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Newspaper Page Text
"The Twelfth is in the trenches.
The Fifteenth relieved us at night
fall. I should have gone back with
The general interposed, frowning
"If you were asleep on sentry duty
there can be only one penalty," he
snarled. "But if you are a spy you
may save your life by acknowledging
all and giving us information of
value as to the movements of the
Germans. Come now, are you a Ger
man?" "I am an American of the Foreign
Legion," said Scovell, with a ges
ture signifying that the whole pro
cess was useless. He thought of a
girl in Boston, whom he had left
after a quarrel. He had not seen her
before he sailed. Perhaps they would
let him write a letter.
"Prove that you are not a spy!"
the general persisted angrily. "What
is the last village at which you
halted, where your headquarters are
"Your trenches have they many
bomb-throwers? Come, I know the
"We have four bomb-throwers in
"Are the trenches cemented?"
"Concreted. But what is the use
of all this? I have confessed "
"Be silent. Who commands the
Ninth? Answer now, for your life
A blazing star shell suddenly dis
closed the scene to Scovell's eyes as
if it had been etched in white. He
saw the eager group about him, the
attentive faces. Something was
hotting high overhead
Night fell. A thousand tons of
earth seemed to rise up and strike
him. Scovell gasped for breath. He
fought with fury to worm his way
through the overwhelming mass. He
was ' aware of fragments of debris
that had once been flesh and blood
about him. He found the free air, I
drew in a breath, struggled out of the
immense crater made by the shell.
In the center of the hole lay the
mutilated and mangled bodies of the
officers who had comprised the
And suddenly Scovell realized that
he was free. None but the party
knew that he had slept. They had
placed nobody on guard in his stead.
He had not been absent more than a
quarter of an hour. If he hurried he
could be back in time for his relief.
He was about to hurry down the
empty trench when he saw a piece of
paper fluttering on the ground beside
the body of the general. He picked
it up. The sky was faintly illumined
by the light of distant star shells.
Somewhere in the distance the artil
lery was booming. Scovell could just
make out the meaning of the" paper.
It was in German and contained a
number of rough diagrams which he
believed to be plans of the German
He must deliver the document as
soon as he was relieved to his head
quarters. He waited no longer, but started
off as fast as he could go. As he ran
he remembered that the officer who
had disarmed him had thrown his
rifle down beside him.
Five minutes later Scovell, breath
less and overjoyed, resumed his soli
tary post among the trees. The sweat
streamed down his face as he thought
of his escape. What an escape!
But then the document! He must
in duty deliver that at headquarters.
No doubt it was of the utmost conse
quence. The death of the general and
the destruction of his aids by the
German shell occurring, as it had
done, in a lonely spot, could not be
known. Though it meant death to
tell the truth Scovell must tell it
For the sake of France, to whom he
had sworn fealty, whom he had so
nearly betrayed, he must confess. He
fingered the document in his tunic
pocket and shuddered with horror as
he realized the meaning of his duty.