Outside the moon was shining, and it cast a beam of light into the room where the two chums lay asleep. Several hours after the boys had closed their eyes in sleep, the figure of a man appeared in the window without. After some experimenting he opened the window softly and came in. He closed the window gently behind him.
Chester stirred in his sleep and the man shrank back against the wall in the darkness. For perhaps five minutes he remained there, and then, as there was no further move by the sleeper, he advanced into the center of the room. The light fell upon his face, and had the boys been awake, they would have recognized in the intruder, Matin, the man who had attempted to shoot Hal a short time before.
Matin approached the two sleepers quietly, seeking to make sure which was Hal. He examined each closely and then grinned as he stepped back a pace or two, apparently satisfied.
From the next room there came the sound of footsteps and again Matin shrank back against the wall. Directly the footsteps moved away and Matin drew a breath of relief.
From his pocket now he produced a knife, examined it carefully and grinned again. Looking carefully about to make sure that there was no one in the room to observe him, he stepped forward.
Had he turned his head at that moment he would have seen a second figure lowering itself just inside the room. But so intent was Matin upon the dark deed ahead of him that, after his one observation of the room, he did not look again.
The second figure was creeping after Matin now. He was not far behind, but still he was not close enough to touch the first intruder. Matin took two quick steps forward and raised his arm. Then he bent on one knee.
The arm flashed down!
THE BATTLE OF THIAUMONT FARM
But the knife never reached its mark.
There came a sudden loud report, a flash of flame and the knife clattered to the floor. Matin reeled and fell backward, and as he did so the second intruder pounced upon him and pinned him down.
Hal arose to his feet slowly. In his hand he held a smoking revolver. Chester, awakened by the shot, leaped quickly to his feet and his revolver flashed in his hand.
“What’s happened?” he exclaimed.
“My friend Matin here tried to do for me,” said Hal, pointing. “I shot him.”
Chester rushed to the side of the two figures across the room. Then, for the first time, the identity of the second figure was established. It was Jules Clemenceau.
Hal also approached and bent over. He took Jules by the arm.
“What are you doing here?” he demanded.
“I followed Matin,” replied Jules, rising to his feet. “I saw you when you entered the trench from the German lines. After you had gone I heard Matin threaten to kill you. We were relieved at the same time, and suspecting that he might be up to some mischief, I followed him. I was too far behind to do any good. I was so frightened that I could not cry out.”