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Army Boys in the French Trenches by Homer Randall

Their first inquiry after breakfast was for Rabig


"I

don't think I want any supper, after all," remarked Tom to his friends.

"Same here," responded Bart. "I don't feel as though I'd ever be hungry again."

"All I want to do is to get to sleep and forget it," said Billy. "That is, if I _can_ get to sleep."

"You'll sleep all right," observed Frank, "but I wouldn't guarantee you against nightmare."

But harrowed as their nerves had been, they were too young and healthy to stand out against the sleep they needed, and when they woke the next morning both their spirits and their appetites were as good as usual. Life at the front was too full of work and rush for any one experience to leave its imprint long.

Their first inquiry after breakfast was for Rabig.

"How's Rabig getting along?" Frank asked of Fred Anderson.

"Oh, he's all right, I guess," answered Fred carelessly. "When the doctors came to examine him they found that the wound didn't amount to much. Said he'd be all right in a day or two."

"Is he under arrest?" asked Tom.

"Why, yes, I suppose he is," answered Fred. "But I guess it's a mere form. The fact that the prisoner didn't finally get away will count in his favor. It's like baseball. An error is an error, but if the

man who ought to be out at first gets put out when he tries to steal second the error is harmless. It's no credit to Rabig that a bullet got the man he let escape, but it's lucky for him just the same."

It was evident that Anderson had no suspicion that Rabig had been guilty of anything but carelessness, and the boys carefully refrained from saying anything about what they had gathered from their observation the day before. But when they were alone together they had no hesitation about speaking their minds.

"Some fellows could commit murder and get away with it," grumbled Tom.

"Cheer up, you old grouch," chaffed Billy. "At any rate the prisoner didn't escape, and so there's no harm done."

"And if Rabig is guilty he's got nothing from it but a sore head," put in Bart.

"I don't feel dead sure that Rabig helped him," said Frank, "and yet the more I think it over, the more I'm inclined to think that Tom is right about it. Still, Rabig's entitled to the benefit of the doubt. I know how the Scotch jury felt when they brought in the verdict: 'Not guilty, but don't do it again.'"

"That's just what I'm afraid Rabig will do," said Tom. "This time luckily it didn't matter. The prisoner didn't escape. But if Rabig is a traitor, how do we know but what the next time he might do something that might cause a defeat?"

"It does make one uneasy," agreed Bart. "Nick in the regiment is like a splinter in the finger. It makes you sore. But we'll keep our eyes open and the very next crooked move he makes it will be curtains for him."

"Or taps," added Billy.

The fighting now had lost the first intensity that had signalized the day of the mine explosion. The Germans had been strongly reinforced, and had held their third line, which had now become their first.


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