“You’ll stagger him,” Greg predicted.
One of Greg’s orderlies had already ridden the major’s horse to the stable, so Prescott walked briskly along the street until he came to regimental headquarters. As he entered the adjutant’s office he found Colonel Cleaves seated on the corner of his subordinate’s desk, in low-toned conversation with his subordinate.
“Am I intruding, sir?” Dick inquired, saluting the colonel.
“No,” said Colonel Cleaves. “In fact, Captain, you may as well know the subject-matter of our conversation. Captain Prescott, this camp would appear to be infested with German spies! This evening sixteen men in F company were taken ill after supper. They are now in hospital and some of them are expected to die. The surgeons have examined some of the food left over from that supper and report finding ground glass in some pieces of the apple pie served as dessert. Later the captain of our machine-gun company, which has only one machine gun so far, had the piece taken into the company mess-room to demonstrate the mechanism to his lieutenants so that they might instruct the men. He found the mechanism of the piece so badly jammed that the machine gun refused to work. I have inspected that piece, and in my opinion the gun is ruined. As if that were not enough sixteen rifles belonging to G company have been found with their bolts broken off. It is very plain that German spies and sympathizers are at work in Camp Berry, and the scoundrels must be found, Captain.”
Colonel Cleaves spoke under the stress of great excitement, his eyes flashing, the corners of his mouth twitching.
Dick went to the door, then to the doors opening into the rooms on either side. Then he came back, saying in a low voice:
“Colonel, I met one of the German spies tonight. Perhaps the ring-leader. If I see him again I shall recognize him and arrest him instantly. Do you see what this is, sir?”
Dick held up the weapon that the carpenter had hurled at Private Mock.
“It is a 45-caliber, United States Government automatic pistol,” said Colonel Cleaves.
“Exactly, sir; and the spy I have mentioned had it in his possession. How he obtained it, I do not yet know, but I hope to find out. And now, sir, I will tell you what happened and what action I took.”
Thereupon Captain Dick Prescott narrated the amazing adventure of the evening, winding up with:
“So, sir, I have placed Private Mock in arrest at the guard-house, and through his detention there I hope to gain the clues that shall lead us to the ferreting out and arrest of the whole crew of German spies at Camp Berry!”
AT GRIPS WITH GERMAN SPIES
New barracks buildings continued to spring up at Camp Berry. Drafts of men for a National Army division began to arrive, besides a brigade of infantry, a regiment of field artillery and a machine-gun battalion of regulars.