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Newspaper Page Text
r "Mercy, my colonel!" I exclaimed.
"Have you no children?"
"Fifteen hundred," he replied
, I rose and stared at him in hope
less fear. Fifteen hundred children.
And yet he could face this inferno!
"All the men of my regiment are
my children; Louis," he answered.
MR AI1U JfUU, UC U.UUCU tuiiuijr, lyiajjjtuiigi
of them. So we shall make you a
brave child! Go!"
I went with shaking knees. I knew
that it meant certain death. But
after a while an idea came to me, at
first only a dim hope and then a
happiness, finally an ectasy. I would
go and take advantage of the dark
ness to crawl away. I would render
up myself to the sausage eaters!' I
would become a prisoner.
We started out toward midnrght.
My teeth chattered as I crawled
through the mazes of barbed wire,
accompanied by two other men. We
all carried bombs. We had six apiece.
If the pin were pulled out the thing
would explode in 15 seconds. Merci
ful heaven! Father of seven' And
Annette weeping her eyes out for me
It was pitch dark, and when the
hideous rockets went up we flung
ourselves flat upon the ground and
happily escaped detection. At last
we halted in a traverse. It "was 12
yards from the enemies' lines. We
could hear them talking among
themselves. We listened.
And then, as I lay there, looking
for my chance to dart down the
trench, and yet not daring to, there
' happened the most terrible thing I
have ever known in my life. The
& I had no time to be afraid. I felt
myself rising, rising, amid a din of
the infernal regions, and I wondered
whether I should travel 'as high as
the moon. Up I went and then I
must have lost consciousness, for I
opened my eyes to find myself lying
in a huge crater, amid perfect-silence.
The lieutenant and my compan
ions were nowhere to be seen. I lay"
in aool ot what I thought was my
blood. But after a while-I discovered
that it was only water. I was abso
My hopes went up. Now I could
surrender. I should become a pris
oner until the war was over. An
nette, Jeah, Pierre, Marie, Antoine,
Iouis, Philippe, Auguste would see
me again. I listened. All about me
I heard the Boches talking in their -guttural
tongue. In front of me, be-
hind me and on each side of me were -the
enemy. To which, then, should
It puzzled me,. If " I went right,
those on the left might be Indignant
artd fire on me.-' But I must certainly
surrender to some party of them, for
there was not a Frenchman left In
the trench which they had blown up.
I crawled out of the crater and my
hand' touched something round and
smooth which made me recoil in
It vjasa skull, the grisly skull of a
dead man? , So I thought for. a few
moments.' But no! It was a bomb
one of the bombs which" we had
brought with us. The pins, not hav
ing been removed, they had not been
discharged when the mine went off,
though tons of earth were flung all
I touched it more easily and then
its neighbor. Then a sort of curios
ity overcame me and I counted the
bombs. There were just eighteen
of them my six and the six of each
of my companions, the brave fellows
who now. lay buried under the great
heap of debris that formed the sides
of. the crater.
My blood began to rise. Assassins!
I shook my fists at the Boches. Did
they stop to think what they had
done' before they massacred a brave
lieutenant and two soldiers of
France? The little lieutenant had
looked like my own Jean. Perhaps
he had a mother somewhere, waiting
for his return.
Ie. - - - i- ''