“All is as well as it will be any night,” the Frenchman reported, and added details.
“We’ll try it, then,” Reade decided, after glancing at Prescott, who nodded.
“And may you succeed!” cried the old peasant fervently. “And may you both come safely through the war, and have the good fortune to slay Huns and Huns and Huns!”
“Promise me, my good old friend, to use your axe only for chopping wood,” Dick urged,
“And I will promise to think of you whenever I have the chance to destroy a Hun.”
“It is a bargain, then!” cried their host.
“It will be kept, on my side,” Dick rejoined gravely.
“And on mine, too,” agreed the old man.
It was quiet abroad when the three stealthily left the house. The Americans had wished to leave a word of cheer with the peasant’s wife, but she had fallen asleep and they would not disturb her.
Through a wood and across fields their guide led the young Americans until they neared the spot they sought.
“From here on one will have to be cautious,” suggested the Frenchman. “You are about to cross a road, and then, on the other side, one comes to the aviation station.”
“Then here is where you should leave us,” Dick remarked considerately. “Very likely we shall fail and be sent on to a prison camp, this time in irons. Perhaps we shall be shot. But we do not care to let an old man, and a Frenchman follow us to a death that he should not invite.”
“I would go with you until I see you safely in sight of the station,” objected the Frenchman.
“It seems unnecessary, and contemptible in us to risk your life along with our own. Do you understand the lay of the land, Tom? Can you find our objective without risking the life of our good old friend here?”
“I am sure that I can,” Reade nodded. “Like yourself, Dick, I feel that he should not come further with us. And see here, monsieur. You have not asked our names, neither have we known yours. Some day, when all around here is French territory again, and the beastly German has gone forever, we shall want to look you up, or write you. I am Lieutenant Tom Reade, of the American aviation service, and my friend is Captain Richard Prescott, of the American Infantry.”
“And I am Francois Prim. My neighbors call me Papa Prim.”
“Show us the way we are to go, Monsieur Prim,” Dick urged.
“It is simple,” replied Papa Prim. “You see, without fail, the little building to which I am pointing, over by the roadside?”