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Army Boys in the French Trenches by Homer Randall

The corporal put his ear to the ground


The

conversation had been carried on in the faintest whispers, and after the first hurried examination of the dummy trench there had been no light. But they all felt better when they had passed out of the trench without mishap and lay on the ground above. Here they were at least in the open, and if death came to them they would not be slaughtered like rats in a trap.

The corporal consulted his radio watch and found that it wanted but two hours to dawn.

"Not much time left, boys," he murmured. "And unless we get back to our lines before daylight, we'll stand a good chance of losing the number of our mess. But if we don't do anything else, we've done a pretty fair night's work. The finding of this dummy trench will put a crimp in the Heinies' plans. I'd like to have some prisoners to take along just for luck but all we've bagged is that sentry."

"Perhaps we haven't even got him," suggested Frank. "Some of his comrades may have found him by this time."

"Not likely," replied Bart. "He couldn't make a noise, and as we left him outside the wire they wouldn't be likely to stumble over him."

"All the same, we'd better get a hustle on," replied the corporal, and they started on their homeward journey as stealthily as they had come.

They had some difficulty in finding the breach in the

wire through which they had entered, but at last they succeeded and wormed their way out. Then they felt around for the sentry and found him in the place they had left him. He had returned to consciousness, for when the corporal risked a ray of his flashlight on the upturned face, they could see that his eyes were open and looking at them intelligently.

The corporal placed the muzzle of his revolver against the man's neck as a gentle reminder of what would happen to him if he should make a sound, and they proceeded to untie his hands. Then they motioned to him that he was to get on his hands and knees and go before them, which, with muffled grunts, and after two or three attempts, he succeeded in doing. He was evidently dazed yet and stiff from the cramped attitude in which he had been lying, but stern necessity was on him and he finally wobbled and staggered on before them.

They had got some little distance away from the wires when Frank suddenly came to a dead stop. His comrades halted instantly.

"What is it?" whispered Wilson, who was nearest to him.

"That blur ahead of us," returned Frank. "It looks a little more solid than the rest of the darkness."

He pointed ahead and a little to the right.

"I don't see anything," remarked Tom.

"Neither do I," affirmed Billy.

"I think I see a little blacker patch than usual," declared Bart. "And it seems to be moving."

The corporal put his ear to the ground.

"I think Sheldon is right," he said, after a moment of intense listening. "At any rate we'll take no chances. Slip into some of these shell holes and lie low. If it should be an enemy patrol and there are too many to tackle we'll let them go by. But if there aren't more than double our number we'll take a crack at them. Keep your weapons ready and let fly when I give the word."


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