“Or Buffalo,” added Bob, with a laugh.
“Yes, or Buffalo,” agreed Jimmy. He had admitted that his “girl” lived there—a girl to whom he often referred as “Margaret,” but beyond this he had said little of her. “So I’m going out to find Maxwell. I’ll be back soon,” he promised.
He received the necessary permission and was soon scouting about, back of the German trench lines, which had been taken over by the victorious Americans.
“Seen Maxwell?” asked Jimmy of a fellow non-commissioned officer who, he knew, was in Maxwell’s mess.
“Maxwell? No, I haven’t seen him lately. Didn’t you hear about him?”
“Hear what about him? What do you mean?” asked Jimmy, and he was conscious of a strange foreboding.
“Why, Sergeant Maxwell has been missing since just about the time we got word to go over the top at the zero hour,” stated Corporal Blake, to whom Jimmy had applied. “I thought you knew that.”
“No, I didn’t,” said Jimmy quietly. Then he whistled.
“What’s the matter?” asked Blake.
“If Maxwell is missing then it’s a double loss,” was the answer.
“A double loss? What do you mean?”
“I mean my five thousand francs are gone, too. Whew! Well, it can’t be helped, I suppose. I’ll go tell the boys!”
What’s to be done?
“What’s the matter. Blazes?” cried Bob, as he saw his friend coming back.
“You look as if we’d lost the war!”
“Well, I’ve lost part of something I won in it, anyhow,” declared Jimmy.
“Is Iggy dead?” Franz wanted to know. “Did you hear any word from him?”
“No, but we must make some inquiries. This is about something else. Fellows, I guess I’ll have to wait until I get a remittance from home before I give you your shares of the thousand dollars reward.”
“Wait for a remittance!” exclaimed Roger. “Not that I’m altogether sure I’m going to take what you call my ‘share’ of that; but why do you have to wait?”
“Because the money’s gone,” said Jimmy, tragically. In France, three thousand miles away from home, with their army pay uncertain, ready cash meant much to our doughboys.
“Gone! Did you lose it?” asked Bob, with a reportorial instinct.
“No, but Maxwell is gone and the money’s gone with him. He’s missing,” Jimmy hastened to explain. “Been missing since just before we went into action.”
“Where was the sergeant stationed?” asked Roger.
“In that big concrete dugout we captured from the Germans in the scrap just before this,” Jimmy explained. “He was in command of a hand grenade squad there, and just before the fight, or at least soon after the signal to advance was given, that was the last seen of Sergeant Maxwell and my money,” added the owner of it ruefully.
His companions received the news in silence. Then Franz spoke up and asked: