“I will not,” said the German furiously, and turned again to the subaltern. “I tell you I surrender——”
“There’s no need for you to surrender,” said the subaltern quietly. “I might remind you that you are already a prisoner; and I am not here to look after prisoners.”
The German yielded with a very bad grace, and moved ahead of Macalister and his threatening bayonet, along the line and down the communication trench to the support trench. Here the Scot found his fellows, and introduced his prisoner, made his report to an officer, and asked and received permission to remain on guard over his captive. Then he returned to the corner of the trench where the remains of his own company were. He told them how he had fallen into the German trench and what had happened up to the moment the German officer came into the proceedings.
“This is the man,” he said, nodding his head towards the officer, “and I wad just like to tell you carefully and exactly what happened between him an’ me. Ye’ll understaun’ better if a’ show ye as weel as tell ye. Weel, now, he made twa men tie ma’ hands behind ma’ back first—if ony o’ ye will lend me a first field dressing I’ll show ye how they did it.”
A field dressing was promptly forthcoming, and Macalister bound the German’s hands behind his back, overcoming a slight attempt at resistance by a warning word and an accompanying sharp twist on his arms.
“It’s maybe no just as tight as mine was,” said Macalister when he had finished, and stood the prisoner back against the wall. “But it’ll dae. Then he made twa men stand wi’ fixed bayonets against ma’ breast, and when I hinted what was true, that he was no gentleman, he said I was to kneel and beg his pardon. And now you,” he said, nodding to the prisoner, “will go down on your marrow-bones and beg mine.”
“That is sufficient of this fooling,” said the officer, with an attempt at bravado. “It’s your turn, I’ll admit; but I will pay you well—”
Macalister interrupted him-"Ye’ll maybe think it’s a bit mair than fooling ere I’m done wi’ ye,” he said. “But speakin’ o’ pay... and thank ye for reminding me. Ower there they riped ma pooches, an’ took a’thing I had.”
He stepped over to the prisoner, went expeditiously through his pockets, removed the contents, and transferred them to his own.
“I’m no saying but what I’ve got mair than I lost,” he admitted to the others, who stood round gravely watching and thoroughly enjoying the proceedings. “But then they took all I had, an’ I’m only taking all he has.”
He pulled a couple of sandbags off the parapet and seated himself on them.
“To go on wi’ this begging pardon business,” he said, “If a couple o’ ye will just stand ower him wi’ your fixed bayonets.... Thank ye. I wouldna’ kneel,” he continued, “so one o’ them put his weight on my shoulders——” He looked at one of the guards, who, entering promptly into the spirit of the play, put his massive weight on the German’s shoulders, and looked to Macalister for further instructions.