"But I know where it is," added the sergeant.
"I suppose the Germans took it off you."
"Indeed they didn't!" was the rather vigorous answer. "I didn't have it on me. It's back in the dugout!"
"The dugout!" cried Jimmy, his spirits once more soaring.
"Yes, the one where I was quartered when you gave it to me. I knew we were in for some hard fighting, so before I went out on listening post I hid the franc notes in an old tin can and stuck it up under the roof beams. It's right under where a picture of President Wilson is tacked up. And if the dugout isn't destroyed the money is there yet."
"Well, the dugout can't be destroyed, for there haven't been any Germans there in some time," said Jimmy. "And I do hope you're right about the money being there. Not so much for my sake," he added quickly, "but because I promised to whack up with my bunkies, and I want to keep my word."
"Well, you send a message there and see if I'm not right," concluded Maxwell, and then, being rather weak, he was ordered by the nurse to take a rest.
Elated, but hardly believing the good news, Jimmy received permission not only to send a message, but to go back in a motor truck to the place where the headquarters of the 509th Infantry had been just before the big advance.
Jimmy did not get back to his chums until late that night, for his leave covered him up to midnight, and he was not on duty. He found Iggy, Franz, Bob and Roger in a Y.M.C.A. hut, writing letters, and from the labor Iggy was undergoing, his tongue sticking out and following every movement of his pen, it was evident that the Polish lad was not finding English correspondence any easier as the war progressed.
"Where have you been, Blazes? Back home?" asked Bob a bit sarcastically at Jimmy's absence.
"Sort of," was the answer. "That looks like stuff from home; doesn't it!" and he threw on the table some crumpled and rather stained thousand franc notes.
"Suffering shrapnel!" cried Bob. "The prize money!"
"Where'd you get it?"
"Did Max have it?"
"How'd you get it away from him?"
"How is he?"
"One at a time, please!" laughed Jimmy. "But first I'll tell you good news--Max is going to get well," and he related the story he had heard about the sergeant.
"Well, that's quite a yarn!" exclaimed Roger.
"However, that hasn't anything on what we're going to tell you, Jimmy Blazes!" cried Bob Dalton excitedly.
"Have we all won the _croix de guerre_?" asked Jimmy, smiling.
"No, but here's a note from the 'spy' we denounced," and Jimmy, as he accepted a paper Bob held out, wondered at the happy looks on the faces of his chums.
It was explained, however, when he read the note. A glance at the signature told him it was from "Captain Frank d.i.c.kerson."
"Boys, you only did your duty in exposing me, as you thought you did,"
wrote the officer. "I congratulate you on your nerve, and on doing what you so plainly disliked to do, after I had saved your lives, as I may flatter myself I did.
"So don't worry about me. I was only doing my duty, too, for Uncle Sam when I was within the German lines and in a German uniform. And I was also doing my duty when I was within your lines in an American uniform. My superior officers know all about it. That is all I can say now, except to add that I was not under arrest very long. But that action had to be taken to keep my plans from becoming known, even to the major. I hope to meet you all again."
"Say, what does it all mean?" asked Jimmy, to whom so many things had happened in the last few hours that it was no wonder he was a bit dazed. "What's all this talk about the government knowing he was in German uniform and all that?"
"Don't you understand?" inquired Bob, with a smile. "He was a spy."
"Of course he was a spy!" a.s.serted Jimmy. "I sized that up all right.
He was a spy inside our lines and--"
"Yes, but he was also a spy inside the German lines," put in Roger.
"Don't you understand, Blazes! Captain d.i.c.kerson wore the German uniform to get possession of some of their secrets. He's in the United States Secret Service."
Jimmy looked first at one and then at the other of his chums, until he had faced them all in turn.
"Gee!" he exclaimed at length. "What a chump I was not to guess that, when he acted so coolly after I denounced him! What a chump I was!"
"Oh, well, we couldn't guess everything," said Franz, "And he certainly acted suspiciously at times."
"Yes, so I d.i.n.ks myself," agreed Iggy, who had not spoken for some time.
"Well, it's all over--at least we've cleared up two mysteries,"
observed Bob. "I wonder what will happen next?"
"Well, there's going to be more fighting; that's sure," declared Jimmy, "and I want to do my share!"
"Same here!" echoed his chums.
And whether they did or not will be told in our next volume, ent.i.tled, "The Khaki Boys Fighting to Win; or, Smashing the German Lines."
THE KHAKI BOYS SERIES
By CAPT. GORDON BATES
THE KHAKI BOYS AT CAMP STERLING or Training for the Big Fight in France
THE KHAKI BOYS ON THE WAY or Doing Their Bit on Land and Sea
THE KHAKI BOYS AT THE FRONT or Shoulder to Shoulder in the Trenches
THE KHAKI BOYS OVER THE TOP or Doing and Daring for Uncle Sam
THE KHAKI BOYS FIGHTING TO WIN or Smashing the German Lines
CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, New York
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