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November 08 , 2010

The Khaki Boys At The Front

Shoulder to Shoulder in The Trenches


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"I suppose we might as well be hiking along," announced Roger Barlow regretfully, as he consulted his watch. "We've lots of time yet, but we'd better be early than late back to camp. We are strangers in a strange land and we've quite a long way to go."

"I'm satisfied to go. I came up here to see Paris and I've seen it. That is, a scrap of it. I guess it would take a long while to get really wise to it. I sure would like to use up a little time poking around la belle Paree. My, but this hash house is a dead place, though! Nobody alive here but us."

Bob Dalton glanced disapprovingly about the unassuming little café in which he and his four Brothers had elected to dine. Its hushed atmosphere oppressed him.

"Oh, Paris is altogether different from what it used to be," informed Sergeant Jimmy Blaise. "It's lost a lot of pep since this war began. Can you wonder?"

"It's lost more than pep," cut in Franz Schnitzel. "It's lost a whole lot of its best citizens. Almost every woman one sees is dressed in black. That tells its own story."

"So think I no many Franche solder more," sighed Ignace Pulinski. "Mos' is died."

"Oh, there are probably a dozen or two left," was Bob's cheering reassurance. "I guess they need the Khaki Boys over here all right enough, though."

"I wish we'd get orders to move on," grumbled Jimmy. "I'm dying to take a ride in one of those 'Eight Horses' affairs—not."

"We've been in training here longer than I expected." This from Roger. "I guess we needed it. When the war began, before the U. S. got into it, they used to rush the Tommies to the front pretty fast. They got about ten days' or two weeks' training and that was all."

"The war game's been systematized a lot since then," commented Bob. "We have fared better than those fellows did. They had to put up with most any old thing. So far we've led a peaceful, happy life over here."

Several weeks had passed since those of the Khaki Boys who had come safely through the disastrous sinking of the Columbia had been landed "somewhere in France."

Readers who have followed the fortunes of the quintet of Khaki Boys, known among themselves as the five Brothers, will at once remember them as old friends. What happened to these young soldiers during the period in which they were in training at an American cantonment has already been set down in "The Khaki Boys at Camp Sterling."

It was while on the way to Camp Sterling that Jimmy Blaise, Roger Barlow, Bob Dalton and Ignace Pulinski met and instantly became friendly. From being merely friendly they soon grew to be bunkies, loyal to one another through thick and thin.

Later they took into their little circle a young German-American, Franz Schnitzel, who had had the misfortune to be entirely misunderstood by his comrades. Suspected of being in sympathy with Germany, Schnitzel was accused of poisoning a number of men in his own barracks.

Due to the untiring efforts of the four Brothers, his innocence was proven, and his good name restored. Afterward Schnitzel himself was responsible for bringing the real poisoner, a German spy, Johann Freidrich, to justice.

Their fortunes firmly linked to Schnitzel's by trouble, he had become a real brother to the four Khaki Boys, who decided that thereafter they would call themselves the five Brothers.

After an exhaustive course of training at Camp Sterling, the five Brothers had been sent with a large detachment of their comrades to Camp Marvin, a southern cantonment. While at this camp they met with at least one exciting adventure, which was the forerunner of a series of amazing events.

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