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A Hero of Liége by Herbert Strang

And he was very sleepy when he roused Granger


"Hellwig!

Does his Christian name happen to be Kurt?"

"Yes. Do you know him?"

"I have crossed swords with him--not literally, you understand, though nothing would please me better than a bout with him with the buttons off. I have one or two scores to settle with him. His Christian name would be more truly descriptive with the loss of a T. But how in the world did you come across him? He's not the kind of man I should expect to meet in your company."

"He's the cousin of my poor father's partner, Max Finkelstein. Max gives him a salary; he doesn't earn a penny of it, but Max is a kind-hearted beggar. He wouldn't do it if he knew that Hellwig was a--secret agent."

"Don't mind my feelings, my dear fellow," said Granger, with a laugh. "We're a very mixed lot, I assure you. Do you mind repeating what you overheard, as nearly as you can remember it?"

When the story was told, Granger acknowledged that ignorance of the position of the bridge was an obstacle to forewarning the Belgian authorities.

"Still, they ought to know every inch of the probable theatre of war," he said, "and may spot the place at once."

"We'll see in the morning," said Kenneth. "Meanwhile we had better take watch and watch about during the rest of the night. I don't suppose

any one will come by while it's dark, but it's as well to be on the safe side. I'll take first watch."

"Very well. It will be light in less than five hours. I'll snooze for a couple of hours; wake me then."

The night was warm, and Kenneth, in his policeman's coat, suffered no discomfort. His watch passed undisturbed, and he was very sleepy when he roused Granger.

About five o'clock he was wakened from a sound sleep by a nudge from his companion.

"Sorry to disturb you," said Granger, "but there's a group of peasants approaching with scythes. Evidently they are going to mow the meadow."

Kenneth started up.

"Belgians?" he asked.

"Or Dutch," replied Granger. "We shall soon know."

The peasants, more than a dozen in number, came straight towards the aeroplane. Recognising the German uniforms, as the two men rose from the ground, they halted, consulted for a moment or two, then advanced, holding their scythes threateningly.

"I fancy they're Dutch," said Granger. "My good friends," he called in Dutch, "will you tell us where we are?"

On hearing their own tongue the men consulted again. Then one of them left the party, and hurried back by the way he had come. The rest advanced slowly, keeping close together, not replying to the question, and wearing an air of suspicion and hostility.

"They have sent a man back to his village to warn the authorities," said Granger. "We must find out where we are."

The peasants halted at a little distance, and stood in an attitude of watchfulness.

"We are not Germans, in spite of our dress," Granger continued. "As a matter of fact, we are Englishmen who have lost our way."

The stolid Dutchmen looked round upon one another with a knowing air as much as to say "We have heard that story before." Granger tried again.


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