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Newspaper Page Text
what had occurred. A shell from a
German 42-centimeter gun had fall
en squarely above the opening of the
sap, obliterating it and destroying all
the men of his company.
He stretched out his arms and felt
the wall that blocked the entrance.
He called in a low voice, but there
came no response. His electric torch
had gone out, shattered by the force
of the explosion. He was alone,
twelve feet beneath the surface of
the earth, between which and him
self there intervened the solid tim
The air was already filled with the
creeping fumes of the explosive. Ed
wardes crawled back toward the sap
head. He crouched there, consider
ing. He could still hear the murmur
of the voices of the hostile party. But
they seemed clearer.
Edwardes felt the earth wall cau
tiously. His fingers touched the
damp, impenetrable mass and found
no crevice; yet of a sudden he was
amazed to see a tiny twinkle, appar
ently in the heart of the ground.
He stared at it in doubt Present
ly he could no longer deny the truth
Incredible as it seemed, the explosion
had shaken the collapsing stratum
still further, leaving a tiny gap be
tween the two passages. And the
enemy worked on, all unconscious of
The only possible way of escape
from his underground hiding place
lay through that gap, into the midst
of the enemy.
He must do something, not only
for his own life, But because there
was nothing to stop the German sap
from being driven home into the
heart of his own trenches..
Noiselessly as a mole he began to
scrape a way toward the light. But
suddenly he remembered that three
bombs had been left near his own
saphead, in case of surprise. They
could not be discharged until the fir
ing pin was withdrawn. He crept
back, fumbled in the darkness until
lie found them, and returned.
Then he began to separate the par- t
tides of the earthen walL The light
had disappeared, but the murmurs t
continued. Evidently the soldiers
were moving, probably at work. He
surmised that the saphead had been
driven further; in that case he would
come on them from the rear and sur-
prise them. Inch by inch he made i
his way, the friable earth crumbling
under his hands, though his nails
were torn and bleeding. At last th'e '
work was accomplished. A thin par- l
tition remained between himself andx
the sap. He could hear the murmurs
distinctly, and could breathe the
fresher air. He took a bomb in his
hand and with the other forced away
the last of the barrier.
He sprang forward. He found him-
self confronting two Germans. One J
was a young officer holding a torch,
the other a girl! - x
Edwardes, with his arm poised in
the act of throwing, stood petrified. '
He had not withdrawn the firing pin.
He could not hurl the bomb now.
The German, for his part, stood as '
if petrified, and the girl remained1
with her mouth open, staring at him. (
Then, with a scream, she ran before
her lover. But Edwardes did not'
throw the bomb.
"A truse, kamerad!" cried the Ger
man suddenly. "I am a Saxon. I
speak English." i
Edwardes lowered his arm slowly.
The Saxons and the Canadians had
preserved a semblance of good feel
ing during the conflict; he Jmew the (
man would not act treacherously.
"You will let this girl go?" asked
the soldier. 'Then we fight it out to
gether." "She can go," answered Edwardes,
"but you are my prisoner."
The German smiled and raised his
arm. "Listen!" he said.
The Canadian only then became
aware that the continuous reverber-1
ation of the cannon, which had been j
in his ears for hours, had ceased. Hq.,
knew what that meant And in a mo
ment the ground, above them trenv j