“Will you stick?” he asked, when the sudden spurt of machine bullets was over.
“Go ahead!” was the grim reply.
They had hardly taken a dozen paces when from the ground all about them dark forms suddenly arose, and from what were afterward found to be shell holes, and the remains of trenches, other forms leaped. There were commands in German, and, in less time than it takes to tell it, Jimmy and his two companions were seized by several German soldiers, their arms taken away, and, after being beaten and kicked, they were rushed over toward the Hun lines. Dazed, wounded and sick at heart, Jimmy could hardly understand what had happened. Then it was borne to him that he and his rescue party—or what was left of it—had been the victim of a trick. They had run into an ambuscade of Germans who were hidden among the holes and ruined trenches, and had risen up to capture more prisoners.
Rousing himself, and determining to find out how many of his fellow soldiers were in the same disastrous position as himself, Jimmy cried:
“Any of the Five Hundred and Ninth here? I’m Sergeant Blaise and—”
“Great guns!” cried a voice Jimmy well knew. “It’s Blazes! We’re here, Jimmy!” went on the voice in a half sob. “Bob and I are here—prisoners!”
“Then we’re in the same boat!” answered Jimmy, who had recognized Roger’s voice. “I’ll try and get to you, and then—”
“Shut up—American pig!” cried a Hun in fairly good English as he struck Jimmy in the face. And then the Sergeant knew how he had been betrayed. It was by a German who spoke English.
THE CAPTAIN AGAIN
Worried over the possible fate in store for them, sick at heart, smarting with wounds and bruises, and with Jimmy regretting the deaths of the men he had led out to help rescue Bob and Roger, it is no wonder that the three Brothers hardly knew what happened in the next hour. All they remembered was that they were pushed, dragged and fairly punched along in the darkness that was, every now and then, lighted by gun flashes or the star-shells. The fighting was still going on, though it was growing less intense, and it seemed evident that the attacking party of raiding Germans had been beaten back.
But it was at a heavy cost, for many Americans had been killed or wounded, and several taken prisoners, including our three friends. Later, however, they learned that the losses of the Huns had been heavier, except in the matter of prisoners. Only two had been captured as against perhaps a score of Americans. The raid had been a surprise, and this quality of it led to its success.
For a time, after he had learned of the presence of his two chums in the raiding party of Huns, Jimmy was separated from them in the darkness and confusion. He could not locate them by calling their names, for each time he tried this he was struck by one of his captors, which led him, finally, to desist. He realized that if he exasperated the Germans too much they would not hesitate to kill him, even though he was a prisoner.