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A Hero of Liége by Herbert Strang

Replied Granger in excellent French


"Better

land now," shouted Granger, "or they'll be taking shots at us from the forts. This is Liege."

Almost before he had finished speaking the monoplane began to rock like a ship at sea, and Kenneth had to exert his utmost skill to preserve its equilibrium. A shell had burst a few hundred yards below them. Some seconds later they heard the dull thunder of the gun's discharge. Clearly it was no longer safe to continue the southward course. Kenneth swerved to the right, and making a steep vol plane, swooped into the cornfield of a farmhouse close by the high road.

The people of the farm, at the sight of the German uniforms, fled precipitately for shelter. Already "the terror of the German name" had become a by-word in the countryside.

"We are in hot water, I'm afraid," said Granger. "Strip off your coat; you're all right underneath."

Kenneth had hardly taken off his coat and helmet when there was a sound of galloping horses. A dozen Belgian mounted infantrymen dashed up the road, leapt the low wall of the farm steading, and shouted to them to surrender. Granger whipped out his pocket handkerchief and waved it in the air. The Belgians dismounted, and part of them advanced, the lieutenant at their head with revolver pointed, the men covering the fugitives with their rifles.

"You are our prisoners," said the

officer in bad German.

"Charmed, my dear sir," replied Granger in excellent French. "Contrary to appearances, we are not Germans, but Englishmen."

"Ah bah!" snorted the lieutenant. "You wear German uniforms."

"L'habit ne fait pas le moine," said Granger with a smile. "The fact is as I state it: we are Englishmen who have escaped from Cologne."

"The aeroplane is German," the officer persisted.

"We commandeered it, there being no English machine available. Unluckily we have no papers on us to prove our nationality; they were taken from us by the Germans who arrested us as spies."

"Bah!" said the lieutenant again. That two Englishmen arrested as spies should have been able to escape on a German monoplane laid too great a strain upon his imagination. "You are my prisoners. Hand over your arms."

Granger at once gave up the revolver, and Kenneth allowed himself to be searched. The officer rummaged the aeroplane for plans and other incriminating documents, then ordered two of his men to mount guard over it, and marched the prisoners through the farmyard to the road, under the gratified glances of the farm people at their windows. Kenneth carried his policeman's uniform.

After walking about a mile, they came to a regiment encamped in a field beside the road. The lieutenant led his prisoners to the commanding officer, and explained the circumstances of their capture.

"You say you are English?" he said, scanning the two men.

"I assure you that is the truth," replied Granger. "We were both arrested as spies in Cologne, but by an ingenious stratagem of my friend here we obtained possession of a German aeroplane, and are delighted to find ourselves in Belgian territory, among a friendly people."


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