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Newspaper Page Text
THE FEAT OF FRANCOIS
By Frank Filson
Gunners and aviators alike along
the Anglo-French battle-front won
dered why it was forbidden to bring
down the big captive balloon that
floated above the German forces.
Nineteen had been destroyed during
the past month; but the great, sausage-shaped
implement of war
floated unchallenged above the
strongest part of the hostile defenses.
It is not so easy to destroy a bal
loon as might be supposed. First,
the height is elusive. It requires a
good many shots to get the range;
then the balloon does not remain sta
tionary, but is continually ascending
and descending, with the smallest
variation of temperature. Again,
there is the fire of hostile batteries
to meet, and, lastly, a single shell
will not bring down a balloon imme
diately unless it strikes it fairly.
The generals were considering the
problem at headquarters.
"We've got to get that balloon,"
said the Englishman. "Hartman is
constantly there with the plans and
maps. He knows what is invaluable
to us. If we destroy the balloon he
either dies or falls gracefully into his
"If we could cut the rope this
wind should drift it into France,"
said the Frenchman.
"We might fire for weeks and not
cut the rope. That seems to me im
practicable." "Francois Lefevre can do it if any
"Will you put the matter in his
"I shall undoubtedly."
That was how the little French
aviator came to be commissioned to'
"get" Hartman, the famous obser
vation officer. But Francois was
How could he kidnap -a man out of
a balloon? To approach near enough
to cut the rope was an absurd idea. 1
Yet Hartman, in his sausage, was ca
pable of infinite mischief.
Larry O'Hagan, formerly of Kan
sas City, was the Frenchman's chum.
The two took counsel together. Lar
ry was confident that the feat was
less impossible than it seemed.
As is courteous and customary, a
note was dispatched to the German
Began to Race Round the Car
apprizing him that he was to be the
object of hostile intentions during
the coming week. On the next night
Larry and Francois flew gaily over
the sausage, to be saluted with a sal
vo of shell and maxim fire, which
bored a number of holes in the
planes, but did little damage.
On the second night the balloon,
badly punctured by fire from the
aeroplane's maxims, sank to earth.
But on the following day Hartman.