long," the man that fed the prisoner
told his old lieutenant.
"Lots of good it'll do me," com
Real action was inevitable. Jim
my Crogan was out of it; that was as
certain as is death.
Lieut. Crogan found himself awake
in the middle of his prison, the sun
light streaming through the cracks in
the wall and his heart thumping
stoutly, right up in his throat. Then
he laughed. It wasn't a battery after
all. Just the roar of a 'plane's ex
haust as it circled above the camp.
Through his window he could see the
thing as it winged its way to the
south, looking like a big bug. Hours
passed and the aeroplane did not re
turn. Another went up and did not
come back. The next day a third
and fourth made the attempt. And
none came back.
That afternoon Lieut. Rawley en
tered the guardhouse on official busi
ness of course. His face was pinch
ed and drawn. He looked at the pris
oner in silence.
He held up four fingers of his right
"Four," he said weakly.
"Yah four," said Jimmy, specu
lating as to the sanity of his jailer.
"They've a battery," said Rawley
in a voice that grated, "that gets the
'planes at any distance. Four
Lord! And they've got to send men
up that hill tonight on their bellies
the way they did at San Juan."
"Tonight? Volunteers to map
the hill?" asked Jimmy in a whisper.
"Yes and it's coming," replied
Rawley. "We'll be tangling with 'em
in 48 hours, I'm afraid," he muttered.
"Afraid!" scoffed Jimmy when he
was alone. "Great God! Afraid!
Those fellows don't "
He looked through the one window
for a long, long time.
The swift night settled down and
the hum of the camp diminished to a
drone. Activity was in the air. It
made living tense.
"The moon," said Jimmy to him
self, "will rise after midnight. And
it's a cinch!"
He went to the corner of the one
room and squatted on the floor. With
a stick he jabbed at the mud between
the big adobe bricks. It crumbled
easily under the attack. In a half
hour the brick was loose. He work
ed a second block loose; then the one
above the two. An hour later he
stuck his head and shoulders out, put
his ear against the ground to hear
better the tread of the sentry, chose
his time well and slipped into the
night. Carefully he crawled between
the tents; cautiously he picked his
way to avoid lights. He worked away
from his own regiment and passed
through the camp of another.
An hour went by and he commenc
ed to fear that the moon would frus
trate all his efforts. At last he left
the man-infested area behind and
crept on faster.
"Well," he told himself, "a man
never did anything who stayed put!"
Jimmy crawled on his hands and
knees for what he guessed was three
hundred yards. Then he arose,
stretched himself with, a great breath,
slapped his chest gently with the
palms of his hands, smiled up at the
stars and commenced to walk, care
fully, catlike. For a half hour he trav
eled slowly, choosing every foothold.
He glanced behind him and laughed
softly if nervously as he saw the
camp lights receding slowly into the
distance. At last he crossed a little
stream that babbled down a rocky
bed. For a little while he followed the
road, and then, when the moon shov
ed its yellow rim above the hills to the
east, he struck out across the almost
Lieutenant James . Crogan, alone
between two hostile armies, break
fasted on prickly pear, scraping the
minute barbs off with a sharp stone.
He drank from a water hole, crept
under a bush and settled down to
wait the long day through. He could
, see the hilltop from where he lay,
xml | txt