uniform denoted that he was a captain, and whose
whole bearing bespoke military service.

The three boys were dumbfounded to learn that he already had their names
on a card before him. They were getting a new idea of the efficiency of
Uncle Sam's service.

The captain made numerous notes as he questioned them about their
experience, general knowledge, and extent of their education. He eyed
Slim shrewdly as he inquired whether they thought they might be subject
to seasickness.

"Young men," he said abruptly, "this country is engaged in the greatest
war in all history. Considering your youth and present lack of
experience, yours is to be a part of great responsibility. You look like
capable and courageous young Americans, and I believe you are. I have
confidence that you will bear your share of the burdens of war with
credit to yourselves and glory to your country. With one other man of
more experience, you will be placed in charge of the wireless and other
signal apparatus aboard the transport _Everett_, leaving within
thirty-six hours. Sergeant Martin will now aid you in procuring your
uniforms."

The three boys came to full military salute, the captain returned it,
they swung upon their heels like seasoned soldiers and departed behind
their friend, the young giant of a sergeant.

An hour later, fully uniformed, they were taken to the _Everett_ and
down into the wonders of the transport's wireless room, where they were
introduced to Second Lieutenant Gerald Mackinson, who was to be their
superior officer on the perilous trip.

Lieutenant Mackinson was a square-jawed young fellow with keen eyes,
bushy hair and a good breadth of shoulders. He had been an electrical
engineer prior to entering the service, and had gained his promotion
three months before strictly upon his merit and knowledge, which were
the qualities he demanded in others. He already had been "across" three
times, and he knew the many problems and dangers that would confront
them.

Satisfied by his questioning that the three young men who were to
accompany him "had the stuff in them," Lieutenant Mackinson then began
instructing them in the elementaries of the radio.

It seemed, though, that that day was destined to be one of
interruptions, but not, however, of the sort to be of disadvantage to
the three boys from Brighton. For, just as the sudden ending of their
instructions in class in the morning had led to their assignment to a
transport, to start overseas within thirty-six hours, so the call now
which required Lieutenant Mackinson's presence elsewhere, indirectly led
to a new and thrilling experience for the lads.

"I am ordered to report to aid in the repairs to the wireless of another
vessel," said the lieutenant, after perusing the order that a private
had brought to him. "It will require until late to-night to finish.
Inasmuch as this is probably the last night that you lads will spend on
land for some time, you might as well see a little of the city, if you
care to, but be sure that you are within the gates of the yard before
ten o'clock."

He then gave each of the boys a pass, and told them to be aboard the
_Everett_ not later than half-past ten o'clock, and departed for the
special work to which he had been called.

"Wouldn't you like to be a lieutenant, though?" exclaimed Joe
enthusiastically. "Just imagine being called from ship to ship to help
them out of their difficulties."

And, discussing their aspirations and what the future held for them, the
three young men from Brighton went to mess, afterward brushed their
brand-new uniforms of the last possible speck of dust, and left the navy
yard for a stroll through the southern section of the city founded by
William Penn.

How far they walked none of them knew. They had turned many corners, and
their conversation had covered a wide field--always, however, turning
upon some military subject--when a church clock tolled out nine times.

"I think we had better return," said Slim, who was beginning to tire
under the long day's strain and excitement.

"Yes," agreed Jerry, "but which way do we go?"

They were, in truth, lost. Uniformed as they were, they were ashamed to
ask directions, and finally agreed that Joe was right in indicating that
they should walk straight southward.

Twelve blocks southward they walked, and the damp, marshy atmosphere
assured them that they were nearing the river, but their only hope now,
as they plodded across desolate and deserted dumps, and even invaded a
truck patch or two, was that they would strike a road that led around to
the navy yard entrance.

"What's that?" exclaimed Jerry in a hoarse whisper, grasping a boy on
either side of him by the arm. "Did you hear?"

"I thought I heard something," averred Slim, also lowering his voice.
"What did it sound like to you?"

"We are almost upon the river bank," said Joe. "It was someone rowing,
but it sounded to me as though they were using muffled oars."

While the boys stopped to listen, the rowing began again, very slowly,
very cautiously, and then there was a muffled splash.

At the same instant a great flashlight to the south began playing first
upon the sky, and then, in a slow arc, down the river and then inland
toward themselves.

Although they did not come quite within its radius, the boat they had
heard was between them and the light! It was a row boat, evidently
heavily laden, for it rode low in the water, and it was occupied by one
man, who was crouching in the bottom as though to avoid discovery!

Just as suddenly as it had appeared, the searchlight was obscured, and
the blackness of the night was more intense by contrast.

"That light was at the navy yard," said Joe, beginning to peel off his
coat. "Jerry, you're a fast runner. By heading straight in the way I'm
looking you ought to be able to get to the yard in ten minutes. Do it as
quickly as you can. Slim will stay here."

By this time Joe had stripped off his shirt and preparing to unlace his
shoes.

"And you," blurted Jerry and Slim, almost at the same instant, but still
in guarded tones, "what are you going to do?"

"I'm as safe as a duck in the water, and almost as noiseless," responded
Joe calmly. "I'm going to swim out and see what is going on. That man
out there is a spy!"



CHAPTER III

UNEXPECTED ACTION


If red-headed, freckle-faced Jerry Macklin, star sprinter of Brighton,
ever ran in his life he ran that night. Down across the uneven,
hill-dotted dumps he tore at a speed that would have put his school
records to shame. Three times he fell, but each time on the instant he
was up and off again, without even a thought as to whether or not he had
injured himself.

And all the time he kept repeating in his mind, "There's a spy out there
planning dangerous things for the navy yard and the United States. Joe's
in the icy water watching him, and I must get help as fast as I can."

It was good, too, that he did put forth the last ounce of his strength.
Sergeant Martin was just passing through the navy yard gate as Jerry
arrived, his uniform covered with loose ashes and dirt, and his hands
bleeding from stone cuts received in his falls.

To Sergeant Martin, between gasps, Jerry managed to blurt out enough to
make the other understand. Within two more minutes Sergeant Martin had
imparted the vital information to the captain of the company of marines
charged with guarding the navy yard for that particular night. The
captain sent two aides scurrying, one to his major, the other to the
office of the navy yard commandant.

Twenty marines, fully armed, were hurried aboard a launch that
constantly was kept under steam for just such an emergency, and, with
Jerry directing, the boat swung out to Joe's aid.

Rapidly as Jerry had traveled the distance between the spot where Slim
waited and the navy yard itself, it seemed like ages to Joe, out there
in the icy water, a quarter of a mile from shore.

At first the tense excitement of the manhunt had made him unmindful of
the low temperature, and he swam with strong, even, silent strokes that
sent his lithe body gliding through the current noiselessly; but when he
had come within forty feet of the rowboat its lone occupant had turned
suddenly, as though scenting danger, and Joe, after waiting for a few
seconds to see what might happen, considered the absolute silence an
omen of danger and had dived under water, staying there as long as he
could, and coming to the surface at an entirely different point from the
boat.

After that the cold got to the very heart of him. His muscles grew numb,
he felt his strength waning, and he had to bring the whole force of his
will to bear to keep from turning back to shore.

But just as Jerry had maintained his courage and strength by keeping
constantly in mind Joe's plight, so Joe stuck to his terrible task,
suffering the most severe punishment, by an unwavering confidence in
Jerry's ability to get assistance in the shortest possible time.

He could see and hear that the man in the boat was working hastily, even
laboriously; and every few seconds there was the smothered splash of
something heavy being dropped carefully overboard.

And then, at the most inopportune moment, just when Joe was head and
shoulders out of the water, not more than twenty feet away from the
boat, the searchlight was thrown full upon him.

He dived; but not before the other man saw him. Joe, swimming ten feet
under water, and as hard as he could with the current down stream, knew
that he had been discovered, for he heard the quick rap-rap of the oars,
the sound dying away as the little craft sped toward shore.

When he did come to the surface it was with the certain feeling that the
fatal searchlight had been played upon the scene two minutes too early,
and just in time to prevent the capture red-handed of a very
questionable character, undoubtedly carrying out some plot for an enemy
government.

For as distinctly as he could hear the oars thrashing the water toward
shore, he could discern the steady but subdued puffing of a steam launch
racing up the river.

Joe was now on the point of exhaustion. He was flapping the water
desperately, but he was making no progress, and he was having the
greatest difficulty keeping himself afloat. He tried to cry out, and
this final effort took his last bit of strength.

The steam launch was then perhaps thirty feet away, but Jerry's words,
"Right about here," floated to him as from the opposite side of the
river. The boat's searchlight that was then suddenly thrown on blinded
him; he lost all account of things, and had the vague feeling of
sailing across great spaces on fleecy white clouds.

When he regained partial consciousness Sergeant Martin was in the water
with him, and trying to raise his body over the side of the launch; then
he relapsed again, for what seemed to him hours, but what was actually
only about two minutes, and was awakened to his real senses by the
shouts of Slim, on shore.

"Slim's got him," Jerry almost shouted. "Hurry, captain, right off this
way to the shore. Slim must have him. Listen to Slim's bellow."

And if there wasn't a first-class ruction in progress just upon the spot
from which Slim's vocal signals were emanating, then Slim's voice was
deceptive, indeed.

As a matter of fact, there was the finest sort of a fracas afoot.

Slim, on shore, had been a silent and anxious witness to the sudden
turning on of the navy yard searchlight, and to all that it exposed--the
boat, the man at work in it, Joe in the water, and his discovery by the
boat's occupant.

And then, as the light was extinguished, and the whole affair was
engulfed in darkness, Slim heard the rapid beating of the oars upon the
water, and the rower heading toward shore--and Slim.

Unable to see the craft approaching, he traced its course by sound, and
when the man stepped ashore Slim was only a few yards away. Discerning a
shadow just ahead of him, the youth threw himself at it with his whole
weight, only to grunt his pain and disgust as he came into violent
contact with the trunk of a dead tree.

The sound, however, startled the enemy into an exclamation which
revealed his whereabouts, and a moment later the two were locked
together and rolling over the ground, Slim with a desperate grip upon
the stranger's throat, and the latter landing blow after blow upon
Slim's stomach.

It was during this mêlée that Slim spied the searchlight of the launch
and let out his first call. After that most of his "bellows" were
involuntary and but punctuated the rapid-fire attack with which the
other man was landing his blows just above Slim's waist-line, or where
his waist-line should have been.

As the launch headed toward shore, its searchlight trained over the bow,
the man of the rowboat resorted to more desperate tactics. With a
tremendous jerk he managed to free his throat from Slim's grasp. An
instant later he gave the youth's neck a twist which almost broke it.
Then he landed a vicious kick which put poor Slim out of business.

Just as the marines from the launch were climbing ashore the fellow sped
off into the denseness of the night; and as his footsteps died away all
present trace of him was gone. A dozen of them searched for an hour, but
without result, and further investigation along that line had to be
abandoned until the following day.

Meanwhile, however, all three lads were hurried back to the navy yard
for fresh clothing and other repairs; having received which, together
with hot coffee from the cook at the barracks mess, they were permitted,
at their own earnest solicitation, to return to the scene with four
marines who were to be stationed along that section of the shore for the
balance of the night.

What they saw upon their arrival astounded them. Three additional
launches had arrived upon the scene, and the commandant of the navy yard
was himself directing matters.

He had in his hand a slight rope that ran down into the water, and close
beside it was a hose line attached to an apparatus in the boat. The boys
knew at once that a diver was at work down on the river bed.

From the side of another launch anchored parallel with the first, and
fifteen feet distant, four husky bluejackets were waiting expectantly to
divide their strength on two stout ropes that were being attached to
something down in the water. The third launch played its flashlight upon
the work, while the fourth steamed about, doing patrol duty.

Even as the boys watched, the commandant gave a signal and the sailors
began hauling upward on the two heavy ropes. In a moment an oblong box,
about two feet long, a foot wide and of the same depth, came dripping
from the water. As it was brought to the boat's side two other men
grasped it carefully and placed it in the bottom of the launch. Then the
ropes, which were attached to a guide line, were hauled down into the
river again.

"What does it mean?" Joe asked of Sergeant Martin, who had changed his
clothes and arrived back ahead of them.

"What does it mean?" repeated the big sergeant. "It means that you
three young men are due for several credits and early recognition, or
I'm much mistaken. The man you discovered has not yet been caught, but
he cannot escape for long. And when he is captured it will be a long
time before he is free again.

"You lads have frustrated a dangerous plot by an enemy government. The
river bottom seems to be paved with those cases. They've taken out a
dozen already. One of them was opened, and, just as expected, it proved
to be a water-tight container for smokeless powder!

"The government that had those boxes hidden there undoubtedly was
scheming to have plenty of ammunition ready for use if it ever managed
to land its men on American soil.

"But you boys appeared here just in time to blow up the whole plot. You
have been in your first real action in the service of your country, and
you have come off with flying colors."



CHAPTER IV

FAREWELL, UNITED STATES


When the boys arose the following morning, each somewhat stiff and sore
from the experiences of the night before, it was with a feeling of happy
anticipation that made their physical discomforts seem like trivial
things.

For before nightfall the twin screws of the large transport _Everett_
would begin to churn the waters of the Delaware, her bow would be
pointed down stream, and the great voyage of adventure would be started.

But in the meantime there was much for the lads to learn. Up to the
present every moment had been occupied to the exclusion of such
instructions as were absolutely necessary to know, in order that they
might give the best service to their country.

And so they responded early to a summons from the superior officer in
charge of men in the Signal Corps at that station. By him they were
informed of the serious mission upon which they were bound, and of the
responsibilities that would fall upon them should the transport, by any
mishap, become separated from its armed convoy.

No message picked up at sea or elsewhere, he told them, was to be
repeated to anyone but the superior officer to whom it was directed; and
any calls for another vessel or station were to be ignored by them, even
if their aerial should pick the words up.

They were told of the fine loyalty demanded of men in their branch of
the service, and given some idea of the sacrifices they might be called
upon to make.

"The success of this war," said Major Briggs, "depends upon the courage
and ability with which each man in it performs the immediate task before
him. Whether the whole world shall fall under the iron hand of a
merciless tyranny, or the peoples of the various nations may govern
themselves in the freedom of democracy, now depends largely upon the men
of the United States. We must regard the responsibilities thrust upon us
as a glorious opportunity to serve all of mankind."

Thrilled with the nature of the great work ahead of them, Joe, Jerry and
Slim hurried down the long length of the navy yard to where the
_Everett_ lay moored to her slip, the center of much activity.

Steam already was up, as they could see from the thick black clouds of
smoke that curled upward from her smokestack. Big cranes, operated by
powerful winches on the vessel and on shore, were hoisting cases of
various sizes and shapes upon the lower decks and into the hold. A small
army of men helped complete the loading of the ship, and one group was
experiencing considerable difficulty in trying to persuade unwilling
mules to board the transport for Europe.

The boys hurdled over piles of food and ammunition, wended their way
through scores of stacks of ordnance, and finally over a gang-plank to
the vessel. There they saluted and reported to the officer of the day,
who directed them to go at once to the wireless room.

As they entered there Lieutenant Mackinson was busily engaged in "tuning
up" his instruments. He stopped when he saw them and reached into an
inner pocket, from which he produced three large oblong envelopes. One
was addressed to each lad, and as they accepted them they saw that each
was closed to prying eyes by the official seal of Uncle Sam.

Swept by various emotions, the boys stood there gazing first at the
envelopes and then at Lieutenant Mackinson.

"Well," said the lieutenant at last, with an amused smile, "do you want
me to retire while you read your communications?"

"Oh, no, not at all, sir," Joe hastened to say, and as if to prove the
statement all three envelopes were ripped open and the single sheet of
paper in each drawn forth.

Especially addressed to each lad, the letters were identical and read:

     "I hereby convey to you my heartiest congratulations upon the
     efficient and heroic manner in which you and your two friends
     discovered and frustrated a plot to conceal enemy ammunition in the
     vicinity of this naval base. You all displayed true American
     courage; and I wish you every success for the future."

The letters were signed by the commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

"Look at that," said Slim, pushing his letter at Lieutenant Mackinson,
utterly forgetful of the fact that the other man was his superior
officer. "Ain't--isn't that fine, though? For the commandant to mention
it that way, I mean."

"Yes," admitted Lieutenant Mackinson, "but he wouldn't have mentioned
it that way if you hadn't deserved it."

"I'm not going to lose that letter," announced Jerry.

"Nor I," added Joe, "although we only did what any other fellows would
have done under the same circumstances."

"Well," said Lieutenant Mackinson, "it showed that you were to be
depended upon in an emergency, and emergencies are likely to crop up at
any time in our work, so let's get down to business."

He immediately began explaining the apparatus of the wireless room--how
messages were sent and received; the power of the batteries and their
auxiliaries; the switch-board regulating voltage; the automatic
recording apparatus--in fact, every detail connected with the intricate
mechanism of an up-to-date wireless.

"There was a time," explained Lieutenant Mackinson, "when the sending of
a message almost deafened the sender. It was like being in the midst of
a machine-gun assault. But recent improvements have eliminated that. You
may see for yourselves."

And the lieutenant tapped off the _Everett's_ own signal call with
little more sound than is made by the sending of a message with the
ordinary telegraph instrument.

"We have a sending and receiving radius of from five hundred to eight
hundred miles," Lieutenant Mackinson continued. "Of course, it doesn't
compare with the great wireless station at Radio, Virginia, one of the
largest in the world, where one tower is six hundred feet high and the
other four hundred and fifty feet in height, and each charged with two
hundred thousand volts, giving a radius of three thousand miles; but it
is sufficiently powerful for practically every purpose required at sea."

"Wasn't Marconi a wonderful man?" said Jerry in true admiration.

"Yes, he was; no doubt of that, and he still may contribute much to the
science, for he is not old yet," the young lieutenant answered. "But
still, full credit must be given where credit is due, and in that
respect it must be acknowledged that Marconi only assembled and
perfected to practicable purposes the discoveries and inventions made
before his time.

"Radio-telegraphy might be briefly traced in the names of Faraday,
Maxwell, Hertz--the discoverer of the Hertzian rays--Righi, Lodge and
Marconi. All of them contributed something to the evolvement of the
present highly efficient and dependable wireless. Marconi should, and
does, receive great credit; but the others, the pioneers, the real
discoverers, should not be forgotten or overlooked."

The lieutenant's words threw a new light on the history of the wireless
for the boys from Brighton, and they were anxious that the officer
should tell them more; but at that moment Lieutenant Mackinson caught
the faint recording of a distant wireless call for another station, far
down the Atlantic coast.

"Here," he said hastily, turning to Joe, who was nearest him, "see if
you can catch this message."

He slipped the receiving apparatus over Joe's head, and tightened up the
ear-pieces, then pushed toward him a pad and pencil.

Into Joe's ears came the faint but distinct sounds of a distant call:

-. ...  -. ...  -. ...

"N S," Joe jotted down on the sheet before him.

"A ship at sea calling Newport News," Lieutenant Mackinson informed the
other two, who waited impatiently for Joe to begin recording the
message.

Newport News acknowledged the call, and then the vessel's wireless
continued:

.--- .- ... .--. . .-.

And Joe, transcribing, wrote: "JASPER." Following this came:

-.. . - .- .. .-..

The other boys looked on in chagrin, while Lieutenant Mackinson's
countenance took on an amused smile, as Joe wrote down the word
"DETAIL," and then nothing else but the initials "N. N.," which ended
the message.

"Don't make sense," announced Slim in a discouraged voice. "You must
have missed part of it."

"No, I didn't," Joe replied, looking anxiously toward the lieutenant.

"I guess he got it all," the young officer assured them, at the same
time unlocking a little closet and taking a leather-bound book from an
upper shelf. "Let's see."

He turned to the J's and ran his finger down the page until he came to
the word "JASPER."

"That means 'We have coaled,'" he said, writing the words out on the
pad.

"Oh, it's in code," said Slim apologetically; "I didn't know that."

"DETAIL," the lieutenant announced, finding that word. "'Understand and
am following sealed orders'. That's the _North Dakota_. She has coaled
at sea and is now starting upon some mission known only to her commander
and the naval authorities."

Almost as he finished speaking the _Everett_ gave a lurch, her whistle
was tooted two or three times, the engines started turning, and the big
boat began to vibrate under the pressure.

There was a shout from the thousand or more who had crowded to the
river's edge, responded to by the fifteen hundred khaki-clad young men
who were lined up at every point of vantage along the vessel's side.

"And we're off, too," shouted Lieutenant Mackinson.

"Hurrah!" cried the three boys from Brighton in the same breath, as they
double-quicked it behind the lieutenant to the upper deck.

The scene was one to inspire the most miserable slacker. Somewhere in
the upper part of the yard a band was playing Sousa's "Stars and Stripes
Forever." From the windows of the ordnance and other buildings at the
lower end of the yard workmen hung forth, waving hats and handkerchiefs,
and joining in the shouted well-wishes of those along the shore. The
crews of every fighting craft in that part of the river sang out
friendly advice to those aboard the transport, and two miles down the
channel could be discerned the smoke from the stacks of the armed
convoys that were to give the _Everett_ safe passage to her destination.

Among those at the water's edge the boys could discern the big form of
Sergeant Martin, and even as distance welded them in an
indistinguishable mass, they could still see him, towering above the
others, his hat describing wide circles through the air.

"So long, fellows; we'll meet you over there," shouted the men of the
last vessel they passed.

As though by prearrangement the fifteen hundred men on the _Everett_
began singing, "I'm Going Over," sang it to the end of the first verse,
then stopped, and from a point well down the river could hear those they
had passed taking up the second stanza.

Hours later, out upon the ocean, the dim lights ashore fading one by
one, the fighters for Uncle Sam gave one last, long, lingering look at
their native land. And Jerry, voicing the spirit of all, cried out:

"Farewell, United States."



CHAPTER V

THE FIGHT IN THE WIRELESS ROOM


"Oh my; oh, my!" wailed Slim weakly, his head hanging over the side of
his bunk. "I never felt worse in all my life. I never felt half so
sick."

"Never mind," urged Joe, soothingly, "you'll soon be feeling better
now."

"Yes, _he_ will," moaned Jerry, miserably, from the opposite bunk; "_he_
will, but I won't."

The wind howled, the big ship gave a forward and downward lurch, and
Jerry would have slid from his bunk but for the quick action of Joe.

"I think I'm going to die. I wish I would," gasped the red-headed boy
when he was again laid out at full length. "I had the measles and the
mumps at the same time once, but I never felt like this. Why don't they
steer this old boat through the waves, instead of trying to jump her
over them?"

"There's a heavy sea running," explained Joe; "that's what makes the
_Everett_ ride so roughly."

"Wish I was back at Brighton," Slim groaned dismally.

Two hardy youths strolling along the deck, who hadn't been touched by
the epidemic of seasickness, stopped to peer in at the porthole. They
had mischief in their eyes, and as they caught sight of Slim's
humorously pathetic countenance, one of them muttered in a low but
distinct voice: "How'd you like to have some fried sausage, and some
plum pudding, and some----"

"Shut up!" bawled out Jerry with what strength he had left.

With a loud laugh the two withdrew their heads and disappeared.

At that moment the ship's physician, accompanied by Lieutenant
Mackinson, arrived to give what further comfort he could to the seasick
lads.

"It is clearing," the lieutenant told them, while the doctor measured
out a powder for each boy. "The wind has died down and the sea is
becoming calm."

"Oh, yes," the physician added, "in an hour or so you will be feeling
better than you did before. Seasickness has a tonic effect, but it's
rather a bitter dose."

"Sure is," said Slim weakly.

Nevertheless, it was just about an hour later that Jerry, feeling his
nausea leave him almost as suddenly as it had appeared, raised himself
on one elbow and looked across at his companion in misery.

"How do you feel, Slim?" he inquired.

"Almost human again," the stout lad replied.

"Going to get up?"

"Guess I can in a few minutes."

"I'm going to try it now," said Jerry. "Seems as if the pilot of this
ferry had learned to steer her a whole lot better than he did earlier in
the day."

"Yep," agreed Slim, sliding from his bunk. "Certainly was tough, wasn't
it?"

"I feel sort of weak in the legs yet," said Jerry, by way of answer.
"Let's go up on deck and get some fresh air."

"Stomach feels as empty as a vacant house; how's yours?" Slim inquired.

"Nothing in it but the lining, and I guess most of that's pried loose.
We've got to wait more than two hours for mess, too."

"How about some fried sausage, and some plum pudding, and some----"

Jerry laughed for the first time that day. "That fellow certainly did
make me mad," he admitted.

"Yeh, he made you mad," said Slim in a remorseful tone, "but he made me
sick."

On deck a hundred or more vigorous young men were exercising their
muscles in various forms of athletic sport. Here a group crowded around
a contest in broad jumping, eagerly echoing the distances made, and
there the men of another throng loudly applauded their favorites in a
stiff boxing bout, while on another part of the deck a pair of
one-hundred-and-eighty-pound huskies were struggling in a friendly
wrestling match.

A bright sun shone upon a sparkling sea, and the air was just crisp
enough to be invigorating. At that moment Joe came up to inquire how his
two chums felt.

"Fine," declared Jerry.

"Like a two-year-old," added Slim. "That doctor was telling the truth. I
believe I never felt better in my life," and he began flapping his arms
up and down like a rooster flails the air with its wings.

"A fat man's race three times around the ship!" a youth yelled, spying
Slim's activities.

"Hurrah!" cried the crowd. "Get them started."

The jumpers, the wrestlers, and the boxers immediately suspended their
respective contests to enjoy the innovation.

Slim was trying to back away, protesting that he "couldn't run for a
cent," when a familiar, smiling countenance intruded itself in the
circle of good-natured faces with the suggestion: "Well, how about a
plum pudding, then?"

Slim and Jerry at once recognized him as the youth who had similarly
suggested a plum pudding, also sausage, at a most inopportune time.

"Have you got one?" Slim demanded, his spirit aroused.

"Sure have," announced the other, "and I'll make it the stake."

Another shout went up as a second group pushed before Slim another youth
who, so far as size, shape and avoirdupois was concerned, might have
been his twin brother. They looked at each other and both burst into a
hearty laugh.

"Hello, Skinny," said the stranger.

"Howdy, Delicate?" Slim came back at him, quick as a flash. "Want to
race?"

"Don't particularly want to race," responded the other lad, "but I'm
awfully fond of plum pudding."

"And sausage?"

"Is there going to be a sausage in it, too?" asked the stranger,
evidencing increasing interest.

"Only yourself," Slim announced, laughing and jumping back quickly to
avoid any belligerency his joke might inspire in the other.

But he took the joke as good-naturedly as he did the howls of delight
from the crowd, and the two peeled off their coats and discarded their
hats as a couple of youths marked off the starting and finishing line,
while others "cleared the deck for action."

"This will be the tape," said a tall lean fellow, as he tied one end of
a string to the rail, at a point just above the starting line. "After
you have passed here the second time we'll stretch this out, and the
first one to touch it will be the winner."

"Right," said the fat boys together, leaning over in true sprinter
fashion so far as their stomachs would permit them to stoop.

One of the one-hundred-and-eighty-pound wrestlers winked to his comrades
and hurried down into the lower part of the ship on some mysterious
errand.

"One, two, three--Go!" shouted the self-constituted referee.

And Slim and Delicate went! True, neither of them got what sportsmen
would call "a flying start," but they got away, nevertheless, and with
all the grace and speed of--two loaded hay wagons.

"Whoopee!" yelled one in the crowd. "Look at 'em go! You can't see 'em
for dust!"

"Two dollars on the knock-kneed guy," shouted another.

Slim turned his head for the fraction of a second to learn whether this
insult had been directed at him, and his opponent gained a lead of a
foot.

"Go it, you deerhounds," shrilled an Irish tenor in the crowd. "Work
your feet, not your arms."

"The elephant leads; come on, you whale!" shouted another.

By this time the runners had made the curve at the bow of the boat and
were coming up the starboard side, toward the stern.

On the nearest armed convoy an officer was taking in the contest through
a pair of marine glasses, and apparently enjoying it immensely.

"Hooray! Hooray!" yelled the crowd of onlookers as Slim spurted and the
pair rounded the stern and came down to the tape at the end of their
first lap, neck and neck. Both were puffing like porpoises.

"Hey, Sausage, you've got a flat tire," cried a youth as they passed.

And from another: "Your engine's knocking, Skinny. Reduce your spark."

So the good-natured raillery continued while the two fat boys drove
doggedly on, now at considerably reduced speed, but still side by side,
each determined to capture that plum pudding.

They had passed the tape a second time, snorting louder and in shorter
gasps than before, and with the biting repartee still assailing their
ears, when the man who had disappeared into the hold of the ship came
into sight again, carrying a large can.

"Quick!" he warned those about him. "Right here--before they see."

And he proceeded to divulge the contents of the can as a heavy grease,
almost the color of the deck, which he began to smear heavily thereon
over the entire surface that the runners would have to cover, from a
distance fifteen feet away from the tape.

"They're on their way," whispered a voice, and the crowd parted to give
the two the proper space in which to finish the race. There was an air
of great expectancy among the onlookers.

The lads were still struggling along neck and neck, but Slim's leg work
was so timed as to make him the first to strike the grease. He slid,
tried to regain his balance, skidded into his competitor, who also was
floundering for a foothold, and then, progressing to a spot where the
grease was thicker, both feet went out from under him and he went down,
kicking Delicate's foundations from under him, also.

The crowd yelled with laughter, and the breath went out of poor Slim
with a terrible snort, as Delicate came down squarely upon Slim's
stomach. And thus, the most ludicrous sight imaginable, they went
sliding under the tape.

"All bets are off," shouted the other man who had been boxing; "they
broke before the finish."

Side by side, too breathless to articulate, the two fat youths lay there
gasping for breath, while those gathered about them made mock gestures
of "first aid to the injured." Nobody had been hurt, however, and the
victims of the prank took it in the way it had been intended.

Delicate, whose real name was Remington Bowman, proved to be as good a
sportsman as Slim, and they went down the deck arm in arm when the mess
call was sounded. And it was evidence of the good fellowship of the
owner of the plum pudding that he did share it with both of them
directly after the meal was over.

"You fellows earned it," he said. And they agreed that they had.

       *       *       *       *       *

That evening it was Joe's turn to do watch in the wireless room with
Lieutenant Mackinson until eleven o'clock, at about which time the young
officer retired to his bunk just off the operating room, and Slim came
on, to work until three a. m., when he was relieved by Jerry, who stayed
until seven o'clock, at which time the lieutenant again assumed charge
until relieved by Joe.

It was a standing order, however--at least until the younger men became
more experienced with the wireless--that Lieutenant Mackinson
immediately should be apprised of the sending or receiving of any
messages.

This first evening out the lieutenant complained of a headache, and,
acquiescing in Joe's urging, had gone upon deck to get the air. Perhaps
fifteen minutes had elapsed when Joe thought he heard someone prowling
about stealthily in the battery room.

His first thought was that the lieutenant had returned to make certain
that everything was all right, but a moment's consideration convinced
him otherwise.

Whoever was in the adjoining room was making every effort to keep his
presence there from becoming known!

It gave Joe a queer sort of feeling. What should he do? To seek the
lieutenant and bring him back might require several minutes. Meanwhile
the intruder might accomplish his object--whatever it was--and
disappear.

He decided to act upon his own initiative. Tiptoeing across the room, he
turned off the electric switch, which threw the wireless room into utter
darkness except for the meagre moonlight filtering through an open
porthole.

Then, just as silently, he re-crossed the room to the door leading to
the battery room; slowly and without a sound he turned the knob and
opened the door to a sufficient width to permit him to peer in. That
room also was in darkness, with only one porthole open.

Cautiously the intruder seemed to be feeling about for something
connected with the batteries.

Listening intently for a moment, to get the exact location of the other
man, Joe flung open the door and made a flying leap in the other's
direction. The man was leaning over, and Joe landed squarely upon his
back.

With a muffled exclamation of surprise the man jerked himself forward
and Joe went hurtling over his head, his arms, however, still clasped
tightly about the other man's neck.

Joe knew in an instant that he was in combat with a man larger and more
powerful than himself, but his own youth and suppleness were in his
favor.

Throwing all his strength into the movement, he twisted about and at the
same time jumped, so that he managed to wrap his legs about the other
man's waist. With another lithe movement he was again upon his back and
reaching for his antagonist's throat, at the same time squeezing with
all the strength of his powerful young limbs upon the other's ribs.

Back and forth across the narrow confines of the little room they
staggered, now one having a temporary advantage, and again the other.
Just as Joe was managing to fasten his fingers in at the throat, and the
other was hammering terrible elbow blows into his stomach, the bigger
man stumbled. As he fell he turned, and his full weight came down upon
the lad, almost crushing him.

Joe was not done for yet, however. With the strength of desperation he
held on to the other fellow's shirt. He felt something hard and metallic
under it, and in a new grasp included that in his fist.

Again the struggle began. Unable to break Joe's grip, the intruder tried
to sink his teeth into the lad's wrist. Failing in this, he gave an
evidence of his strength by rising, dragging Joe upward with him.

There was an instant of terrible whirling about the room, and then the
man landed a smashing blow on Joe's jaw. Still gripping the man's shirt,
and the unknown metallic thing beneath it, the lad reeled. The shirt
ripped, there was another sharp snap, and the boy fell backward, dazed.

He heard the man run swiftly, almost noiselessly toward the stern of the
ship; brilliant and many-colored lights flashed before his eyes--and he
knew no more.

[Illustration: There was an Instant of Terrible Whirling about the Room.]



CHAPTER VI

THE MYSTERY OF THE IRON CROSS


When Joe came back to consciousness it was with his head pounding
terribly, and Lieutenant Mackinson bending over him, swathing his face
with a cool wet cloth, while Jerry and Slim, whom the lieutenant had
wakened, were standing nearby, one holding a basin of water, the other a
bottle containing a liniment or lotion.

"You've been done up pretty badly," said Lieutenant Mackinson, as Joe
went through the painful motion of moving his head from left to right,
letting his gaze take in the now lighted wireless room.

"Yes," he answered with an effort. "Nothing serious, though, I guess."
And then, full recollection coming to him, "Did he get away?"

"Who?" asked the lieutenant quickly. "Who was it beat you up so?"

"I don't know," Joe answered. "I discovered him in the battery room. We
fought in the dark."

With the aid of the others he raised himself to a sitting posture, then
stood up and walked rather unsteadily across the room, took a long quaff
of cold water and dropped heavily into Lieutenant Mackinson's Morris
chair.

At the same time he gazed for the first time at what he had been holding
tightly clutched in his right hand ever since the knockout blow had been
delivered. The other three also were staring at it in open amazement.

"What is it?" asked Joe, as the lieutenant crossed the room and took the
thing from him for a closer examination.

"What is it?" Lieutenant Mackinson repeated. "Why, lad, this is the
German iron cross! Tell us what happened here."

With the young officer seated before him, and his two pals standing at
either side of his chair, Joe, quietly, quickly and as carefully as he
could, gave them every detail of the occurrence, from the moment he had
first heard sounds in the battery room, to the time that the other man
ran away and he lapsed into unconsciousness.

While Joe was relating his story the lieutenant examined and re-examined
the iron cross, the bit of broken chain still attached to it, and the
piece of brown woolen army shirt which the lad had torn away with it.
As the latter finished, the young officer hurried into the battery room,
accompanied by Slim, to make a survey there.

In ten minutes he returned, his face pale, his jaws clenched.

"There must not be a word of this to anyone," he warned them. "I am
going to report to the captain at once. Someone has been tampering with
the batteries, and he had with him a portable wireless which he
evidently intended to attach."

"You're the original little discoverer, all right," said Slim in open
admiration, addressing Joe as the lieutenant hurried from the room. "And
you certainly were game, to take the beating you did."

"Yes, he punished me some," Joe admitted. "But I got in a little work on
him, too. The only trouble is that I'm afraid I didn't blacken an eye,
or break a jaw, or otherwise do any damage that might be apparent and so
lead to the fellow's discovery."

"The nerve of it, though!" broke in Jerry.

"A German spy, doubtless masquerading as an American soldier, and right
here on a United States transport loaded with fifteen hundred soldiers
and tons of guns and ammunition."

"Yes," said Joe contemplatively, "that's the very serious part of it
all--the fifteen hundred soldiers and tons of guns and ammunition."

"Sh-h-h-h!"

Slim, who was standing nearest the door, had heard footsteps. A moment
later the lieutenant reappeared, accompanied by the captain of the
_Everett_.

When the boys had been presented, the captain abruptly requested Joe to
repeat every detail he had told Lieutenant Mackinson. As he did so the
captain gazed compassionately upon his injuries.

"And where is the instrument that you discovered?" he asked of the
lieutenant when Joe had concluded.

The young officer stepped into the battery room, returning with a small,
but evidently powerful, portable wireless transmitter and receiver.

"H'm," exclaimed the captain, examining it carefully. "Of German make."

"Exactly, sir," replied Lieutenant Mackinson, "and evidently quite
new--probably never used more than once or twice before."

"This is very serious business," said the captain impressively. And
then, addressing Joe: "Did you get a look at the other man? Would you
know him if you ever saw him again?"

"No, sir, I did not even get a glimpse of him. But I thought, sir, that
perhaps----"

"Yes," encouraged the captain in a kindly tone. "Go on with your
suggestion."

"I thought, sir," Joe continued, "that if we could find a man aboard
with his shirt torn in such a way that this piece would fit, and
especially if he had the other end of this chain in his possession, then
it might be pretty definitely assumed that he was the man who was in the
battery room."

"The chain--perhaps," said the captain slowly, "although that seems
doubtful. As to the shirt, no."

And, unbuttoning his jacket, he produced from beneath it a torn and
crumpled brown woolen shirt.

"We found this about twenty feet from here as we were on our way," he
continued. "It resembles, but it is not, a regulation army shirt. It is
of the same texture and color, but it differs in minor details easily
discernible. It is my opinion that the man who wore this shirt bought it
and wore it for this very purpose, so that, if necessary, he might
discard it and still have the one which came to him through the
Quartermaster's Department. We evidently have to deal with a very crafty
enemy, and one as bold as he is unscrupulous.

"Lieutenant, what do you make of his manipulations in the battery room?"

"There is no doubt in my mind, sir," Lieutenant Mackinson answered,
"that he was about to connect up this instrument and then hide it for
future use where it could not easily be seen."

"I believe you are right," said the captain. "And then what use did he
intend to make of it?"

"Evidently his intention was not a loyal or friendly one," the junior
officer continued. "It would seem to me that his probable purpose was to
divulge to German submarines our whereabouts when we came within their
zone."

Apparently the commander of the ship agreed with him, for he made no
immediate answer. For several moments he remained in meditative silence,
his brow wrinkled, as though he was turning the whole thing over and
over in his mind.

"From the very fact that he wore such a garment," the captain said at
last, "it would seem that this man is among the regularly enlisted men
on this ship. However, that is by no means certain. There is this
certainty, however: If he would go to such desperate lengths once, there
is every possibility that he will do so again--only more cautiously than
before, for now he knows that his presence on board is known.

"The most rigid investigation must be started at once, and for that,
Lieutenant, I will require your assistance. Leave these young men in
charge of the wireless room, unless something unusual or in the nature
of an emergency occurs.

"As for you gentlemen," he continued, turning toward the three boys from
Brighton, "you are commanded not to mention a single word about this
whole occurrence to another soul. If any one should question you, with a
seeming knowledge of what happened here to-night, report the matter to
me at once."

"Yes, sir," the three boys responded, saluting, and the captain
departed, motioning Lieutenant Mackinson to accompany him.

By this time Joe was stiff and sore in every joint. Jerry and Slim
insisted that he retire immediately, and helped him off with his
clothing.

Nor was there any objection from Jerry, whose turn in the wireless room
was to begin then and last until one o'clock in the morning, when Slim
suggested that he would stay on with him, "just to talk things over."

"All right," said Jerry, "and then I'll stay on during your shift, until
Joe relieves us in the morning. We can get a good sleep to-morrow,
anyway."

And so the long night began. The dull song of the engines, far, far
below, became like the monotonous droning of giant bees, and the wash of
the salt water against the side of the ship was a constantly recurring
swash-h-h--swish--swash-h-h--swish as the vessel plowed on and on
through the darkness, toward the submarine zone and Europe and the
battlefields and the trenches and the men--millions of them--of the
Allied armies.

It was near midnight, and the boys had fallen silent, Jerry with the
wireless headpiece over his ears, Slim standing near the porthole,
gazing out at the lone swaying light that indicated the position and the
progress of the cruiser convoy on the port side.

Suddenly Slim whirled around, his face pale, his muscles tense, and with
a motion to Jerry signaled silence. As the latter removed the gear from
his head, Slim tiptoed across the room to him. Placing his lips close to
Jerry's ears he said: "I thought I heard someone in the battery room.
Listen!"

There was no doubt of it this time. Both boys heard the sound. It was of
someone softly feeling about, as though in doubt as to his exact
position.

"Quick!" hissed Slim into Jerry's ear. "You get the captain and
lieutenant; I'll wait here."

And as Jerry disappeared through the room in which Joe was sleeping, so
as not to give suspicion to the man in the battery room, Slim slid into
Jerry's chair and centered every faculty upon listening to the almost
inaudible movements in the next chamber.

He could tell instinctively that the man was feeling about the walls
with his hands. And not unnaturally, recalling Joe's experience only a
few hours before, it gave Slim a creepy sort of feeling.

Then all sound ceased. Try as hard as he would, he could not hear a
thing. He rose from the chair and went closer to the intervening door.
All was silent!

A few seconds later the captain and lieutenant, accompanied by Jerry,
came hurrying into the room. Without an instant's delay the captain
turned the knob and they entered the battery room, switching on the
light at the same time.

Apparently not a thing had been touched, but the outer door was ajar.
The lieutenant jumped to it and peered out, but no one was to be seen.
He closed and locked the door and began an inspection of the batteries.

"Everything seems to be all right," he said finally; and then, his eyes
traveling to the table, he stopped short.

"The wireless instrument," he gasped. "It's gone!"

"Where was it left?" the captain demanded sharply.

"On that table there," Lieutenant Mackinson answered. "I placed it there
myself, as you probably will remember, just before we went out
together."

"I remember," the captain admitted.

"That spy has been back," the junior officer continued. "Back in this
very room after his instrument, and he intends to use it yet if he
can!"



CHAPTER VII

THE TIMELY RESCUE


It was no pleasant thought to contemplate the presence of a bold, even
desperate, agent of an enemy government, on board an American transport
carrying approximately two thousand souls.

That he was capable of going any lengths, if necessary, already had been
proved; and the evidence of his evil genius might come in horrible form
at any instant.

Nevertheless, neither the excitement nor the potential danger of the
situation was sufficient to prevent Jerry and Slim from taking a full
eight hours of much-needed sleep, while Lieutenant Mackinson, Joe and
three other officers whom the captain had taken into his confidence in
the matter, followed out every possible clue in pursuit of a solution of
the baffling mystery.

The record of every enlisted man and officer on the vessel had been most
carefully probed, without building up enough suspicion to warrant the
singling out of any individual as the probable offender.

Likewise an investigation of the members of the crew had failed to
develop anything tangible, even directly suspicious. It was a case of
watch everybody, take every precaution, and be prepared for anything.
Only nine men on the vessel, however, including the spy himself, knew
anything about it, and the rest were in utter ignorance of the treachery
that might be directed against them at any time.

Refreshed by their sleep, Jerry and Slim arose about four o'clock that
afternoon. Joe, who had rested easily throughout the later excitement of
the preceding night, was still in the midst of the investigation and was
not then to be found. Jerry had some letters to write, so Slim went to
the upper deck alone.

Seeing no one that he knew, and his mind weighted anyway with the
menacing mystery of the strange happenings of the night before, he sat
down on a coil of rope, just in the lee of the forward smokestack, to
think the whole matter over for the twentieth time.

He was thus absorbed when something, at first vague and indefinite, then
clearer and clearer until it was unmistakable, began to impress itself
upon his mind. Like the awakening call that comes to a man in a sound
sleep--seemingly as a far-off whisper that gradually gathers volume and
strength until finally the sleeper awakes with a start to find someone
standing directly over him, loudly and insistently calling his name--so
Slim came to a realization of the strange series of sounds that were
being repeated within a few feet of him.

Could it possibly be only the crackling of the steam-pipe that ran along
the smokestack to the whistle--a crackling merely from the pressure
within? For a moment Slim thought an over-wrought imagination was
playing tricks upon him. But he rose hastily and crossed the short
intervening distance.

Clearly and distinctly it came to him then. Someone in another part of
the vessel was rapping desperately upon that pipe! And in the long and
short dashes of the international code that someone was repeating a
single word--"Help! Help! Help!"

In another instant, using the heavy end of his jackknife as a crude
transmitter, Slim was tapping off the reply:

"Who are you--and where?"

"Lieutenant Mackinson," the message began to come back. "Locked in
closet off engine room. Can't make self heard. Can you help?"

"This is Slim," the youth rapped back upon the pipe. "Caught your
message on deck. Am coming with help at once."

And he dashed down the deck toward the captain's quarters, almost
bowling over the captain's aide as he hurtled into the sanctum of the
ship's commander unannounced.

"Well?" the captain demanded sternly. "Why all the haste?"

"Lieutenant Mackinson," Slim blurted out; "he's locked in a closet down
near the engine room."

"Locked in a closet!" the captain repeated incredulously. "How do you
know?"

"He gave a telegraphic call for help on the steam-pipe which runs
through there and connects with the whistle," the lad explained. "I was
on deck and heard it. I talked with him over the pipe."

"There is no time to lose, then. Come with me." And the captain himself
hurriedly led the way down through the lower depths of the ship, where
it became hotter and more oppressive with every step they took.

They had taken a route by which they escaped the attention of anyone
else on the ship.

"It should be right about here somewhere," the captain announced, as
they approached a particularly dark passage. For a few steps they felt
their way along, and then stopped to listen.

There was nothing but the dull and constant hum of the engines and the
almost insufferable heat.

"The other side," said the captain in a lowered voice, as they failed to
find any trace of the imprisoned lieutenant where they were.

They were crossing a short gallery when Slim abruptly signaled a halt.

"I thought I heard something," he said. "It sounded like another call."

They stood silent a moment, and then, faint and indistinct, apparently
from somewhere several feet ahead of them, they both heard repeated that
which had made Slim stop. As the letters were tapped off upon the pipe
the lad repeated them for the information of the captain.

"S-M-O-T-H-E-R-I-N-G."

"Smothering!" echoed the commander of the ship. "Great Scott! I believe
I know now where he is. This way," and he started down the passageway
toward a narrow stairs leading to a still lower chamber in the vessel.

Three turns--two to the right and one to the left--and the captain
stopped again to listen. Seemingly from within the wall, right at their
elbows, there came a feeble knock. The officer whipped out a pocket
flashlight. They were directly in front of a heavy wooden door. It was
locked.

"Run get a cold chisel or a heavy screwdriver and hammer," the captain
ordered, and Slim hastened away, to return two minutes later with all
three tools.

"Stand back as far as you can from the door," said the captain, placing
his lips close to the keyhole. But there was no response from within.

Realizing now that Lieutenant Mackinson must have lost consciousness,
and that moments might mean life or death to him, the captain worked
with feverish haste. He drove the heavy chisel into the crack between
the door and the jam, and then, standing off to get a wider swing with
the hammer, struck it sidewise.

A panel of the door cracked and loosened. Two more attempts and the
panel fell in strips to the floor. Thus given something for a grip-hold,
the captain, who was a massive man, took hold with both hands, put his
right foot against the wall, and, with one tremendous tug, into which
he threw the whole weight of his body, brought the entire door from its
hinges.

The captain went staggering backward from the force of his effort and
the weight of the door.

The unconscious form of Lieutenant Mackinson tumbled out upon the floor.
His face was almost blue from suffocation.

The captain sounded three short, sharp blasts upon a whistle which he
had taken from his pocket, and two oilers came running to the spot.

"Help us carry this man to fresh air immediately," he ordered. "He has
been overcome."

With one of the oilers carrying the lieutenant by the feet, and the
other man and Slim at either shoulder, the unconscious young officer was
carried up flight after flight of steps until, the captain leading the
way, they arrived at the promenade deck.

A seaman was dispatched for the ship's surgeon, who arrived a few
minutes later to find the first-aid efforts of the four men just
bringing Lieutenant Mackinson back to consciousness.

As the physician forced some aromatic spirits of ammonia between his
lips the lieutenant opened his eyes and gazed about vaguely.

"What's the matter?" he asked weakly; but before anyone could answer he
had relapsed again, and there was another wait of several minutes.

But this time the lieutenant's mind was clearing.

"Somebody shoved me--in that closet," he gasped, "and then--slammed
and--locked--the door."

He recognized the captain and the doctor. As his eyes closed again he
added, in an almost inaudible whisper: "I was getting too close on
somebody's trail."

The captain looked at the ship's doctor significantly and dismissed the
two oilers with instructions to return to their duties.

"Found him locked in a small compartment down near the auxiliary engine
room," the commander said briefly. "Hotter than blazes, and no air
whatever where he was. He made his whereabouts known by tapping a
message on a steam-pipe."

"H'm," said the doctor, whose youthful appearance might not give a
stranger a proper measure of his long and varied experience. "Nearly
suffocated, too. He couldn't have lasted there much longer. His heart
action is pretty weak even yet. Better have him removed to his bed, and
kept there for the rest of the day, at least."

At that moment Jerry came hurrying down the deck. He was visibly
excited, but, unlike Slim, he did not forget that not only must a
soldier never permit his feelings to run away with him, but that he must
be equally mindful of respect for superiors.

And so, even as two men carried Lieutenant Mackinson away, he remained
standing at salute, waiting for the captain to recognize him with a
return of the salute.

"And now what?" asked the captain.

Jerry stepped forward, with difficulty repressing his excitement.

"I stepped out of the wireless room for only a few moments," he said.
"When I returned I found this lying upon the table."

He opened his left hand. In it lay a piece of light chain, both ends
broken.

"Beside it," he continued, "was this note."

From his pocket he extracted a piece of paper, the edges of which were
roughly torn. He handed it to the captain, who read aloud:

     "Let this be a warning that no further interference will be of
     avail."

The captain looked from the note to the chain. There was no further word
on the paper, and no signature.

"I believe, sir," said Jerry, "that this is the rest of the chain which
was attached to the iron cross torn from the man caught in the battery
room."

The senior officer of the vessel took from his pocket the cross, with
its two bits of chain still dangling from it. He placed the ends to the
chain which Jerry had found in the wireless room.

"You are right," he said simply. And there could be no doubt about it.

The captain's face clearly showed the worry on his mind. The ship's
physician, who had been told all about the affair, immediately after
Joe's discovery of, and battle with, the mysterious stranger, appeared
equally anxious.

"A man is discovered at night in the battery room of the wireless
department of this ship, clearly upon an unfriendly mission," said the
captain, half to himself and half for the benefit of the others, summing
up the evidence thus far known to them. "He gives battle to the man who
discovers him, and finally succeeds in knocking that man out and
escaping. But he leaves behind him a portable wireless instrument, and
a German iron cross, with two bits of the chain attached.

"A few hours later that same night he returns to the battery room and
succeeds in recovering the portable instrument.

"To-day Lieutenant Mackinson, while pursuing an investigation of the
affair, is shoved into a closet and only escapes death from suffocation
by making himself heard as he telegraphs for help over a steam-pipe.

"It must have been while we were rescuing the lieutenant that the same
man again enters the wireless room and leaves there this chain, which
had been attached to the iron cross, and also this note of warning.

"The impudent effrontery and the cunning treachery of this man
constitute him a menace to every other person aboard this ship. We are
not safe while he is free.

"This German spy must and shall be found."



CHAPTER VIII

THE DEATH OF THE SPY


The inability of Lieutenant Mackinson to add a single word of further
information to what he had said as he regained consciousness on the
promenade deck increased the mystery.

The young lieutenant, it seemed, had been following a trail which he
believed was leading him closer and closer to the object of the hunt,
and it was in forging the links of this chain of circumstantial evidence
that the young officer was led into the lower depths of the ship.

"From a sailor who did not know why I was inquiring," he told the
captain, "I learned that on the night the unknown man invaded the
battery room this sailor had seen another member of the crew, presumably
from the engine or boiler room, throw aside something as he hurried
along the passageway leading from the wireless room. He was in his
undershirt.

"The sailor said he was about to investigate when he saw us come along,
and you stooped to pick up whatever it was that had been thrown away.

"While I was talking to him another member of the crew, evidently also
from the boiler or engine room, brushed by us. He had disappeared when
the sailor said to me, 'I think that was the fellow--the one that just
went by.' Not wanting to arouse his suspicions, I ended the conversation
with a casual remark, and then strolled away until I was out of the
sailor's sight, and then hurried as fast as I could toward the engine
room.

"I do not know that part of the ship well, and it was very dark down
there. I was groping my way along when I thought I heard steps just
ahead of me. I stopped to listen, and when the sound was not repeated I
proceeded onward.

"All of a sudden I was grasped by the neck and one arm from behind, and
thrown into that closet. Before I could utter a word I was a prisoner
behind a locked door. I called several times, and, receiving no
response, realized that I must be some distance from anyone else and
that the noises of the engines completely drowned out my voice.

"Every moment it became more stifling in there, and I had no doubt that
I had walked directly into a death-trap. It was then I began signaling
on the steam-pipe. I guess it was a mighty lucky thing for me that Slim
Goodwin strolled out on deck just at the time he did."

And that was all that Lieutenant Mackinson could tell. The mysterious
stranger remained what he had been from the first--a desperate and
dangerous and unknown spy, lurking somewhere upon the American transport
_Everett_ with the evident intention of making the ship's position known
to German U-boats when the _Everett_ and her convoy of cruisers and
destroyers entered the danger zone.

Then it was, with the lieutenant temporarily disabled as a result of his
experience, that the three boys from Brighton, who seemed somehow to
have been selected by Fate as the despoilers of all the spy's plans, put
their heads together to devise a scheme of capture.

"We've got more than one good reason for wanting to get this fellow,"
Slim reminded the others with considerable warmth, during the course of
their deliberations. "First and foremost, of course, is our plain duty
to our country, to which he is an enemy and a traitor.

"But, in addition to that, there is that knockout that he handed to Joe,
and the midnight scare he gave Jerry and me, and finally his effort to
kill Lieutenant Mackinson by slow suffocation, not to mention the nerve
of the fellow in coming back the way he has."

"Yes," added Jerry, "we owe him a lot, and it is up to us to figure out
how we can square the debt."

"Well," said Joe, "I think I've got a plan that will work; but we've got
to remember that we are dealing with a very shrewd man."

"Well, what's your suggestion?" Slim demanded.

"That we divide our forces," answered Joe solemnly, "lie in wait and try
to ambush the foe."

"Right!" cried Jerry. "Joe, you'll be a general before this war's over."

"Along what lines do we disperse our forces, General?" asked Slim.

"Along what lines would His Royal Stoutness suggest?" demanded Jerry.

"Oh, you don't have to keep reminding me that I'm a trifle heavy," Slim
replied in a peevish tone.

"A trifle heavy! Get that, will you," echoed Jerry with a gale of
laughter. "A trifle heavy! Oh, my!"

"You'll find out if I sit on you," Slim threatened, in a belligerent
tone.

"Come now," said Joe, "this isn't making any progress toward capturing
the spy."

"No," Jerry responded, "and that's our first duty, even if it is a
trifle heavy."

"I've warned you," Slim snapped out.

"Quit it now," ordered Joe. "Let's get down to serious business."

"All right," agreed Jerry. "Shake, Slim, just to show there's no hard
feelings."

"Won't do it," Slim muttered.

"Oh, yes, you will," counseled Joe. "Shake hands, the two of you."

Slim's good nature overcame his feigned reluctance, but as Jerry grasped
his hand he gave Jerry a jerk that nearly took him off his feet.

"Now we're square," said Slim, as Jerry rubbed his nearly dislocated
shoulder.

"Well, that pull _was_ a trifle heavy," muttered Jerry, determined to
have the last word.

"Now my plan is this," said Joe, facing the other two seriously. "The
nearer we come to the zone of the German submarines, the more this man
will try to arrange to notify them of our presence, and to do that he
will have to use the wireless somehow. It seems likely that he would
make his effort at night, because then it is easier for him to escape
detection.

"Now if we let Lieutenant Mackinson sleep during the day we could so
divide up the work as for all of us to get some sleep, and then all
could do watch at night.

"The lieutenant could be in the wireless room, and one of us in the
battery room, while the other two did duty outside. If one of us should
hide under that stairway at the upper end of the passage, and the other
in that alcove at the other end, no one could reach the wireless or
battery rooms without our seeing.

"It would be tiresome and monotonous work, all right, but it might
accomplish the result."

"I'm willing," said Jerry, "but you and I will have to do the outside
work. Slim's a trifle heavy to get into either one of those hiding
places."

"Well, I'll cover the battery room," said Slim, ignoring Jerry's
remark.

"Let's see Lieutenant Mackinson, then," suggested Joe, and they went to
find the young officer who was convalescing from his encounter with the
spy. When he had approved the plan they got the O. K. of the captain.

And so it was, four hours later, with the lieutenant in the wireless
room, and Slim in the battery room adjoining, and Joe and Jerry stowed
away in the hiding places selected, their long night vigil began.

Hour after hour dragged itself by without a development, the intense
silence broken only by the sounds of the engines and the wash of the sea
against the ship. To the three boys, unable to see or talk to each
other, and Joe and Jerry scarcely daring to move, the minutes lagged
like hours, and the hours like dull, black, endless nights.

Dawn came, and with it new activities in all parts of the vessel, but
without a reward for their watch, and as the two lads crawled from their
places of concealment at either end of the passage, to join Slim and
Lieutenant Mackinson, there were mutual feelings of disappointment, but
none of weakened determination.

"What luck?" asked the captain, coming in at that moment.

"None, sir, at all," the lieutenant responded.

"Very well, then, try it again to-night," the commander ordered. "But in
the meantime all of you get some sleep. You may get better results
to-night, for by then we will be coming to the outer fringe of the
submarine zone. I will arrange for another man to stay in the wireless
room during to-day, and if an emergency arises he will call you."

So the four young men went to bed for some much-needed rest and sleep,
and when they awakened it was almost time for mess--directly after which
they were to take up their night watch again.

"I hardly think we will be troubled with U-boats to-night," the captain
told them, "for it is perfectly clear and there will be a full moon. The
sea is calm and we readily could discern a periscope a long distance
away."

Truly it was a beautiful night. And it was in this alluring quiet of
seemingly absolute peace that one of the tragedies of war soon was to be
enacted.

The Brighton boys and their friend and superior officer, the lieutenant,
had been in their appointed places hardly more than an hour when Joe
and Jerry at the same instant caught the sounds of some sort of scuffle
on the deck above.

It came nearer and clearer until finally, as it reached a point near to
the top of the stairway under which Joe was concealed, the latter could
discern the fog-horn voice of the first assistant engineer.

"G'wan with ye, now," he commanded, breathing heavily, as though from
some violent physical exertion. "G'wan with ye, I say, or ye'll be
findin' it mighty unhealthy fer ye. It's meself that'll be moppin' up
the deck with ye if ye try to get gay once more."

The first assistant engineer was a mighty mountain of a man, but his
voice broke off as the commotion started again. Certainly he must have a
rough customer to deal with, thought Jerry, if he, with all his great
physical strength, could not entirely quell him.

"Ye will, will ye?" hissed the voice of the engineer again. "Thry to
bite me, eh?" and there was the terrible smash of a fist, and the
unmistakable sound of a man falling upon the deck. "Ye dirty hound, I've
a mind to boot ye into the sea."

And then there were other voices. Jerry heard the captain demanding an
explanation, and the ship's doctor spoke.

"I found him tamperin' with the wires near the dynamos," the first
assistant engineer was saying. "I niver liked his looks annyway, if
ye'll pardon me, sir, fer sayin' it. And whin I asked him what he was
about, he thried to git away. I grabbed him, and he showed fight. I
guess I give 'im all he wanted, though, that last time."

"So?" said the captain, in a voice so stern it made Joe wince. "And what
does this fellow do aboard the ship?"

"He's a third-class machinist, sir," the engineer replied. "But if ye'll
excuse a word from me, sir, I think he's a first-class crook."

"Yes, and I believe he's worse than that," the captain added; and then,
in a voice which seemed to shake the vessel: "Stand up!"

There was a strained silence for a moment. Then--

"Get Lieutenant Mackinson and those boys," the captain continued, and
the ship's surgeon started down the stairway to find that Joe and Jerry
already were summoning Slim and the lieutenant.

"It looks as though we'd caught the man," the doctor whispered.

As the four reached the deck where the captured man stood between the
first assistant engineer and the captain, who had by this time taken out
his revolver, there was a gasp of astonishment from Joe, followed by a
louder "Holy smoke!" from Slim.

"Do you recognize this man?" the captain asked in a sharp tone.

"I should say I do, sir," Joe responded. "_He is the man who was
planting ammunition in the waters near the navy yard that night before
we sailed_!"

"The very same one, sir!" Slim exclaimed, with equal positiveness.

The ship's surgeon, who had followed the others upon deck, stepped
closer for a better inspection of this enemy. At the same instant the
prisoner, striking out with both hands, knocked the captain's revolver
hand into the air, and thrust the engineer from him. Before anyone could
interfere he was dashing down the deck toward the stern.

Just as he took a wild, headlong leap over the rail the captain fired.
While the captain, through a speaking tube, was instructing the man in
the pilot house to signal below "Reverse engines," the others rushed to
the stern of the ship.

Far behind them in the foamy trail left on the moonlit water by the
vessel they saw what seemed to be the head of a man bobbing up and
down--and then it entirely disappeared. The ship was turned, and that
portion of the sea searched, but without avail.

"Gone," said the captain in tones of very evident relief. "Well, it was
death for him, one way or another, and he took his choice."

As the captain and surgeon moved away from the stern rail of the
_Everett_, the three lads and the lieutenant still stood there, gazing
far out to sea.

"The man who made me nearly freeze to death in the water," spoke Joe, as
though thinking aloud.

"And pummeled my stomach until it was sore for three days," echoed Slim,
in sad reminiscence.

"And made me run a mile in nothing, flat," added Jerry.

"And fought me to a knockout finish later," mused Joe.

"And nearly smothered me to death," spoke the lieutenant.

"And was finally corralled by an Irish engineer!" said Slim.

"Gone," concluded Jerry, "and no one here will mourn his departure."



CHAPTER IX

THE PERISCOPE AT DAWN


That night the boys had ample evidence that they were inside the
submarine zone, where anything might happen at any minute. Not a light
was permitted on any of the ships, and they traveled along in the most
peculiar fashion and over the most irregular course, never going at more
than half speed and not more than a mile or so without a complete change
of direction.

For no apparent reason whatever the engines would slow down and entirely
stop, and in that position they would remain for ten, fifteen, twenty
minutes or even half an hour, and then start up again on another tack.

"I believe we've become separated from our convoy," said Slim, who had
been upon deck, and now entered the wireless room where Joe and Jerry
were watching Lieutenant Mackinson make some readjustments of the
wireless mechanism. "The pilot doesn't seem to know the course. Say,
wouldn't it be great sport if we should be lost from the others? But I
wonder why the captain does not wireless them?"

"No need," Lieutenant Mackinson assured him, "for we are not lost, nor
are we separated from them. Every vessel in this fleet is simply
carrying out a program secretly arranged long in advance, and which was
in the nature of a sealed order which the various captains did not open
until this morning.

"I dare say that our convoy is as near us now as at any time during the
voyage, and that it is maintaining the same position at all times, going
through the exact maneuvers that the _Everett_ is performing."

"It is to fool the submarines?" asked Joe.

"Exactly," the lieutenant replied. "Our government is taking every
precaution, and no unnecessary risks. You see, there is no way of
keeping absolutely secret the departure of our transports. Nor is there
any assurance that the information does not go directly to the German
authorities, and from them to the commanders of the submarines. Our
actions are designed to prevent them from estimating our course or
position.

"It was their knowledge of that fact, and their determination to learn
our whereabouts in another way, which doubtless led to that spy being
aboard this transport. I feel----"

Suddenly the lieutenant ceased speaking, and all four, as of one accord,
sprang toward the radio instruments.

"Listen!" Lieutenant Mackinson commanded, as he jammed the headpiece
over his ears.

"SOS"--the most tragic of all the calls of the sea, was coming to them
as a frantic appeal sent out through the air to any and all who might
hear and respond.

"SOS," the lieutenant wrote down hurriedly as the message came through
space. And then:

     "American--_Memphis_--submarine pursuing--53-1/2 lat.--17 W.
     lon.--running fifteen knots three points south of west."

The entire message was repeated, and then there was silence--the dense
and seemingly impenetrable silence that had existed before.

Came the nearer and more powerful crackle of the radio.

"One of our destroyers is replying," Lieutenant Mackinson announced, and
one by one he jotted down the words:

     "Continue same direction. U. S. destroyer be with you in about two
     hours."

"Understand you," the return message came back a moment later.
"Submarine still on stern. Has fired two shots, but both missed."

It was a thrilling moment for the boys from Brighton. Out there in the
blackness of the night an American fighting craft was separating itself
from the rest of the fleet to run full speed to the assistance of a
helpless merchantman, and, if possible, to do battle with the enemy
U-boat.

For an hour and a half they sat there, speculating as to the possible
outcome.

"I'd give a month's pay to be aboard that destroyer," exclaimed Jerry
enviously. "That's the sort of excitement I like. Just imagine coming up
to that merchantman just in time to save her from destruction, and then
having a regular battle with the submarine, and finally watching her
sink, with a shell hole torn in her side!"

"Yes," added Slim, "and imagine being aboard that merchantman, with a
shell hole torn in her side before the destroyer arrives!"

"It's pretty cold swimming on a night like this," said Joe. "I've tried
it, and I know."

Lieutenant Mackinson, still seated before the wireless instrument,
signaled them for quiet again. Another message was coming through space.
It was in code, but was one that was easy for the lieutenant to
translate, for he had heard it before.

     "Submarine disappeared. Returning to fleet. Convoying _Memphis_."

"Go on deck, keep your eyes busy off the port bow, and you may see
something interesting," the lieutenant told them.

Following the suggestion they went above and had stood there for perhaps
fifteen or twenty minutes when suddenly the lookout in the crow's nest
sang out: "Destroyer approaching, two points off the port bow."

Almost at the same instant there loomed out of the dense darkness a
faint light, apparently miles away. For a moment they would see it, and
then it would be gone, only to reappear again, another time to be
extinguished. But obviously all the time it was coming nearer.

They noted, too, that a similar process was being enacted by the cruiser
in the lead.

"What does it mean?" asked Slim.

"The destroyer is just using another sort of wireless," Joe explained.
"She is blinking her identity to the fleet, and the cruiser out there is
signaling recognition."

The next time the destroyer signaled she was almost abreast of them, but
about two miles away to the north. Her message then could be read by all
the boys. The words it spelled out, however, were a complete riddle:

     "Love--sky--sand--curtain--run."

It was not for several hours that they learned that the captain of the
destroyer had flashed a message that he would convoy the _Memphis_
several miles further westward, and then rejoin the others, and that the
fleet commander, in flashing back "bundle," had given his O. K., with an
admonition for speed.

There being no further necessity for the spy watch which had been
maintained on the previous night, the boys drew lots to determine which
one should do duty until morning in the wireless room, and it fell to
Joe.

But the first faint gray streaks were hardly painting the eastern sky
when Jerry and Slim, unable to sleep longer, came out upon deck to take
for themselves a general survey of the danger zone.

"What's that?" cried Slim suddenly, staring off over the stern of the
_Everett_.

"Smoke!" echoed Jerry, excitedly.

"Yes, smoke from the stack of the destroyer," said Joe, who had come up
behind them without being heard. "We just got her signal a moment ago."

"How far do you suppose she is away?" asked Slim.

They were speculating upon the distance between the two vessels, when
Slim, speechless for the moment, pointed to what seemed to be little
more than a dark speck on the water about a mile astern and to the west
of them--for at that time their zig-zag course pointed them almost due
north.

"Submarine approaching astern!" sang out the man in the crow's nest.

It was as though the startling message had been megaphoned to every man
aboard the _Everett_. At the same time the cruiser of the fleet began
maneuvering herself between where the periscope showed the submarine to
be and the transport itself.

Almost simultaneously the U-boat came to the surface and one of the big
guns on the cruiser belched forth a shell that apparently fell a short
distance the other side of the submarine. The U-boat itself let loose a
shot, and with such accuracy that only the sudden maneuver of the
transport at that instant saved it from being hit.

By this time the decks of the _Everett_ were crowded with the khaki-clad
soldiers of Uncle Sam whom the Germans were trying to prevent from
getting into the trenches by sending them to the bottom of the Atlantic.

The cruiser had headed straight for the U-boat, while the destroyer was
coming up behind it with even greater speed.

For some reason that never will be known the commander of the submarine
had ignored the destroyer entirely, although it was difficult to imagine
that he had not seen it. The general supposition later aboard the
_Everett_ was that something had happened to his batteries and he was
unable to submerge.

"Hurrah!" shouted hundreds of men on the _Everett_ in unison as the
torpedo-boat destroyer opened fire.

And the aim of her gunners was deadly! for just as the U-boat began to
submerge, one of the big projectiles from the destroyer hit her squarely
amidships. There was a terrific explosion, the stern of the undersea
craft was lifted upward, clear of the water, she stuck her nose into
the briny deep, and without another second's delay, dove to the bottom,
a wreck.

As the tremendous pressure of the water crushed in her air tanks, great
bubbles rose to the surface and broke, causing rippling waves to roll
outward in increasingly large circles. Then a flood of oil came to the
surface of the sea, and the final evidence of the tragedy was
obliterated.



CHAPTER X

FRANCE AT LAST


From that moment the watch on each vessel in the fleet was redoubled,
and there was constant speculation, especially among the soldiers, as to
whether another submarine would be sighted, and, if so, under what
circumstances.

They had now abandoned the zig-zagging course and were taking a direct
route around the north of Ireland and toward the North Channel.

On the following morning two additional destroyers bore down upon them
from opposite points off the bow almost simultaneously, and as they came
both code-telegraphed their identity. With these extra convoys it seemed
indeed unlikely that a submarine would get near them, or, if it did,
would attempt to do other than make its own safe escape.

Fair Head, at the northeast corner of Ireland, gave them their first
sight of land since they had left the shores of America; and for many of
them this first glimpse of Erin's Isle brought with it the sentimental
thrill of seeing the country where their parents had been born and spent
their youth--for there was many a lad of Irish ancestry aboard the
_Everett_.

Rounding Fair Head without mishap or contact with a submarine, the
danger from that source was practically over. The convoy was reduced to
a cruiser and destroyer, and thus they laid a southeasterly course to
what your old-time sailor would have described as "a piping breeze."

They flanked the Isle of Man off its westward coast, and thence sped
directly across the Irish Sea and into the harbor of Liverpool.

Their arrival was unannounced. It was only one of many, and a thing to
which the people of that and other cities of England and France had
become quite accustomed. Nevertheless they welcomed the hosts of Uncle
Sam in the warmest manner, and in every possible way showed the deep
sense of appreciation and feeling of increased safety with which they
viewed the arrival of more and more thousands of American troops in
their land, on their way to the trenches of France to help conquer the
common enemy.

But there was not much time to be spent in Liverpool. Indeed, they had
scarcely become accustomed to feeling their feet on solid ground again
before the order to march was given, and they left the river front to go
to the railroad station.

There they received a plain but substantial meal, were inspected and
admired by their British cousins, and then boarded the long troop train
that already awaited them.

"Take your seats, Yankees!" shouted the bearded conductor jovially, and
the boys piled in.

The details of that ride through England the boys from Brighton never
will forget, although it was a long and tiring trip from Liverpool all
the way to Dover, on the channel which separates England from the
mainland of Europe.

They crossed fair fields and beautiful streams that reminded them of
their own native land, and came within view of giant ancient forests.
They passed through cities and towns and again came out into the open
country.

Occasionally there were stops, when the soldiers were allowed to leave
the train "to give their legs a stretch." At such times they were
greeted affectionately on all sides by the men and women of England.

"Hi say, Slim, old top," Jerry imitated good-naturedly as they boarded
the train again after one of these delays. "Hi say, did you 'ear that
'andsome little Hinglisher out there say as 'ow 'ealthy you looked?"

"Did 'e?" asked Slim, grinning.

"'E did," answered Jerry. And then, winking to Joe. "But 'e added, old
top, that 'e thought you looked a trifle 'eavy."

Only the sudden jolt of the starting train saved Jerry from the wallop
that Slim directed at him; and had it landed, Jerry doubtless would have
found it "a trifle 'eavy," also.

There was a general laugh from the others in the car, for all three of
the boys from Brighton had become immensely popular with their
companions in arms, all of whom by this time had become well accustomed
to this sort of gentle fun between the red-headed Jerry and "the
'ealthy, 'eavy lad" called Slim.

When they had been riding for another hour they came upon one of those
vast English concentration camps where thousands of young Britons were
being trained and equipped for war.

As the train slowly, very slowly, passed around the outer edge of this
camp, England saluted America, and America saluted England through
their fearless young warriors. The young Britons shouted, waved flags,
threw their hats into the air and sang. And the Americans, hanging from
the car windows, and crowded out upon the platforms and steps, returned
the demonstration with something for good measure.

From this point forward the journey constantly was punctuated by scenes
and incidents significant of war. Here was an ambulance and Red Cross
unit mobilizing for removal to the very heart of smoke and battle and
bloodshed; there stood a row of houses whose battered roofs and
tottering walls testified to a ruthless aerial night raid of the
Germans.

It fired the blood of the Americans as they were reminded that these
meagre evidences of Boche barbarity were as nothing compared to the
deliberate and vicious ruin wrought in Belgium and northern France.

Dover at last--the channel port which marked the beginning of the last
lap of their journey to France! The boys hardly could wait until the
train came to a stop, to get a glimpse of the water, across which lay
the scene of the bloodiest war in all history--a war in which they were
to take an important part.

"They say this channel is awfully choppy," said Slim apprehensively, as
they left the car. "Do you think, Jerry, that we're likely to get
seasick again?"

"Don't know," responded Jerry, also somewhat dubiously, "but there's one
consolation about it--it's only a short trip."

Never had the three boys from Brighton anticipated such co-ordinated
efficiency in the workings of a war machine. They had expected long
delays, frequent disappointments and protracted periods of training
before they should reach the front-line trenches.

Instead, they experienced consistent progress, many pleasant surprises
and few disappointments; and now, upon reaching Dover, they soon learned
that if it was at all possible they would board a transport that same
night for the French side of the channel.

From the train they were marched to a great cantonment on the edge of
the city. The procession there was like a triumphant march, with throngs
lined along the streets to cheer them as they passed.

For more than a year before, enemy propaganda in the United States had
constantly preached that England was weary of the war. This did not look
like it. The very atmosphere breathed the spirit of "carry on," of
renewed determination to fight to a finish.

Amid such a spirit the Brighton boys reached the cantonment and after a
hasty roll-call sat down to what they one and all pronounced a "fine
feed."

They rested for several hours and then were again ordered to fall in.
The march was begun to the docks, where three steamers to be used as
transports were being loaded with provisions and ammunition.

Together with other American troops which had been awaiting their
arrival, they went aboard the transports, but it was not till long after
midnight that they were under way.

Not a light was permitted on board. Not even the officers were allowed
to strike a match or to smoke. No unnecessary noises were permitted, and
the whole proceeding spoke of the secrecy of war work and the danger of
revealing their plans or their whereabouts to any prowling enemy.

With the dawn, scores of the men were on deck, including Joe, Jerry and
Slim--and they were well within sight of land. Preparations already
were being made for their landing, and a great excitement prevailed on
each of the ships. Their long-held hopes were coming to fruition.

France at last!



CHAPTER XI

TAPPING THE ENEMY'S WIRE


The following morning all of those who had arrived on the transports
were established in a concentration camp, but it was merely for the
purpose of inspection of men and equipment, and was not to be for long.
It was that same day that the three boys from Brighton were for the
first time assigned to a regular unit of the Signal Corps.

Also, with a real thrill, they learned that they were almost immediately
to see war service, for American troops were already in the trenches.

It was a happy circumstance for the three lads that they had had such
close association with Lieutenant Mackinson, for, without question, he
already had gained an enviable reputation, and when he was ordered to
emergency service, and told he might choose the five men who were to be
under his direction, his three assistants on the trip across were the
first ones named.

The other two were Tom Rawle, a fellow proportioned like their first
friend in the service, Sergeant Martin, and a wiry, energetic,
quick-speaking youth named Frank Hoskins.

"We have a long trip before us," Lieutenant Mackinson informed them,
"and we leave here on a special train in two hours. In a short time we
will be in the thick of it."

It was joyous information for the five, and they set about their few
preparations with a zest only experienced by boys knowing they have
important work to do, and feeling capable of doing it well.

"How long have you been over?" Joe asked of Tom Rawle.

"Got here two weeks ago," the big fellow answered. "But I haven't had
any real service yet. I was assigned once to Cambrai, but before I
reached there a big drive was under way, the Germans were being pushed
back, and the detachment to which I had been assigned was so far forward
that my orders were changed and I was sent back here."

"Did you get within sound of the big guns?" asked Slim excitedly.

"I should say so," answered Tom Rawle. "And so will you within a few
hours. Isn't that so, Hoskins?"

"Yes," answered Frank, "and when you do you'll get a new idea of the
fighting qualities of the French and Americans, going shoulder to
shoulder against the Boches."

"Hoskins knows," explained Rawle, "for he got nearer than I did."

"Only for a short time," Frank corrected modestly, "but they called it
my 'baptism of fire.' I was out one night with an advance party. We were
nearly ambushed, and had to beat a quick retreat."

"Well, tell them all about it," demanded Tom Rawle, impatient at Frank's
unwillingness to talk much about himself.

"Oh, they fired on us from a distance of about a hundred yards," the
other lad admitted, "and it was a surprise party for fair, I can tell
you. When bullets begin singing around your head for the first time, and
especially when they come without any warning from the enemy, or any
expectation on your part, it does give you rather a peculiar sort of
feeling.

"They got one of the fellows in our party with a bullet in the arm, then
we all dropped on our stomachs and wriggled our way back into our own
lines without any further damage. But we did some rapid wriggling, you
can bet. There wasn't any time wasted by any of us, and inasmuch as we
were apparently outnumbered, we did not fire back, for fear of giving
them an exact range of our whereabouts.

"After that I was sent back along the rear lines on an inspection trip
which brought me all the way to this point, where I was held for the
formation of this unit."

"Say, that must be thrilling--to be a member of an advance party like
that," said Jerry, his enthusiasm as fiery as his hair. "I wonder if
we'll get any work like that?"

"You sure will," responded Rawle, "and plenty of it. You needn't worry
on that score."

At that moment Lieutenant Mackinson arrived to inquire if all their
preparations had been made, and if they were ready to board the special.

"All ready," they answered, and the lieutenant led the way to the train.

They found several others already aboard, who were to make at least a
part of the trip with them. There were half a dozen men who had been
slightly wounded in the trenches, and now, completely well, were
returning to their regiments. Also, there was a wire company of the
Signal Corps, which was going to join another American unit.

For the first three or four hours of the trip the lads, even including
Hoskins and Rawle, found the returning young veterans the center of all
interest, and from them they heard many serious and amusing stories,
many true tales of the attack and retreat, of shot and shell and
shrapnel and the hand grenade and the poisonous gas bombs thrown by the
Boches.

And then, one by one, the soldiers of Uncle Sam dropped off into long
and restful slumber--slumber that was to fit them for hard and difficult
duties ahead.

"This is where we get off," finally announced Lieutenant Mackinson,
shaking the lads into wakefulness. "We leave the train here and travel
the balance of the distance by automobile."

Never had the boys seen such a powerful looking car as that to which an
orderly led them. Without the waste of a moment they climbed
in--Lieutenant Mackinson, our three friends, young Hoskins and the
towering Rawle. In another instant they were speeding across the country
with the break of dawn.

But their trip now was far different from the one they had had across
England. Where, in that country, they had seen big concentration camps,
and men preparing for war, with an occasional evidence of war's effects
in a building wrecked by a night air raid, here, in the eastern part of
France, they came upon actual war in all its fateful progress, with
whole towns demolished, forests and orchards blotted out--stark ruin
written over the face of the earth.

With a clear right-of-way, their high-power machine swept past
ammunition and food trains--long strings of powerful motor trucks
driving toward the scene of action. They came upon towns and villages in
that area known as "behind the lines," where French, American, Belgian
and British soldiers were recuperating after hard days and nights in the
front-line trenches.

By this time they were well within sound of the heavy guns, and their
driver told them that the artillery duel then going on had been in
progress for forty-eight hours at least.

"Sometimes it lasts for a week or more, you know," he said, "in
preparation for a great infantry advance. But I understand that this
time they expect to go forward before the end of to-day."

"Which, means," added Lieutenant Mackinson, "that we probably will get a
chance to get right into the thick of it."

On and on they went, and nearer and nearer to the scene of actual battle
they came. They passed the third-line trenches, and now, in places, they
seemed to be in a straight line with some of the concealed artillery
that was pounding away at the enemy in terrible detonations that shook
and rocked the ground every minute.

At the second-line trenches their orders called for a halt. They did not
have to be told that there was "something doing." The road, so far as
the eye could reach backward over the route they had traveled, was a
constantly moving line of motor trucks, coming forward with men and
shells, while out ahead of them, tremendous and menacing, big tanks--the
biggest things the boys ever had seen propelled on wheels or
tractors--were pursuing their uneven course toward the front, in
preparation for a new kind of assault.

"They look like miniature battleships on land, don't they?" exclaimed
Slim.

The others agreed that it was about the best description that could be
given of these massive fighting machines, equipped with guns and men,
that could travel with their own power practically anywhere, across
shell holes, over trenches, through barbed wire--the most human piece of
war mechanism that had yet made its appearance on the battlefield.

Summons to a long-delayed meal gave a welcome interruption to their
guesses as to just what their first duties would be, and they had
scarcely finished their substantial rations of food when an orderly
informed Lieutenant Mackinson that he was to report at once to the field
headquarters.

"Await me here," he said to the five men under his immediate command. "I
probably will be only a short time."

And, indeed, it seemed to them that he had hardly time to reach the
headquarters when he was seen returning hurriedly. He gave some hasty
instructions to the chauffeur, and the latter immediately began a quick
examination of his engine and tires, which promised another early move.

"We go forward as far as we can by automobile again," the lieutenant
informed them, "and after dark to-night we are to establish an outlying
communication from the farthest skirmish points to headquarters."

Almost as he finished the sentence, they were started, but now their
progress frequently was impeded, and occasionally a shell broke so close
to them as to jar the machine from its course.

None of the men in the rear seats of that car were cowards, but, aside
from Hoskins, it was their first experience under actual fire, and they
marveled at the coolness of the driver, who seemed not to mind at all
the dangerous quarters they were in.

When they climbed out of the machine, half an hour later, Joe remarked
upon it in tones of open admiration.

"It's nothing," the youthful chauffeur replied. "You'll get used to it,
too."

As he turned the automobile and started backward, Slim suddenly
remembered that they hadn't even heard his name.

"Don't know it," said Hoskins, "but he was wounded twice in the
trenches, I heard while we were waiting for the lieutenant. That's why
he's driving a car now. He has seen enough service to know that
nervousness doesn't help."

They had been directed to the quarters of Major Jones, in charge of the
Signal Corps men in that section, and it was with considerable surprise
that the boys learned, upon arriving there, that they were to accompany
the lieutenant into the superior officer's presence for instructions.

He was a man, they found, about forty years old, already grizzled and
hardened by his field experience. And he knew how to convey orders and
transact business without a moment's delay.

"You are to follow the red-ink lines on this map," he told Lieutenant
Mackinson, as they all leaned over his desk to follow the tracing of his
pencil, with which he showed them the course they were to take.

"When you have reached this point"--indicating a heavy spot about midway
of the map--"you will seek a suitable location from which to establish
communications. You will determine whether it can be done by wireless.
As soon as you can do so, report what progress you have made. Use every
caution, for you will be in the country occupied by the enemy. You
should leave here about seven o'clock this evening. It is now six."

Fifteen minutes later they had examined their arms and equipped
themselves with a full supply of small-arms ammunition, portable
wireless instrument and antennæ, and three rations each of eating
chocolate.

The latter article is dispensed to every soldier in the American armies
just prior to an engagement in which he may become separated from his
unit or companions, and, if wounded, might otherwise starve to death.

The remaining three-quarters of an hour they spent in close study of the
map that Major Jones had given them, and promptly at seven o'clock they
started upon the dangerous mission.

With nightfall the big cannonading had noticeably shut down, but to the
south of them artillery firing still could be heard distinctly. It was a
black night and they proceeded with the greatest caution.

They did not dare use the flashlights that each of them carried, and
frequently all of them would have to drop suddenly flat upon the ground
as a big rocket went up from either side, lighting the whole section for
trace of skirmishing parties.

In this way they went forward, yard by yard, until they reached a thick
clump of trees. There, after listening intently for several minutes
without hearing a dangerous sound, they spread out their coats,
tent-like, while Lieutenant Mackinson, with gingerly flashes of his
light, examined the map again, to make certain of their location.

They had hardly progressed a hundred feet further when the unlucky Slim
tripped and went sprawling on the ground with a pained but suppressed
grunt.

"Sh-h-h-h!" warned Lieutenant Mackinson in a whisper, while Tom Rawle,
quietly chuckling at the fat lad's misfortune, aided him to his feet.

"Down flat!" said Mackinson again, as he discerned several shadows
moving across a space a considerable distance to the north of them.

For fully ten minutes, which seemed like an hour, they lay there, not
daring to move. They watched the enemy scouting party get a like scare,
and then, after what seemed to be a whispered consultation, turn back to
the German lines.

"What did you fall over?" the lieutenant finally asked of Slim, in a
scarcely audible tone.

"I just found it," replied Slim. "It's a wire. Here, let me have your
hand." And he guided the lieutenant's fingers to that which had been the
cause of his downfall.

"Copper!" exclaimed the lieutenant. "Hoskins, let me have that kit."

And without the aid of a light he extracted from the leather case which
Hoskins gave him a very small telegraph instrument. The instant it was
attached to the wire the receiver began to tick irregularly.

Neither Rawle nor Hoskins understood German, but to the others they were
words easy to translate.

They had accidentally struck an enemy wire and had tapped it! That part
of the message which they had intercepted read:

     "--lead enemy to believe whole attack centered from your
     position, but main assault will be a flank move around Hill 20"

At that instant a fusillade of bullets cut the ground all about them,
and the six men suddenly realized that they were under a pitiless and
well-directed machine-gun fire.



CHAPTER XII

THE S O S WITH PISTOL SHOTS


To move from the position they were in was impossible. All that they
could do, imprisoned there as they were within a steel and leaden wall
of rapidly falling machine-gun bullets, was to hope that the gunners
would not change their aim, even by the fraction of a point, and that
neither side would send up a torch rocket to divulge their exact
whereabouts and bring sudden death or mortal injury to them all.

They knew now that they had been discovered by the enemy scouting party
which they had observed a short time before--as they thought, without
the others knowing of their presence there in "No Man's Land."

They also realized now, when it was too late, that the Germans had
returned to their own lines, after that brief consultation, in order to
procure the machine-gun with which to wipe them out.

And through it all they dared not return the fire, could not even utter
a word to each other without fear of giving the enemy a closer range
upon them.

It was a terrible three minutes for that isolated little group of
Americans, for bullets were striking all around them, the nearest not
more than ten feet away, and there was every possibility that another
detachment might be flanking them, to cut them off later in their
retreat, in case the machine-gun did not effectively do its deadly work.

There was but one desperate course open to them, and that Lieutenant
Mackinson ordered at the instant the firing ceased.

"Run!" he ordered, in a shrill whisper. "Run straight toward our own
lines for about a quarter of a mile and then detour to the south."

And off they started, each with all the speed he had in him. The renewal
of the machine-gun fire compelled them to take a zig-zag course, however,
and in this way for the first five minutes they all kept together.

Then Tom Rawle, who, with the lieutenant, had been a little in the lead,
gradually dropped back until he was abreast of Joe and Jerry, who were
running together, and then behind them, reaching Frank Hoskins and Slim,
who were bringing up a loudly puffing rear.

Finally, as they began to pass him, too, and his lagging pace became
noticeable, he urged them ahead and told them not to mind him.

"I got one of those bullets in the hip," Rawle told them, to the
surprise of all, for up to that moment he hadn't uttered a sound. "It
cuts down my speed, but it's nothing serious, I guess. You keep right on
and I'll follow as rapidly as I can."

"I'm almost winded myself," said Slim. "I'll stick with Tom; you fellows
keep right on. We'll join you in a few minutes after you stop. Joe, I'll
give that 'whip-poor-will' call if we can't locate you. At any rate, we
know our way back to the American lines."

"Not so loud," warned Lieutenant Mackinson, as he slowed down. "I guess
you are right," he continued. "You stay along with Rawle, but the two of
you try to follow as quickly as possible, so that we can get Tom back to
the lines for medical attention. It is necessary that I have the others
with me, though, for we must not only accomplish our mission, but also
give the commander that intercepted German message."

And so the little group parted, there in the blackness of night
"somewhere in France," the lieutenant, Hoskins, Joe and Jerry to forge
ahead as rapidly as they could in a detour that would again take them
back into the enemy territory, but in another place, while Slim and the
wounded Rawle came along at a slower pace.

The latter had been wounded more seriously than he knew, though, and he
had not gone more than three hundred yards further before the loss of
blood had so weakened him that he had to stop running and hobble along
in a painful, limping gait, leaning heavily upon Slim's shoulder.

"Guess I'll have to quit," he said, a little later on. "Can't go much
further." And even as he spoke he sank to the ground.

While Tom Rawle assured him that it "wasn't much of a wound," Slim, who
was doing the best he could to stop the flow of blood with his
handkerchief, knew that it was a bad injury, indeed, unless it was given
early attention.

"I'll try to get one of the others to return," he said, "and then we can
send to our lines for a stretcher to get you in."

"Nonsense," said Rawle, "I can walk; I'll show you."

But it was a pitiful effort, and unsuccessful, and Tom himself had to
admit that he "guessed he was out of business" for a little while.

Thereupon Slim puckered up his lips and imitated the low but
far-carrying call of the whip-poor-will--the call that he and Joe and
Jerry had used so much to summon each other at Brighton.

He remained silent for a moment listening, but there was no answer
except the distant rumble of the heavy artillery fire. He repeated the
call several times. Here and there to the north of them occasional
rockets went up from either line, but their brief light divulged nothing
in the way of encouragement.

"It's not doing you any good to sit here without attention," said Slim
at last. "Here is your revolver right alongside you. I will be back
within half an hour. I am going to scout around for help."

"But don't take any chances for me," Tom Rawle warned him. "I guess I
could crawl back to camp, at that."

"No, you couldn't," Slim declared, "and mind you don't try it. I'll be
back for you in a very short time."

He disappeared in the direction that the rest of the party had taken,
leaving Rawle there to await his return. Half an hour later he managed
to find the spot again, but without the aid he had gone to get. Not a
trace of the others had he been able to find.

But that was not the worst of it. Tom Rawle, helpless for all his big
body and physical strength, lay stretched out upon the ground
unconscious, a pool of blood by his side!

Slim put his water flask to the wounded man's lips and tried to rouse
him, but without avail.

"_Whip-poor-will-l-l_," whistled Slim. "_Whip-poor-will-l-l._" But the
sound was lost somewhere in the denseness of the night, and there was
not even an echo for response.

Slim was growing desperate. At any time they might be discovered by an
enemy scouting party, and then they would either be bullets' victims or
prisoners of war. Yet he knew that he could not hope to carry Tom Rawle
back to the American lines. Rawle's dead weight would have been a
difficult burden for a man of twice Slim's strength, and he knew it.

What should he do? Unnecessary delay might cost the other man's life.
Already his wound had caused him to lose consciousness.

As he turned the thing over in his mind there came faintly, ever so
faintly, to him from far, far to the south, as though but a breath of
wind, the familiar "_Whip-poor-will_."

"_Whip-poor-will-l-l_," shrilled back Slim.

He waited, but there was no answer. It was as though a whip-poor-will
itself was mocking his plight.

"_Whip-poor-will-l-l_," Slim whistled again, and thrice, but each time
there was nothing but the grim silence for reply.

"Tom," he whispered into Rawle's ear, gently shaking the wounded man.
"Tom, can you get up? I'll help you back. We can make it somehow
together."

But here again only the weak breathing of his comrade testified to their
plight.

"Better to take the one chance that's left us," muttered Slim to
himself, as he pulled Rawle's revolver from under him, to make sure that
it was fully loaded. "Yes," he continued, "it's better to risk discovery
than this fellow's life."

He took his own automatic from its holster and carefully examined it
also.

Then, with a revolver in either hand, pointing them into the air and
with fourteen shots at his disposal, he began firing.

Bang-Bang-Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang-Bang-Bang!

The shots rang out on the night air like a series of interrupted
explosions. But to the trained ears of the other men of the
party--Lieutenant Mackinson, Joe, Jerry and Frank Hoskins--two miles
away, they carried their call for help.

It was the S O S of the international code, but in a new sort of
wireless--by pistol shots!

Trembling for the results that his desperate action might bring upon
them, Slim waited, bending now and then over the unconscious form of Tom
Rawle.

But in fifteen more minutes his inventive genius was rewarded. From a
considerable distance, but each time more distinctly, now came the
repeated call of "_Whip-poor-will_," and in less time than it seemed
possible that they could make it, the other group had returned.

In low commands the lieutenant then directed affairs, and in exactly the
way that he had been carried out of the hold of the _Everett_ on the
verge of suffocation, so they carried poor Tom Rawle back to their own
lines.

And when he had been placed upon a cot in the first emergency hospital,
Lieutenant Mackinson hurried off to make his report, in the honor of
which all shared.

For not only had they found a location from which to wireless
advance-line communications to field headquarters, but they had also
intercepted a message, knowledge of which resulted in a quick change of
plans by which the Americans were able to beat the enemy at his own game
on the morrow.

"Rawle was suffering more from loss of blood than from any seriousness
of the injury itself," the surgeon told them when they asked there of
their friend's condition, on their way to their own quarters. "He will
be around all right again in a week's time."

And so, much desperate work accomplished on their first night within the
firing lines, the lads threw themselves upon their cots to dream of
spies and captured Germans and injured soldiers and calls for help by
new methods in wireless.



CHAPTER XIII

THE CAVE OF DEATH


It is one of the fortunes, or misfortunes, of war that a position gained
one day, even at great human sacrifice, may be of no real or practical
value whatever the next. So it was with the advance post of
communication located by Lieutenant Mackinson and his party under such
dangerous conditions during the night before.

The information which they had gained through tapping the enemy's wire
enabled the American and French troops, operating together, to prevent
the German trick from being carried into effect. More than that, it
enabled them to turn the knowledge of those plans to such good advantage
that the allied brigades swept forward in terrible force against the
weakest points in the enemy line. They pushed the whole Boche front back
for more than a mile--at the very point where it had been considered
strongest!

As a consequence, the point of communication which the lieutenant and
his aides had established with so much difficulty was now well within
the territory held by the American and French fighters. The requirements
for a further advance now made it necessary to have another outpost
point of communication as near to the enemy trenches as the first one
was before the day's battle put the Allies a mile further forward.

And so, except for Tom Rawle, who was resting easy from his hip wound,
the same party started out at the same tune for the same purpose on this
second night, but with a very much sharpened realization of the
obstacles they had to overcome and the chances they faced of being
wounded or captured.

"We take an entirely different direction," Lieutenant Mackinson told
them, as he looked up from the map he had been studying. "We go to the
north and east and as close to the observation trenches as possible."

Now the danger of this can readily be seen from considering what an
observation trench is. The front-line trenches of the opposing armies,
of course, run in two practically parallel lines. But an observation
trench runs almost at right angles with the front-line trenches, and
directly toward the enemy trench, so far as it is possible to extend
it. The extreme ends of these observation trenches are known as
"listening posts," and often they are so close to the enemy lines that
the men in the opposing army can be heard talking.

Lieutenant Mackinson and his aides, Joe, Jerry, Slim and Frank Hoskins,
were to get their signaling location as near to an enemy listening post
as possible! In other words, they were to court discovery in an effort
to get just a few feet nearer the enemy than they otherwise would.

They went along much as they had on the preceding night, except, had
there been light enough, it might have been noticed that Slim, in his
walking, pushed his feet forward cautiously, and then in stepping lifted
them high from the ground.

But as luck would have it they had not gone more than two hundred yards
when a bullet whizzed within two feet of Jerry's head, followed by a
shower of missiles that were directed entirely too close to them for
comfort.

Instantly they dropped flat on the ground. In the distance ahead of them
they could see three shadows stealthily crawling along toward them.

"Pick your men!" Lieutenant Mackinson ordered, in a whisper. "Fire!"

Their automatics let out a fusillade of bullets. Two of the shadows
jumped slightly into the air, and then rolled over. The third man rose
and started to run toward the enemy line. Frank Hoskins took deliberate
aim and fired. The man dropped and lay still.

"Looks as though we got them," said Lieutenant Mackinson, "but they may
be only pretending. Do not move for a few minutes."

While they were thus waiting, the enemy trenches sent up a glaring
rocket. It fell shorthand failed to reveal them, but it plainly showed
three German soldiers lying prone upon the ground, all of them
apparently instantly killed.

"That's the part of it I don't like," muttered Slim with a shudder. "It
isn't so bad when you are firing into a whole company or regiment and
see men fall. At least, it doesn't seem so bad, for you don't know just
which ones you hit and which ones some one else bowled over. But in this
individual close-range stuff it leaves a nasty feeling."

"You are right," whispered Frank Hoskins, "but you'd better not talk
any more about it now or some Boche may try the same close-range stuff
on us."

Warned to silence by the lieutenant, they continued to creep along, only
a foot or so at a time, stopping every few minutes to listen intently to
see if their presence had been discovered.

On the night before they had been upon fairly level ground, but this
night they were in a section that was all hills and hummocks and
hollows. They would creep cautiously up the side of one mound, not
knowing but that on the other side lay a group of Germans, perhaps out
upon a similar mission.

For no one can tell what may happen in No Man's Land--that section
belonging to neither side, before and between the front-line trenches of
the opposing armies.

"With that star as my guide, I am certain that we have not turned from
the proper direction," Lieutenant Mackinson whispered, as they came to a
halt in a secluded spot that seemed as safe from attack as from
observation. "We have passed the fifth hill. Fifteen more minutes should
bring us to the place which Major Jones indicated on the map. It is a
sort of natural trench. If we reach it all right we are to string a
wire from there to our first observation trench to the northwest of it.
I believe that the same place has been used for the same purpose before,
during the long time that all this has been contested ground. An outpost
there can observe and report every activity of the enemy in daylight,
without himself being seen."

They began again to creep forward, now flat upon their stomachs, and
only raising themselves from the ground a little way, but at infrequent
intervals, in order to make sure of their position and that they were
not being watched.

"Listen!" hissed Frank Hoskins, who was a little to the left of where
the others were snaking their way along.

They all stopped moving, almost stopped breathing.

"What was it?" Lieutenant Mackinson barely breathed, after several
minutes of silence.

Hoskins crawled nearer before he spoke.

"How near are we, Lieutenant?" he asked:

"I should say about a hundred yards."

"Look straight ahead of us when the next rocket goes up," Hoskins
suggested.

They had not long to wait for one of the great sky torches to come
sailing over the side of the German trench, but from a considerable
distance ahead of them.

"Did you notice anything?" Hoskins asked.

"I didn't," whispered the lieutenant. "Did you?"

"I thought I saw half a dozen men," said Joe.

"We'll wait, then, and see," said Lieutenant Mackinson.

In a moment another rocket went up, this time from the American-French
side, and it clearly showed what Joe and Frank both had seen.

Six, perhaps seven or eight, men were crawling along, headed toward
them.

"They are making for the same place," said Jerry.

"Exactly," replied the lieutenant. "It means that we have got to fight
for it. We will have some advantage if we can beat them to the
protection of the base of that hummock."

As rapidly as possible they started forward. Lying out flat, they would
draw their feet upward and toward them, rising slightly and going
forward upon their arms. This action, which put them ahead a few inches
every time, they repeated times without number. But it was slow progress
at best, and made slower by the interruptions of the rockets.

"We are almost there," Lieutenant Mackinson whispered, "but I think we
have been discovered. Lie flat and don't make a move. By keeping my head
in the position I have it I can watch that other group. If we have been
seen it means a running fight to the mouth of that trench or cave."

Another rocket cut a glaring path across the sky. Again it was from the
American-French side and illumined the black shadows strewn along the
ground like little clumps of low-growing bushes.

"Ah!" exclaimed the lieutenant suddenly, and then, in the same breath:
"Up and at 'em, boys!"

Before the others had an opportunity to realize what had happened,
Mackinson was dashing at top speed toward the indicated trench or cave,
firing as he went.

As they followed suit, but more careful in their shooting, for fear of
hitting him, they realized that the men in the enemy group were doing
the same thing--running as fast as they could for the same position.

"Drop!" ordered the lieutenant, and they did so, but it was as if he had
issued the order for both sides, for the others were not a second later
in seeking the security of the ground.

"Either side may begin playing machine-guns on us at any moment," the
young officer whispered, between gasps for breath. "Forward as quickly
as possible, and continue firing."

How they ever escaped the enemy bullets as long as they did none of them
ever knew, but the men of the other side were just as doggedly
determined, and no less courageous, even if three of their number
already lay stretched out motionless and useless upon the ground.

And so the battle waged, until both groups were no more than fifty feet
away from the mouth of the natural trench. Each moment brought them
closer together, with the even more vigorous popping of their guns, for
by now it was virtually a hand-to-hand battle.

Only four men now remained upon the side of the Germans, and, so far as
numbers were concerned, the Americans seemed to have the advantage by
one. But the score was evened an instant later, when one of the Boches
"winged" Frank Hoskins, and his right arm fell useless at his side.

But Lieutenant Mackinson squared accounts for Hoskins by putting another
German completely out of commission. A prompt return compliment knocked
Jerry's revolver out of his hand. At this juncture Slim played a heroic
part by laying low another German.

Seeing themselves now outnumbered almost two to one--for apparently they
did not know that they had injured Hoskins--the two remaining Boches
took one final, despairing survey of the situation, then turned and
started on a dead run for their own lines.

Lieutenant Mackinson leveled his revolver at them, held it in that
position for a moment, and then--perhaps it was an accident--seemed to
elevate it slightly in the air and fired. Certainly neither German was
hurt by the bullet, although it did seem to add a little to their haste.

"The position is ours," announced the lieutenant exultantly, and then,
suddenly remembering that Frank Hoskins had been hit and that Jerry had
dropped his gun, he inquired: "Hurt badly, Frank? And how about you,
Jerry?"

"Nothing but a scratch," said Frank. "Took me right on the 'crazy bone'
and made me jump for a minute, but it's hardly bleeding now."

"Only hit my gun," announced Jerry, "and I recovered that."

There was no time for further conversation. The Germans had reached
their own lines, and a machine-gun was being trained upon the Americans.
They rushed headlong to the north side of the little mound, and into the
opening of a natural cave.

The earthwork made them as solidly entrenched as though they were behind
their own lines, and only heavy shells could dislodge them. But they had
work to do, and the nature of it required that they do it quickly.

The entrance faced almost directly north and into No Man's Land, so that
the light of an electric flash, such as they all carried, hardly could
attract the attention of either side.

"Joe," said the lieutenant, sizing up the situation, "it is not safe to
leave the enemy unwatched for a single second. I think it would be well
for you to stay on duty outside, while the rest of us rig up the
instrument and begin to unspool the wire. Hoskins, you're hurt, so you
stay here with Joe. But both of you be mighty careful not to expose
yourselves where you'll stop a German bullet."

With Lieutenant Mackinson leading, Jerry just behind him and Slim
bringing up the rear, they crossed the five feet of narrow passageway
back into the natural dungeon.

The lieutenant switched on his light. Involuntarily and with a startled
gesture he stepped back.

"Jumping Jupiter!" exclaimed Jerry, "what's that?"

Slim, peering ahead of the other two, ejaculated something between a
shriek and a groan.

Strewn about the ground of that cave, in every conceivable position of
misery and torture, were the bodies of half a dozen dead men, all
Germans.

The lieutenant's hand that held the light trembled slightly as he stared
at the ghastly scene before him, but he was grit and courage right
through to the heart.

"This is bad business," he said, "but we are under orders and we must go
through with it. We cannot move the bodies out to-night."

He stepped further into the dark hole, and the other two lads followed.

Suddenly from behind them there was a grumbling, roaring crash, pierced
by a cry of warning from Joe, outside.

The three whirled around, and for a moment no one could utter a word.

The mouth of the dungeon had completely caved in!

"Trapped!" gasped Jerry, who was the first to find his voice.

Even the lieutenant seemed dazed.

"Trapped," echoed Slim, "in the cave of death."



CHAPTER XIV

DESPERATE MEASURES


Never did three young men face a more terrible or more horribly gruesome
situation. Here they were, locked in a natural dungeon behind a wall of
dirt and rock probably four or five feet thick. Not only that, but the
cave already contained the bodies of six men whose fixed and glassy eyes
stared at them as though in mockery and warning, and the already foul
air was becoming more stifling every moment.

In a dull way they realized that they probably could not survive more
than two or three maddening hours in that death chamber.

"It may not be so bad as it seems," said Lieutenant Mackinson in a voice
that seemed unnatural in that vault. "Perhaps it was only a slight
cave-in."

He flashed his light about the hole. It was difficult to tell where the
opening had been.

"Joe and Frank Hoskins!" cried Jerry, a new terror in his voice. "I
heard Joe shriek!"

Slim, catching his meaning, snatched a rifle from beside one of the
bodies, and with the butt of it began pounding frantically upon the side
of the cave where the entrance had been.

There was no answering knock.

"Joe," shouted Jerry in a frenzied tone. "Joe! Can you hear me?"

No answer came, either from Joe or Frank.

"Pinned under tons of that stuff," gasped Slim, the words trembling upon
his lips and a tear trickling down his cheek.

"I do not think so," the lieutenant assured them. "Both Joe and Frank
were upon the outside when we entered."

"But they would try to get us out," said Jerry. "If they were out there
they would give us some sort of signal that they were trying to help
us."

"We might not be able to hear them," answered the lieutenant, even
against his own judgment. "But look at it this way. Even though they
never were inside here, they had a fair idea of what the place was like.
They knew from that that we needed help, and needed it quickly. If one
went alone, and anything happened to him on the way, the other might
wait here indefinitely, not knowing whether he had got assistance or
not. By going together they took the safest course."

And Lieutenant Mackinson's reasoning was correct. That was exactly the
way Joe and Frank had figured it out, and, the latter forgetting all
about his own wound, they had started as fast as they could for the
American front.

"Keep cool, conserve your energy, and I feel certain everything will be
all right," the lieutenant told the two friends with whom, in such a
short time, he already had gone through so many harrowing experiences.

At that very same moment, a quarter of a mile away, Joe brought his
companion to a halt, took out his flashlight, and, facing the American
line, began making and breaking the connection in a way to give a number
of short, even flashes.

Presently a light appeared, was extinguished and appeared again, at the
edge of the American-French lines.

Joe had resorted to another sort of wireless--the "blinker"--and, not
knowing the call signal for the station he was nearest, had given the
prescribed call in such a case, a series of short flashes, or dots. The
station had acknowledged, and he began sending his message out of the
little battery in his hand:

"Americans. Three of party caught in cave-in. Need help."

And the answer was flashed back in the same code:

"Approach. Keep light on. Countersign."

Following these instructions, with Joe in the lead with the flashlight
held out in front of him, they dashed on to the trenches. They gasped
out the countersign, and were escorted by a sentry to the quarters of
the officer of that particular section.

In a few words they told him what had happened.

Without an instant's delay the latter, a colonel of artillery, reached
for his telephone.

"Ask Captain Hallowell to come here immediately," he said, and severed
the connection.

He seemed already to have decided upon some sort of a plan, and his
decisive manner gave the two lads a feeling of confidence in him. He
reached into a drawer of his desk and drew out a large map. He ran his
fingers across it and then came to a stop at a little black dot which
appeared just in the angle of two converging red lines.

"Is that it?" he asked, turning to Jerry and Frank.

They examined the map carefully for a moment and then told him that it
was.

Just then Captain Hallowell entered. His boots were spattered with mud,
his face was grimy, and his eyes were bloodshot, indicating that he had
been for many hours without sleep.

"Captain," said the colonel bluntly, "these young men are of the Signal
Corps, as you you can see. They were detailed to-night to establish an
outpost wire communication to Hill No. 8. You know it?"

"Very well, sir," the captain replied, his interest increasing.

"Well," continued the colonel, "they got there all right. But the other
three in the party had hardly entered that hole when the entrance caved
in."

"Great Scott!" ejaculated the captain. "I know that cavern. They can't
last there long."

"Exactly," affirmed the colonel. "What is your suggestion?"

For a full moment Captain Hallowell was silent. "There is only one way,"
he said finally, "and that is a dangerous way. Blast them out."

"Blast them out?" repeated the colonel, but apparently without surprise.
"How?"

"It would take too long to dig them out," Captain Hallowell answered.
"And, besides, that could hardly be done without some sort of light, and
that would attract enemy fire. There is but one chance, and that is to
blast them out with one of our big guns!"

"Can you do it?" the colonel demanded again, in his blunt, insistent
way.

"I will do my utmost to save them, sir," Captain Hallowell replied.

"Very well, then," answered his superior officer. "If you feel certain
that is the only way, go ahead. Personally, knowing the place as I do, I
see no other method myself. Have you the range?"

"I did have, sir," said Captain Hallowell, "but in such a delicate
matter as this it would be necessary to be absolutely accurate. We have
been firing practically all day, and the position of the guns changes
slightly, of course. I would want to find a new and exact range."

He had noticed Frank's limp arm, and he turned to Joe.

"Take this flashlight," he ordered. "It is more powerful than yours. Get
back there as quickly as you can, and follow to the letter these
directions: Keep between us and that hill until you get to it. Stay on
this side of the hill and crawl around toward the entrance until you get
to a point where you can place this light, facing us, two feet above the
ground and one foot in from the outer surface extremity. Leave it there
until you see three quick successive rockets go straight up in the air
from here. After that I will give you three minutes in which to get back
to a place of safety. I'll put that flashlight out of business, and I
think I can liberate your friends."

"Is your injury a serious one?" the colonel demanded of Frank.

"Very slight, sir. Only a flesh wound," Frank responded eagerly.

"Then take this light," the colonel ordered, "and follow him at a
distance of a hundred yards. If anything should happen to your friend,
you follow the directions you have just heard."

"Yes, sir," the lads responded in unison, and, with a hasty salute, were
off.

Three times did Joe drop to the ground, as a shadow seemed to move
somewhere out in the distance before him. But each time he was up and
off again almost upon the instant, thinking of his own safety only as
that of his three friends depended upon it.

And what of those inside?

Even the courageous Lieutenant Mackinson was beginning to show the
anxiety he felt, while Jerry and Slim, despite their bravest efforts,
gave way to occasional expressions of the horror of the thing.

They had pounded upon the walls until they had been overcome with
despair, and then they had set to work digging with the only instruments
at hand--the bayonets on the German rifles.

But soon they realized that this, too, was as hopeless as the pounding,
for it further exhausted the energy which the foul air was rapidly
sapping, without making any apparent opening in the thick earthen wall
that surrounded them.

"Well," said Slim at last, gulping back his nausea, and smiling almost
in his old time way, "I'm as anxious as anybody to keep up hope to the
last. But if this is to be our end, I guess we can face it as Americans
should."

"Bravo!" exclaimed Lieutenant Mackinson, "I always knew that each one of
you fellows had the right sort of stuff in you."

And Jerry, too, slapped him affectionately on the back.

"Slim," he said, smiling over at his chum, and ready for his pun, even
under such circumstances, "my head is feeling a 'trifle heavy,' but I'm
game to stand up to the last."

Thus they sat down to wait--for just what, they did not know--while at
that very moment, four feet away from them on the other side of the
wall, faithful Joe was setting up the flashlight exactly according to
directions.

For a few seconds he waited, and then, three times in quick succession,
a rocket went into the air from just behind the American lines.

Over there Captain Hallowell himself found the range, submitted it to
his most expert gunner, who verified it, and then they waited for the
three minutes to elapse, during which Joe was to seek a place of safety.

It was in that interval, too, that Fate intervened for those within the
cave, for they were sitting with their backs to the very point against
which the shell was to be directed.

"We need all our strength," Lieutenant Mackinson was saying. "So long as
possible we want to remain in full possession of our senses. The air is
purer near the floor. I think it would be better to lie down."

And following his suggestion and example, the other two stretched
themselves out in the middle of the cavern.

Within the American lines, at that point where a regiment of heavy
artillery was stationed, Captain Hallowell raised his hand in signal to
his gunner. Out on the parapet of the front trench an anxious colonel
was standing, regardless of all danger, a pair of powerful glasses to
his eyes. His vision was focused upon a little light far out in No Man's
Land.

Two hundred feet away from that light Joe and Frank Hoskins lay prone
upon the ground, silent, impatient, fearful, hoping.

With a quick motion the artillery captain swung his outstretched arm
downward. There was a roar, a flash, and a great shell tore through the
air. Out in No Man's Land there was a second explosion as the shell hit,
and the target--a flashlight--was blown to atoms.

Over in the German trenches a sentinel chuckled at the thought of
another wasted American shell, but out of the hole that that shell had
torn three pale, haggard, and exhausted youths were crawling to safety
and God's fresh air. And across No Man's Land dashed two pals to greet
them.

American determination and American marksmanship had saved three
American lives. The German sentinel might have his laugh if he liked.

It was hours later before the three who had been imprisoned learned how
their rescue had been effected; but they got an inkling of it as they
came within four hundred yards of the American-French front.

"What are you doing?" Lieutenant Mackinson had asked, as Joe brought the
party to a stop.

"Just a moment and you will see," Joe had responded.

And, first in wonder and then with a dawning understanding, the other
three read off his flashed message:

"Signal Corps men, and whole party safe."



CHAPTER XV

THE SURPRISE ATTACK--PROMOTION


During the week that followed, the lads were confined almost entirely to
regular routine work, with nothing particularly exciting. Frank Hoskins'
elbow wound healed quickly, without any serious results; and Tom Rawle,
who had been under treatment at the field hospital, was able to get
about the camp, although still pale and weak, and limping considerably
from his injury.

But on the eighth day a veritable fury launched itself upon that section
of the American-French front, in the shape of seemingly endless brigades
of Boches that were hurled "over the top" of their own breastworks,
across No Man's Land, and upon the first-line trenches of the Allies.

For several days the American and French aviators had been reporting
heavy German formations in that region, evidently with the design of a
terrific assault, but the allied commanders had not expected it so
soon, and in truth they were not fully prepared for it.

It was a surprise attack in every sense of the word, with all the
terrible carnage that such a battle brings.

Shortly before midnight of the preceding night a terrible bombardment
had been directed against the American-French trenches, and their hidden
artillery to the rear of them. This was kept up for about seven hours,
and the duel of heavy guns shook the earth like a quake and was
deafening.

Then, just as dawn was breaking, the infantry onslaught, participated in
at some points by detachments of cavalry, began.

For three hours the Americans and the French fought stubbornly and with
every ounce of strength and determination. Whole regiments and even
brigades were wiped out on both sides, but the Boches, who had prepared
every detail of the assault for weeks, were readier than their opponents
and filled the gaps in their lines more quickly.

By noon it became apparent that the sacrifice of lives was becoming too
great to warrant the Allies trying to hold their first-line trenches
much longer, and that they must give them up, at least until they could
re-mobilize their forces for a counter-attack.

The order was therefore given for those in the rear, including food and
ammunition trains, field hospitals, etc., to fall back, in order to make
way for the strategic retreat of those on the front when the moment for
that retreat came.

Everything moved like clockwork, and with the greatest possible speed.
And throughout it all men on both sides were shooting, shouting,
shrieking, fighting, falling, while others, trapped in their dug-outs,
either surrendered or fought desperately on until they fell wounded or
lifeless before superior numbers.

Half a mile in the air, apparently over a point midway between what had
been the first-line trenches of the opposing armies, a stationary
balloon showed where Jerry and an observation officer were doing duty on
that fateful day. Jerry was operating a telephone that ran directly to
division headquarters, and hardly a moment passed when he was not
repeating some observation of the other man in the basket with him, or
relaying to him a query from the commander below.

Every detail of that tremendous battle Jerry knew. His own occasional
glimpses over the side informed him of the temporary reverses his own
army was suffering, while the remarks of the officer told him where the
Germans were meeting their bitterest repulses, where they were drawing
up their heaviest forces of reserves, what quick changes were being made
in their general line of formation, and how far back their forces seemed
to extend.

Slim Goodwin, busy as he was with the wireless at headquarters, found
time for occasional glances upward at that balloon, to make sure that
thus far his friend was still safe.

And even in the thick of machine-gun fire and shrapnel, where Lieutenant
Mackinson, Joe, Frank Hoskins and two or three others were laying a new
line of communication, the wavering, swaying target was watched from
time to time, and speculations made as to how long it could remain
without being punctured by a bullet, thus forcing its two occupants to
resort to their parachutes to make a landing.

It was now well into the afternoon. The Germans had swept into the
places vacated by the Americans and French, and still the battle raged.
It was now that Slim began to wait anxiously for the new development,
which his familiarity with the secret orders issued made him know was
coming.

And finally it did come, and in a way that staggered the Boches.

The Americans and French had retreated to a general line which permitted
a quick re-mobilization to the best advantage. There their front-line
ranks held firm, while the new formation was being effected behind them.
It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when this was complete.

Then, in concerted action, the lines opened at alternate points, and
pairs, dozens, scores of the huge armored tanks rolled through, their
big guns already blazing shells into the ranks of the disconcerted
enemy.

Nothing could halt them. They climbed trench parapets, descended into
gullies, came out upon level land, and over their whole path swept
destruction to the Germans.

Unable either to resist or to stop the progress of the tanks, which were
followed by whole divisions of infantry, the Boches were forced to
retreat and not only abandon every foot of the ground they had gained,
but to sacrifice a part of their own first line as well.

[Illustration: Scores of Huge Armored Tanks Rolled Through.]

It was one of the greatest and at the same time one of the most sudden
reprisals of the war up to that time, and the victory that had been
snatched from defeat was cheered by thousands of Americans and Frenchmen
as they again took possession of their own trenches, or pushed onward
across No Man's Land to occupy those which the Germans were now
abandoning.

The sun was setting, and soon, in great measure, at least, hostilities
would be suspended for the night.

Their work completed, Lieutenant Mackinson and his men were on their way
back to make their report when they met Slim, who had been relieved for
the night at headquarters.

"What time did Jerry come down?" Joe asked, after they had passed
remarks about the various thrills of the day.

"Don't know," Slim answered, "but I saw them there at four o'clock, and
they weren't there when I looked again, about half an hour later, so you
can judge pretty well for yourself."

"Guess he had a pretty good bird's-eye view of the whole thing," said
Joe, as they passed on, to meet again before mess.

Except for spasmodic outbursts here and there, the trench duel had
almost entirely subsided, and the heavy roar of the artillery also was
punctuated with longer pauses. Whatever the morrow might bring, the
night promised to be fairly quiet, while each side took account of stock
and made necessary repairs, or altered their plans to meet the new
situation.

Our young friends were busy with wash basin, soap and water, taking off
the grime in preparation for the evening meal and wondering where Jerry
was keeping himself all the while, when suddenly a very strange thing
happened beyond the enemy's line.

Lieutenant Mackinson was the first to discover it and call the attention
of the others.

A Taube, one of the smaller, lighter, and more easily handled
aeroplanes, and used in great numbers by the Germans, shot into the air
at great speed from behind the Boche entrenchments. In its upward course
its path was a dizzy spiral, and, if one on the ground might judge, its
pilot seemed to be seeking a particular air channel. At least that was
the way it looked.

Then, from almost the same point from which it had come into view, half
a dozen other planes rose into the air, following in the path of the
first, and also flying at top speed. Up to then there was nothing so
very strange about the whole procedure. It simply indicated that those
manning the American and French anti-aircraft guns, and the aviators of
those two armies, should get ready to repel an enemy air raid.

But the queer thing occurred when every one of the pursuing planes
opened up their machine-guns almost simultaneously upon the first. And
even this might have been considered a well-designed hoax, were it not
for the unmistakable evidence that the first aeroplane, the Taube, had
been hit.

Still going at maximum speed, and now on a straight line toward the
American side, without seeking a further height, the Taube several times
wavered, and, a moment later, almost turned over.

But the pilot righted her, and even as the pursuers began gaining, and
still kept up an incessant fire, he pointed her nose downward toward the
American lines.

Four American planes sailed off and upward to meet the oncoming German
air armada. But from the ground it could be seen that the man in the
observer's place in the Taube was making desperate signals.

The American planes maneuvered in such a way as to encircle the Taube,
and yet at close enough range to examine her without particular menace
to themselves. There were several seconds of criss-crossing and rising
and descending, and then as a unit the American planes left the Taube
and started after the German craft, which had hesitated, as though
uncertain what further course to follow.

Several volleys of shots were exchanged, and the other German planes
turned back toward their own lines. The Taube continued on its wavering,
crippled, downward course toward the allied lines.

"Looks as though a couple of our men had been reconnoitering the German
lines in one of their own make of machines," said Lieutenant Mackinson,
as the Taube came within a hundred yards of the ground and righted
herself for a landing.

There was a general rush toward it as it hit the ground. Of its own
momentum it rolled to within a two minutes' run of where the lieutenant
and the others had been standing. In another instant it was entirely
surrounded by a crowd of curious American soldiers.

But if they were surprised at seeing seated therein two men in the
uniforms of the United States army, their feelings hardly compared with
those of Lieutenant Mackinson, Joe, Slim and Frank Hoskins, as they
recognized, stepping out of the Taube, Jerry and the observation officer
with whom he had occupied the stationary balloon practically all of that
day.

"Who are you?" "What happened?" "Where have you been?" and a score of
similar questions were fired at them by the other soldiers as Jerry
shook hands with his friends, and the officer smilingly made away to
file his report.

"Well, to put it briefly," Jerry said, in answer to the general demands
for information, "we were anchored off there most of the day in an
observation balloon. Late in the afternoon a shell cut our cable, and
almost before we knew it we had been carried behind the German lines.

"The fight was still commanding the attention of almost everyone, and
after descending a little by permitting some of the gas to escape, we
jumped over the side of the basket and came down on our parachutes. I
landed in a deserted barnyard, and the officer hit the earth only a
short distance away.

"While we were hiding there, debating just what we should do, along
comes a Taube, and its pilot decides to make a landing almost at that
same place. Well, the officer being a pretty good pilot, we decided to
have that machine. We got it, and I guess that pilot's head aches yet
where I plumped him with the butt of my gun when he wasn't expecting
anything of the kind.

"But some other German aviators saw the affair, apparently recognized
our uniforms, and hardly gave us time to make a decent start.

"Say," Jerry concluded, "they certainly did pebble us with machine-gun
bullets! I saw two bounce off the propeller, and one broke a wire on the
left wing, making us flap around rather uncertainly for a few minutes.
It was a great race, though, and we considered our greatest danger lay
in landing on this side. We knew it would be recognized for a German
plane, and we were afraid we'd be fired on before we could make our
identity known."

Led by the lieutenant and Jerry, the party tramped back to where,
shortly, mess was to be served.

"That air certainly does give a fellow an appetite," said Jerry, as he
splashed more of the clear cold water over his face.

An orderly stepped up to Lieutenant Mackinson and handed him a large,
officially stamped envelope. As he tore it open and read the brief note
within, a pleased smile spread over his face. From the same envelope he
extracted three smaller ones. He handed one to each of the lads who had
accompanied him over on the _Everett_, according to the way they were
addressed.

Opening them, the boys could hardly suppress their jubilation. Stripped
of their official verbiage, the letters informed the young men that each
of them was made a corporal, Joe for valorous service in saving the
lives of "three Americans entombed in a cave; Slim for heroism and
presence of mind in saving and bringing back to the lines an American
soldier," and Jerry "for coolness and courage, and for the information
gathered behind the enemy's lines."



CHAPTER XVI

A TIGHT PLACE


Major Jones was paying his compliments in a very brusque, business-like,
but kindly way. Before him, standing at attention, Lieutenant Mackinson
and Corporals Joe Harned, Jerry Macklin and Slim Goodwin were awaiting
important orders.

"The manner in which all of you have performed your duties in the past
has won you the esteem and confidence of your commanding officers,"
Major Jones said.

"Your striking services not only have led to promotion, but to another
important trust, upon which much may depend. Through the mountains to
the east of us a company of engineers is cutting a rough road. They work
under great handicaps and frequently are harassed by enemy detachments.
But they are making progress.

"This road is being cut for the purpose of permitting the passage of a
wireless tractor, of which you men are to be in charge. Through a part
of that section an old telegraph line still remains, but it does not
connect in a direction to meet our requirements.

"Reports received this morning indicate that by night the engineers will
have put the road through to a selected point where you will have the
least difficulty in concealing your tractor and its aerials. From your
position there you will keep constant vigil, for you will be able to
inform us long in advance of any effort of the Boches to come through
that way.

"The road winds about the mountain side, and in some places is quite
steep. But the ground is now hard and the motor will make the pull.
Good-by, and good luck to you."

An hour later, with Frank Hoskins, who was an experienced driver, at the
wheel, they started for their destination in one of the big,
high-powered trucks which not only carry a complete wireless equipment
but also provide enough space for sleeping quarters for half a dozen
men.

As a matter of fact, these trucks are so designed that, if it is
necessary, they can carry a crew of ten men, while by means of a special
clutch and gear the engine is made to drive an alternator for generating
the necessary electrical energy which, under the most adverse
atmospheric conditions, will give a sending and receiving range of at
least one hundred miles. In ideal weather the radius increases to as
much as two hundred and fifty miles.

A powerful mechanism which in its operation resembles the opening of a
giant pair of shears, raises the mast and umbrella-shaped antenna, and
the average time in getting the apparatus ready for service is only
about eight minutes.

The entire tractor, including crew, weighs close to five tons, and it
can be easily imagined that its operation on a steep and treacherous
mountain road was far from easy and anything but entirely safe.

With them the lads carried sufficient rations to last them five days, it
being understood that their larder would be replenished at the necessary
intervals.

They also took with them a radio pack-set, which is another wireless
apparatus that can be carried about with little difficulty. This they
had in the event of any unexpected emergency. The entire pack-set could
be carried about in a suitcase, and after it was set up its current was
generated by turning a crank by hand. Its range, under ordinary
atmospheric conditions, was about twenty-five miles.

The first few miles of their journey were accomplished with little
difficulty, but as they struck the uneven, newly-made road, their
troubles began to increase. At times the jolts were so severe that it
seemed they would shake the electrical apparatus loose from the tractor,
while some of the inclines were so steep that, after attempting and
failing to make them once, they had to go backward and then try again,
with increased speed.

It was bitterly cold, and while Frank and whoever at the time sat beside
him on the front seat kept reasonably warm, being directly behind the
hard-working motor, the others frequently got out, to run along for a
quarter or half a mile to limber up their stiffened joints and get their
blood in circulation again.

One of their greatest difficulties came when, more than three-fourths
the distance to their destination, and at one of the narrowest points
along the road, they met the large truck bearing back toward camp the
company of engineers.

The wireless tractor was chugging along under a heavy strain, but the
other truck was coming down the steep grade under the compression of its
engine, to accelerate the use of the brakes. And with the little warning
they had, the two drivers brought their big machines to a stop less than
ten feet apart.

It was impossible for the truck containing the engineers to back up. And
the first widening in the road over which the wireless men had come was
fully a quarter of a mile behind. There was no other course than for
Frank to reverse, and, with a man on either side of the tractor in the
rear, directing every slight turn of the wheel, to go back to that
point.

Once the engine stalled, making the stability of the whole weight of the
heavy tractor depend upon the brakes. Frank grabbed the emergency, and
jammed it on with all his strength, but not before the machine had
gained a momentum which made it a question for a few thrilling seconds
whether or not the brakes would grip and hold it.

As they finally rounded the turn which gave them the brief space of
wider road, and the engineers' truck passed by, the men waving each
other a cheery farewell, the boys from Brighton gave a sigh of relief.

When they reached what they decided should be their destination, almost
at the end of the road and in a dense bit of wooded section which would
obscure them from enemy observers, they brought their tractor to a stop.
With pick and shovel they began building an earthen oven, in which they
might cook their food, and from which they might keep reasonably
comfortable, without being seen.

A light snow began to fall, and, mess over, the lads decided to retire
for the night. Before doing so, however, they set up the mast and
aerials and made the connection to the storage battery. It was agreed
that they should sit up in two-hour shifts, to be ready to receive any
message that possibly might come, but it was arranged that the other
four should divide this duty, allowing Frank, who had driven the truck
over the entire trip, a full night's sleep.

So the night passed, with the lads taking turns at the lonely vigil. The
snow continued, the wind increased almost to a gale, and the temperature
dropped still lower.

Fully eight inches of snow lay upon the ground when gray daylight came
and Slim, the last man on watch, awakened the others. The storm was
diminishing, but still they could see only a few yards distant from the
tractor.

"Guess I'll warm up chopping some wood," said Joe, as he took an axe and
left the others still dressing.

In half an hour he had brought in enough to cook the breakfast and last
half the day, and while Slim acted as cook, Jerry started out to fell
more saplings.

Before noon the clouds broke, the sun came out, and its reflection from
the pure white glistening snow was almost blinding.

"A snowball fight," suggested Jerry, and the others took up the idea as
a boon to dispel the monotony of their isolation.

With the lieutenant "umpiring" from the little wireless room of the
tractor, Joe and Frank "stood" Jerry and Slim, and from a distance of a
hundred feet apart the battle began.

One of Frank's well-aimed missiles caught Slim squarely in the mouth,
just as he was calling out some challenging remark, and from the window
of his post Lieutenant Mackinson laughingly shouted: "Strike one!"

Slim, spitting and blowing out the icy pastry, gathered all his
strength to hurl a ball back at Frank. But he "wound up," as baseball
pitchers call that curving swinging of the arm just before the ball is
thrown, with such vigor that he lost his balance. His feet went up into
the air and he came down ker-plunk! but the snowball left his hand with
what proved to be unerring aim.

Joe, letting out a howl of laughter at Slim's accident, caught the
tightly packed wad of snow right in the ear. He turned his back to the
"enemy," and, leaning forward, began pounding the other side of his head
to dislodge the snow.

Of a sudden he straightened up, uttering an exclamation of surprise.

"Lieutenant!" he shouted. "Look here!"

The lieutenant jumped out of the tractor, and the others followed him on
the run to where Joe and Frank were gazing off down into the opposite
valley.

Two, perhaps three, miles away, a winding, twisting line of black
against the snow was pushing its way laboriously around the mountain
base.

"Germans!" exclaimed Lieutenant Mackinson. "Wait until I get my field
glasses, but do not stand where they might see you with theirs."

From positions within the clump of trees the lads watched the line
spread out and slowly but surely forge its way ahead. The lieutenant
returned with his glasses.

"At least ten thousand of them," he announced at last, after gazing down
at them for fully a minute. "And nobody knows how many more behind. We
must notify the camp at once."

He ran back to the tractor, followed by all but Jerry, who remained to
observe the enemy's further movements.

In two or three minutes the wireless operator at headquarters signaled
back for them to go on with the message.

"About ten thousand enemy troops proceeding through eight inches snow,
bound northwest around eastern base of mountain," Lieutenant Mackinson's
message ran. "Am observing and will report progress. Any orders?"

In another five minutes the wireless clicked back: "Are any of enemy
flanking mountain on south?"

Jerry, who at that moment entered the tractor, informed them that the
Germans had divided into two diverging lines, apparently for that very
purpose.

There was a considerable pause after this was flashed to headquarters.
Meanwhile Jerry had gone back to his post of observation, accompanied by
Frank and Slim.

"How many big guns?" was the next query from the commanding officer of
the American forces in the sector.

Joe rushed out to where the other three were standing, and from them
returned with the information that already they had counted seven headed
toward the north, and five being hauled toward a place where they might
round the southern base of the mountain.

This news was sent through space to the American army; and the lads who
were the silent witnesses to what the enemy had intended and fully
expected should be a secret movement, waited in silence for further
developments.

"Can you get back over the same road with tractor?" was the next message
that came, and Lieutenant Mackinson called for the more expert judgment
of Frank Hoskins before answering.

"We can try it," said Frank in a rather doubtful tone, "but it's risky
business. It will be as much as we can do to follow the road, and we
can't hope to see the ruts and bumps. The worst part of it is, though,
that the tractor is so heavy it may not hold the road. However, we can
try."

The lieutenant repeated the gist of this to headquarters, and the
message came back: "Better try."

But by the time this decision was reached the fire in the earthen oven
had almost entirely died out, and the engine of the tractor, which had
been drawn up to it, had become so cold that they had to build another
fire, to get hot water to put into the radiator, before they could get
it started.

And then the perilous journey began.

With Frank at the wheel, and running the engine only in low gear, as
compression against gaining speed, the lieutenant and Joe trotted ahead,
one on either side of the road, to indicate the course of the crude
highway.

Jerry and Slim, inside the big truck, were doing their best to hold
things in place as they rocked and jolted over the deep ruts and
gullies.

It must have been this series of terrible jars that finally splashed
grease and oil in on the brake bands. Whatever the cause, it suddenly
became apparent at one of the steepest and sharpest turns in the whole
route that the brakes were not holding.

"Look out!" Frank shouted to Joe and the lieutenant ahead, as he
realized the truck was getting beyond his control. "Better jump!" he
advised Jerry and Slim, standing just behind him.

As Lieutenant Mackinson and Joe ran to either side of the road, the
tractor slid by them at increasing speed. Slim and Jerry, following
Frank's bidding, leaped from the rear and landed unharmed in a
snow-bank.

"Run her into the side of the mountain," shouted Lieutenant Mackinson,
and that was exactly what Frank was doing. It was the only possible way
of saving the tractor from gathering more and more momentum, and,
finally beyond all control, leaving the road and hurtling down the steep
slope.

With all his strength Frank swung the wheel so as to turn the right side
of the car at an angle up the mountain wall that flanked the road. In
this position the machine was still traveling along with great force
when it struck a thick abutting ledge of rock.

There was a sudden jolt, a sharp crack, and Frank was hurtled forward
head first into the snow.

When they had brushed him off and made certain that he was uninjured,
except for an awful jarring up, they began an examination of the
machine.

The right front wheel had been crushed to splinters, the axle was bent,
and the machine was wedged so far under a split edge of the granite as
to be, for the time at least, totally useless.

"Better go back to where we were first," Lieutenant Mackinson said at
last. "We'll take the pack-set with us, and we can probably advise
headquarters of our predicament with that, and also inform them of the
progress of the enemy movement."

Wearily they turned about, each man loaded down with the necessities
that they had to take with them from the wrecked tractor. It was nearing
night when they reached the apex of the mountain again, and their first
desire was to see whether the Germans had entirely passed around the
mountain.

So far as they could see they had!

But the Boches had done more than that. Their heavy guns were being sent
around either side of the base of the mountain, each quota being part of
a good-sized army. But they were sending another strong detachment up
and over the mountain itself!

And the first section of it was less than a mile below, spreading out in
such a way that while a part of it would come over the top, other parts
would go around either side, and they would be fan-like in shape,
forming a virtual comb in the search for any enemies who might be
lurking there.

"The pack-set!" ordered the lieutenant. In a very short time it was set
up, and Jerry was grinding the crank to generate power while the officer
flashed out the headquarters call.

In a moment a message began to come: "J-X. J-X. J-X. J-X."

Lieutenant Mackinson nervously began tapping the key again, but the only
reply was the insistent call for J-X, which was the code call for
themselves.

"No use," said the young officer at last. "We can catch them, with their
stronger range, but we haven't radius enough to send to them."

"Those troops cannot reach here until after dark," said Slim.

"No," Lieutenant Mackinson acknowledged, "but they are in such numbers
that we could not hope to keep our identity or presence hidden, and
they are getting around the mountain quicker than we could get down and
beyond their line."

"It looks as though we were hemmed in," said Frank Hoskins in an even
tone.

"Yes," agreed Jerry, "and in a tight place."



CHAPTER XVII

THE LIEUTENANT'S INVENTION


While the others speculated upon various means of escape, and in turn
found every one of their suggestions useless, Lieutenant Mackinson had
remained silent and in deep thought. Finally, his countenance showing
that he had arrived at a conclusion, he turned to the others.

"Come with me," he said simply, "it is the only way."

"Where are you going?" Joe asked quickly.

"Back to the tractor," the lieutenant replied. "Hurry! We still have
time, but none to waste."

"But we can't repair the tractor," Frank argued.

"No, we can't," Lieutenant Mackinson admitted, "but we may do something
even better than that."

"What?" queried all the lads at once.

"Come with me and we'll see what can be done."

And without granting them any further information then, Lieutenant
Mackinson swung his share of the burdens to his shoulder and started
down the rough mountain road, the others following, and likewise bearing
the various necessities which, only a short time before, they had
labored so industriously to carry up the mountain.

As they neared the point where they had left the wrecked machine the
young officer turned to Joe, who was nearest to him.

"Do you remember," he asked, "seeing that wire of the old telegraph line
just about a hundred yards below where we ran the truck into the wall?"

"I saw it," Joe admitted, "but I didn't pay any further attention to
it."

The others had come up within hearing distance.

"Well," the lieutenant responded, "if you had traced its course you
would have seen that it is swung from this mountain to the one directly
to the south, just at the point where the valley between narrows down to
little more than a deep ravine."

"But it doesn't run into our lines," Frank objected again.

"That's true," Lieutenant Mackinson admitted again, "but it may serve
our purposes just the same."

"How?" Slim asked entreatingly. "Tell us what your plan is, Lieutenant."

"No," replied the young officer in teasing tones, "I don't want to raise
your hopes until I determine whether it can be accomplished."

And he plodded on toward the tractor, refusing to answer another
question. Indeed, it is doubtful if he heard them, for he was busy with
some important mental calculations--problems that required his
engineering knowledge and ability, and that had directly to do with the
personal safety of every man in the party.

"What tools have we here?" he asked of Frank Hoskins, as they arrived at
the wrecked wireless tractor.

Frank opened up a tool chest that showed a great variety of implements
in almost every size and shape.

"Good," said the lieutenant, as he looked up from where he was rummaging
in another part of the car. "Here, Jerry," he commanded, "let me have
that mallet and cold chisel and then help me rip a couple of these
boards off the floor."

He had laid aside a large pulley wheel, several nuts and bolts and some
heavy copper wire. With the aid of the mystified Jerry he tore two
stout boards up from the floor of the tractor.

"Now we've got to work rapidly, fellows," he said, "for it will soon be
dark, and we don't want to attract attention to ourselves by making a
light.

"Here is what I am going to try to do: That wire is strung really from
mountain to mountain, running down a slight grade from where it is
fastened here to where it is tied up over there. I don't know how strong
it is, or how securely it is fastened at the other end, but I'm going to
find out.

"You've all seen those trolley-like boxes that run on wires in
department stores, with which the clerk sends your money to the
cashier's desk, and the cashier returns the change? Well, I'm going to
construct something on the same principle, only I want to make it strong
enough to carry my weight.

"If I can do that, and the wire holds, the incline is sufficient to
carry a passenger to the other mountain without any propelling power.
I'll try it first, and carry with me one end of this reel of copper
wire. If I get over all right I'll attach the wire to the little oar and
you fellows can haul it back for the next passenger, and so on until all
of us are over."

Slim looked dubious. "How thick is that wire?" he demanded anxiously.

"You know Slim's a trifle heavy," Jerry reminded the lieutenant.

"Well," said Slim in a serious tone, "I'd rather fall into the hands of
the Germans, and have some chance for my life, than spatter myself all
over the bottom of that ravine."

While this conversation was going on, Lieutenant Mackinson was boring a
hole about two inches in from each of the four comers of one of the
planks taken from the floor of the truck.

"This ought to do for a seat," he said, as he began running pieces of
the heavy copper wire, of equal length, through each of the holes.

He then laid this part of the work aside for a moment and began filing
off one end of the riveted axle that held the pulley wheel in its frame.
When he had knocked this axle out he tried one of the bolts and found
that it fitted almost exactly, and that the wheel ran freely upon it.

"Have to have that wheel off to put the thing on the telegraph wire," he
explained, as he began securely fastening the copper wires into the
bottom of the pulley frame.

Completed, the thing looked for all the world like a miniature trapeze
seat.

"Now," he said, slipping a wrench into his pocket, and buckling on his
legs a pair of spurs such as all linemen use to climb a smooth pole,
"I'm going to take this up that telegraph pole with me and fasten this
thing on the wire. Then it's 'All aboard for the opposite mountain.'

"If I get over all right I'll give one flash of my light. If I
don't--well, don't try the wire route."

Without wasting another second he dug one spur into the pole and started
climbing upward, dragging his improvised car with him, together with the
loose end of the reel of copper wire.

By this time it was pitch dark, and they could feel, rather than see,
that he was tightening the bolt which hung the apparatus on the wire.
The lads had placed a heavy stick through the reel, and two of them held
either end of it.

"Let it run free," the lieutenant told them. "And don't forget the
signal. I'm ready. Good-by!"

There was a sudden jerk on the reel and the wire began to unwind
quickly. It literally spun round on the stout stick which they were
holding. They just got a glimpse of the courageous lieutenant sailing
off through space, a thousand feet above the bottom of the ravine.

The unwinding wire gave an added spurt, and then, pressure being
released from it, it began to slow down.

"He's either on the other side, or lost the wire," said Slim, his
nervousness showing in his voice.

Every eye was glued to the opposite mountain.

"Look!" almost shouted Jerry. "He's safe!"

Sure enough, the light had flashed out once in the blackness of the
night, and then as suddenly disappeared.

The boys began hauling in on the copper wire, winding it again on the
reel.

"Who's next?" asked Frank, as the last of the cable was being re-wound.

"Eenie, meenie, minie, mo," Jerry began to count out, when Joe suddenly
interrupted.

By ten feet of heavy twine Lieutenant Mackinson had tied the spurs to
the car so that they would dangle within reach of the lads on the
ground. Attached to them was a note, which read:

     "Easy landing on soft slope. Let Slim come next before wire is
     weakened, because he is the heaviest. All can make it safely."

And so Slim, not entirely assured, and breathing somewhat heavily as he
contemplated the distance he had to fall if the telegraph wire should
break, was the next to climb a-straddle the crude "air-line" trolley, on
its second trip to the opposite mountain.

In a few moments the light flashed out again and then disappeared, while
Joe, Jerry and Frank hauled in on the cable to which the car was
attached.

By mutual agreement it was arranged that Frank should be the next to go
over, after which they would send the portable wireless, followed by
Jerry, and finally Joe.

Lads of less courage never would have attempted such a perilous escape,
but they made it without a single mishap. It was not until Joe, the last
of the party, was just coming to a stop in the outstretched arms of his
friends, that the Germans below, and on what was now the opposite
mountain, seemed to sense something going on--or perhaps had seen the
mysterious blinking of the flashlight--and let go a distant and futile
volley of shots.

"No use, Boche," called the lieutenant mockingly, "we're out of your
range. And now, having escaped you, we'll see what we can do to harass
you."

Saying which he began opening up the pack-set wireless, while two of the
others set up the umbrella antenna.

Lieutenant Mackinson began tapping off the headquarters call. It might
have been the slightly nearer position they were in, or, so far as they
knew, headquarters might have moved meanwhile, but in a very short time
the operator there was responding.

The young officer gave an accurate account of the operations of the
Germans, and particularly of their artillery. Headquarters thanked them,
told them to stay until morning where they were, and then ask for
further orders.

In less than half an hour the boom of heavy guns from the westward told
them that they had given their information in time.

American artillery was dropping a rain of shells into the cuts in the
mountain through which the Germans had to emerge with their guns to do
any damage! Their whole plan, so carefully carried out, had been
defeated!



CHAPTER XVIII

SLIM GOODWIN A PRISONER


"If I had a good rifle I could 'pot' half a dozen of them from here,"
said Jerry the following morning as he and the rest, standing back among
the trees of the mountain in which they had sought safety, watched two
long, converging lines of German soldiers marching back in the direction
whence they had come on the preceding day.

"And we owe them that much for that nice, nifty little night trapeze act
we had to do through space on their account," added Slim.

"Not to mention the wrecked tractor," put in Frank.

"Well," spoke Lieutenant Mackinson, calling them to the business of the
day, "I guess we can make a report to headquarters now--and a good one,
too."

With which he opened up the wireless and began repeating the call
letters.

When headquarters had responded, the lieutenant gave them the glad
tidings of the Boche retreat. That done, he proceeded to give the
details of the wrecking of the tractor and of their escape to the second
mountain.

"Ought to be aviators," the operator at headquarters came back at him on
his own account, and then added: "Wait for orders."

These came a few minutes later.

"Divide as follows: Lieutenant and two men return here; other two go
forward at safe distance with portable, and report to-night."

Lieutenant Mackinson read them the message.

"Well," he asked, "which two are to accompany me back, and which two are
to stay on the heels of the Boches?"

"I've got a scent like a deerhound," averred Slim.

"And I was born to be a scout," declared Jerry.

"You two spoke first," announced the lieutenant pleasantly, "so I guess
that shall be your end of it, if that's what you want."

"Fine!" exclaimed Jerry and Slim in unison.

"Anyway," added the lieutenant, "I guess there'll be enough serious work
for the rest of us when we get back. For instance," winking at the
others, "there's that smashed tractor, Frank, that you will have to
explain."

"Not so long as you were in charge of the party," Hoskins retorted
quickly. And Lieutenant Mackinson, unable to determine whether the
remark was a facetious evasion of responsibility or an indirect
compliment to himself, on the ground that no act of his would be
questioned, pursued his bantering no further.

"I guess," he said, "that Joe, Frank and I had better start back at
once. You two will have to wait here some time before you can begin
trailing that army. I'm sorry we can't stay with you, but I feel that we
ought to report back as soon as possible."

And so the three of them began the preparations for their return, while
Jerry and Slim watched and studied the movements of the regiments they
were to follow.

"They seem to be pretty well tired out," said Slim at last. "Guess they
didn't have any sleep at all last night."

"We're going to find it pretty heavy tramping through that snow, too,"
Jerry answered. "And with the wireless and rations we'll be carrying a
hefty weight."

"Well, boys; we're off," announced Lieutenant Mackinson, and the
separating parties shook hands all around. "Take care of yourselves," he
admonished, "and we'll look for you back by to-morrow."

The officer, Joe and Frank started off on their long tramp back to camp,
and Jerry and Slim watched them until they were out of sight.

"That looks like the last regiment of the Germans going over the
opposite hill there, too," said Jerry, as they turned to observe the
enemy army. "We can start in a short while."

And in half an hour, Jerry carrying the heavy pack-set and Slim toting
the equally weighty rations and incidentals, they set off on the Boches'
trail.

Out in the open, and especially in the mountains, distances are
deceptive. Jerry and Slim learned this when they had been traveling for
two hours, and the point where they had seen the last German disappear
over a hilltop seemed as far away as when they started.

"Ever travel along in a train at night watching the moon, and notice how
it seemed to move right along with you?" asked Jerry.

"Lots of times," answered Slim, as he puffed along, "Why?"

"Well, that's the way that hill seems to be traveling along, always
keeping the same distance ahead of us."

"I've heard of armies 'taking' a fort, or a city, or a trench," said
Slim. "Do you suppose those Germans are 'taking' that young mountain
along with them?"

"Seems so to me," said Jerry, coming to a halt to shift the heavy
pack-set to the other hand.

As a matter of fact, early evening--a cold, biting winter evening--was
settling about them when they finally climbed to the crest of that hill
to cautiously "see what they could see."

Far beyond the slope ahead of them, in the dim dusk, they could discern
a mass of men, evidently halted for the night.

"That's their rear guard," announced Jerry, with the field glasses to
his eyes. "I can even make out their sentries."

Slim took a look and agreed. "Hadn't we better report?" he asked.

"I think we ought to make this bunch of trees here our position, and
then scout ahead a little first," said Jerry.

"All right," Slim agreed. "Which one of us shall go?"

"Let's toss."

They did, and it fell to the lad who had claimed to have the scent of a
deerhound to go out and reconnoitre, while the "natural-born scout"
remained behind.

Divesting himself of all his burdens but his revolver and ammunition
belt, Slim started off. Leaving Jerry to arrange their effects, he gave
that young man a real shock when he silently returned five minutes later
unheard by Jerry, and, standing only half a dozen feet behind him,
blurted out:

"Forgot my field glasses."

Jerry whirled around as though he had been shot. "Why don't you sneak up
and try to frighten a fellow to death?" he demanded.

"Sorry," Slim apologized. "Thought you heard me coming."

"I believe you did it on purpose," Jerry growled, as the other youth
again started off.

"I'll send in my card first next time," was Slim's parting remark.

"Well, be sure to make yourself known," retorted Jerry, "or I might
mistake you for a Boche and send in a bullet."

Slim's laugh floated back and he disappeared down a ravine through which
he was making for a higher point of observation further on.

Ten minutes elapsed and there was no sign of Slim. When a quarter of an
hour had passed Jerry began to get worried. Had his friend perhaps
fallen and injured himself? Had he lost his way? A dozen fears came into
Jerry's mind, and at the end of another five minutes he decided that it
was time to take some measure to learn the whereabouts of Slim.

Softly, but with great carrying force, he gave the well-known
"Whip-poor-will."

The answer was the same that Slim himself had received that night in No
Man's Land when the wounded and unconscious Rawle lay bleeding beside
him--nothing but absolute silence.

A great dread that he could not have defined gripped Jerry's heart.
Something had happened to Slim; there was no doubt about that. What was
it? Injury? Death? Capture?

Again Jerry gave their mutual Brighton signal: "Whip-poor-will."

"He can't be entirely out of hearing," he argued. "There's some reason
why he doesn't answer." It was fast growing dark. Sliding the pack-set
and their other paraphernalia into a little gully which he easily could
identify later, but where it would be entirely hidden from the view of
anyone else who might chance upon the scene, Jerry set out in search of
his friend.

It was a difficult task that he set himself, for he knew no more than
the general direction that Slim had taken. But remembering that his chum
had started off down the ravine, and that his purpose was to reach a
higher hill a quarter of a mile away, Jerry took that route, too.

Two or three times as he stumbled along he snatched out his pocket
searchlight and was about to use it, when some sixth sense, plus the
mystery of Slim's absence, prevailed upon him to take his chances in the
darkness.

Coming out of the ravine, he turned to the left and, by a steep incline,
reached a ledge that seemed to be a natural pathway to one of the higher
peaks.

Suddenly the heart within him seemed to stop beating.

Somewhere ahead of him, but seemingly upon a lower level of ground, men
were talking! And they were talking in German!

As though a bullet had struck him, Jerry dropped forward upon the
ground. Grasping the outstretched roots of a tree, he pulled himself up
within its heavy black shadow. There, scarcely daring to breathe for
fear of attracting attention, he lay and listened.

He thanked Brighton then for his understanding of the German language.

Slim Goodwin was a prisoner, and those men--how many there were of them
he could not tell--were questioning him! Slim was pretending not to
understand.

Jerry's brain worked rapidly. There was no use of his returning to the
wireless and attempting to summon help that way, for even if aid was
sent it would be hours before it could arrive, and, presuming that the
rescuers could find the spot, there was every likelihood that the
Germans would have departed with their prisoner before that time. No,
assuredly, if Slim was to be rescued, he, Jerry, must do it. But how?

As he lay there thinking, he heard the one who seemed to be the officer
in charge order another man to build a fire. As it crackled and began to
blaze up, the reflection of the flame gave Jerry their exact location.
Also it formed a curtain of light against which it would have been easy
for him to have seen any Boche sentinel or outpost, had there been one
between him and them.

Assuring himself that there was not, he crept cautiously forward, foot
by foot, until he was at the edge of the shelf of rock and could gaze
almost directly down upon them. The fire gave good illumination. There
was a young German lieutenant and four of his men. A short distance
away, in the shelter of some trees, five horses were tethered.

Slim finally had consented to talk--if what he was doing could be called
talking. And in what was purposely the most miserably broken German
imaginable, he was telling them that he got separated from his unit
several days ago (which was true), and that he had been wandering about
that part of the country for the last couple of days (which also was
true), and that he did not know where he was (which likewise was the
truth).

While this was going on Jerry had scribbled upon a piece of paper: "Am
near. Look lively if they sleep." This he wrapped around a small stone.
For a moment all the Germans turned toward the fire, where one of the
men was preparing supper. In that instant Jerry tossed the message
straight at Slim's feet.

Slim gave a little start, recovered himself immediately, stooped over,
and, pretending to wash his hands in the snow, unwrapped and hastily
read the note, and then trampled it into the ground. When one of the
Germans turned suddenly, he was innocently drying his hands.



CHAPTER XIX

TURNING THE TABLES


To Jerry, lying there half frozen, stiff in every joint and scarcely
daring to move for fear of making some sound that might not only divulge
his presence and result in his own capture, but also prevent the escape
of Slim, it seemed that never did it take men so long to eat a meal.

And as they ate, his own appetite became ravenous. The cruelest
punishment of all was to lie there half starved and hear them vulgarly
smacking their lips over the warmed-up remains of a chicken undoubtedly
filched from a countryside barnyard.

But at last, after what seemed to Jerry to have been hours of feasting,
they did finish. With a derisive laugh the German lieutenant gathered
all the bones from every other tin plate and shoved them, with mock
courtesy, toward Slim.

The latter was biding his time, and, his courage increased by knowledge
that his friend was close by, refused to get angry. He merely waved the
plate aside.

Their stomachs filled, the Germans almost immediately began to think
about sleep. In truth, they all looked as though they had been up all of
the night before, as probably they had. One of them, a mere youth
certainly not yet out of his teens and the youngest in the party,
yawned. The lieutenant saw it, and in a fit of apparently unreasonable
anger said, in his native tongue:

"So! You want to serve notice that you desire to sleep? Very well, you
shall do sentinel duty--and all night. And mind that you do not sleep!"

A pitiful look came over the boy's face, but without a word he saluted
and departed to the circle of outer shadows to take up his long and
tedious vigil.

Jerry felt genuinely sorry for him, but he sincerely hoped that the
officer would not change his mind or relent. He knew the youth could not
possibly stay awake the whole night through.

Half an hour later the other four Germans were conducting a spirited
rivalry in snoring, and Slim, also, to all appearances, was fast asleep.

Not daring to move, Jerry kept his eyes constantly upon the young
sentry. Frequently he yawned. Once or twice he stopped uncertainly
before a stump and seemed about to sit down, then started on again
around his monotonous beat. But his step was wavering, his eyes were
heavy, and Jerry knew it was only a question of time--a comparatively
short time--when nature would conquer, and the sentinel, too, would
sleep.

Had he been able to bring himself to it, he could have shot the sentry
and killed the others as they slept, before they could even have reached
for their weapons. But he could not do that.

Better the other way, he told himself, even though it carried a greater
risk.

And finally his own vigil was rewarded. The sentinel placed two or three
more pieces of wood upon the fire, stood for a few moments within its
genial warmth, looked dully at the others so soundly sleeping, and then
crossed to the stump and sat down.

His rifle was on the ground beside him. His elbows rested upon his
knees, and his chin in his hands. Presently his lids drooped and closed.
His head, and then his whole body, sagged forward. He wakened with a
start and changed his place to another tree more within the shadows.
There he was able to lean back in a more comfortable position, and soon
his heavy, even breathing assured Jerry that nature had, indeed, won.

Softly, without so much as a sound, he rose to his hands and knees. He
tossed a pebble, which hit Slim upon the hand. The latter turned his
head ever so slightly and gazed fixedly in Jerry's direction. Finally
his decided wink indicated that he had made out the form of his friend.

Still upon all fours, and feeling every inch of the way, Jerry retraced
his steps over the ledge. Quietly he slid down to the lower level and
took a wide circle about the little camp, finally closing in near to
where the sleeping sentry sat. Deftly and silently he pulled the
latter's gun from where it lay beside him. This he carried over to near
where the horses were corralled. Slim now was watching his every move,
but awaited Jerry's signal before he stirred.

Jerry then returned, and, so gently that the sentry never made a
movement, lifted his loaded revolver from its holster. With this he
tiptoed to Slim, placed the weapon in his hand and with a gesture bade
him rise.

They were now masters of the situation, but Jerry did not want to take
any chances. Two of the Germans were lying in such a position that he
could get their revolvers, also. They did not carry rifles. This he
accomplished after having stationed Slim in the shadows at such a point
of vantage that he could cover all of the Boches, should they awaken.

One of the additional guns he gave to Slim; the other he kept himself.
Thus doubly armed, they stepped over to the sleeping sentry, and while
Slim pointed his two guns at the others, to prevent any hostilities upon
their part, should they rouse, Jerry shook and awakened the bewildered
sentry.

As he faced the two revolvers, and the changed situation suddenly dawned
upon him, the young German's expression was pathetic. Apparently he was
too stunned to speak a word. Jerry motioned him to take a position just
behind the sleepers, which he did.

With Slim standing beside him, and their four revolvers pointed
menacingly at the Germans, Jerry kicked the lieutenant upon the sole of
his boot. The latter roused angrily and was about to give vent to his
feelings when he looked into the barrels of the automatics. His
exclamation was one of complete chagrin.

Slim stepped over and extracted his revolver, which he dropped into his
own pocket. By the same process the other armed Boche was awakened, and
in the same way he was disarmed. Then, with his foot, Jerry jabbed the
remaining two back to consciousness.

"You are our prisoners," Jerry informed them, in their own language.
"One hostile move from any one of you and you will be shot."

Forming them into pairs, and purposely leaving the sentinel as the
single one of the party and in the lead, Jerry ordered them to walk
toward where the horses were tethered.

He made two of the men put saddles and bridles upon the animals, and
then compelled them to mount as they were paired--the lieutenant and one
of his men upon one of the horses, two others upon another, the sentry
alone upon another, but carrying a good supply of rations--while Slim
and he each had an animal to carry themselves, the wireless and other
paraphernalia when they should pick that up.

Thus, with hardly a dozen words having been spoken, they came through
the ravine and at forced speed struck out across the level ground
toward the mountain from which Jerry and Slim had come that morning.

"You!" the lieutenant hissed between his teeth at the sentinel as they
came side by side. "What were you doing when this second American
arrived? Asleep, eh?"

"I came up behind him. He never had a chance, for I did not make a
sound," Jerry interposed in German, before the young Boche could make
even an involuntary admission.

As they approached the base of the mountain where they had parted from
Lieutenant Mackinson, Joe, and Frank early that day, the moon reached
its zenith, and its beams, reflected upon the white ground, made the
night almost as light as day.

Two hours later they were upon the identical spot from which they had
wirelessed headquarters in the morning. It was midnight now as two of
the Germans, working under Jerry's orders while Slim kept a weather eye
on the others, set up the pack-set.

Jerry worked the key half a dozen times and then got an almost immediate
response. The first query after he had identified himself was:

"This is Joe; where are you?"

"Just got back to where we left you this morning," Jerry ticked off into
the air. "Bringing in a German lieutenant and four of his men as
prisoners. Should arrive by daylight, as we have horses."

"Great," was Joe's radio response. "Have letter from Brighton and fine
news. Will make your report."

And the pack-set was put back in its compact case, and, paired off as
before, the journey was resumed.

"Say," said Jerry, as they urged their horses down the side of the
mountain leading to fairly level ground all the way into camp, "I'm
hungry enough to eat dog meat, but I guess we can hold out now until we
reach our lines."

"Yes, I suppose so," Slim answered. "But how'd you like to have some
sausage, and some plum pudding, and----"

"Don't," pleaded Jerry. "The idea is too much. My stomach is accusing me
of gross carelessness now."

"Wonder what's in that letter from Brighton, and who wrote it?" said
Sum, glad to change the subject and forget his own hunger.

"Can't imagine, but my own curiosity has been as to whether the fine
news Joe mentioned comes from there or refers to something at
headquarters."

And so, sore, tired and hungry, but happy withal, they continued on. The
moon waned and set, and tradition proved itself--it became darkest just
before dawn.

"Wait!" said Jerry, just at this stage of the journey, and he jumped
from his horse to recover something that he had seen the German
lieutenant drop.

It proved to be a packet of papers, bearing the official German army
seal.

"Ah-ha!" Jerry cried, riding up to the officer and thrusting the
documents out before him. "So you thought to get rid of them, eh? Well,
we'll just take these along to headquarters, too. They may contain
something of interest to our commanders. Yes?"

The lieutenant gave an ugly, menacing grunt, but refused to say a word.

Daylight came, and with it a clear view of the American lines. A quarter
of an hour later they saw two horsemen coming toward them. Slim examined
them carefully with his glasses.

"The lieutenant and Frank," he announced. "Guess Joe's still on duty."

And Joe was. He was just relaying to the commander of the American
forces in France orders forwarded from London, and they were of the
greatest import to the three boys from Brighton.



CHAPTER XX

THE GREAT NEWS


"Well, Sergeants, how are you?" Lieutenant Mackinson greeted them, as he
and Frank came galloping up and swerved their horses around.

"Corporals, you mean, Lieutenant," Jerry corrected.

"No, I thought I meant sergeants," the lieutenant repeated. "In fact,
I'm quite sure I did."

"What do you mean?" Slim demanded eagerly, for the moment forgetting all
about their prisoners of war.

"Just what I said--sergeants," said Lieutenant Mackinson, smiling.

"Have we--Do you--" Jerry stopped to begin all over again, and the young
officer interrupted him.

"I suppose it's a little like telling secrets out of school," he said,
"but then, after all, it isn't any secret, for the news was out
yesterday afternoon. A lot of promotions were announced. Frank's been
made a corporal, and you boys--Joe, too--advanced to sergeant."

It was fully a minute before either lad could express himself, and the
lieutenant and Corporal Hoskins took a full measure of enjoyment out of
their apparent happy gratification.

"Lieutenant--" Slim began.

"Captain, if you please," Mr. Mackinson corrected amiably. "You see, I
was in the list, too."

Slim and Jerry simultaneously brought their horses to a halt while they
came to a full military salute.

As they approached Major Jones' headquarters with their prisoners,
Captain Mackinson turned another way and Corporal Hoskins dropped back.

Briefly, and without undue emphasis upon their own hardships or courage
or common sense, they gave the details of their activities since they
had left, and of the capture of Slim and the subsequent taking of his
captors.

"You have done well, exceptionally well," the major responded. "In
consequence whereof it gives me great pleasure to inform you that you
have been advanced to the rank of sergeant. In that respect I might
remind you that the next step is to a commission, and that merit and
courage will take a man to any command in the United States army. It is
the only standard of advancement, and there is no other instrument of
preferment. I am happy to know that you young men have started so well.
You two, and the friend who also was advanced to sergeant with you, have
brilliant futures before you."

They were saluting, preliminary to departure, when the major added:

"You will report to General Young, division commander, at ten o'clock."

A little bewildered by the salutes of those privates who knew of their
promotions, even though they did not yet wear upon their sleeves the two
stripes indicating their advance to corporals, Jerry and Slim hurried
toward the wash spigots, preliminary to an assault upon the mess tent.

There they met Joe, who had just come off duty as night wireless
operator at headquarters. They shook hands, and then Slim demanded to
know about that letter from Brighton.

"It was from our old friend, the telegrapher, Philip Burton," said Joe,
"and it was written about three weeks ago."

"That's pretty quick delivery," said Slim. "What did he have to say?"

"Well, it seems they've had reports there of some of our experiences
coming over, and Mr. Burton says some of the finest things."

"Good old Burton!" mused Jerry. "He always did credit us with being a
lot better and brighter and more capable than we really were."

"Yes, and we owe him a lot," added Slim, "for he was really responsible
in the first place for our getting here. If it hadn't been for what he
taught us about telegraphy we'd never be sergeants now."

"That's right," said Joe. "Fellows, Mr. Burton's getting pretty well
along now. He'll be an old man before very long. I wish we three could
do something to really show him our appreciation of what he's been to
us."

"We will," Jerry said. "We will. Let's make a promise to each other on
that."

And with this good resolution made, they started for the mess tent.

The first fifteen minutes they gave over unstintedly to appeasing
healthy and long-deferred appetites, and then Slim suddenly remembered
Major Jones' final instructions.

"Wonder what we have to report at General Young's headquarters at ten
o'clock for?" he queried. "I'm nearly dead for sleep myself."

"So am I," said Jerry.

Both of them caught Joe's averted smile.

"What's it for, do you know?" Jerry demanded.

"Well, fellows, I think I do," Joe answered. "But I only learned it over
the wireless--and that's information gained in a professional way, you
know, and therefore secret. So don't ask me to tell you. In another hour
we'll go over. You know I've been summoned, too."

"No!" ejaculated Jerry. "Well, that's fine. But you'll be going over to
learn something that you already know, while we'll be getting some real
news, whatever it is."

"That's right," said Joe. "And maybe it will be real news."

Jerry and Slim both spent the intervening hour on their cots, and when
Joe came to awaken them he found them snoring most unmusically.

"What do you think?" he demanded, as soon as they were wide enough awake
to realize what he was saying. "That German lieutenant that you brought
in had papers on him that showed the whole plan of the German campaign
in this sector for a month ahead. You boys made a great capture."

At exactly ten o'clock they presented themselves to General Young's
orderly, and a moment later were ushered into the presence of the
supreme commander of that section of the American front.

"Young men," the general began bluntly, without other formalities, "you
have signally distinguished yourselves for judgment, foresight, and
courage from the moment of your enlistment, it might be said. I have
before me your records, beginning from the time of your discovery of the
spy at work in the waters near the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

"Congress has just passed a bill, and the President has signed it,
providing for the higher military education of certain worthy young men
in the army and navy, entirely at the expense of the government.
Fortunately for the military service, these selections have been
entirely removed from the realm of politics and are left to the
commanders in the army and navy.

"At this school, which in many respects is similar to the Military
Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, young men will
be thoroughly instructed in the specialized branches of military
science.

"I am offering you three young men such appointments. I am doing so
solely upon your records and upon my own confidence that you will make
good to the country that offers you this opportunity. Will you accept?"

If someone had suddenly set off a bomb under the three boys from
Brighton they hardly could have been more surprised.

"I don't know how to thank you," Joe stammered.

"I'll do my utmost to prove worth it," promised Jerry.

"It shall be my highest ambition," said Slim.

"Good!" said General Young, rising and shaking each lad by the hand. "I
was confident that you would accept, and here are the appointments
already made out."

He gave to each lad a large envelope, stamped with the army seal.

"Transportation has been arranged for you to leave here to-night,"
General Young concluded. "You will sail from England for the United
States day after to-morrow. I wish you every success. I would be very
glad to hear from you occasionally, and to know of the progress you are
making. Good-by!"

It would be difficult to describe the ecstacies of delight in which Joe,
Jerry and Slim left the quarters of General Young to impart the
knowledge of their great good fortune to Captain Mackinson.

That warm friend listened to them until he could not keep his
countenance straight any longer.

"I forgot to tell you," he said, "that I am to go back there, also, as
an instructor."

"Isn't that luck!" exclaimed Slim, expressing the sentiment of the other
two. "That just about makes it perfect."

       *       *       *       *       *

So we leave the boys from Brighton--Joe and Jerry and Slim--leave them
upon the threshold of the broader careers which merit has won them, and
bid them carry always with them our very best wishes in their
aspirations which we know ever will be onward and upward.


THE END



       *       *       *       *       *


Critics uniformly agree that parents can safely place in the hands of
boys and girls any book written by Edward S. Ellis

The "FLYING BOYS" Series

By EDWARD S. ELLIS

Author of the Renowned "Deerfoot" Books, and 100 other famous volumes
for young people

During his trip abroad last summer, Mr. Ellis became intensely
interested in aeroplane and airship flying in France, and this new
series from his pen is the visible result of what he would call a
"vacation." He has made a study of the science and art of aeronautics,
and these books will give boys just the information they want about this
marvelous triumph of man.

First Volume: THE FLYING BOYS IN THE SKY
Second Volume: THE FLYING BOYS TO THE RESCUE

The stories are timely and full of interest and stirring events.
Handsomely illustrated and with appropriate cover design.

Price..........Per volume, 75 cents. Postpaid.


       *       *       *       *       *


This series will appeal to up-to-date American Girls. The subsequent
volumes will carry the Ranch Girls through numerous ups and downs
of fortune and adventures in America and Europe

THE "RANCH GIRLS" SERIES IS A NEW LINE OF BOOKS FOR GIRLS

THE RANCH GIRLS AT RAINBOW LODGE

By MARGARET VANDERCOOK

This first volume of the new RANCH GIRLS SERIES, will stir up the envy
of all girl readers to a life of healthy exercise and honest
helpfulness. The Ranch Girls undertake the management of a large ranch
in a western state, and after many difficulties make it pay and give
them a good living. They are jolly, healthy, attractive girls, who have
the best kind of a time, and the young readers will enjoy the book as
much as any of them. The first volume of the Ranch Girls Series will be
followed by other titles carrying the Ranch Girls through numerous ups
and downs of fortune and adventures in America and Europe. Attractive
cover design. Excellent paper. Illustrated. 12mo.

Cloth.....Price, Per volume, 75 cents. Postpaid

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


A PENNANT-WINNER IN BOYS' BOOKS!

Hugh S. Fullerton's Great Books

The Jimmy Kirkland Series of Baseball Stories

By HUGH S. FULLERTON

America's Greatest Baseball Writer. Author of "Touching Second," Etc.

Combining his literary skill with his unsurpassed knowledge of baseball
from every angle--especially from a boy's angle--Mr. Fullerton has
written a new seres of baseball stories for boys, which will be seized
with devouring interest by every youthful admirer of the game. While the
narrative is predominant in these books, Mr. Fullerton has encompassed a
large amount of practical baseball instruction for boys; and, what is of
greater value, he has shown the importance of manliness, sportsmanship
and clean living to any boy who desires to excel in baseball or any
other sport. These books are bound to sell wherever they are seen by
boys or parents. Handsomely illustrated and bound. 12mo. Cloth. New and
original cover design.

JIMMY KIRKLAND OF THE SHASTA BOYS' TEAM
JIMMY KIRKLAND OF THE CASCADE COLLEGE TEAM
JIMMY KIRKLAND AND A PLOT FOR A PENNANT

Sold Singly or in Boxed Sets

Price per volume, 75 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


The Big Series of Boys' Books for 1918

THE BRIGHTON BOYS SERIES

By Lieutenant James R. Driscoll

An entirely new series of Boys' Books which have their setting in the
Great War and deal with patriotism, heroism and adventure that should
make a strong appeal to American boys. The volumes average 250 pages and
contain four illustrations each.

The BRIGHTON BOYS in the TRENCHES
The BRIGHTON BOYS with the SUBMARINE FLEET
The BRIGHTON BOYS in the FLYING CORPS
The BRIGHTON BOYS in the RADIO SERVICE
The BRIGHTON BOYS with the BATTLE FLEET

12mo. Price per volume, 75 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


The American Boy Series

By Edward S. Ellis

Books of stirring interest that are founded upon and written around
facts in American History and American romantic achievement.

Each of the Series have Special Cover Designs

ALAMO SERIES

The Three Arrows
Remember the Alamo

OVERLAND SERIES

Alden, the Pony Express Rider Alden Among the Indians

BOY PATROL SERIES

Boy Patrol on Guard
Boy Patrol Around the Council Fire

COLONIAL SERIES

An American King
The Cromwell of Virginia
The Last Emperor of the Old Dominion

LAUNCH BOYS SERIES

Launch Boys' Cruise in the Deerfoot
Launch Boys' Adventures in Northern Waters

ARIZONA SERIES

Off the Reservation
Trailing Geronimo
The Round Up

FLYING BOYS SERIES

The Flying Boys in the Sky
The Flying Boys to the Rescue

CATAMOUNT CAMP SERIES

Captain of the Camp
Catamount Camp

12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
Price per volume, 45 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


THE NORTH POLE SERIES

By Prof. Edwin J. Houston

Dr. Houston has spent a lifetime in teaching boys the principles of
physical and scientific phenomena and knows how to talk and write for
them in a way that is most attractive. In the reading of these stories
the most accurate scientific information will be absorbed.

HANDSOMELY BOUND

The volumes, 12mo. in size, are bound in Extra English Cloth and are
attractively stamped in colors and full gold titles. Sold separately or
in sets, boxed.

THE SEARCH FOR THE NORTH POLE
THE DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH POLE
CAST AWAY AT THE NORTH POLE

3 Titles
Price per volume, $1.00

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


Harry Castlemon's Books for Boys

NEW POPULAR EDITION

This series comprises thirty titles of the best stories ever written by
Harry Castlemon. But few of these titles have ever been published in
low-priced editions, many of them are copyright titles which will not be
found in any other publisher's list. We now offer them in this new
low-priced edition. The books are printed on an excellent quality of
paper, and have an entirely new and handsome cover design, with new
style colored inlay on front cover, and stamped in ink. 12mo. Cloth. 30
titles.

Buried Treasure
Carl, the Trailer
Floating Treasure, The
Frank, the Young Naturalist
Frank Among the Rancheros
Frank Before Vicksburg
Frank in the Mountains
Frank in the Woods
Frank on a Gunboat
Frank on Don Carlos' Rancho
Frank on the Lower Mississippi
Frank on the Prairie
Haunted Mine, The
Houseboat Boys, The
Mail Carrier
Marcy, The Refugee
Missing Pocketbook, The
Mystery of the Lost River Canyon, The
Oscar in Africa
Rebellion in Dixie
Rod and Gun Club
Rodney, the Overseer
Rodney, the Partisan
Steel Horse
Ten-Ton Cutter, The
Tom Newcomb
Two Ways of Becoming a Hunter
White Beaver, The

THE VOLUMES IN THIS SERIES COMPRISE SOME OF THE BEST WRITINGS OF THIS
POPULAR AUTHOR

Price per volume, .75 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


Universally APPROVED BOOKS for Boys

A collection of books by well known authors that have been generally
approved by competent critics and library committees as safe books for
young people.

WORLD FAMOUS BOOKS FOR BOYS

JACK HAZARD SERIES
By J. T. Trowbridge
Price $1.25 per volume

Jack Hazard and His Fortunes
A Chance for Himself
Doing His Best
Fast Friends
The Young Surveyor
Lawrence's Adventures

FRANK NELSON SERIES
By Harry Castlemon
Price 75 cents per volume

Snowed Up
Frank in the Forecastle
The Boy Traders

SPORTSMAN CLUB SERIES
By Harry Castlemon
Price 75 cents per volume

The Sportsman Club in the Saddle
The Sportsman Club Afloat
The Sportsman Club Among the Trappers

ROUGHING IT SERIES
By Harry Castlemon
Price 75 cents per volume

George in Camp
George at the Fort
George at the Wheel

ROD AND GUN CLUB SERIES
By Harry Castlemon
Price 75 cents per volume

Don Gordon's Shooting Box
Red and Gun Club
The Young Wild Fowler

DEERFOOT SERIES
By Edward S. Ellis
Price 75 cents per volume

Hunters of the Ozark
Camp in the Mountains
The Last War Trail

NEW DEERFOOT SERIES
By Edward S. Ellis
Price 75 cents per volume

Deerfoot in the Forest
Deerfoot in the Mountains
Deerfoot on the Prairie

BOY PIONEER SERIES
By Edward S. Ellis
Price 75 cents per volume

Ned in the Blockhouse
Ned on the River
Ned in the Woods

LOG CABIN SERIES
By Edward S. Ellis
Price 75 cents per volume

Lost Trail
Camp Fire and Wigwam
Footprints in the Forest

RAGGED DICK SERIES
By Horatio Alger
Price 75 cents per volume

Ragged Dick
Fame and Fortune
Mark, the Match Boy
Rough and Ready
Ben, the Luggage Boy
Rufus and Rose

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


EDWARD S. ELLIS'

Pioneer Series of Books for Boys

Edward S. Ellis has been constantly growing in favor as an author of
Boys' Books, and he now has admirers in all parts of the world. His
stories are largely founded on history, and portray stirring adventures
of daring American boys on the prairies, mountains, forest and stream.

We are now enabled to offer this series of low-priced books, which have
until recently been published only in editions at double the price. They
are all copyright titles, and will not be found in any other publisher's
list. The books are printed on an excellent quality of paper, and have
an entirely new and appropriate cover design. 12mo. Cloth 30 Titles.

Across Texas
Brave Tom
Cabin in the Clearin
Dorsey, the Young Adventurer
Fighting Phil
Four Boys
Great Cattle Trail
Honest Ned
Hunt of the White Elephant
Iron Heart
Lena Wingo, the Mohawk
Lost in the Forbidden Land
Lucky Ned
Mountain Star
On the Trail of the Moose
Plucky Dick
Queen of the Clouds
Righting the Wrong
River and Jungle
River Fugitives
Secret of Coffin Island
Shod with Silence
Teddy and Towser
Through Forest and Fire
Two Boys in Wyoming
Unlucky Tib
Upside Down
Up the Forked River
Wilderness Fugitives
Wyoming

THE VOLUMES IN THIS SERIES COMPRISE SOME OF THE BEST WRITINGS OF THIS
POPULAR AUTHOR

Price per volume, .75 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


Two New Books by Dr. Winfield Scott Hall

Dr. Hall's "SEXUAL KNOWLEDGE" is recognized as the only work of the kind
written by an accepted authority and more satisfactorily covers the
important subject completely than any other book. Appeals have been made
to him to prepare books that treated the subject separately from the
standpoint of the boy or girl by those who prefer placing books in the
hands of young people treating the side of the question that concerns
them individually. These new books have been prepared to meet this
demand.

Youth and its Problems
THE SEX LIFE OF A MAN
By WINFIELD SCOTT HALL, PH.D., M.D.

Member Medical Faculty, Northwestern University, Fellow American Academy
of Medicine, Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science.

To the _youth_ who hopes for vigorous _aggressive young manhood_; to the
young man who aspires to virile _adult manhood_ this volume is
dedicated.

Cloth--12mo. 248 pages. Price $1.00 Net

Girlhood and its Problems
THE SEX LIFE OF WOMAN
By WINFIELD SCOTT HALL, PH.D., M.D.

in co-operation with
JEANETTE WINTER HALL

Author of Primer on Physiology, etc.

That the _young woman_ may find here an answer to her _unexpressed
questions_ is the purpose of this book.

Cloth--12mo. 210 pages. Price $1.00 Net

In the preparation of these two books the object of the author is to
make it evident to readers that wholesome information clearly and simply
imparted is a very great help to boys and girls, guiding them unerringly
along the path of right living, which leads to that goal which all hope
to reach--SUCCESS and HAPPINESS.


       *       *       *       *       *


The Big Series of Boys' Books for 1918

THE BRIGHTON BOYS SERIES

By Lieutenant James R. Driscoll

An entirely new series of Boys' Books which have their setting in the
Great War and deal with patriotism, heroism and adventure that should
make a strong appeal to American boys. The volumes average 250 pages and
contain four illustrations each.

The BRIGHTON BOYS in the TRENCHES
The BRIGHTON BOYS with the SUBMARINE FLEET
The BRIGHTON BOYS in the FLYING CORPS
The BRIGHTON BOYS in the RADIO SERVICE
The BRIGHTON BOYS with the BATTLE FLEET

12mo. Price per volume, 75 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


Eclipse Series of the Lowest Price Alger Books

This low-priced series of books comprises the most popular stories ever
written by Horatio Alger, Jr. As compared with other low-priced editions
it will be found that the books in this series are better printed, on
better paper, and better bound than similar books in any competing line.
Each volume is handsomely and durably bound in cloth with new style
colored-inlay, assorted designs, and stamped in three colors of ink. New
and attractive colored jackets. 12mo. Cloth. 40 Titles.

Adrift in the City
Andy Grant's Pluck
Ben's Nugget
Bob Burton
Bound to Rise
Boy's Fortune, A
Chester Rand
Digging for Gold
Do and Dare
Facing the World
Frank and Fearless
Frank Hunter's Peril
Frank's Campaign
Helping Himself
Herbert Carter's Legacy
In a New World
Jack's Ward
Jed, the Poorhouse Boy
Lester's Luck
Luck and Pluck
Luke Walton
Only an Irish Boy
Paul Prescott's Charge
Paul, the Peddler
Phil, the Fiddler
Ragged Dick
Rupert's Ambition
Shifting for Himself
Sink or Swim
Strong and Steady
Struggling Upward
Tattered Tom
Telegraph Boy, The
Victor Vane
Wait and Hope
Walter Sherwood's Probation
Young Bank Messenger, The
Young Circus Rider
Young Miner, The
Young Salesman, The

Price per volume, .60 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


Winston's De Luxe Series of Juvenile Classics

This series has been made with a view to cultivating in youthful readers
a love for the beautiful and best in books. In contents, in
illustrations and in binding, these books satisfy every requirement, and
will afford a degree of permanent pleasure far beyond the possibilities
of ordinary juvenile books. Size of each volume when closed, 7-1/4 x
9-1/2 inches. Rich cloth binding, stamped in gold, with beautiful
colored inlay.

Myths and Legends Of All Nations

By LOGAN MARSHALL

A book to win the heart of every child. Famous stories from Greek
mythology and the legendary literature of Germany, England, Spain,
Iceland, Scandinavia, Denmark, France, Russia, Bohemia, Servia, Italy
and Poland--stories in which children, and men and women, too, have
delighted through the centuries. They are told in simple, graphic style
and each one is illustrated with a beautiful color plate. The work has
considerable educational value, since an understanding of the many
stories here set forth is necessary to our own literature and
civilization. 24 full-page color plates. 320 pages.

Tales From Shakespeare By CHARLES and MARY LAMB

A superb edition of these famous tales has been prepared in similar
style to "Fairy Tales of All Nations." Each of the twenty tales is
illustrated with a magnificent color plate by a celebrated artist. It is
one of the finest books ever published for children, telling them in
simple language, which is as nearly like that of Shakespeare as
possible, the stories of the great plays. The subjects for the
illustrations were posed in costumes of the nation and time in which
each story is set and are unrivaled in rich color, lively drawing and
dramatic interest. 320 pages. 20 full-page color plates.

Fairy Tales Of All Nations
By LOGAN MARSHALL

The most beautiful book of fairy tales ever published. Thirty superb
colored plates are the most prominent feature of this new, copyrighted
book. These plates are absolutely new and portray the times and customs
of the subjects they illustrate. The subjects were posed in costumes of
the nation and time in which each story is set, and are unrivaled in
rich color, lively drawing and dramatic interest. The text is original
and interesting in that the famous fairy tales are taken from the
folklore and literature of a dozen principal countries, thus giving the
book its name. Many old favorites and numerous interesting stories from
far away lands, which most children have never heard, are brought
together in this charming book. 8vo. 314 pages.

Rhymes Of Happy Childhood
By MRS. ANDREW ROSS FILLEBROWN

A handsome holiday book of homely verses beautifully illustrated with
nearly 100 color plates and drawings in black and red. Verses that sing
the irrepressible joy of children in their home and play life, many that
touch the heart closely with their mother love, and some not without
pathos, have been made into a very handsome volume. Gilt top, uncut
leaves.

Price per volume, $2.00

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


NEW EDITION OF ALGER'S GREATEST SET OF BOOKS

THE FAMOUS RAGGED DICK SERIES

New Type-Set Plates Made in 1910

In response to a demand for a popular-priced edition of this series of
books--the most famous set ever written by Horatio Alger, Jr.--this
edition has been prepared.

Each volume is set in large, new type, printed on an excellent quality
of paper, and bound in uniform style, having an entirely new and
appropriate cover design, with heavy gold stamp.

As is well known, the books in this series are copyrighted, and
consequently none of them will be found in any other publisher's list.

RAGGED DICK SERIES. By Horatio Alger, Jr. 6 vols.

RAGGED DICK
FAME AND FORTUNE
MARK, THE MATCH BOY
ROUGH AND READY
BEN, THE LUGGAGE BOY
RUFUS AND ROSE

Each set is packed in a handsome box

12mo. Cloth
Sold only in sets     Price per set, $6.00. Postpaid


       *       *       *       *       *


RECOMMENDED BY REAR ADMIRAL MELVILLE, WHO COMMANDED THREE EXPEDITIONS TO
THE ARCTIC REGIONS

THE NEW POPULAR SCIENCE SERIES
By Prof. Edwin J. Houston

THE NORTH POLE SERIES. By Prof. Edwin J. Houston. This is an entirely
new series, which opens a new field in Juvenile Literature. Dr. Houston
has spent a lifetime in teaching boys the principles of physical and
scientific phenomena and knows how to talk and write for them in a way
that is most attractive. In the reading of these stories the most
accurate scientific information will be absorbed.

THE SEARCH FOR THE NORTH POLE
THE DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH POLE
CAST AWAY AT THE NORTH POLE

Handsomely bound. The volumes, 12mo. in size, are bound in Extra English
Cloth, and are attractively stamped in colors and full gold titles. Sold
separately or in sets, boxed.

Price $1.00 per volume. Postpaid

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


GREAT PICTURES
AS
MORAL TEACHERS

By HENRY E. JACKSON

A Recognition of the Value of Pictures in Teaching

The author has selected twenty of the world's great pictures and
sculptures and interpreted the meaning which the artist intended to
convey.

People are awakening more and more to the value of works of art in
teaching. They are regaining a truer perspective and saner judgment
in regard to them. That pictures are of great value in teaching
certain forms of knowledge is not now questioned; on the contrary,
it is approved and practiced. In view of this, the need arises for
careful selection and education of the popular taste. The present
work is intended to meet this need. The author has chosen his
subjects with great care and adopted as his interpretation the
consensus of opinion among great critics.

The subject is treated in a manner to interest not only students of
religious history and movements, but those viewing it from a purely
artistic standpoint. The work contains twenty fine half-tone engravings
made from authorized photographs of the original paintings and
sculptures.

Price $1.50

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Philadelphia, Pa.


       *       *       *       *       *


WINSTON'S POPULAR FICTION

Comprising twenty-four books published at $1.25 and $1.50 per volume,
and until recently sold only in the original editions. Now offered for
the first time in popular priced editions. All are bound in extra cloth
with appropriate cover designs, and standard 12mo. in size.

24 Titles  Price per volume, 75 cents

BABCOCK (WILLIAM HENRY)--Kent Fort Manor. A romance in the
nineteenth century on the Isle of Kent near Baltimore, where in the
earlier days Puritans, Jesuits, Indians and Sea Rovers came and
went. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

BARTON (GEORGE)--Adventures of the World's Greatest Detectives. The
most famous cases of the great Sleuths of England, America, France,
Russia, realistically told, with biographical sketches of each
detective. Fully illustrated. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

BLANKMAN (EDGAR G.)--Deacon Babbitt. A story of Northern New York
State, pronounced by some critics superior to "David Harum." 12mo.
Cloth 75 cents

CLARK (CHARLES HEBER)--(Max Adeler)--The Quakeress. A charming
story which has had great success in the original edition, and
listed among the six best selling novels. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

--Captain Bluitt, A Tale of Old Turley. Humorous fiction in this
well-known author's happiest style. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

--Out of the Hurly Burly, or Life in an Odd Corner. A delightfully
entertaining piece of humor, with numerous illustrations, including
the original work by A. B. Frost, and other illustrations. 12mo.
Cloth 75 cents

--In Happy Hollow. The amusing story of how A. J. Pelican boomed
the little town of Happy Hollow. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

EDWARDS (LOUISE BETTS)--The Tu Tze's Tower. One of the best novels
of Chinese and Tibetan Life. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

GERARD (DOROTHEA)--Sawdust, A Polish Romance. The scene of this
readable tale the Carpathian Timberlands in Poland. The author is a
favorite English writer. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

GIBBS (GEORGE)--In Search of Mademoiselle. The struggle between the
Spanish and French Colonists in Florida furnish an interesting
historical background for this stirring story. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

GOLDSMITH (MILTON)--A Victim of Conscience. A mental struggle
between Judaism and Christianity of a Jew who thinks he is guilty
of a crime, makes a dramatic plot. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

ILIOWIZI (HENRY)--The Archierey of Samara. A semi-historic romance
of Russian Life. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

ILIOWIZI (HENRY) --In the Pale. Stories and Legends of Jews in
Russia. Containing "Czar Nicholas I and Sir Moses Montefiore," "The
Czar in Rothschild's Castle," and "The Legend of the Ten Lost
Tribes," and other tales. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

MOORE (JOHN TROTWOOD)--The Bishop of Cottontown. One of the best
selling novels published in recent years and now for the first time
sold at a popular price. An absorbing story of Southern life in a
Cotton Mill town, intense with passion, pathos and humor. 12mo.
Cloth 75 cents

--A Summer Hymnal. A Tennessee romance. One of the prettiest love
stories ever written. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

--Ole Mistis, and other Songs and Stories from Tennessee. 12mo.
Cloth 75 cents

NORRIS (W. E.)--An Embarrasing Orphan. The orphaned daughter of a
wealthy African mine owner, causes her staid English Guardian no
end of anxiety. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

PEMBERTON (MAX)--The Show Girl. A new novel, by the author of many
popular stories, describing the adventures of a young art student
in Paris and elsewhere. It is thought to be the most entertaining
book written by this author. 12mo. Cloth, Illustrated 75 cents

PENDLETON (LOUIS)--A Forest Drama. A Tale of the Canadian wilds of
unusual strength. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

PETERSON (HENRY)--Dulcibel. A Tale of Old Salem in the Witchcraft
days, with a charming love story: historically an informing book.
12mo. Cloth 75 cents

--Pemberton, or One Hundred Years Ago. Washington, Andre, Arnold
and other prominent figures of the Revolution take part in the
story, which is probably the best historical romance of
Philadelphia. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

STODDARD (ELIZABETH)--(Mrs. Richard Henry Stoddard).--Two Men.
"Jason began life in Crest with ten dollars, two suits of cloths,
several shirts, two books, a pin cushion and the temperance
lecture." 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

--Temple House. A powerful story of life in a little seaport
town--romantic and often impassioned. 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

--The Morgesons. This was the first of Mrs. Stoddard's Novels, and
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to the author:--"As genuine and life-like
as anything that pen and ink can do." 12mo. Cloth 75 cents

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


NOTABLE NOVELS AND GIFT BOOKS OF VERSE
By John Trotwood Moore

JACK BALLINGTON, FORESTER

The story concerns the fortunes of Jack Ballington, who, on account of
his apparent lack of fighting qualities, seems to be in danger of losing
his material heritage and the girl he loves, but in the stirring crisis
he measures up to the traditions of his forefathers.`````````````````

     "Will captivate by its humor, set all the heart strings to
     vibrating by its pathos, flood one's being in the great surge of
     patriotism ... a story that vastly enriches American
     fiction."--_Albany Times-Union._

12mo. Cloth. 341 pages

Price $1.20 Net. Postage 13 cents

THE BISHOP OF COTTONTOWN
A Story Of The Tennessee Valley

Love, pathos and real humor run through the book In delightful measure.
Over all is shed the light of the "Old Bishop," endearing himself to
every reader by his gentleness, his strength and his uncynical knowledge
of the world which he finds so good to live in. 31 editions have already
been sold.

12mo. Cloth. 606 pages
Price $1.50 Postpaid

UNCLE WASH: HIS STORIES

A book of stories centering about the character of "Uncle Wash," which
even in the brief time since its publication has achieved a large and
notable success among all classes of readers. Many editions have already
been sold.

     "One of the few great books."--_Rochester Union and Advertiser._
     "A mine of humor and pathos."--_Omaha World-Herald._

12mo. Cloth. 329 pages
Price $1.50 Postpaid

A SUMMER HYMNAL
A Romance Of Tennessee

The story of Edward Ballington and his love affairs with two delightful
girls in charming contrast, forms the plot of this captivating love
story, On the threads of this narrative is woven the story of a blind
man who meets the catastrophe of sudden darkness in a spirit of bravery,
sweetness and resignation which commands the love and respect of every
reader.

12mo. Cloth. 332 paces
Price $1.25 Postpaid

SONGS AND STORIES FROM TENNESSEE

In truth. Mr. Moore, in this collection of songs and stories of Dixie
Land, has created a work that will live long in the traditions of the
South and longer in the hearts of his readers. One has only to read "Ole
Mistis," the first story in this collection, to feel the power of Mr.
Moore's genius. It is at once the finest story of a horse race ever
written, a powerful love story and most touchingly pathetic narrative of
the faith and devotion of a little slave.

12mo. Cloth. 358 pages
Price $1.25 Postpaid

THE OLD COTTON GIN

The "Old Cotton Gin" breathes the passionate patriotism of the South,
her dearest sentiments, her pathos and regrets, her splendid progress
and her triumphant future. This poem is a popular favorite throughout
the South, and has been adopted officially in some states. The author is
one of her truest sons. All the pages of the book are decorated with
original drawings, including seven exceedingly fine full-page
illustrations.

Bound in Imported Silk Cloth. Size 6-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches
Price $1.00 Net. Postage 10 cents

ALL OF THE ABOVE BOOKS ARE HANDSOMELY ILLUSTRATED BY WELL-KNOWN ARTISTS

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


MISCELLANEOUS JUVENILE BOOKS

BANGS (JOHN KENDRICK)--Andiron Tales. The story of a Little
Boy's Dream--his wonderful adventures in the Clouds--written in
Mr. Bangs' happiest vein, and handsomely illustrated with colored
drawings by Dwiggins. Octavo. Cloth   $1.25

--Molly and the Unwiseman. A Humorous Story for Children.
12mo. Cloth   $1.25

BUTTERWORTH (HEZEKIAH)--A Heroine of the Wilderness.
A Girl's Book telling the romance of the mother of Lincoln. 12mo.
Cloth        $1.00

DIMMICK (RUTH CROSBY)--The Bogie Man. The story in verse
of a little boy who met the Bogie Man, and had many surprising
adventures with him; and found him not such a bad fellow after
all. 34 Drawings. 72 pages. Octavo. Boards with colored
cover      $0.65

FILLEBROWN (R. H. M.)--Rhymes of Happy Childhood. A handsome
holiday book of homely verses beautifully illustrated with
color plates, and drawings in black and red. Colored inlay, gilt
top. New Edition 1911. Flat 8vo. Cloth $2.00

HOFFMAN (DR. HENRY)--Slovenly Peter. Original Edition. This
celebrated work has amused children probably more than any other
juvenile book. It contains the quaint hand colored pictures, and is
printed on extra quality of paper and durably bound. Quarto.
Cloth        $1.00

HUGHES (THOMAS)--Tom Brown's School-days at Rugby. New
edition with 22 illustrations. 12mo. Cloth     $1.00

LAMB (CHARLES AND MARY)--Tales from Shakespeare. Edited
with an introduction by The Rev. Alfred Ainger, M.A. New
Edition with 20 illustrations. 12mo. Cloth $1.00

MOTHER'S PRIMER. Printed from large clear type, contains alphabet
and edifying and entertaining stories for children. 12mo.
Paper covers   Per dozen $0.50

TANNENFORST (URSULA)--Heroines of a School-Room. A
sequel to The Thistles of Mount Cedar. An interesting story of
interesting girls. Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth   $1.25
--The Thistles of Mount Cedar. A story of a Girls' Fraternity.
A well-told story for Girls. Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth  $1.25

TAYLOR (JANE)--Original Poems for Infant Minds. 16mo.
Cloth   $1.00

WOOD (REV. J. G.)--Popular Natural History. The most popular
book on Birds, Beasts and Reptiles ever written. Fully illustrated.
8vo. Cloth    $1.00

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia


       *       *       *       *       *


CHARLES ASBURY STEPHENS

This author wrote his "Camping Out Series" at the very height of his
mental and physical powers.

     "We do not wonder at the popularity of these books; there is a
     freshness and variety about them, and am enthusiasm in the
     description of sport and adventure, which even the older folk can
     hardly fail to share."--_Worcester Spy._

     "The author of the Camping Out Series is entitled to rank as
     decidedly at the head of what may be called boys'
     literature."--_Buffalo Courier._

CAMPING OUT SERIES
By C. A. Stephens

All books in this series are 12mo., with eight full-page illustrations.
Cloth, extra, 75 cents.

Camping Out. As Recorded by "Kit."

     "This book is bright, breezy, wholesome, instructive, and stands
     above the ordinary boys' books of the day by a whole head and
     shoulders."--_The Christian Register_, Boston.

Left on Labrador; or, The Cruise of the Schooner Yacht "Curlew." As
Recorded by "Wash."

     "The perils of the voyagers, the narrow escapes, their strange
     expedients, and the fun and jollity when danger had passed, will
     make boys even unconscious of hunger."--_New Bedford Mercury._

Off to the Geysers; or, The Young Yachters in Iceland. As Recorded by
"Wade."

     "It is difficult to believe that Wade and Raed and Kit and Wash
     were not live boys, sailing up Hudson Straits, and reigning
     temporarily over an Esquimaux tribe."--_The Independent_, New York.

Lynx Hunting. From Notes by the Author of "Camping Out."

     "Of _first quality_ as a boys' book, and fit to take its place
     beside the best."--_Richmond Enquirer._

Fox Hunting. As Recorded by "Raed."

     "The most spirited and entertaining book that has as yet appeared.
     It overflows with incident, and is characterized by dash and
     brilliancy throughout."--_Boston Gazette._

 On the Amazon; or, The Cruise of the "Rambler." As Recorded by "Wash."

     "Gives vivid pictures of Brazilian adventure and
     scenery."--_Buffalo Courier._

Sent Postpaid on Receipt of Price

THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO., PUBLISHERS
Winston Building--Philadelphia





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