“It doesn’t seem possible anyone can be alive—like this,” panted Roger as he labored at a heavy stone.
“Don’t talk—work!” snapped Jimmy. “If he’s alive, whoever it is, he needs help quick.”
“Wonder if it’s Iggy?” went on Roger.
Jimmy’s hands flew as do the legs of a dog when he is digging out a buried bone, nor was Roger behind his comrade. They labored at that part of the pile of earth and stones which covered the face and head of the unfortunate soldier.
“There—he can breathe if he’s alive still!” gasped Jimmy as he straightened up after having lifted aside a board that had fallen over the face of the Sammie they were trying to rescue. And it was this board that undoubtedly saved the unfortunate from dying by suffocation.
For the piece of plank had fallen in such a way, being supported on either end by resting on two stones on either side of the man’s head, that it kept the dirt and stones away from the face.
And that it was a face which they had uncovered, was not at all certain to Roger and Jimmy at first. For so covered with blood, streaks of dirt and powder stains was the countenance that it resembled nothing human.
“He’s alive—whoever he is!” declared Jimmy, for the unfortunate was observed to breathe—and breathe deeply as the air came in more abundantly to the parted lips.
Roger began digging in the dirt again, working down to the man’s hands. And when he had brushed aside the dirt and stones he lifted up a limp wrist. One look at the identification tag chained around it, and he cried:
“It’s Iggy! We’ve found him all right!”
“Sure enough—it is Iggy!” cried Jimmy, as he, too, looked at the metal disk.
“Ach! Yes! Water!” faintly moaned the Polish lad. His voice was a moan, but it was his voice. He opened his eyes, looked almost uncomprehendingly at his two chums and smiled faintly.
“So, come you haf!” he murmured. “Think I did dat you would!”
His head, which he had raised, sank back limply.
“Here!” cried Jimmy, opening his canteen. “Drink this!”
Poor Iggy did, gratefully enough. Some of the water trickled over his face, and when Roger wiped it away some of the blood and dirt went with it.
“Why he isn’t hurt much—not up here, anyhow!” cried Jimmy. “I thought sure his whole head was blown off the way he looked.”
“Well, let’s get him out of here and look at him afterward,” counseled Roger, and they resumed their work until the Polish lad’s body was all exposed. Then he was lifted out, and in a little while it was ascertained that he was not seriously injured—at least outwardly. His arms and legs were whole, and there was no big wound, though he was terribly scratched and bruised.
“But why stand up can not I!” asked Iggy, for Roger and Jimmy were supporting him with their arms around him down in the shell hole.