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CHAPTER XII CATCHING A SPY
It was past six o\'clock that evening when they passed the outer guard line of the great camp, and within five minutes they were in front of the commandant\'s quarters where they were admitted without ceremony.

Roland was there, on duty, and when he found that they had just returned from Wandre, he could not help but express his admiration, and was not slow in telling the General of the boys\' adventures.

"Oh, yes! We had the Uhlans after us. They blocked our road but we took the next one and beat them," explained Ralph.

"Ralph had the advantage of me. He could see them, and I just had to run the machine," said Alfred.

"You are both to be commended. But what is this?" he asked, as Pierre handed him a large envelope.

The General opened the envelope. "From Waremme," he said. "So you have started to do service the first day. This is, indeed, commendable."

133

"Please, sir," said Alfred, "can\'t we have uniforms?"

"You certainly shall have them. Lieutenant, see that the boys are provided with the regulation suits." This was their first knowledge that their friend Roland was a lieutenant in the service.

But now the great and crucial times came to the boys who only a week before tried to reach their homes, but they were not thinking of that now.

When they reached their quarters that evening, too tired for words, they talked, and talked, rehearsing the scenes and incidents of the day, and fell asleep, half undressed, where they found themselves in the morning, lying across the bed.

Before they had time to dress a great commotion was heard in the camp. They hurriedly dressed and rushed over to the main dining hall.

"What have you heard?" asked Ralph.

"Vise has been entirely destroyed, and the Germans are appearing in great force at all points north of Liège," said one of the attendants.

Breakfast was soon disposed of, and they rushed over to see Roland. "Have you heard the news?" they asked.

"Yes, and we have information that two large forces are now advancing, presumably to take Brussels," answered Roland.

"We are to have uniforms, did you know it?" asked Ralph.

"Yes, and your arms are also ready for you. Wait until I get my breakfast and we will go over and get the things," replied Roland.

134

"What, are the uniforms ready? What are they like?" said Alfred, as he danced about in delight.

"Oh, yes! You will have the regulation Scout uniform, but it will have the distinctive stripes on the arm to indicate that you are attached to the staff in the messenger service," replied Roland.

You may be sure that two more impatient boys could not be found than Ralph and Alfred, as they awaited the reappearance of Roland.

"Let us go over now and see our machines," said Ralph.

Alfred did not protest, you may be sure, and together they rushed out the door, and across to the warehouse in which the machines were placed. As they went in they saw an officer move away from the place where the machines were kept.

His actions excited Ralph\'s suspicions. "I don\'t like the looks of that man," he said.

The fact that the boys watched him narrowly, evidently excited the man\'s suspicions, also, and he tried to appear unconcerned.

"I am going to bring Roland over," said Alfred, and he moved toward the door.

As the man hurried his steps toward the rear of building out of sight, Alfred ran quickly to the dining hall, and called out to Roland:

"There is a very suspicious-looking man at the warehouse. Come over at once." Roland did not wait for a second call. With his breakfast hardly begun, he jumped up, disregarding his hat, and followed Alfred. As they neared the warehouse,135 they saw Ralph far beyond, keeping the officer in sight.

"Good boy!" said Roland.

"There he is," said Ralph; "see him just turning the corner." With a bound Roland crossed the intervening space, and rushed around the shed in which the artillery was parked. He ran into the officer full face, and greeted him.

"Who are you? What and where is your command?" he inquired.

The man attempted to answer in French, but his foreign accent was readily detected.

Roland\'s revolver was in his hand, and he cried out: "Hold up your hands instantly."

"Turn about: you are under arrest. Forward march," ordered Roland.

Then turning to the boys he said: "Go up to him on either side and direct him down to headquarters. I will follow as a guard."

During the progress down the street a large crowd gathered and followed. The cry of "spy" was heard on all sides. The commandant was quickly advised of the cause of the commotion and he received and questioned the man, who could give no satisfactory replies to any of the questions put to him. He could not state where he obtained the uniform he wore. This in itself was incriminating evidence, and made him amenable to the laws governing the execution of spies.

He was found guilty, principally on his own confession, and executed within an hour of the trial.

When Alfred learned of the man\'s fate, he was136 greatly affected. He had been the cause of the man\'s death—the direct cause. How he now abhorred the shedding of blood. Some days prior to this, he had taken a gun in his hand, and shot with the intention of killing. But this was different. He had detected a spy; and the spy was shot.

Roland found him at his room, gloomy, and with his lips quivering, and quickly divined the cause.

"You feel sorry for him. That is natural. I felt like a murderer when I arrested him, because I knew from his actions that he was a spy and I felt sure that I was leading him to his death. But you must remember that he was doing things which will bring more misery on us than his death could ever atone for. It was my duty and your duty, to bring him to justice."

An orderly appeared and explained that the boys were wanted at headquarters. They went at once, and Roland accompanied them.

The General came forward as they entered. "I must thank you in behalf of the King, for the great service you have rendered," he said, as he took Alfred and Ralph by the hand.

Alfred plainly showed his emotion, and Ralph and Roland turned away for a moment to tell the General how the boy felt.

The arms of the strong man went about the boy, and he said: "It is no discredit to you to feel that way. And now where are your uniforms?" he added.

137

"Oh! we are going to get them now. We were waiting for Roland," said Ralph.

The General smiled, as he said: "You mean the Lieutenant."

Ralph looked down abashed for a moment, and then slyly corrected himself, while Roland apologized. But the General needed no one to smooth down that little wrinkle; he also had boys, and he knew that these little informalities did not show want of respect.

"Get those uniforms at once; I want to see how they will look," he remarked to Roland, as the latter turned to obey.

The boys needed no more of an intimation as to their first duty. The uniforms as furnished were trim fitting suits of a greenish-gray, bound with a very narrow gold braid. The coats were close-fitting and rather short but were well adapted for service and the proper fits were soon obtained.

The whole of Belgium did not contain two prouder boys than these two, as they marched to headquarters, to thank the General for his kindness.

As they were about to leave, the General remarked: "I am happy to tell you that Belgian boys also are doing their duty nobly. Day before yesterday, two boys near the frontier, rescued two of our soldiers from four Uhlans who had captured them, and yesterday, one of the boy scouts, west of Liège, named Niston, captured two German spies. It is such work that is appreciated, and shows that they are trying to do their duty to138 their country. The work you and those boys are doing is of great service. If the spy you caught had been permitted to escape it might mean our death or capture. It is one of the things in war, which must be guarded against, and all who volunteer to become spies know that death is the penalty of detection."

As they were going to their quarters, Alfred asked: "Why did the General say that the Belgian uniform condemned the spy?"

"The wearing of any disguise is reprehensible. That fact alone, even though the wearer may not have done an act or thing which could be condemned, would be sufficient to warrant his execution."

"But suppose a German should get into the camp, or through our lines in his regular uniform, and be captured, would not that man be a spy?"

"No, for the reason that he is trying to get the information in the avowed character of an enemy, and not by attempting to deceive."

Alfred sighed as he weighed the distinction in his mind. He was thinking of the rules of war, which he had learned during the past ten days and he wondered whether there was really anything which was honorable in armed conflict, or which was observed in the game of war.

But the boys\' feelings were very much allayed, when they learned that during the day two more spies had been caught within the camp, and that now a corps of detectives had been employed to ferret out that class of men.

139

During the investigation that followed it was found that several were disguised in the uniforms of gendarmes, some wore the regulation suits of the civil guards, and others were employed as hucksters who brought in the daily provisions.

Automobiles were in evidence everywhere, and on every road fixed patrols halted and examined all who passed. Machines were constantly going and coming, and there were motorcycles in abundance. Added to this were contrasting uniforms, indicating the kinds of service in which the men were engaged, and the sce............
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