With exultant yells a squad of Boches rushed up to capture the hated Americans, but the five Brothers never quailed. They fired their rifles straight into the faces of their enemies, killing several, and then a counter-attack by a large number of Uncle Sam’s boys turned the tide of the fighting at that particular place, and our heroes were saved.
With rattle and roar, with sweat and blood, the big battle raged. At one time it seemed as if the American advance would be held up because of determined resistance of the Germans on the crest of a certain hill. This was stormed again and again without result. But at last the position was flanked, and the Huns wiped out. Then the American line was made straighter and the battle began to lull. The foe was in retreat.
“Dig in! Dig in!” came the command.
With their picks and shovels Jimmy and his chums, as well as the other fighters, began to scoop out for themselves shallow holes in the ground. And when these had been made as deep as was desired the five Brothers, who had come through the fierce fighting with but minor scratches, had a chance to look about them.
They were down in a little valley, the heights of which were held by their comrades, and so they were comparatively safe, for a while. Realizing this they began to think of food and water. They had very little left in their canteens, and as there was a stream, not far away Jimmy and his chums received permission to go to fill their canteens and bring some to the wounded.
As they finished this work of mercy, and had taken some water themselves, Jimmy saw, through an opening among the trees, a lonely hut not far from the bank of the little brook.
“Wonder if anyone is in there?” he said. “It might have been a German machine-gun nest—just the place for one.”
“There may be one there yet,” suggested Bob. “Let’s take a look. We’ve got time.”
The idea appealed to all, and, a few minutes later, secure in the knowledge that the Germans were on the retreat, our heroes entered the lonely shack. It appeared to have been the home of some French farmer, though now everything about the place was laid waste.
“Nobody at home, I guess,” commented Jimmy, as he went from one room to another.
“No machine-gun been here,” declared Bob.
At that instant an unmistakable groan was heard. The boys fairly jumped.
“Some one’s here now, that’s evident!” declared Jimmy, starting toward a small bedroom, whence, it was evident, the groan had sounded.
“Look out for a trick!” cried Roger. “The place may be mined!”
But Jimmy kept on. A second later his chums heard him shout from the inner room, and rushing to his side they saw him gazing at a figure huddled on a small cot bed.
“There he is!” cried Jimmy, pointing. “There he is! We’ve found him at last!”
“Who?” asked Franz.