“No, I have nothing to say!”
“It is my duty—my painful duty—to order you under arrest then,” said the major. “And it breaks my heart to do it. You were once my lieutenant and—”
Emotion overcame him, but he signaled to a captain, who summoned two orderlies, and in charge of these Captain Dickerson was led away under arrest.
“This matter will be taken up later, Sergeant Blaise,” said the major. “It will have to wait until after the battle. He might better have been killed in action a dozen times than have this happen,” he added rather ambiguously. “This is terrible!”
“It was hard to do this, after he had saved our lives,” said Jimmy, “but it had to be.”
“Yes,” assented the major brokenly, “it had to be. And now let’s forget it in giving battle to the Huns! It’s up to us to redeem whatever wrong he may have done,” and he nodded in the direction of the captain, who had been led away under arrest.
“He took it calmly enough,” remarked Bob, as the five Brothers marched away.
“Never turned a hair,” added Roger. “But you’ve got to have nerve to be a spy.”
“I suppose they’ll shoot him,” observed Franz. “They don’t have time for hanging any more. He’ll face a firing squad all right.”
“It’s too bad!” declared Jimmy. “But it had to be. I’ll say this for him—he’s a brave man to venture back here, when he might be sure he’d be exposed—if not by us by some one else. Yes, he’s a brave man!”
It was with no very light hearts, at first, that Jimmy and his chums marched on toward the front lines where they had been ordered to take their places for the general advance. The scene of the last half-hour preyed on their minds. But they were satisfied that they had done their duty.
“What’s the program, sir!” asked Jimmy, as he reported to his second lieutenant.
“Well, we’re going forward just as soon as our barrage gets in working order,” was the answer. “I expect that will be any minute, now. See to it that every man in your squad has his gas mask, his pick and shovel, his canteen and mess gear. We may be several days under fire, and the supply wagons won’t be able to get up if the Huns start shelling the roads, as they’re likely to.”
“Yes, sir,” answered Jimmy, saluting. Then he and his chums put in several busy minutes.
Jimmy, Roger and Franz, as sergeants, would each have charge of a squad to lead into the fight, and in Jimmy’s squad were Bob and Iggy, the corporals.
“Everything in readiness here?” asked the young lieutenant who had given Jimmy, Roger and Franz their orders. He came along the trench, glancing now and then at his wrist watch to note the approach of the hour set for the beginning of the barrage.
“Everything ready, sir,” reported Jimmy, and Roger and Franz repeated this.
“Very good. You won’t have long to wait now.”
The lieutenant passed on, making his observations. The five Brothers were talking in low tones, speculating on many things. They talked of what they had gone through in the past, for each one realized that there might be no future for him after this great battle that was pending. And they talked of the spy captain, of the missing Sergeant Maxwell, and other matters.