It was a favorite saying of the same Jeb Rushmore, scout and woodsman, who had told Tom about breed marks, and how they differed from mere points of resemblance. And it made him think about Jeb Rushmore. Swiftly and silently along the dark road sped the dispatch-rider who had come out of the East, from the far-off Toul sector, for service as required.
Out of the night she had come, stealing silently through the haunts where murder lurks, and the same dancing rays which had run ahead of the dispatch-rider and turned to mock him, had gilded her mighty prow as if to say, "Behold, I have reached you first." At her rail crowded hundreds of boys in khaki, demanding in English and atrocious French to know where they were.
Swiftly along the dark road sped the dispatch-rider who had come from the far-off blue hills of Alsace across the war-scorched area of northern France into the din and fire and stenching suffocation and red-running streams of Picardy for service as required. Past St. Prey he rushed; past Thiueloy, and into Mortemer, and on to the hilly region where the Eualine flows between its hilly banks.
Swiftly and silently along the moonlit road he sped, the dispatch-rider who had come from the blue hills of Alsace across the war-scorched area into the din and fire and stenching suffocation and red-running streams of Picardy "for service as required."
That he should have been hoodwinked and brought in by a young dispatch-rider was a matter of crushing mortification to him, and must have been no less so to the German high command. Who but Major von Piffinhoeffer had first suggested the use of the poisoned bandage in the treatment of English prisoners' wounds?
But before many minutes were passed, the quiet of the autumn noon began to be overscored by distant humming, faint at first, and then quickly growing louder, and he saw far away a little brown speck coming swiftly towards him. It turned out to be a dispatch-rider, mounted on a motor-bicycle, who with a hoot of his horn roared westward through the village.
A little group of soldiers gathered about him after he had given his paper to the commanding officer, for he had come a long way and they knew the nature of his present service if he did not. They watched him rather curiously, for it was not customary to bring a dispatch-rider from such a distance when there were others available in the neighborhood.
Crazy place to build a house! And the people in it probably all they could do was to shrug their shoulders in that stupid way when asked a question in English. He was losing his morale was this dispatch-rider. But near the top of the hill he regained it somewhat. Perhaps he could make up for this lost time in some straight, level reach of road beyond.
Swiftly and silently along the moonlit road sped the dispatch-rider. Out of the East he had come, where the battle line runs between blue mountains and the country is quiet and peaceful, and the boys in khaki long for action and think wistfully of Picardy and Flanders. He was a lucky young fellow, this dispatch-rider, and all the boys had told him so. "We'll miss you, Thatchy," they had said.
From the western end of the valley, travelling at a tremendous pace, came a small cloud of dust making straight for us. It was a dispatch-rider, bringing word that the Turks were on the other side of the farther hill in great force and ordering us to clear out at once to avoid capture. It never struck us till afterwards that the fact of the water being undrinkable saved us.