“Look here, Chester,” said Hal, “you know that I wouldn’t have left you behind for anything if I had only thought of it. But in the excitement and—”
“That’s it,” said Chester. “There was too much excitement and you were having it all. I get buried down in a cellar with five men and sit there in the dark till the fun’s all over. Then you don’t even take the trouble to tell me it’s time to go home. I don’t like it.”
“Great Scott! You’re not mad, are you, Chester?”
“Mad? Sure I’m mad. Next time you get in a hole I’m going to walk away and leave you there.”
“Oh, I guess not,” he returned.
“You do, eh? Well, you try it and see what happens.”
“Come, now, Chester, you know how this thing happened,” said Hal. “We didn’t do it purposely.”
Chester seemed about to make an angry retort; but a moment later a smile broke over his face and he extended a hand to his chum.
“I know you didn’t,” he replied, “but can’t a fellow have a little fun?”
Hal took the hand as he exclaimed:
“You’ve offended Captain Leroux.”
“Well,” said Chester, “Captain Leroux has offended me.”
A QUEER SITUATION
“Somebody following us, Hal!”
“That so?” said Hal; “and why should we be followed along here?”
“I don’t know,” was Chester’s reply, “but I have noticed a shadow following us wherever we go.”
“We’ll see about it,” was Hal’s rejoinder.
It was the night succeeding the day on which the lads had taken part in the defense of Thiaumont farmhouse. They had returned to their quarters late in the day, had reported to General Petain and had been relieved of duty until the following morning. It was now after 8 o’clock and they were strolling about the camp.
They had made their way well back into the heart of the armed settlement when Chester had made the announcement that they were being followed.
With Hal to reach a decision was to act. Chester let his friend do the leading in this instance.
Hal quickened his steps and walked quickly down the row of tents, which, well back of the trenches, were laid out in the form of streets, and which, in fact, were called streets by the soldiers themselves. Chester followed.
At the first cross street, for so they may be called, Hal led the way sharply to the left and stopped suddenly. A moment later a figure came slinking around after them. Hal reached out an arm and grabbed him.
“Here,” he said, “what are you following us for?”
The man tried to free himself, but Hal held him tight.
“If you’ll let me loose, I’ll explain,” he said finally.
Hal considered this a moment; then with a shrug of his shoulders released his hold.
“Stand behind him, Chester,” he said.