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HE WALKED STEADILY ENOUGH IN THE DIRECTION OF THE GENERAL STORE

dripped from his damaged nose. One We reached my friend's ranch just shirt sleeve had been half torn from its about dusk. He met me at the yard parent at the shoulder. But, most gate. curious of all, Slim's face was evenly "Well!” he said, heartily, “I'm glad marked by a perpendicular series of long you're here! Not much like the old red scratches as though he had been days, is it?" dragged from stem to stern along a par I agreed with him. ticularly abrasive gravel walk. Slim "Journey out is dull and uninteresting seemed quite calm.

now. But compared to the way we used His approach was made in a somewhat to do it, it is a cinch. Just sit still and strained silence. At length there spoke roll along." a dry, sardonic voice.

I disagreed with him-mentally. “Well," said it, "did you kill Beck?”! “The old order has changed," said

"Naw!" replied Slim's remains, dis- he. gustedly, “the son of a gun wouldn't “Yes," I agreed, “now it's one yard fight!"

of calico."

Threads by Which Nations Hang

BY GEORGE ABEL SCHREINER

Late Representative of the Associated Press with the Armies of the Central Powers

HE fate of nations at pathized with the Serbs. Jugo-Slavism
war often hangs by a had ripened to that extent anyway.
slender thread. In near Many arrests were made among the in-
ly all cases this thread habitants of Mitrovic and the villages
is timely military infor up and down the river.
mation. If the sacred But that did not seem to improve

geese of the Temple of matters, as General Potiorek found out Juno had not cackled in time the Capitol on several occasions. The river bank at Rome might have been taken by the was carefully patrolled. No boat was Gauls-would have been taken, if the ever seen to cross the Sava, and nobody legend is to be relied upon.

seemed to fish for bottles which might Since then twenty-six hundred years have contained the information. No have elapsed, and one might think that trace of heliograph, semaphores, wire, the goose as the purveyor of military signal lantern, and the like was ever information was a thing of the past. So found. The case seemed hopeless. far as I know it is, and still in the pres But one day an Austrian officer, a little ent war there came to my notice, at shrewder than the rest, noticed that first hand, a case in which other mem there were ducks on the river near the bers of the feathered tribe, ducks and western outskirts of Mitrovic. There drakes, served the same high purpose. was a shallow place in the water nearby, I refer to the ducks of Mitrovic.

and to this the birds had been in the Mitrovic lies on the north bank of habit of going in search for food. the river Sava, in Slavonia. On the It would have been a simple matter south bank of the river, which is Serb to order the ducks off the river. But ian, lies Mitrovica.

Both places are the Austrians had lost so much time by important strategical bases.

now that a few days did not matter. The Sava is a broad sheet of water It seemed more important to find out at this point, and up to the middle of whether the ducks served any particular November, 1914, neither Serb purpose

aside from their usual one. Austro-Hungarian had been able to “They did," said the base commander gain foothold on the other's bank. of Mitrovic, as we discussed the case. Though the Austro-Hungarians made “We watched the owner of the ducks, many attempts to cross the river in and soon learned what he was about. sufficient force, they always found The first thing we noticed was that he that the Serbs were well informed as to never let the birds go on the water at the strength of the forces they had to the same time of day. That was uncheckmate. No matter what the Aus usual. Generally ducks are left to roam trian commander might do, he would as they will. They go out on the water find that the Serbs had anticipated him. at daybreak, if not restrained, and reIf he made an attempt to cross the river turn to their pen late in the afternoon. to the west of Mitrovic, the Serbs were “But these ducks made for their feedsure to be there en masse. Several at- ing-ground always on the hour. Sometempts to cross the Sava opposite Sabacs times that would be seven in the mornwere frustrated in a like manner. ing, then it might be nine, or again they

It was plain that spies were at work. might not appear until two in the afterThis was no startling, discovery, by noon.

noon. We learned that the man kept the way. Many of the Slavonians sym them in the yard when he didn't want

Vol. CXXXVI.-No. 815.-84

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nor

to have them on the river, and that route they had taken. He could not usually he did not allow all of the birds know, however, what the plans of Gentheir freedom. We also ascertained that eral Potiorek were. We knew that the he bought more ducks—all of them Serbian officer would take the second white.

part of our message for what it seemed One day we arrested the man, and worth in the face of the information before we hanged him we got his code. that our battalions had gone west.

He It was a most elaborate scheme, con

would take that for an idle rumor, of sisting of over sixty combinations. When course, and feel sure then that his agent the birds on the feeding-place were all was still on the job. Only a civilian white it meant that as many of our would make a blunder of that sort. battalions as there were birds had

gone

"And the thing worked. During the through Mitrovic in a westerly direction; following night the Serbs came across when there was one colored bird among the Sava a little east of here and ran them it meant that so many battalions into the arrangements we had made for had gone east. Battalions going north their reception. Few of them got away. were indicated by two colored birds, We took almost two thousand prisoners. and so on. In all cases the white ducks Incidentally we had drawn from the indicated the number of departing and Machwa sufficient enemy troops to get arriving battalions, while the colored our own men across. Our campaign into birds indicated the route direction. Serbia got a good start in that manner."

A Serbian officer stationed on the About February 15, 1915, I arrived roof of the custom-house in Mitrovica in Constantinople.

in Constantinople. It was being voiced used to count the ducks and send up about that the British and French were a small smoke ball when he had under- sending a large fleet into the eastern stood. We had seen the man there Mediterranean for the purpose of forcmany a time, but thought him an ordi- ing the Dardanelles and taking the Otnary observation officer.”

toman capital. How the news leaked Thereafter the Austrians began to through I do not know. It came to my work the code. The Serbs did not know attention first at Bucharest, where the that their agent had been found out, and agents of all the warring governments accepted the news from across the Sava in Europe were plentiful—too plentiful, as bona fide. That was to be their un in fact. It was claimed at the time that doing. One day the Austrians “ducked” a certain chanteuse, the favorite of an across the river that all of their troops Entente military attaché, had spread the had gone in a westerly direction, when

Be that as it may, the in reality they had been taken a few Turks and Germans got their informamiles toward the east of Mitrovic. tion in Bucharest. Later the news was The ducks indicated that the Austrians corroborated from Athens. intended to attempt a crossing of the Those were anxious days in ConSava between Sabacs and Belgrade. In stantinople. While officials of the Ottoreality such a crossing had been planned man government never tired of asserting to take place at the apex of the Machwa that the Allied fleet could not get triangle.

through, certain German naval men, It will be seen that the coded whose acquaintance I made, were not contradictory. It had been “ducked” so confident. It seemed to be entirely that the Austrian battalions had a question of ammunition. gone west, the direction in which the I had heard in Bucharest that the Machwa lies, and to this had been ap Rumanian government, some of whose pended the “information” that the officials were not as strictly honest as Austrians proposed to cross the river they might have been, was through east of Mitrovic.

negligence permitting armor-piercing I questioned the officer on this. ammunition to reach the Turks. Ruo

“That was done to impress the Serbs,” manian government officials denied this he laughed. “The agent over here was most vehemently to others and myself. a civilian, who could know what battal. But nobody would believe them. The ions arrived and departed, and what camp of pro-Germans in Rumania was

story first.

news

was

still very strong in those days, and it not so puny, seeing that from three to would have been a very natural thing seven ships of the line, not to mention for them to induce Rumanian state rail cruisers and other vessels, participated road officials to be a little complacent in them. in matters affecting shipments to Turkey The chief performance occurred on from Germany. So loud were these March 18th. Two shells from the rumors that the British, French, and super-dreadnought Queen Elizabeth inRussian ministers made protests to the augurated the event at eleven twenty Rumanian government. Premier Bra- sharp, as I have good reason to rememtianu assured them that they had been ber, seeing that they landed near the misinformed. When I arrived in Con- little café where I was just having a stantinople I discovered that M. Bra- glass of tchaiwhich is tea in Turkish. tianu was right. Not a single shell from While the debris of several houses was Germany was going over the Balkans. coming back to earth, I was making off

The case is of interest for the reason for Fort Tchemenlik in the hope of findthat later it was to become one of the ing some shelter under its parapets and greatest factors in the European War. traverses. For a while the protection One has but to start a rumor of that seemed ample. By noon it seemed not sort — and every government agent so ample, and once more I retreated. will seize upon it to show that he is War correspondents are not supposed to really worth his salt. Spies, be they of do heroic things. the respectable sort or of that type At about one o'clock the fire of the which decent men shun, have a great Allied fleet had reached its maximum inhabit of warning their superiors of the tensity. Out in Erenkoi Bay lay nine`dangers” ahead. That in doing so teen ships of the line and some thirty they may do their country great harm cruisers and other craft, and they were does not seem to occur to them. The pumping shells into the Turkish emEntente agents in Bucharest had black- placements at the rate of five every ened the name of the Rumanian govern minute. ment without good cause, and no matter It was one of the great days of the what that government did thereafter to war-in a manner the greatest. Never prove its innocence it was impossible before had so large a feet tried issues to eradicate from the minds of the gov with coast batteries. The crash of arernments in London and Paris that a tillery was frightful. In Tchanak Kalé great deal of “bluehead” ammunition houses collapsed as a result of the tremhad gone from Germany through Ru The glacis of Fort Anadolu Hamimania into Turkey. That impression dieh had rents in it that ran from one was to cost the Allies a great deal, as end to the other, and showed that the will here be shown. Had it not been shore had subsided at least three inches. for the “zeal” of the Entente agents in It was a most spectacular day. Over Bucharest, the Allied fleet might have the Dardanelles landscape lay the delireturned to a renewal of the attack cate green veil of early spring. The made on the Outer Dardanelles shore hedges were green, and from the meadbatteries on March 18th.

ows was being driven the last tinge of The Allied fleet was doing its best to winter's shadows. The sky was of force the Dardanelles when my duties that intense blue we find in southern as war correspondent_brought me to climes, and the waters of the strait that waterway. The Turkish shore bat sparkled in a joyous mood. Such was teries at Kum Kalé and Sid-il-Bahr were the scene at eleven twenty. An hour silenced by a tremendous expenditure of later the cañon in which the Darammunition, and after that the batteries

danelles run was filled with powder along the Outer Dardanelles were paid fumes. The feeble south breeze was much attention. I went through the unable to carry off the vapors. At first entire series of bombardments, and will they merely hovered over the scene of vouch for the fact that the intentions the gigantic struggle, and later they at of the British and French were sincere times completely enveloped everything, enough. Even the minor affairs were forming a dense bank from which sprang

ors.

the red beams that announced that made the circle, fired her forward turret more shells were on the way.

twins as her bow showed and then Soon the towns of Kilid-il-Bahr and steamed on-slowly and majestically. Tchanak Kalé were in flames. The There was little spray at her bow. Greek quarter of the latter was a roar- Again two ominous tongues of violet ing furnace. The shells of the Allies fire leaped from her forward turret. would throw up more earth-gushers in Two more shells crashed into the yard and near the forts, and out on the bay behind the parapet of Fort Hamidieh. rose the waterspouts of the Turkish Now a little of the flank of the vessel “blueheads.” Now and then the roar could be seen. of artillery made it impossible for min “Thirteen-fifty," said the officer at utes at a time to hear words spoken the range-finder. directly into the ear, and even the Captain Herschel thought for a moleather - lunged Turkish and German ment. Then he seized the megaphone. officers had difficulty making themselves “Thirteen-ten!” he shouted. Make understood to their crews, despite the ready!" use of large megaphones.

It took interminable minutes for the Out on the Allied ships the gunners Bouvet to get to the position the capwere serving guns as fast as they could tain had selected. In the emplacements be served. Volley came upon volley, the gunners were once more training crash upon crash, and above this din their eyes on the sights. The crews always rang the stentorian "Atesh!had stepped aside. . "Fire!”-of the officers in the Turkish The blue-gray battle monster was batteries. The crashing sound of tum now nearing the zenith of her course. bling buildings and the vicious clatter She was showing full broadside. It was of steel fragments, the wail of projectiles one fifty-seven o'clock. tearing the air and the echoes of de “Fire!” rang the terse command from tonation, the flames of explosion, the Captain Herschel's megaphone. terrible red of the smoke-screened sun, Four shafts of Aame issued from beallowed only the few to think and live hind the parapet and four shells sped consciously.

toward the Bouvet with the shrieks of For two hours this frenzied chaos demons. One of them raised a huge reigned. The Allied ships had so far waterspout near the stern of the vessel given the shells of the Turks a wide --then a red sheaf of sparks leaped up berth. But that led to a waste of and disappeared almost instantly as the ammunition and time. Gradually the particles of steel cooled. The next intwo circles formed by the craft enlarged. stant a tremendous column of smoke, With splendid recklessness the Bouvet, steam, and water rose from the body one of the French ships of the line, came of the ship. A second later she showed in closest. In Fort Anadolu Hamidieh, a heavy list. manned by Germans almost exclusively, More shells were being rammed into they had their eye on the Bouvet. The the guns of Fort Anadolu Hamidieh. range-finders showed that she was still The Bouvet was no longer moving. She out of effective range. Captain Her was beginning to settle by the bow. schel, the commander of the emplace Four more shells sped toward her ment, had some difficulty restraining from Fort Hamidieh. Another hit. A the younger officers.

little more wallowing, then a lurch to the “Not yet, not yet!” he cautioned, side and the Bouvet disappeared under tersely.

the surface of the strait at exactly two “She is at fifteen-fifty,” remarked o'clock by my watch. the control-officer, hoarsely.

There was a lull as men everywhere “Not yet!" was the cool advice of jumped upon parapets and traverses to the imperturbable Herschel.

see the first of the day's victims go down. “Fourteen!" shouted the man at the And then a mighty chorus of hurrahs range-finder.

sped over the waters of the Dardanelles "Not yet!”

and reverberated in the hills. The Bouvet swung to the west again, During the short fire-pause an at

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