But later on, when it seemed as though he had been pulled and dragged over miles and miles of rough country, Jimmy was aware that the party of men who had him in charge had been joined by another squad of the Boches. And to his delight he heard some one say:
“Wonder what became of Blazes?”
It was Bob’s voice, and Jimmy at once answered:
“Here I am! Is Roger there?”
“Yes,” came a voice out of the darkness, and it ended in a gasp of pain, as if the words had been stopped by a blow.
Jimmy felt as though he could tear himself loose and hurl himself on the cruel captors, but he was held fast.
There was rapid talk in German among the members of the raiding party, and it could not be doubted that they were exulting over the success of the sortie, such as it had been.
A little later Jimmy was prodded forward again by the butts of German guns, and he was aware that Roger and Bob were advancing along with him. Whether there were any other Americans in that party Jimmy could not tell, as it was dark now, since the “fireworks” had ceased.
“Tough luck!” murmured Bob, as he limped along beside Roger.
“You said it,” answered Jimmy. They spoke in low voices so as not to incur the further enmity of their captors.
“What do you think they’ll do with us?” asked Roger.
“Try to get information,” was Jimmy’s answer. “But don’t give them any! Keep stiff upper lips and let ’em ask all they want to. Don’t answer!”
“We won’t!” murmured Roger and Bob, but they did not realize how hard it was going to be to keep that resolve.
Forward in the darkness they stumbled, being pushed and shoved when they were not roughly seized and dragged, and at last they seemed to have been brought to a place where they were to be detained for some time. They were led down into a trench and along this in single file, a German preceding and following each of the three captives, so they were thus separated. They discovered that the German trenches were not much better as regarded mud and water than their own, and they did not have the protection of “duck boards” except in a few places. So that the progress of Bob, Roger and Jimmy was through mud that came nearly to the knees.
Suddenly their captors halted. They had reached a wider part of the trench, and in the dim light from a small electric bulb, which indicated this place to be one of the more permanent German positions, the three Brothers saw a concrete dugout.
The door of this was kicked open, and after the three Khaki Boys had been hurriedly searched, and all their personal belongings taken from them, they were thrust inside in the darkness and the door was closed.
And then, clinging together in their pain and woeful state, they told each other what had happened—Roger and Bob relating how they had been cut off and captured, and Jimmy telling of his leading the rescue party, only to be betrayed into going in the wrong direction, deceived by the call of some Hun whose English was good enough to do the trick.