One day, when it seemed that they must lie down in a field and give up, they saw, coming over the top of the hill, a party of soldiers. It was getting dusk, and they could hardly distinguish the uniforms.
“If it’s Germans I’m too tired to run,” said Bob, weakly. “Let ’em take us!”
“I will not!” declared Jimmy fiercely. “I’ll fight ’em with stones, and die fighting, rather than go back to a prison camp!”
“I’m with you!” cried Roger, and this attitude on the part of his chums seemed to rouse Bob.
Each one selected a large stone, though whether they really would have used them in their desperation I can not say. But in a moment all was changed.
The three figures, standing together in the field, attracted the attention of the officer leading the party of soldiers. He gave a sharp command, and at the sound of the words Jimmy cried:
“They’re English! They’re English! Hurrah, fellows! We’re with friends once more!” And he ran forward followed by his chums.
It was true. A party of English soldiers, sent out to get some information, had come upon the three escaping prisoners, and, a little later, Bob, Roger and Jimmy were being well cared for while they told their story of what had happened.
“And so we blew their nasty dump to bits; eh, lad?” asked an English lieutenant, or “leftenant,” as they are called.
“Yes,” assented Jimmy.
“A little bit of hall right, I call that!” commented a cockney sergeant.
So weak and exhausted were our friends that they had to stay in the English billets several days before they could be sent under escort to their own command. And you may imagine better than I can describe it the joy of Franz and Iggy when they welcomed their Brothers once more.
“It’s like having you back from the dead,” declared Franz, with tears in his eyes as he held the hands of the three friends.
“Better even, for alife they is!” exclaimed Iggy. “I home a letter will write saying not to read the other what I sent.”
“What other?” asked Bob.
“Oh, he wrote one saying you had been captured and that he was going to hike into German territory and find you the first chance he had,” explained Franz.
“Sure I would go, but now not,” declared Iggy. “I home write annudder letter soon.”
“It was good of you to think of us,” said Jimmy. “And now tell us about yourselves. Are you all right? Have you done any fighting, and have you heard anything of Maxwell and our missing money?”
“Oh, have a heart!” laughed Franz. “You’re worse than an intelligence officer wanting to know the results of a trench raid. But we’re all right, as far as that goes.”
“Except we wos of broken hearted yes for fears of you,” put in Iggy.
“Sure we were worried to death,” agreed Franz. “There didn’t seem to be a chance for you. As for fighting, well we haven’t done much, though I hear there’s a big battle about to come off. And as for Maxwell, we haven’t heard a word.”