“Ah, the vermin!” he hissed. “A regiment of their accursed infantry marching toward the front. Oh, that your men and ours might kill them all this day!”
“Give us time, and we’ll do it,” Tom promised unconcernedly.
After breakfast the two chums talked almost without stopping until it was time for luncheon. In the afternoon Tom stretched, then walked toward the bed, declaring:
“When one has no chance to exercise I believe sleep to be the next best thing, even extra sleep. I believe that I can sleep until supper time. And after that—–perhaps it will be tonight, Dick, that we make our fantastic effort to place ourselves on the other side of the German battle front!”
“The sooner the better,” cried Dick, “only provided that speed does not waste our chance to escape.”
“If we must go down in defeat,” yawned Reade, “I believe we may at least look for the satisfaction of carrying a few Huns with us. I believe I have forgotten to mention the fact that I have my automatic pistol with me. It’s hidden, but I could show it to you.”
“I’m glad you have it,” murmured Dick, as he closed his eyes. “I never before felt the desire to slay human beings, but since I’ve struck the French front I’ve had a constant desire to kill Huns!”
“To-night, then,” said Reade drowsily, “we may find the chance both to kill Huns and get back to the French lines.”
THE DASH TO GET BACK TO PERSHING
“After dark, by a whole hour!” whispered Reade, after waking, striking a match and looking at his wrist watch. “Hustle, Dick!”
Tom’s next act was to light a candle. “Want supper?” he asked.
“I could eat it,” Prescott replied. “But what’s the use?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why waste time with eating when there’s the slimmest chance to get away?” Dick continued.
“It may be hours before we can really put our plan into execution.”
“Our plan?” repeated Dick. “What on earth did I have to do with making the plan? But, if you feel that we’re not wasting time over a supper I’ll admit that I am ready to eat.”
So Reade summoned their host, as before.
“Is the night good and foggy?” Tom asked, when the aged peasant appeared.
“There is not a trace of fog, monsieur,” was the reply. “Still, the sky is cloudy, and the night is dark.”
“That’s only second-best weather,” grumbled Reade. “However, I’m impatient to have a try to-night. I think we will try for it. Can you help us?”
“Undoubtedly I can find out how clear the coast is,” replied the old man. “I would be glad to do far more than that for you.”
“If you can supply us with supper,” Tom proposed, “and then find out the news, it will be a great service.”
Later, while the chums ate, the old peasant went abroad. Tom and Dick were waiting impatiently until he returned.