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Action Front Boyd Cable

In Enemy Hands

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So it was that the occupants of the British trench viewed presently the figure of a huge Highlander appearing through the drifting haze and smoke at a trot, a head clutched close to his side by a circling arm, a struggling German half-running, half-dragging behind his captor.

Arrived at the parapet, "Here," shouted Macalister. "Catch, some o' ye." He jerked his prisoner forward and thrust him over and into the trench, and leaped in after him.

It was purely on impulse that Private Macalister flung his prisoner out of the German trench, but it was a set and reasoned purpose that made him drag his struggling captive back over the open to the British trench. He knew that the British line would not shoot at an obvious kilted Highlander, and he supposed that the Germans would hesitate to fire on one dragging an equally obvious German officer behind him. Either his reasoning or his blind luck held true, and both he and his captive tumbled over into the British trench unhurt. An officer appeared, and Macalister explained briefly to him what had happened.

"You'd better take him back with you," said the officer when he had finished, and glanced at the German. "He's not likely to make trouble, I suppose, but there are plenty of spare rifles, and you had better take one. What's left of your battalion has withdrawn to the support trench."

"I am an officer," said the German suddenly to the British subaltern? "I surrender myself to you, and demand to be treated as an honorable prisoner of war. I do not wish to be left in this man's hands."

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"Wish this and wish that," said Macalister, "and much good may your wishing do. Ye've heard what this officer said, so rise and mairch, unless ye wad raither I took ye further like I brocht ye here." And he moved as if to scoop the German's head under his arm again.

"I will not," said the German furiously, and turned again to the subaltern. "I tell you I surrender----"

"There's no need for you to surrender," said the subaltern quietly. "I might remind you that you are already a prisoner; and I am not here to look after prisoners."

The German yielded with a very bad grace, and moved ahead of Macalister and his threatening bayonet, along the line and down the communication trench to the support trench. Here the Scot found his fellows, and introduced his prisoner, made his report to an officer, and asked and received permission to remain on guard over his captive. Then he returned to the corner of the trench where the remains of his own company were. He told them how he had fallen into the German trench and what had happened up to the moment the German officer came into the proceedings.

"This is the man," he said, nodding his head towards the officer, "and I wad just like to tell you carefully and exactly what happened between him an' me. Ye'll understaun' better if a' show ye as weel as tell ye. Weel, now, he made twa men tie ma' hands behind ma' back first--if ony o' ye will lend me a first field dressing I'll show ye how they did it."

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Action Front
Boyd Cable

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