OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, November 14, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-11-14/ed-1/seq-19/

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mother had hurried to France to ad
just his affairs. Then Mrs. Marcband
had remembered some old friends in
' Nancy and had gone there for a brief
visit, while the son settled the Paris
business tangle.
Suddenly, like a bolt from the-blue,
war blazed out. Mrs. Marchand,
shut up in Nancy, could get no news
of her son. And Jean, ablaze with
new love for the land of his birth, had
enlisted as a private soldier.
The tragedy of the affair was that
Nancy was not six miles distant, and
the mother, waiting jthere, did not
know but that Jean was in Paris.
Colonel Boileau faced the prisoner.
"The sentence of this court is that
you be shot at dawn"," he said.
The noncommissionedi officers took
the young man to the guard tent. The
court-martial dispersed. It was even
ing and the company had been or
dered to advance no further till It
received orders.
The firing squadron which had
been told off to perform the execution
at dawn whispered together. It was a
melancholy duty, yet a necessity, if
discipline was to be maintained, for
upon the vigilance of her soldiers the
safety of the motherland depended.
In 'his tent Colonel Boileau scanned
his war map, together with his aide,
Jacquevel, the captain who had en
deavored most strongly of all the
court to find extenuating circum
stances. When the business of the night was
done Boileau turned to Jacqueval.
"It's a sad business," he 6aid. "But
it's a necessity. And, to be frank,
Jacqueval, I suspected that young
man of. more than the crime of which
he was accused. If it were only that
I should telegraph Jbifre, asking for a
commutation of sentence."
"Of what do you suspect him, sir?"
inquired Captain JtqueveL
"Espionage," answered the colonel
briefly. "He Is not a Frenchman. Did.
you not detect his accent?"
"Alsatian," ' suggested Captain
Jacquevel,
"Never," replied Boileau. "I spent
three months in Alsace. They have '
the heavy Teutonic guttural in their '
throats, not that North German burr 5 '
of Marchand's. I think "
But what he thought was never
said, for at that moment an orderly
raied the flap of the tent.
"A lady wishes to see you, sir," he
said. A Mme. Marchand of Nancy."
Colonel Boileau looked triumph-1
antly at Jacquevel. "You see," he
said, "a prearranged thing. No doubt !
another spy, passing as a relative, i
Well, show her in, Louis. And we'll t
keep her when she comes in," he
added to Jacquevel, "unless she can
tell a plain story."
The tent flap was raised again and I
a little old lady came in. Despite his
angry suspicions Colonel Boileau rose
and offered her a camp stool. For t
the little old lady was so typically
French.
"Well, madam?" he asked.
'My son has enlisted in your com
pany, colonel," said the little old lady,
triumphantly.
Yea, there was triumph in her voice
and all through the story she told
him. For Mme. Marchand had in se
cret wished that he son might not
forfeit his birthright, and, learning
at Nancy, by a friend who managed
to reach her, that Jean had enlisted,
'nothing would satisfy her but that
she must go to the place where he
was and see him in the uniform which
his father had worn.
"And, thank heaven, he is here,"
she continued. "I walked from
Nancy, starting at noon."
"You walked from Nancy, ma
dam?" inquired the colonel incredu
lously. "Six miles? 'Pooh! That is noth7
ing. During the war of 1870, when
my Philippe was serving on the fron
tier, L walked from Nancy to Paris.
And now I have come to see my Jean
in the midst of his comrades. To
think that, with all his American cit
izenship he preserved his French
heart"
4i$t &Mci 'j!(!i

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