“It’s only lost for a while—temporarily,” said Jimmy. “I wasn’t going to tell you, but Bob spilled the beans, I left the cash with Sergeant Maxwell to keep for me, and the sergeant is missing with the dough. But as soon as I get my money from home you’ll get your share—the two hundred bucks, Iggy, and so will the others.”
“Nonsense! Forget it!” cried Roger. “Do you think—”
But he had a chance for no more, for at that moment came the signal that the Huns had launched a gas attack. Instantly the five Brothers, and all up and down the line the other Americans, donned their gas masks. This was but the preliminary to what turned out to be some of the fiercest fighting of that particular series of battles. The Germans followed up the gas attack with a fierce deluge of shells and shrapnel, and half an hour later our heroes were under heavy fire.
“It’s an attack in force!” cried a lieutenant as he hurried along the trench where the Khaki Boys were stationed. “And the word is, stand where you are! Don’t give back an inch!”
His words were drowned in the roar of big guns.
THE OLD MILL
Silently the five Brothers, again united and ready to fight to the death, gazed at one another as they lined up in the trench. That is they were silent as regards conversation, for they could not talk with their gas masks on, and the warning given by the lieutenant—the warning and the admonition to stand fast—had been the last words he uttered before he, too, donned the protecting device. And no sooner had the five Brothers and those about them begun to breathe through the chemicals that destroyed the terrible chlorine, than over it came rolling in a deadly, yellowish cloud.
And yet it was far from silent in that hideous storm, for the very ground shook and trembled with the intensity of the gun-fire—the gun-fire not only of the Germans but the Allies as well.
It was an attack in force, and the fire was of the fiercest. Protected somewhat by the trench, in which they were, nevertheless the members of the company to which our heroes belonged sustained several casualties.
At one place a high explosive shell struck on the very edge of the trench, caving it in, and burying beneath tons of earth and stone the unfortunate Sammies stationed there. And the worst of it was that no adequate revenge could be taken just then—at least no revenge that was visible to the enraged comrades of the killed and wounded.
For the orders were to stay in the trenches and repel the attack at first. Later the counter-attack on the part of the Americans would take place, and then it might be that the Huns would be made to pay dearly for their work.