Title: The Boy Allies At Verdun
Author: Clair W. Hayes
Release Date: July 25, 2004 [EBook #13020]
Character set encoding: ASCII
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The Boy Allies At Verdun
Saving France from the Enemy
By Clair W. Hayes
Author of “The Boy Allies At Liege” “The Boy Allies On the Firing Line” “The Boy Allies With the Cossacks” “The Boy Allies In the Trenches” “The Boy Allies On the Somme”
THE EVE OF VERDUN
On the twenty-second of February, 1916, an automobile sped northward along the French battle line that for almost two years had held back the armies of the German emperor, strive as they would to win their way farther into the heart of France. For months the opposing forces had battled to a draw from the North Sea to the boundary of Switzerland, until now, as the day waned—it was almost six o’clock—the hands of time drew closer and closer to the hour that was to mark the opening of the most bitter and destructive battle of the war, up to this time.
It was the eve of the battle of Verdun.
The occupants of the automobile as it sped northward numbered three. In the front seat, alone at the driver’s wheel, a young man bent low. He was garbed in the uniform of a British lieutenant of cavalry. Close inspection would have revealed the fact that the young man was a youth of some eighteen years, fair and good to look upon. As the machine sped along he kept his eyes glued to the road ahead and did not once turn to join in the conversation of the two occupants on the rear seat. Whether he knew that there was a conversation in progress it is impossible to say, but the rush of wind would have made the conversation unintelligible, to say the least.
This youth on the front seat was Hal Paine, an American.
The two figures in the rear seat were apparently having a hard time to maintain their places, as they bounced from side to side as the car swerved first one way and then the other, or as it took a flying leap over some object in the road, which even the keen eye of the driver had failed to detect. But in spite of this, even as they bounced, they talked.
One of the two figures was tall and slender and there was about him an air of youthfulness. He was in fact a second American boy. His name was Chester Crawford, friend and bosom companion of Hal Paine. Like the latter he, too, was attired in the uniform of a British lieutenant of cavalry.