Page images
PDF
EPUB

and paled. And Fen knew then that he "I 'm sorry I frightened you," said would not be able to run down the moun Fen. "I was dreaming, I think. Sally! tain as he had run up—that he would not Your eyes are all wet!" even be able to walk down—alone—so far, "They're not!" replied Sally, hotly. so far, to the world. He caught desper- “Here, lean back, now; is that pillow ately at Siddereticus's robe; but it melted right? Gracious! Look at all my beads out of his hand, and he was left in utter —all over the deck !" darkness—alone.

But Fen was looking out to sea. FarThere was a sort of crash, and, bewil removed and tranquil lay the blue hills dered, he found Sally's arms around him. of the coast-unchanged, unchanging. She was holding him rather tight, and her Only the cobweb veil of distance lay beface was quite red.

tween Fen and those mountain-sides where "Fen! What is it! What is the mat the gleaming flowers were now closed, ter!" she was gasping. The beads she had each holding in its heart an opalescent been stringing were rolling about the deck. drop of starlight.

"I don't know," said Fen; "nothing. He looked away again. Sally was gathWhat did I do? You look awfully queer." ering the scattered beads, and her cheeks

"You looked awfully queer!" said Sally. were still Aushed. "Goodness, you frightened me, Fen! "I 'm awfully sorry I bothered you so, You 'd been asleep for ever so long, when Sally,” said Fen. “I wish I could help all of a sudden you cried out, 'Oh, if you you pick them up.” leave me here—alone—1—shall die!' and And, to his infinite surprise, Sally you nearly stood right up. I thought you jumped to her feet and kissed his cheek were going to."

suddenly. (To be continued)

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

By GEORGE ETHELBERT WALSH

CHAPTER V

terrupted boldly. “Did n't they fight and

lick the Germans there?" UNDER LOCK AND KEY

"Eh! What's that? Château-Thierry?" "Halt!" a sharp voice commanded.

"And Belleau Woods !" continued Bob, There was no need to give this order, defiantly, his anger up. "Did n't they drive for the boys were already prisoners in the your best troops out there?” cordon of soldiers that had surrounded The surprise and anger of the officer them. A smart lieutenant came up and threatened to bring on an attack of apopeered at them.

plexy. His veins swelled up and his face Ach! Boys!” he sniffed in disgust; grew nearly purple with rage. But his then, grinning, he added, "but big boys— prisoner was a boy, and he would treat him all over fifteen!"

disdainfully. Bob faced him defiantly, and said: "I know nothing about the places you “No, thirteen."

speak of," he replied loftily, shrugging his “That is for the commandant to say,” shoulders. “There are no such places; was the sneering reply. "I shall put you and if the Yankee pigs are there, it must down as fourteen. What is your name?" be far behind the lines, where German bul

He whipped out a note book, and under lets can't reach them." the nearest lamp began writing a descrip Bob laughed good-naturedly, for now tion of Bob.

that he had betrayed so much of the knowl. "Your name?” he snapped out again, edge that had filtered in to him through when the boy hesitated. Torn between a his Vigilantes, he was boastful enough to desire to give a fictitious name and an in want to go farther. clination to escape by running away while “Château-Thierry is right in the thickthe officer was off his guard, Bob hesitated est part of the fighting," he replied, "and another second. Then, realizing the futil- the Germans had to get out of it in a hurry ity of trying to conceal his identity, he re when the Americans attacked them. Thouplied boldly:

sands of them were killed and wounded or "Robert Lane!"

captured.” "Lane! Lane! Is it a German name? "Americans, you mean!" Was one of your parents German ?”

“No, Germans, and some of your best "No!” exclaimed Bob, sullenly. “There troops.' 's no German blood in me. My mother In his enthusiasm Bob had forgotten was a Belgian, and my father an Ameri- that he was talking to a German officer,

and his knowledge of such intimate prog"American!” The word came out vi ress on the West Front suddenly aroused ciously. "American!” he repeated, grow the other's suspicion. He leaned forward ing very red in the face. “They 're worse and glared at Bob. Then, with a heavy than the French or English. They are hand on his collar, he jerked him forward. Yankee pigs. They think they can fight, "A spy!" he hissed. "A young Ameribut they 're bluffers-money-makers-lit can spy! Ach! The brave American can tle traders !"

repeat this to the commandant, and “They can fight, you 'll find,” interrup- then—" ted Bob. “They 'll give the German troops He waved his hands over his head, imia run for their money."

tated the action of a firing-squad, and endAch! Fight!" scornfully. “They'll ed with the one word, Pouff!run the first time they hear our guns. Holding Bob by the collar, he turned to

“How about Château-Thierry!" Bob in- Egmont and Guy: "I shall not want you

can.”

to-night. The American spy is the one I "Yes, he is the Yankee pig. He boasted was after. Go!”

of his knowledge, and" Guy and Egmont remained stock-still, He 's nothing but a youth-a mere for it was not their nature to run when boy,” murmured the elderly officer. one of their companions was in trouble. "He's old enough to work, and thereSeeing their hesitation, the officer grum- fore old enough to be a dangerous enemy." bled a word of command to the guard, who "All right. We 'll see what he knows." raised his bayonet and made as if to prod Bob knew he was in for a quiz such as them with it. The boys stepped back a he had never been subjected to before. He few paces, but did not run.

recalled what he had heard of the third “Go on home, Egmont and Guy,” Bob degree that the police used to give to prissaid. “I 'm in no danger. It 's all bluff.” oners back home. Would they resort to

“We don't want to leave you, Bob,” re- physical force, or depend chiefly on browplied Egmont.

beating and threats? "You can't do any good by staying. The examination began in a leisurely You 'll only get yourself into trouble. I way, and without any show of force or don't mind spending a night in the guard threats. Indeed, the superior officer ashouse. In the morning they'll release sumed the attitude of one interested in me.”

him, smiling in a benevolent manner occaGuy and Egmont reluctantly drew sionally; but he took Bob's whole pedigree, away, and finally disappeared in the shad an aide writing down the questions and anows of a side street. Bob was led off by swers with scrupulous care. When this his captors and placed under lock and key preliminary had been finished, the officer for the night.

turned to him and said: Events had followed one another so fast "Now tell me what you said to Lieutenthat his mind was too excited for sleep. ant Bohn last night.” He reviewed the day's work in the aban Bob related all he could recall, repeating doned sewer, and exulted at the thought the conversation word for word. The offithat the wires connected with the under cer made no comment until he was ground mines had been cut. If the Huns through. Then, twiddling stubby thumbs were ever forced to evacuate Brussels, they over his chest, he added:

ould attempt to blow up the square with "Now tell me how you knew all this. the mines planted under the houses, but But be careful that you don't tell me a lie. what would be their surprise when they I want nothing but the truth.” refused to go off? Bob smiled to himself “Why, sir,” Bob replied truthfully, and as he pictured their consternation. with an innocent expression in his blue

Toward morning he finally fell asleep, eyes, "it 's common talk. Everybody and did not awaken until some time past knows it in Brussels.” daybreak. He was finally aroused by a "Everybody!" guard, and, after a breakfast of the coarse "Nearly everybody—even the boys and prison fare, he was ordered to follow him. girls." Curious and a little anxious as to his fate, The man scowled and twisted one end he accompanied the guard through a long, of his mustache into his mouth and began dark corridor, and came out into a small chewing it. He was both annoyed and room where an officer, with many decora troubled. Bob, fearing to be pressed too tions pinned to his breast, was awaiting closely, suddenly thought of a way to dihim. The moment Bob appeared, the vert suspicion from himself. young Prussian who had arrested him "Why, even 'La Libre Belgique' says came in by another door.

so,” he added. “Is this the American spy you arrested, The effect of these words was instantaLieutenant?” the superior officer asked,

The fatherly, benevolent expresturning to the ot! .

sion on the officer's face disappeared, and

neous.

a look of rage succeeded it. He became "But tell me what happened," asked red, and then purple. He rose from his Egmont eagerly. seat and smashed his hand down so heavily In a few words Bob related the inciupon the table that his aide, busily engaged dents of the examination before the comin writing, jumped back in fright. Turn mandant, and then added: “That is n't ing to the lieutenant, he thundered: the first time 'La Libre Belgique' has

“That 's your spy—that paper! How helped our people in trouble. I wonder many times have I ordered you to suppress who publishes it, and how they manage to it! Go and find it, and bring the owner do it. Every German officer and private of it to me! I have said so! Obey !" is on the lookout for the editor."

His rage was fully justified, and in his “Whoever he is, he 's a great patriot!" heart Bob was laughing. La Libre Bel- replied Egmont, enthusiastically. “I 'd gique" was a Belgian newspaper that had like to congratulate him." been published secretly in Brussels ever "Perhaps it 's just as well we don't since the invasion. A reward of five thou know him," mused Bob. “I have reasons sand, then ten, and finally fifteen, thou to believe that I 'm being shadowed, Egsand dollars, had been offered to any one mont. They think I know the editor and whose information would lead to the dis where the paper is published. That's why covery of the editor and printer of it. they let me off so easily. It was a ruse to

But the search had been in vain. Order make a bigger capture." after order had been issued to suppress it, “Then we'd better keep away from our but the sheet continued to appear more or meeting-place for a few days. They might less regularly, and was secretly distributed trace us to the abandoned sewer.” among the Belgians. The utmost effort of "Yes, we'll keep out of it for the presthe German intelligence bureau had failed ent. Pass the word around to the boys to unearth it.

that we 're being watched. We might In intimating that "La Libre Belgique" make a trip outside the city, just to throw was the source of his information, Bob had them off the trail. Let 's see—can't we effectually diverted suspicion from himself. visit that ruined château near Laeken? I A few minutes later he was dismissed and 've always wanted to see it. There 's no released; but as he left the prison and German guard there now. It will be a made his way outside, he was conscious of sort of vacation in the country.” peering eyes following him. Were his "Yes, but the Germans are at Laeken itfootsteps shadowed by a spy for the pur- self, at the king's summer palace. We pose of locating what was more important don't want to go near that.” to the German commandant—the discov "I 'll keep away from them. I've had ery of the secret printing-place of the defi- enough of their company to last me for ant newspaper? Bob smiled at the thought,

some time." and continued on his way to his cousin's Laeken was a short distance from the home.

suburbs of Brussels, and was noted chiefly

as being the seat of King Albert's summer CHAPTER VI

palace, perched on a hill overlooking the

city. It was an imposing building of gray THE MYSTERY OF THE CHATEAU

stone in the Renaissance style. The greenEGMONT greeted Bob's coming with houses surrounding it were erected by demonstrations of joy, for, all night long, King Leopold, and before the war they not once had he closed his eyes in sleep. were considered the largest and finest in

"How did you escape, Bob?” he de- Europe. One could stroll for miles manded.

through glass-covered walks. "They let me go," was the laughing The German high command had taken reply, “just as I expected. That young

ed. That young possession of the summer palace, and many prig of a lieutenant had nothing on me.” of the greenhouses had been dismantled or

more

completely destroyed; but it was still an bris, they made their way into what had imposing and wonderful place. Beyond been the main hall of the château. Here the splendid park of Laeken stretched a an old pair of stone steps, in a better state series of beautiful châteaus. One of these of preservation than the walls, led downdated back several centuries, and its ruins ward, and the boys, bent on exploration, dewere frequently visited by travelers.

Bob and Egmont, having decided to make a day of it in the country, they invited Guy to accompany them, and set out on their expedition early the following morning.

Once more they were care-free, rollicking boys, with no serious thought on their minds than that of having a good time. They carried fish-lines and hooks in their pockets, although fishing was "streng verbotten"-strictly forbidden—in any of the streams or lakes by order of the German high command. But there was always the chance of slyly dropping a line in some obscure pool or hole and hauling out a good fish. The very fact that it was forbidden by the enemy of their country added zest and temptation to

[graphic]

the sport.

The old ruins of the château were several miles beyond the scended them, carefully picking their way. king's summer palace, and outside of the At the bottom they came to a cellarlike park that inclosed it. Egmont knew a short room, with sagging walls and half-demolcut across the fields and through the woods, ished ceiling. They made their way ginwhich enabled them to reach it without gerly across this to an arched passageway encountering any sentries. Once among that seemed to lead still farther into the the trees they felt reasonably safe from heart of the château. prying eyes and soon reached the château. “Where does this go?" asked Bob, peer

After making a thorough investigation ing into the dimness. of the once turreted walls, and the moat “There was

an old dungeon down surrounding them, now filled in with de- here," replied Egmont, "where they used

« PreviousContinue »