Jimmie was so very tired now, he really did not care very much what happened; he knelt in the hole, looking up, and suddenly he saw the huge figure of a German looming above him, his rifle poised. Jimmie closed his eyes and waited for the blow, and suddenly the German came down with a crash on top of him.
Jimmie thought for sure he must be dead; he lay wondering, was this immortality? But it did not seem like either heaven or hell as he had imagined them, and gradually he realized that the German was writhing and moaning. Jimmie wriggled from under, and looked up, just in time to see another German loom over the shell-hole and pitch forward and hit on his face.
It was evident that somebody farther back was attending to these Germans; so Jimmie lay still, with a feeble flicker of hope in his heart. The rattle of shots went on, a battle that lasted ten or fifteen minutes, but Jimmie was too tired to peer out and see how matters were going. Presently he heard someone running up behind him, and he looked around and up, and saw two men jump into the shell-hole. He took one glance, and his heart leaped. The doughboys!
Yes, sir, there were two doughboys in the shell-hole! Jimmie had seen so many tens of thousands of them that he had no doubt. Compared with the war-battered poilus, they were like soldiers out of a fashion-plate: smooth-shaven, with long chins and thin lips, and a thousand other details which made you realize that home was home, and better than any other place in the world. And oh, the beautiful business-like precision of these fashion-plate soldiers! They never said a word, they never even glanced about; they just threw themselves down at the edge of the shell-hole, and leaned their rifles over and set to work. You didn’t need to see—you could tell from the look on these men’s faces that they were hitting something!
Presently came two more, leaping in. Without so much as as a nod of greeting, they settled down and went to shooting; and when they had used up most of their cartridges, one of them got up and shouted to the rear, and there came a man running with a fresh supply in a big pouch.
Later on came three more with rifles. Apparently there were not so many Germans now, for these new-comers found time for words. “They told us to hold a line back there,” said one. “But hell!”
“There’s more Huns up ahead,” said another. “Let’s get ’em.”
“Just as well now as later,” said a third.
“You stay behind and get that finger tied up,” said the first speaker; but the other told him to go and get his own fingers tied up.
Then one of them looked about and spied Jimmie. “Why, here’s a Yank!” he cried. “What you doin’ here?”
Jimmie answered: “I’m a motor-cycle man, and they sent me with maps for a battery, but I think it’s been captured long ago.”