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Army Boys in the French Trenches by Homer Randall

Made up chiefly of Camport boys


"Some

scrap!" gasped Billy, as he sank exhausted to the ground.

"Did them up to the Queen's taste," chuckled Tom.

"We certainly put one over on the Huns that time," grinned Frank happily.

And while they stand there, breathless and exulting, it may be well for the benefit of those who have not previously made the acquaintance of the American Army Boys to sketch briefly their adventures up to the time this story opens.

Frank Sheldon, Bart Raymond, Tom Bradford and Billy Waldon had all been born and brought up in Camport, a thriving American city of about twenty-five thousand people. They had known each other from boyhood, attended the same school, played on the same baseball nine and were warm friends.

Frank was the natural leader of the group. He was a tall, muscular young fellow, quick to think and quick to act, always at the front in sports as well as in the more serious events of life.

His father had died some years before, leaving only a modest home as a legacy, and Frank was the sole support of his mother. The latter had been born in France, where Mr. Sheldon had married her and brought her to America.

Later, Mrs. Sheldon's father had died, leaving her a considerable property in Auvergne, her native province. This estate, however, had been

tied up in a lawsuit, and she had not come into possession of it. She had been planning to go to France to look after her interests, but her husband's death and, later on, the breaking out of the European war, had made this impossible.

She was a charming woman, with all the French sparkle and vivacity, and she and her son were bound together in ties of the strongest affection. Naturally her ardent sympathy had been with France in the great war raging in Europe. But when it became evident that America soon would take part, although she welcomed the aid this would bring to her native country, her mother heart was torn with anguish at the thought that her only son would probably join in the fighting across the sea.

But Frank, though he dreaded the separation, felt that he must join the Camport regiment that was getting ready to fight the Huns. The deciding moment came when a German tore down the American flag from a neighbor's porch. Frank knocked the fellow down and in the presence of an excited throng made him kiss the flag that he had insulted. From that moment his resolution was taken, and his mother, who had witnessed the scene, gave her consent to his joining the old Thirty-seventh regiment, made up chiefly of Camport boys, including Billy Waldon, who had seen service on the Mexican border.

Bart Raymond, Frank's special chum, a sturdy, vigorous young fellow, was equally patriotic, and joined the regiment with Frank as soon as war was declared. Tom Bradford, a fellow employee in the firm of Moore & Thomas, a thriving hardware house, wanted to enlist, but was rejected on account of his teeth, although he wrathfully declared that "he wanted to shoot the Germans, not to bite them." In fact, almost all the young fellows employed by the firm, except "Reddy," the office boy, who wanted to go badly enough, but who was too young, tried to get into some branch of the army or navy.

A marked exception was Nick Rabig, the foreman of the shipping department, who, although born in the United States, came of German parents and lost no opportunity of "boosting" Germany and "knocking" America. He was the bully of the place and universally disliked. He hated Frank, especially after the flag incident, and only the thought of his mother had prevented Frank more than once from giving Rabig the thrashing he deserved.


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