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craters, in others again was almost obliterated in heaped and broken earth. The mist had closed down and thickened to a white-gray blanket, and the two moved more freely, standing on their feet and walking stooped and ready. to drop at a sound. They went for a considerable distance without seeing a German.

Studd halted on the edge of a trench which ran into the one they were following.

"Communication trench," said the Lieutenant softly. "Doesn't seem to be a soul in their front line."

"No, sir," said Studd, but there was a puzzled note in his voice.

"Is this their front line we've been moving along?" said the Lieutenant with sudden

"See those two on the edge?" the Lieutenantsuspicion. "Those lights look farther off than they ought."

The dim lights certainly seemed to be far out on their left and a little behind them. A couple of rifles cracked faintly, and they heard a bullet sigh and whimper overhead. Closer and with sharper reports half a dozen rifles rap-rapped in answer-but the reports were still well out to their left and behind them.

"Those are German rifles behind us. We've left the front. line," said the Lieutenant with sudden conviction. "Struck slanting back. Been following a communication trench. Damn!"

Studd without answering dropped suddenly to earth and without hesitation the Lieutenant

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word to Studd to lie still, and jump and run, trusting to draw pursuit after himself and give Studd a chance to escape and report? Or call Studd to run with him, and both chance a bolt back the way they came?

The thick mist might help them, but the alarm would spread quickly to the front trench. Or should he snatch his revolver-he wished he hadn't put it back in his holster-blaze off all his rounds, yell and make a row, rousing the German trench to fire and disclose the strength holding it? Could he risk movement enough to get his revolver clear? And all the time he was counting the figures that stumbled pastfive, six, seven, eight. Thirty-four he counted and then, just as he was going to move, an

other lagging two. After that and a long pause he held hurried consultation with Studd. "They're moving up the way we came down," he said. "We're right off the front line. Must get back. Daren't keep too close to this trench though. D'you think we can strike across and find the front line about where we crossed?"

"Think so, sir," answered Studd. "Must work a bit left-handed."

"Come on then. Keep close together," and they moved off.

In three minutes the Lieutenant stopped with a smothered curse at the jar of wire caught against his shins. "'Ware wire," he said, and both stopped and felt at it. "Nippers," he said. "We must cut through." He pulled his own nippers out and they started to cut a path. "Tang," his nippers swinging free of a cut wire struck against another, and on the sound came a sharp word out of the mist ahead of them and apparently at their very feet a guttural question in unmistakable German. Horrified, the Lieutenant stood stiff frozen for a moment, turned sharp and fumbled a way back, his heart thumping and his nerves tingling in anticipation of another challenge or a sudden shot. But there was no further sound, and presently he and Studd were clear of the wire and hurrying as silently as they could away from the danger.

They stopped presently, and the Lieutenant crouched and peered about him. "Now where are we?" he said, and then, as he caught the sound of suppressed chuckling from Studd crouched beside him, "What's the joke? I don't see anything specially funny about this."

"I was thinkin' of that Germ back there, sir," said Studd, and giggled again. "About another two steps an' we'd have fell fair on top of 'im. Bit of a surprise like for 'im, sir."

The Lieutenant grinned a little himself. "Yes," he said, "but no more surprise than I got when he sang out. Now what d'you think is our direction?"

Studd looked round him, and pointed promptly. The Lieutenant disagreed and thought the course lay nearly at right angles to Studd's selection. He had his compass with him and examined it carefully. "This bit of their front line ran roughly north and south," he said. "If we move west it must fetch us back on it. We must have twisted a bit coming out of that wire-but there's west," and he pointed again.

"I can't figure it by compass, sir," said Studd, "but here's the way I reckon we came." He scratched lines on the ground between them with the point of his wire nippers. "Here's our line, and theirs-running this way." "Yes, north," said the Lieutenant.

"But then it bends in toward ours-like this-an' ours bends back."

"Jove, so it does," admitted the Lieutenant, thinking back to the trench map he had studied so carefully before leaving. "And we moved north behind their trench, so might be round the corner; and a line west would just carry us along behind their front line."

"I figure we got to go that way, then," said Studd, pointing again.

"That's about it," agreed the Lieutenant. "But as that's toward the wire and our friend who sang out, we'll hold left a bit.”

There was a distinct whiteness now about the mist, and a faint glow in the whiteness that told of daylight coming, and the Lieutenant moved hurriedly. "If it comes day and the mist lifts we're done in," he said, and moved in the chosen direction.

Within a dozen yards both stopped abruptly and again sank to the ground, the Lieutenant cursing angrily under his breath. Both had caught the sound of voices, and from their lower position could see against the light a line of standing men, apparently right across their path. A spatter of rifle fire sounded from somewhere out in the mist, and a few bullets whispered high overhead. Then came the distant thud, thud, thud of half a dozen guns firing. One shell wailed distantly over, another passed closer with a savage rush, a third burst twenty yards away with a glaring flash that penetrated even the thick fog. The two had a quick glimpse of a line of Germans in long coats ducking their "coal-scuttle" helmets and throwing themselves to ground. They were not more than thirty feet away, and there were at least a score of them. When their eyes recovered from the flash of the shell, the two could see not more than half a dozen figures standing, could hear talking and laughing remarks, and presently heard scuffling sounds and saw figure after figure emerge from the ground.

"Trench there," whispered Studd, into the Lieutenant's ear. "They jumped down."

"Yes," breathed the Lieutenant. He was fingering cautiously at the wire beside him. It was staked out, and as far as he could discover there was something like two-foot clearance

between the ground and the bottom strands. It was a chance, and the position was growing so desperate that any chance was worth taking. He touched Studd's elbow and began to wriggle under the wires. Six feet in they found another line stretched too low to crawl under and could see and feel that the patch of low wire extended some feet. "More coming," whispered Studd, and the Lieutenant heard again that sound of squelching steps and moving men. They could still see the gray shadowy figures of the first lot standing in the same place, and now out of the mist emerged another shadowy group moving down the line and past it. There was a good deal of lowtoned calling and talking between the two lots, and the Lieutenant, seizing the chance to work under cover of the noise, began rapidly to nip his way through the wire. It was only because of their low position that they could see the Germans against the lighter mist, and he was confident, or at least hoped, that from the reversed position it was unlikely they would be seen. The second party passed out of sight, and now the two could see a stir amongst the first lot, saw them hoist and heave bags and parcels to their shoulders and backs, and begin to move slowly in the opposite direction to that taken by the party passing them.

"Ration party or ammunition carriers," said Studd, softly.

"And moving to the front line," said the Lieutenant, quickly. "We must follow them. They'll guide us to the line. We keep close as we can not lose touch and not be seen. Quick, get through there." He started to nip rapidly through the wires. The party had moved and the outline of the last man was blurring and fading into the mist. The Lieutenant rose and began to stride over the low wires. A last barrier rose waist high. With an exclamation of anger he fell to work with the nippers again, Studd assisting him. The men had vanished. The Lieutenant thrust through the wires. His coat caught and he wrenched it free, pushed again and caught again. This time the stout fabric of the trench coat held. There was no second to waste. The Lieutenant flung loose the waistbelt, tore himself out of the sleeves and broke clear, leaving the coat hung in the wires. "Freer for running if we have to bolt at the end," he said, and hurried after the vanished line, with Studd at his heels. They caught up with it quickly-almost too quickly, because

the Lieutenant nearly overran one laggard who had halted and was stooped or kneeling, doing something to his bundle on the ground. The Lieutenant just in time saw him rise and swing the bundle to his shoulder and hurry after the others. Behind him came the two, close enough to keep his dim outline in sight, stooping low and ready to drop flat if need be, moving as silently as possible, checking and waiting crouched down if they found themselves coming too close on their leader. So they kept him in sight until he caught the others up, followed them again so long that a horrible doubt began to fill the Lieutenant's mind, a fear that they were being led back instead of forward. He would have looked at his compass, but the dim gray figures before him vanished abruptly one by one.

He halted, listening, and Studd at his elbow whispered "Down into a trench, sir." Both sank to their knees and crawled carefully forward, and in a minute came to the trench and the spot where the man had vanished. “Coming near the front line, I expect," said the Lieutenant, and on the word came the crack of a rifle from the mist ahead. The Lieutenant heaved a sigh of relief. "Keep down," he said. "Work along this trench edge. Sure to lead to the front line."

A new hope flooded him. There was still the front trench to cross, but the ease with which they had first come over it made him now, turning the prospect over in his mind as he crawled, consider that difficulty with a light heart. His own trench and his friends began to seem very near. Crossing the neutral ground, which at other times would have loomed as a dangerous adventure, was nothing after this hair-raising performance of blundering about inside the German lines. He moved with certainty and confidence, although yet with the greatest caution. Twice they came to a belt of wire running down to the edges of the trench they followed. The Lieutenant, after a brief pause to look and listen, slid down into the trench, passed the wire, climbed out again, always with Studd close behind him. Once they lay flat on the very edge of the trench and watched a German pass along beneath them so close they could have put a hand on his helmet. Once more they crouched in a shell-hole while a dozen men floundered along the trench.

And so they came at last to the front line. Foot by foot they wriggled close up to it. The

Lieutenant at first saw no sign of a German, but Studd beside him gripped his arm with a warning pressure, and the Lieutenant lay motionless. Suddenly, what he had taken to be part of the outline of the parapet beyond the trench moved and raised, and he saw the outline of a steel-helmeted head and a pair of broad shoulders. The man turned his head and spoke, and with a shock the Lieutenant heard a murmur of voices in the trench, saw figures stir and move in the mist. Studd wriggled noiselessly closer and, with his lips touching the Lieutenant's ear, whispered, "I know where we are. Remember this bit we're on. We crossed to the left of here."

They backed away from the trench a little and worked carefully along it to their left, and presently Studd whispered, "About here, I think." They edged closer in, staring across for sight of the silhouette of the rifle butt above the parapet. The mist had grown thicker again and the parapet showed no more than a faint gray bulk against the lighter gray. The trench appeared to be full of men-"standing to" the Lieutenant supposed they were and they moved at the most appalling risk, their lives hanging on their silence and stealth, perhaps on the chance of some man climbing back out of the trench. The Lieutenant was shivering with excitement, his nerves jumping at every movement or sound of a voice from the trench beside them.

Studd grasped his elbow again and pointed to the broken edge of trench where they lay, and the Lieutenant, thinking he recognized the spot they had climbed out on their first crossing, stared hard across to the parapet in search of the rifle butt. He saw it at last. But what lay between it and them? Were there Germans crouching in the trench bottom? But they must risk that, risk everything in a dash across and over the parapet. A puff of wind stirred and set the mist eddying and lifting a moment. They dare wait no longer. If the wind came the mist would go, and with it would go their chance of crossing the No Man's Land. He whispered a moment to Studd, sat up, twisted his legs round to the edge of the trench, slid his trench dagger from its sheath and settled his fingers to a firm grip on the handle, took a deep breath, and slid over feet foremost into the trench. In two quick strides he was across it and scrambling up the parapet.

The trench here was badly broken down and a muddy pool lay in the bottom. Studd caught a foot in something and splashed heavily, and a voice from a yard or two on their left called sharply. The Lieutenant slithering over the parapet heard and cringed from the shot he felt must come. But a voice to their right answered; the Lieutenant slid down, saw Studd scramble over after, heard the voices calling and answering and men splashing in the trench behind them. He rose to his feet and ran, Studd following close.

From the parapet behind came the spitting bang of a rifle and the bullet whipped past most uncomfortably close. It would have been safer perhaps to have dropped to shelter in a shell-hole and crawled on after a reasonable wait, but the Lieutenant had had enough of crawling and shellholes for one night, and was in a most single-minded hurry to get away as far and as fast as he could from the Germans' neighborhood. He and Studd ran on, and no more shots followed them. The mist was thinning rapidly, and they found their own outposts in the act of withdrawal to the trench. The Lieutenant hurried past them, zigzagged through their own wire, and with a gasp of relief jumped down into the trench. He then started along the line to find Headquarters.

On his way he met the officer who had watched them leave the trench and was greeted with a laugh. "Hullo, old cock. Some mud! You look as if you'd been crawling a bit. See any Boche?"

"Crawling!" said the Lieutenant. "Any Boche! I've been doing nothing but crawl for a hundred years-except when I was squirming on my face. And I've been falling over Boche, treading on Boche, bumping into Boche, listening to Boche remarks-oh, ever since I can remember," and he laughed, just a trifle hysterically.

"Did you get over their line then? If so, you're just back in time. Mist has clean gone in the last few minutes." A sudden thought struck the Lieutenant. struck the Lieutenant. He peered long and carefully over the parapet. The last wisps of mist were shredding away and the jumble of torn ground and trenches and wire in the German lines was plainly visible. "Look," said the Lieutenant. "Three or four hundred yards behind their line-hanging on some wire. That's my coat.

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