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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 02, 1917, 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/sn83045487/1917-01-02/ed-1/seq-19/

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round the crater. Within. It the
could still be seen. She had
fallen forward on her fce. She
might be dead, but there was still the
hope that she was living. Perhaps
she slept And the soldiers, many of
whom were married men, were filled
with anguish and the -resolution to
save her or to bring back the little
body for burial.
It was evident that another day
could not be allowed to pass without
the rescue. Projects were mooted.
It was suggested that the artillery
should be brought to bear upon the
enemy trenches, with a view to a
general advance into them. But this
was deemed to dangerous an under
taking. It was not humanly possible
that a general advance could be
made without a stray bullet striking
the little form" within the crater. It
was an Irishman who solved the
problem. ,
"Sure, who wants to hurt a baby?"
he asked. "Let's ask them to send
out six men to meet ours and well
save her."
The idea found general acceptance.
Notice boards were quickly written
in three languages.
"Don't fire. We are going to pick
up the kid," ran the English one. And
the French ran similarly it was at
the junction of the two armies. On
the opposite side of No Man's Land
the Germans had put up a notice to
the same effect in: their own lan
guage. They quickly exchanged it fpr an-,
other. "When?" they asked.
"At twelve o'clock," answered the
It meant an hour to wait All the
eyes were strained upon the baby.
She had not moved since the morn
ing. There was every fear that she
was dead. And half an hour before
the time set the artillery behind the
British lines began to rumble. Show
ers of shells broke upon the opposite
trenches. The artillery of the Ger
mans answered. -And since nothing
was known at the rear about the
child, and because Its life or death
was a small matter in the general
run, the attempt was abandoned.
All that day the soldiers on either
side' crouched in their trenches and
waited for the artillery to cease. A
general attack had been ordered for
six o'clock on the Franco-British
front There were few now who
cherished any hope of saving the
baby's life. Yet none of the shells
had fallen near the crater, and the
little body was still visible there.
At six o'clock the British artillery
suddenly ceased. The men leaped
from their trenches and ran forward,
But to their surprise their oppon
ents did not wait for them but ran
forward also, perhaps inspired by the
same motives. The two parties met
on a half-mile front Bayonet clash
ed with bayonet, there was fierce
thrust and parry, men fell dying, the
cries of the wounded rent -the air,
and neither side would give way.
It was not until the combat had
been thinned out by the loss of thou
sands lhat the two lines of enemies
sullenly withdrew and made for thejr
respective trenches. But there were
those -on either side who remem
bered. And, moved by a simultaneous im
pulse, six men from either of the con
flicting armies rushed toward the
shell crater. Tacitly they ignored
each other. A big Scotchman leaped
Into the hole and emerged, carrying
in his arms an enormous rag doll,
with a painted face of bisque.
It was ruddled with bullet holes
and had evidently been abandoned
by the former owners. Perhaps the
very child whose plaything it had
been had long ago grown tired of it
Yet it was strangelyhuman in ap
pearance, and the head, with the
golden curls, dropped forward like
that of a tired child sleeping.
There was a stunned silence on
either side. With no thought of
fighting, the men intermingled and
clustered about the figure. How
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