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A Hero of Liége by Herbert Strang

Pariset hurriedly informed his friends


"Get

down, and don't stir a step for your lives," Kenneth commanded. "Drop your arms."

Pariset kept guard over them while Granger bundled Hellwig into the car and Kenneth started the engine.

"I didn't like to leave Brinckmann behind," explained Granger smoothly as he squeezed himself into the seat beside Hellwig. "We are just in time."

Just as the helmets of the approaching troopers showed above the park wall a furlong away, Kenneth sprang after Pariset into the car, and let in the clutch. The car moved forward, swung round into the drive, shaved the gatepost, and sped northward down the road.

CHAPTER XVIII--RUNNING THE GAUNTLET

The sound of the starting car brought two of the troopers up at a gallop. The sight of the Uhlan helmets did not at first inspire them with distrust, but merely with curiosity that Uhlans should have been employed in unusual work. The three men left in front of the house, however, came running to the gates, shouting somewhat incoherently. The words "Spionen!" and "Belgen!" were distinguishable. Their cries were taken up by the troopers, and vociferated to their comrades riding leisurely along. At the prospect of a spy hunt they pricked their horses to a gallop, and set off in chase of the car, now almost out of sight.

justify;">"The German camp is in this direction, you told us?" said Kenneth to Granger.

"Yes; there is a by-road just before we reach it. The enemy are not likely to be coming towards us."

The road was heavy and deeply rutted from the recent passage of cumbrous transport wagons and artillery. Kenneth found the acceleration of the car slow, and in any case the weight of the armour with which its vital parts were protected would have rendered it incapable of high speed. For a time the horsemen appeared to gain on it, and Pariset, who had taken charge of the machine gun, swung it round to cover the rear, ready to open fire if they drew too near.

"Don't fire if you can help it," Granger said. "It would be a pity to disturb the camp ahead."

After a few minutes the car began to draw away. Pariset saw one of the troopers rein up, and expected him to fire over the holster of his saddle. But the man dismounted, and just as the car swung out of sight at a bend of the road, he was clambering up a telegraph pole. Pariset hurriedly informed his friends.

"We must stop and cut the wires," said Kenneth, jamming on the brakes.

Lifting the lid of the tool box, he seized a pair of nippers.

"Evidently meant for the job," he said.

"Give them to me," cried Granger. "You stick to the car."

He sprang out, and swarmed up the nearest pole with an agility surprising in a man of his venerable aspect. Before he was half way up, however, the head of the column rounded the corner.

"There's no help for it," said Pariset. "Here goes!"

Next moment there was a sharp metallic crack. The car trembled.

"Three horses down!" cried Pariset. "The rest are swinging in to the side of the road. If Granger is quick--ah! he has done it. They are not coming on again yet."

Granger slid down the pole, jumped into the car, and again they were off.

"We shall have to cut it again in another mile or so," said Pariset.


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