But there was no mercy on the faces of the others and Chester realized it.
“He should be court martialed and shot,” said one.
“I agree with you,” said another.
“I’m not so sure,” said the Crown Prince. “The lad is young. How do I know what I would have done in his place? No; I am tempted to have him returned to his regiment and placed under arrest indefinitely.”
“Lieutenant Hollsein, I shall leave this man in your charge. See that he is returned to his regiment immediately.”
Chester breathed a sigh of relief. He realized that he was still in a perilous situation, for when he should be taken to the commander of the Fortieth Hussars, his deception must be learned. But at least it gave him more time.
But Chester’s sigh of relief came too soon.
“Hold on!” said one of the German officers. “This man is no German!”
STUBBS AS A STRATEGIST
Anthony Stubbs, after leaving Hal and Chester, pushed off to the south slowly, absolutely unconscious of the adventures that were to come his way. Mindful of the fact that there was a certain degree of safety in the German uniform he wore, and rather proud of himself thus attired, Stubbs walked on more boldly than he would have done otherwise.
And thus it was that, without warning, he walked suddenly into the midst of a group of German officers who sat about a campfire a short distance from where he had left his two young friends.
Stubbs pulled up suddenly and would have drawn back had not one of the German officers sprung suddenly to his feet.
“Here, Hans, is another man now!” exclaimed the officer. “A moment ago you were bemoaning the fact that there was not another man to take a hand in a game of cards. Here is one come in answer to your prayers.”
Two other German officers sprang to their feet.
“Four of us; that’s enough,” said one. He turned to Stubbs. “What do you say?”
“Say to what?” asked Stubbs, bravely.
“A game of cards.”
“What kind of a game of cards?”
“An American game,” was the reply. “Hans learned it when he was in the United States and has taught us something about it. It’s called poker.”
“I’ve played it,” said Stubbs.
“Good! Then you will join us?”
“I should be elsewhere,” said Stubbs, hesitatingly.
Be it known that Anthony Stubbs, war correspondent of the New York Gazette, had, in his day, liked to play a game of poker, whether it was right or whether it was wrong. Even to this day the lure of the game held, and in spite of the danger such a game entailed, Stubbs was not loath to play. Besides, the little man bethought himself that while the game was in progress he might learn something of value, so he said:
“All right. I’ll play.”