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Newspaper Page Text
THE COUP THAT FAILED
By H. M. Egbert.
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
It was not thelhack of arms, but
thnst, that threatened to force the
Jevoted city to surrender.
For months the enemy had hurled
their lines against the fortress, only
to see the gallant troops retire, deci
mated, baffeld by the strong earth
works that promised to hold out in
definitely. And until the city fell the
forward march of the victorious
irmy could not continue.
General Lamarche was desperate.
He could not leave the fortress in his
rear untaken and continue his ad
vance toward the capital of the en
emy, for that would mean that his
lines of communication would be sev
ered. And behind those walls the
enemy was reforming, ready to re
new the war in all its pristine vigor.
But for months no drop of rain had
fallen. The springs within the city
had run dry. The river had been
dammed and diverted by the besieg
ers. And there remained hardly
three days' supply of water.
That the city was in need of water
General Lamarche knew; but he did
not know how near it was to surren
der. And every day's delay was worth
a thousand men to those within.
It was at this juncture that he gave
audience to the man who had begged
for an interview daily during the past
"Let the fellow come in," he said
reluctantly to his aide. "Well, sir?"
he demanded, as the ragged, wild
looking fellow stood before him.
"My name is Durand," said the
General Lamarche started slightly.
"The aviator?" he asked,
Durand bowed his head .
Lamarche, like every other French
man, knew about Durand. He had
- one of the foremost men to de
- dirigible gas-balloon. While
-ked upon the aeroplane,
Durand had brought the dirigible al
most to perfection. And, at the mo
ment when he was about to see his
invention adopted by the French
army, he had committed a murder
while under the influence of absinthe,
to which he had become addicted by
reason of the mental strain he had
He was shipped to New Caledonia,
but, after serving three years there,
he was pardoned and disappeared
from the haunts of his associates.
Rose Slowly Into, the Air.
That was a year ago and since then
nothing had been heard of him.
"I want to do something for my
country," Durand explained.
"You shall be attached to the aero
plane division," answered Lamarche.
Durand laughed quietly. "I do not
wish to become a private aviator," b,e
said. "I have a plan by which you
can capture Fort Gleichen."
"What is it?" asked Lamarche im-