“She does? Good! Good for you, Gustave!”
“Her second thought,” Feller rejoined. “And, Lanny,” he proceeded in boyish enthusiasm, using a slang word of military school days, “it was bulludgeous the way we brought down their planes and dirigibles! How I ache to be in it when the guns are so busy! With batteries back of the house and an automatic in the yard, things seem very homelike. I—”
“Gustave,” interrupted Lanstron, “we all have our weaknesses, and perhaps yours is to play a part. So keep away from the fight and don’t think of the guns!”
“I will, I swear!” Feller answered fervently. “One thought, one duty! I’ll ’phone you when the house is taken, and if you don’t hear from me again, why, you’ll know the plan has failed and I’m a prisoner. But, trust me, Lanny! Trust me—for my flag and my country against the invader!”
“Against the invader—that justifies all! And get Miss Galland out of it. You seem to have influence with her. Get her out of it!”
“Bless you, and God with you!”
“One thought, one duty!” repeated Feller with the devoutness of a monk trying to forget everything except his aves as he started toward the stairway. “I wonder if we still hold the knoll!” he mused, extinguishing the lantern. “We do! we do!” he cried when he was in the doorway. “Oh, this is life!” he added after a deep-drawn breath, watching the little clouds of shrapnel smoke here and there along the base of the range.
FLOWERS FOR THE WOUNDED
Was there nothing for Marta to do? Could she only look on in a fever of restlessness while action roared around her? On the way from the tower to the house the sight of several automobile ambulances in the road at the foot of the garden stilled the throbs of distraction in her temples with an answer. The wounded! They were already coming in from the field. She hurried down the terrace steps. The major surgeon in charge, surprised to find any woman in the vicinity, was about to tell her so automatically; then, in view of her intensity, he waited for her to speak.
“You will let us do something for them?” Marta asked. “We will make them some hot soup.”
He was immediately businesslike. No less than Dellarme or Fracasse or Lanstron or Westerling, he had been preparing throughout his professional career for this hour. The detail of caring for the men who were down had been worked out no less systematically than that of wounding them.
“Thank you, no! We don’t want to waste time,” he replied. “We must get them away with all speed so that the ambulances may return promptly. It’s only a fifteen-minute run to the hospital, where every comfort and appliance are ready and where they will be given the right things to eat.”
“Then we will give them some wine!” Marta persisted.