This was a welcome order to these two Khaki Boys and they started back over the ground won at such terrible cost. Already, though, gallant stretcher-bearers were searching among the dead to succor the living. And then, to their unutterable delight, Roger and Bob saw Franz limping toward them, using his rifle as a crutch.
“Thought you were done for, like poor Iggy,” cried Roger.
“I thought so, too,” answered Schnitz. “I felt sure my foot was lopped off, but it was only bruised on the ankle by a stone that some piece of shell must have kicked up. It’s only badly bruised. I don’t have to go to the rear!” and he said this joyously.
But there were many poor lads who did have to go to the rear, for they were torn and mangled. And there were some who had made their last fight. But it was a good fight. Oh, it was a good and noble fight! Be sure of that!
Assisting Franz, Roger and Bob got back to the barn, and there they took off their comrade’s shoe. As he had said, his ankle was only bruised. He was able to limp along.
The Hun fighters had received more than they wanted. They had not only withdrawn to a good distance, but they did not even have nerve enough to launch a counter-attack. The American advance had been so well prepared that it won the battle.
“Well, now we have time to breathe and eat,” commented Jimmy, who had been relieved in command.
“Say, a lot of things have happened since the zero hour this morning,” remarked Roger.
“You said it!” declared Bob fervently. “If I was only on the paper now I could write a front page story, instead of a miserable little ‘stick’ about a runaway horse. Oh, but this was some fight!”
It was toward evening, and the tired doughboys were wondering what the night would hold for them, when Jimmy remarked:
“I’m going to see if I can find Sergeant Maxwell.”
“What’s the matter with him?” asked Roger.
“Nothing, I hope. But I gave him those five thousand francs to keep for me—you know, the reward money—our money,” explained Jimmy, for it was that, as you shall see. “I want to get it back, now that the battle is over. We won’t go into action very soon again, I’m thinking. I just gave him the notes to keep for me until this scrap was over. Now I think I’ll get ’em back again, and divide ’em up.”
“Are you going to persist in your generous notion?” asked Bob.
“I sure am!” was the somewhat indignant answer. “What do you think I am, anyhow, an Injun giver? I said we five Brothers would share and share alike in that reward, and I’m going to insist on it. If Iggy—if he’s killed—his share goes to his folks. Why, you fellows helped as much in putting that dog Von Kreitzen out of the way as I did.”
“Nonsense!” declared Roger. “You did it all alone!”
“Well, I’m not going to spend the reward all alone, and that’s settled!” snapped Jimmy. “It’s going to be whacked up, just as I promised. Now I’m going to find Maxwell and get the dough. Why, of course, I’m going to divide it. And I’ll be glad to get my share right now. We haven’t had any pay in some time, and goodness knows when I’ll hear from home.”