And so poor Maxwell was rescued from the oblivion of “missing,” and again put on his company’s rolls. But the mystery about him was not solved, and over it Jimmy and his chums wondered much.
“Well, things have certainly turned out queerly!” remarked Jimmy, when he and his chums were back once more in their “holes,” eating their emergency rations, and wondering when the real “chow” would come up. “To thing of finding Max like that!”
“That place was held by the Germans before we rushed them back,” declared Bob. “They might have kept him a prisoner.”
“That’s very possible,” admitted Jimmy. “I’d like to know the whole story, but we’ll have to wait.”
“And a long time, I’m afraid,” added Roger.
“Why, do you think Max will die?” asked Franz.
“No, but this fight has only just started. We’ve got to go forward, and land knows when we’ll ever get back where we can see Max again.”
“Oh, well, it isn’t as hopeless as it was at first,” remarked Jimmy. “I’m not worrying about the thousand dollars—only I’d like to know what he did with it.”
As Roger had said, the fighting was not over. Before an order came to turn the “holes” into trenches, another advance was ordered, so that the Germans might be driven, if possible, from the vicinity of the hills dominating the valley in which was located the hut where Maxwell had been found.
“Forward!” came the battle cry again, and once more our heroes joined the advance.
This time, however, the fighting was not quite so fierce. The Germans had had a taste of the kind of medicine dealt out by the Americans, and the Huns had no liking for it.
True, they did not give up without a struggle, and many a poor lad went to his death, or came back from the front with a leg or arm missing, as a result of the renewal of hostilities. But it had to be. It would not have been safe to allow the Germans to have a chance to get back the dominating hills won at such cost.
And there the storm of blood and steel was renewed with fiercer energy, until at last, just as night was settling down, the German flank was turned, and they began to retreat in what ultimately was a rout.
“A glorious victory! A glorious victory!” was shouted from all sides in the American ranks.
It was not the end of the war, by any means, but a dangerous salient had been wiped out, and the American line was straightened, so that now the fighting could go along on more even terms.
“Oh, but I am tired!” sighed Jimmy, as he flung himself full length down on the ground when the signal came to cease firing.
“I’m all in, too,” added Bob.
“But we’re none of us hurt to any extent,” said Franz, binding up a place on his leg where a bit of shrapnel had grazed him. “Won’t even get a wound stripe for this,” he said, grimly.
It was next morning, when the supply wagons had come up with more substantial food, and hot rations, that the good news circulated around.