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Army Boys in the French Trenches by Homer Randall

If all aviators had your class


And his estimate proved very nearly correct. Soon the boys of the old Thirty-seventh could recognize the familiar landmarks of their own encampment, and, with one impulse, they gave three rousing cheers.

CHAPTER XIX

PUTTING ONE OVER

It was a beautiful landing that Dick Lever made at the aviation camp, his great machine sailing down like a swan and landing so lightly that it would scarcely have broken a pane of glass.

"Dick, you're a wonder!" exclaimed Frank, as he stepped out of the machine.

"The way you put it all over the Boche planes shows that," chimed in Bart with equal enthusiasm.

"I don't wonder they say you're an 'ace,'" added Billy.

"If all aviators had your class, the Hun flyers wouldn't have a chance on earth--I mean in the sky," said Tom.

"Oh, it's all a matter of practice," said Dick modestly, although it was plain to be seen that their heartfelt appreciation pleased him. "It's as easy as running an automobile when you know how. Well, so long, fellows. I've got to make my report," and with a gay wave of the hand he left them and made his way to aviation headquarters.

"Say, how does it feel to be a free man once more?" cried Frank jubilantly, as they sought out their regiment.

"I can't believe yet that it's anything but a dream." replied Bart with deep feeling, as he looked around at the friendly faces and familiar surroundings that he had feared for a time he would never see again.

"And look at that flag!" cried Billy as he saw Old Glory flying from one of the officers' pavilions. Like a flash their hats came off and they saluted the glorious flag that meant to them everything in life.

They passed the tanks, and Will Stone, who was "grooming his pet," looked at them for a moment as though he could not believe his eyes. Then he rushed toward them and nearly shook their hands off.

"By all that is lucky!" he cried. "I was afraid I was never going to see you fellows again. Where did you drop from?"

"From the sky," laughed Frank.

"Some little angels, you see," chuckled Billy. Then seeing Stone's puzzled look he added: "The Huns had got their hooks on us when Dick Lever came along in his plane, gave them a few little leaden missives, picked us up and landed us here, right side up with care."

Stone's eyes kindled as he heard their story, and his enthusiasm over Lever's feat was as great as their own.

"But how did we make out in the big drive?" asked Frank. "We kept hoping all the time that you fellows would be along and nab us before the Boches did."

"We've had a big victory," explained Stone. "We put the Hindenburg line on the blink by that smash at his center, and he's had to draw in his wings on both sides. It's one of the biggest things that's been done on the western front, and the Heinies will have a hard time explaining it in Berlin."

"That's bully!" exclaimed Frank.

"That town you fellows were hiding in didn't come into our general plan," went on Stone, "and that's the reason you had to fight your way out all by your lonesome."


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