And from far behind the German line at this moment broke out the crack of rifles. The French infantry had advanced in pursuit of the Germans, a squadron of cavalry showing the way.
The Germans were caught between two fires.
Unable to estimate the number of men in the force that had ambushed them, the Germans threw down their arms.
“We surrender!” cried a German officer.
Instantly the fire of the machine gun ceased and Chester advanced to the road again. The same German officer who, a moment ago, had scorned the lad’s warning, now advanced and tendered his sword to Chester.
“Tell your men to throw down their arms,” commanded Chester.
The officer did so, and swords and pistols rattled to the ground.
“Now,” said Chester, “you will about face and march toward the French lines. There must be no foolishness. My army here is rather small, but we still have the rapid-fire gun and it will be trained upon you until you are safe.”
The lad signalled to his men, who had already hitched up the horses, and these now advanced.
“What!” exclaimed the German officer, when he had taken a glance at Chester’s “army,” “are these all the men you had when you attacked us?”
“They seemed to be enough,” said Chester, with a smile.
“No wonder we haven’t beaten you a long while ago,” the German officer mumbled to himself. “When five men and one a boy perform a feat like this, I begin to have my doubts as to the outcome of this war.”
“Well,” said Chester, “I don’t have any such doubts. But come, now; forward march.”
Slowly the German troopers marched ahead, Chester and his machine gun bringing up the rear.
And in this manner they came directly upon the French cavalry and infantry advancing in pursuit of the Germans.
Great were the exclamations among the French troops when it was found that five men and a young officer had made such an important capture, to say nothing of the terrible execution inflicted upon the enemy with their own rapid-fire gun. The French officers were loud in the praises of Chester’s gallantry.
And with the troop of French cavalry Chester found Hal and Captain Leroux.
“By Jove! I’m glad to see you, Chester,” said Hal, advancing with outstretched hand. “I was afraid we wouldn’t get back in time.”
“I guess you wouldn’t have, if we had waited for you,” said Chester, dryly. “I wasn’t going to take any more chances if I could help it. When you left us there by ourselves, I was sure if we wanted to come away, we’d have to do it by ourselves.”
“We didn’t do it intentionally,” said Captain Leroux.
“Who said you did?” demanded Chester, somewhat angrily.
The French captain flushed. He drew himself up, seemed about to make an angry reply; then cooled down and said:
With that he walked away.