WHEN THE CAMP GREW WARM
President Newnham had prudently decided to lie down flat on the ground.
Nor was it any reflection on his courage that he did so. He was taking no part in the fight, and the leaden tornado that swept the camp from some unknown point was almost instantly repeated.
At the same time the marksmen on and at the right of the bald knob continued to fire. The camp defenders were in a criss-cross of fire that might have shaken the nerves of an old and tried soldier.
Tom watched the ground as bullets struck, trying to decide their original course from the directions in which the dust flew. Then he swung around to the right.
With modern smokeless powder there was no light, bluish haze to mark the firing line of the new assailants. Tom Reade had to search and explore with his binocular glass until he could make out moving heads, waving arms.
“I’ve found ’em, Fulsbee!” young Reade cried suddenly, above the noise of rifles within a few yards of where they stood, as the engineers made the most of their chances to fire. “Turn the same way that I’m looking. See that blasted pine over there to your right, about six hundred there to the gully southeast of the tree. Got the line? Well, along there there’s a line of men hidden. Through the glass I can sometimes make out the flash of their rifles. Take the glass yourself, and see.”
Dave Fulsbee snatched the binoculars, making a rapid survey.
“Reade,” he admitted, “you have surely located that crowd.”
“Now, go after them with your patent hay rake,” quivered Tom, feeling the full excitement of the thing in this tantalizing cross fire. Then the cub added, with a sheepish grin:
“I hope you’ll scare ’em, instead of hitting ’em, Dave.”
Fulsbee stepped over to his assistant. Between them they swung the machine gun around, the assistant wrenching off the canvas cover. Fulsbee rapidly sighted the piece for six hundred yards. The assistant stood by to feed belts of cartridges, while Dave took his post at the firing mechanism.
Cr-r-r-r-rack! sounded the machine gun, spitting forth a pelting storm of lead. As the piece continued to disgorge bullets at the rate of six hundred a minute, Dave, a grim smile on his lips, swung the muzzle of the piece so as to spread the fire along the entire line of the main ambush.
“Take the glass,” Tom roared in Harry’s ear, above the din. “See how Fulsbee is throwing up dust and bits of rock all along that rattled line.”
Hazelton watched, his face showing an appreciative grin.
“It has the scoundrels scared and going!” Hazelton yelled back.
Fully fifteen hundred cartridges did the machine gun deliver up and down that line.
Then, suddenly, Dave Fulsbee swung the gun around, delivering a hailstorm of bullets against the bald knob rock and the bushes to the right of it.