“Yes, he’s got a swell place—in a shell hole, and Franz is with him. See anything of Iggy?”
“No,” answered Jimmy. “I’m afraid he’s done for. If I get a chance, I’m going back to see. Looks as if Fritz had had enough at this sector.”
“Aren’t we going forward?” some one called to the lieutenant in charge. “Come on! Lead us to the Boches!”
“Have to wait for orders,” was the grim answer. “We were told to halt here. Can’t go on without orders!”
There were murmurs of disapproval at this, but the discipline was strict.
“Anybody badly wounded?” asked the lieutenant. “If there is, now’s your chance to get some first-aid treatment. Later you can’t, perhaps.”
There were one or two who were suffering badly, and these took advantage of the lull in the fighting to apply bandages to their hurts.
“Poor Iggy!” mused Jimmy, and then, as the lieutenant crawled near him—for no one was standing upright—the sergeant asked:
“May I crawl back, sir, and see what happened to Corporal Pulinski?”
“Did you see anything happen to him?”
“Yes, sir. I saw him blown backward when the big shell exploded, and he seemed to be falling toward some sort of shell crater. If we’re going to be held here long, I’d like to go to his rescue—to see if he’s still alive.”
“Very well,” assented the young commanding officer. “Ill take a chance and let you.” He knew of the pact of friendship existing among the five Brothers. “Take some one with you. But crawl—don’t try to walk.”
“I won’t, sir. May Sergeant Barlow come along?”
“Yes. But come back if we get the order to advance again.”
“I will, yes, sir!”
Swinging around on his stomach, and calling to Roger, telling him of the permission received, Jimmy Blaise started toward the rear to rescue, if possible, the Polish lad.
“But I’m afraid we’ll find him done for,” confided Jimmy to Roger. “The shell must have landed right in front of him. It made a hole as big as a house.”
“Poor Iggy!” murmured Roger.
SENT TO THE REAR
Roger Barlow, who was slightly behind his comrade in their queer progress back toward the shell hole near which the Polish lad had been seen to fall, observed his fellow sergeant come to a halt.
“What’s the matter—hit?” cried Roger anxiously. And this well might have been the case, since, though there was a lull in the fighting immediately in front of Company E, there were plenty of stray bullets, not to mention pieces of shrapnel and bits of high explosive shells, that might have reached the crawling lad.
“Hit? No, not yet,” answered Jimmy. “I’m going to try, if it’s safe, to make a little better progress than this, though. This is too slow. Poor Iggy may be dead before we get to him.”