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Mount Vernon signal. (Mt. Vernon, Ky.) 18??-current, May 11, 1906, Magazine Section, Image 7

Image and text provided by University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069561/1906-05-11/ed-1/seq-7/

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I was not familiar with the road over
which we were traveling and could not
afford to be reckless with its many
turns Better that I arrive a few min
utes late than not at all Yet the pace
the giant automobile made seemed fu
rious to Fleischmann for presently I
heard his heavy voice in my ear
Gott und Himmell It is too fast
There is no danger I shouted back
I know the machine as you know
James Adams American business
nan and graduate of West Point is in
Paris at the opening of the great war
between Prance and Germany He en
gages in a balloon reconnaissance for
the French narrowly escapes capture
by German troops and is wrecked in
the grounds of the Chateau Lagunay
in France He is nursed by Aimee
the Counts daughter with idiom he
falls in love The Germans advance
and take the Chateau for hcadguaxtciv
Griesman a German Colonel after
ward in charge of the Chateau insults
Aimee and is attacked by Adams the
fight being stopped by the Kaiser wltii
whom Adams is personally acquainted
Adams joins the German Hussars un
der Col Lowenberg an old friend anio
becomes acquainted with Fleischmann
a gigantic sergeant who later proves to
be a friend in need The army moves
west to meet the French Adams
Loicenberg and Fleischmann lead an
ambush defeating a French column
Returning to camp Adams is informed
that Aimee has assisted in the escape
of a French spy Latour taking him
away in her carriage Griesman and
cavalry are in pursuit With Fleisch
mann Adams impresses a German war
automobile and rushes to Aimees aid
your horse
Presently he spoke again
We shall be arrested at the chateau
They will telephone from headquar
It was a disagreeable thought
Should a suspicion arise at camp as to
my intention the rear guard at the
chateau would be ordered by wire to
arrest us But Fleischmann rose to the
occasion as he did so often in times of
trouble Once more I heard his voice at
my ear
Slack up and I will break the wire
I glanced upward where at the side
of the road two strands of wire were
supported on iron poles or on conven
ient trees I had seen the signal corps
at work and knew the system The
upper wire of heavy copper was the
through line extending back across the
Meuse into Lorraine and thence by
established lines south into the Vosges
Mountains where it connected with the
army of the Crown Prince operating on
the southeastern border The other
wire or iron was a local running
only from the chateau to the headquar
ters on the Aisne River
It was a daring act deliberately to
sever this line of communication Yet
we were well into the affair now and
must see it through
I slackened speed and Fleischmann
sprang from the car The wires were
here fastened to a tall poplar He
shinned up the tree and taking hold
of the local with both hands swung
out upon it The slender strand broke I
clean at the insulator and Fleischmann I
IR f Qit5ii 085 ibNSII
Coljiile4 byWtRtiiriU
since daylight after the spy > tC
I turned back and met Fleischmann
Mademoiselle is not here he said
nor is Griesman We must follow
them >
At the outer door I spoke to a guard
who sat on a stone bench sunning him
self Who is the man within
ter he replied
His name
Jacques Grevoir
Ah a Frenchman
No a Belgian
I hurried down the steps Fleisch
mann was already in the car To the
north he said as I took my seat
And to the north we went on the wing
GrevoirJacques Grevoir The name
the face haunted me Then I remem
bered Jacques the servile gar on at
the club Why I had seen him only the
night before 1 left Paris And what
did he here Griesmans interpreter
Before I could pursue the peculiar sit
uation further we reached a fork of the
road and stopped in a quandary
Fleischmann left the car to examine
for tracks There was no dearth of
these but they covered either road
showing that horsemen had gone in
both directions inI
Fleischmann hastened to a small
farm house near by and returned lead
ing a SOll looking plough horse
Tis no great affair compared with
your iron steed he said with a grim
smile but I will manage You keep
ahead and I will turn to the left The
roads run parallel for some miles If
you do not find her cut across and
join me If I do not I will join you
He swung to the saddle and rode off at
a smart gait
At a small village I obtained infor
mation that a party in three carriages
had passed at sunrise followed a few
hours later by a small body of cavalry
So I pushed on growing reckless in my
chase and running many risks on the
narrow winding road
At last I came upon them at the lit
tle village of Vartoux Eight horses
were picketed near a well Close by six I
troopers were lounging on the grass be
neath a great tree for the afternoon
was warm in spite of the lateness of
the season Beyond them stood a car
riage I recognized the vehicle as
Aimees and hardly waiting for the
machine to stop rushed toward it
There was no one inside I turned to
the soldiers
Where is your Colonel
One of them saluted with scant re
spect and pointed to a low stone inn
twenty rods up the road Thither I
hastened my heart beating fast with
anger and hope and fear
The room was long with low ceilings
and somewhat dark On one side
stretched a row of small tables at one
last degree of insult
fI have told you that mademoiselle isI
my prisoner As such she may not see
you She is also my companion and as
such she does not wish to see you
Why monsieur It was but an hour ago
that she sat upon my lap all smiles
and blushes and
I sprang at him with an oath My
sword came from its scabbard with an
angry hiss Had I followed my first
impulse his craven skull had been split
that instant But I merely smacked
his face with the flat of the blade Say
It again if you dare You lie dog
Both men jumped to their feet The
Colonel had his sabre in the air when
his orderly rushed between us Re
member the Emperors orders he
cried You will lose your commission
Let him go He is helpless
But Griesman traitor though he
proved to be was no coward Thor
oughly enraged by my challenge he
threw the man aside and came at me
with all his two hundred pounds
weight I stepped back a little to get
room and caught his blade on my
guard He swore beneath his breath
and struck again with terrific forco
Again I stopped him
A little less brawn and more skill
baby I said derisively You will be
I wearied
We carried the regulation German
cavalry sabre rather heavy and slightly
curved It was built on the American
model and as I met his savage lunges
I began to feel at home I fell nat
urally into the old position of defense
The muscles of wrist and arm came
easily into play In memory I saw the
great tanbark circle of the academy
where we had our daily drills I was
again in the ring defending my title of
the best swordsman of the class And
so without tremor or apprehension I
stood there and fought for Aimees
sake and for my own life parrying his
mighty strokes with little difficulty
though the shock as I caught his heavy
blade told on my arm so long unused
to sword play I made no effort to I
strike So swift was his attack and so
vicious that I preferred the defensive
well knowing that eventually he would
tire At intervals I taunted him using
all the German terms of scorn and con
tumely that I could call to mind His
anger was terrible Great beads of
sweat formed on his brow and rolled
I down his cheeks His eyes protruded
his mouth opened his breath came
faster We moved around the room
advancing retreating sidestepping
neither obtaining any advantage
though I was certain that my play was
superior to his
The innkeeper fled in terror at the
first clash and we had the big room to
ourselves The orderly stood to one
side encouraging his Colonel Now
and then we rested momentarily
came down on hands and feet like a
cat A moment later we were off again
at full speed
But forty minutes had passed when I
saw far away to the southeast a flut
ter of white high In the trees It was
the balloon casethe remnants of La
Jauneand I knew we were near the
end of our run
The Infantry guard at the gate recog
n zed my uniform and saluted as we
swept through the gates At the porte
cochere I set the brake leaped from the
car and rushed into the chateau my
sword clanking ominously behind me
There was no change in the appear
ance of the rooms save that they were
deserted The tables were still littered
with papers Blankets lay upon the
cots just as they had been thrown back
when the sleepers arose It seemed a
dead place yet with a great hope in
my heart that I might find Aimee there
I passed quietly through the carpeted
parlors and on to the small family din
ingroom beyond which had been re
served for the Emperors private apart
I threw back the heavy curtain at the
doorway A man stood within He had
risen suddenly to his feet from a chair
by a small table on which lay papers
and maps left by the Emperor He
wore the uniform of a Prussian private
of cavalrydark blue with red facings
and a small closefitting shako with
red pompon But what struck me was
his attitude of terrified surprise the
whiteness of his face the stare of his
small eyes He thrust into his inner
pocket a packet of papers that were in
his hand his features relaxed in a
faint sickly smile and he saluted I
Monsieur startled me he said in
bourgeois French I am arranging
these papers which have been left be
Disguised as he was and with that
guilty look I still knew that some
where and recently I had seen him in
utterly different surroundings But
there was no time for thought Where
is your ColonelGriesman I asked
He is not here He has rrone north
of which sat GrIes man and his orderly
busily talking The innkeeper came
forward with a smile of welcome I
waved him aside and turned to Gries
man who looked up with a sneer
Ah Herr Adams so you have come
for the lady
I have come for Mademoiselle La
1 gunay I replied I wish to see her at
i once
I onceHe broke out into a mocking laugh
I in which the others joined Well so
you shall so you shall see her pres
ently perhaps But you must know
that she Is a prisoner of warmy pris
oner She is to be released I said hotly
I I heard from the Emperor your report
It is said that she aided the spy La
tour to escape You will prove It or
release her
Griesman took the time deliberately
to draw from his pocket a cigar and to
light it before he spoke He knew that
I was burning with impatience and an
ger Leaning back and speaking
through a cloud of smoke he made my
heart leap with delight
There is nothing In the charge so
far as it relates to mademoiselle for
which I am glad since my regard for
her Is verytender I may say
He paused to take in the full effect of
this thrust I was gritting my teeth
hardly able to keep myself within
bounds Yet I would hear him to the
I will tell you briefly that you may
report the facts to His Majesty As
you know Latour was to be shot at
sunrise yesterday morning We decided
to wait a day hoping to extract from
him valuable information Mademoiselle
and her party in three carriages left
yesterday morning before dawn La
tour who was confined in one of the
cellars must have bribed one of the
servants and somehow slipped past the
guard and entered the forward carriage
where he hid beneath a bundle of rugs
The guard discovered at breakfast time
that Latour was gone but in fear of
punishment omitted to report until
this morning giving the spy twenty
four hours in which to get away Un
fortunately for your friends mademoi
selle decided to stop en route for a visit
with an acquaintance and we had no
difficulty in overtaking them Of course
the spy is gone but we drew a con
fession from the servants and had the
extreme pleasure of shooting them in
stead of Latour Those are the facts
and you will pardon my suggestion that
you return immediately and communi
cate them to the Emperor
I return at my own pleasure I
replied My orders do not come from
you I request you to show me to
Mademoiselle Lagunay
I really believe that Griesman under
rated me as a fighter How should he
have known my training
So without fear and as a cat dal
lies with a mouse thinking to give me
another playful bite he ascended to the
watching each other like hawks then
up and at It again back and forth cut
and slash thrust and parry until It
seemed to me that all my life long I
had been doing this thing and that 1
should continue until the end of time
At last my anger rose again I
twisted his sword to one side and
pricked him beneath the arm That
for a hint I cried I shall press less
lightly the next time Put down your
sword and deliver the lady to me or
you shall die traitor
The word struck home For answer
he cursed me and came In with a great
sweeping stroke that would have cut
me in two had it reached its mark But
I stooped caught his blade near my
hilt and with a strong upward lift and
throw put him off his guard And
though It was unwise considering my
uncertain status with the Emperor 1
was too far gone with hate and with
desperation to recede My sword came
down with a heavy drawing stroke It
grazed the side of his head slicing off
an ear It bit deep Into the muscles of
his thick corded neck It struck the
collar bone shattered it and turned in
ward And as he staggered back and
fell carrying down table and chair hH
blood spurted to the low ceiling and
I knew that my work was well done
i Thc orderly rushed to the door shout
ing for help Weary and trembling
though I was 1 knelt by Griesmans
side and thrusting my hand into the
inner pocket of his coat drew out a
flat pocketbook and a bundle of letters
As 1 rose to my feet the six troopers
burst into the room with drawn sabres
I was not ready for a fight at such odds
but I appeared to be In for it At the
i back of the room a narrow enclosed
stairway led to the upper story A heavy
door barred the entrance the lower stop
jutting into the room It was the only
place for a stand and I made for it on
the run the troopers after me
Bracing my back against the door I
down through the skull and his brains
splattered over the men behind where
at they retreated staring sullenly at
their dead comrade They were heavily
built and powerful with smooth
shaven determined faces I knew that
I could not hold out against them But
that they might not even suspect my
fear I shouted at them in derision
Come on come on cowards
Another made at me sparring cau
tiously I caught the point of his sabre
with my own and sent it whirling over
his head But my arm was tired My
sabre turned in my grip and I could but
smash him in the face with the flat of
my blade He fell back upon the others
with a shriek of pain
I was weak from my tremendous ex
ertions A great weariness came over
me and for a moment my head swam
How could I hope to continue the un
even struggle The troopers whispered
among themselves and then advanced
slowly spreading out to disconcert me
I gripped my sword and set my teeth
for a final effort Aimees name was on
my lips I felt that it was the end
At that instant the front door was
smashed in and God be thanked
Flelschmanns great bulk loomed up
I upbefore
rushed forward bellowing like an anjrrv
That he was unarmed made no dif
ference to this stouthearted giant
That I was In peril was the main
thought The troopers turned with up
lifted sabres toward this unexpected
menace I groaned at thought of what
might be and gathered myself to help
in the attack But Fleischmann seized
one of the heavy oaken chairs whirled
it above his head and with a great
oath let it fly into their midst There
was a confused mixture of legs awl
arms and sabres They went down like
nine pins and as they scrambled to
their feet cursing in rage and pain he
came in like a whirlwind and with his
huge fists beat them to the floor One
arose with ready sabre a challenge on
his lips But it was his last word
Fleischmann caught him by the neck
shook him as he would a rat and sent
him whirling against the stone wall I
He struck it headon with a crack like
that of a pistol shot and fell limp likeI
a broken neck The others lay where I
they had fallen unconscious
I descended from my narrow refuge
and took my brave friend by the hand
You have saved my life I refugeI
shall not forget
Outside there was a clatter of hoofs
Through the open door we saw the ter
rifled orderly gallop past bound south
I knew that he would spread the alarm
and that we must get away as soon
as possible
I found Aimee in an upper room with
her maid as I had expected I called
to her and she came to me with a sob
Oh my Jaime my lionhearted take
me away from that beast she cried
and fell fainting in my arms
A few minutes later we climbed into
our big car Aimee weak and pale
but inexpressibly happy was curled up
rugs and blankets Fleischmann and I
were by no merlns comfortable in mind
for there was the Kaisers terrible an
ger to be faced the next day Yet I felt
that with the documents in my pockets
I could turn the tables and since
mademoiselle was innocent of offense
things were not so bad after all So we
swept on through the moonlight to
ward Bethel We did not know that
even then the Emperor had learned by
telephone from the orderly of Gries
mans death and that a detail had been
sent to arrest me and upon resistance
to shoot me on the spot
To be continued next week
Mrs Caroline F Corbin of Chicago
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opposed to the Extension of Sufferage
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1 oaks most of them upon social ques
tions and is a contributor to many
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foundation of the Association for the
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