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Kustorino, and then launched a series Hungarian troops he had pushed on of offensives that proved to be one of Hermannstadt, driven the Second Ruthe most stubborn battles ever fought manian Army into the Vörös Torony in the Balkans. Early one morning a defile, and then had advanced through regiment from Philippolis scaled the the valley of the Alt in the direction Golash, and after a frightful hand-to of the Geisterwald, which was then in hand encounter dislodged the British. the hands of the invading Rumanians. During the night the French had been Instead of enveloping the enemy's right driven from their positions, and with wing, formed by the Rumanian First that the campaign of the Allies in the Army, he pushed his way into the very Balkans was a stalemate.
center of that force, and two days before There is only one route that will per- taking Kronstadt found that he was mit an advance upon Sofia, the Bulga- almost surrounded. The Rumanians, rian capital, and that lies through the instead of closing in on Falkenhayn's valley of the Struma. It is a safe flank and rear, elected to fall back on route, moreover, being protected in the their line of communication, Kroneast by the. Perim Dagh and the Rila stadt-Predeal; they abandoned everyPlanina, and in the west by the Plash- thing and lost what they had gained kavica Mountains, all three of which in so short a time. They would have ranges are insurmountable barriers to obliged the German Ninth Army to large bodies of troops.
fall back had they held their positions The one difficulty in the way
in the Geisterwald, the very opporadvance through the Struma Valley is tunity the Russian commander in the the narrowness of the opening between Carpathians, General Brussiloff, was the Belasica and Cengel Daghs, which looking for. There can be no doubt was made by the river, and which the that disaster would have overtaken the Bulgars had fortified in a haphazard Germans and Austro-Hungarians had manner. There was bound to be some the Rumanians been endowed with severe fighting at that point, but since enough sense to close in on them in the Allied troops had the necessary
artil the direction of Fogaras. lery, and favorable maneuver ground, I suggested to General Falkenhayn they could have done what in the that his plan had been daring enough, Blagusa Mountains was impossible. A and that it could not have been carried fight such as they put up near Kustorino out with a better army than the Ruwould have brought them through the manian as an opponent. defile, and after that the Struma and “I am fully aware of that,” he said. Strumnitza valleys were open to them “But I took the character of that —the former for an advance upon Sofia, army into consideration. The Rumanif that seemed advisable, the latter for ian army is not bad by any means, but a flank maneuver upon the Bulgarian it has its weak spots. I was lucky forces in the Vardar Valley. At the enough to discover some of them.” same time one of the important lines That does not invalidate the fact that of communication of the Bulgars and the Rumanians had a fine chance to inGermans in Macedonia would have
would have fict upon the Germans and Austrobeen cut.
Hungarians a crushing defeat, but their The Balkans' fate hung on a very
leaders made up their mind that two slender thread just then. That thread could play the risky game General was military information of the right Falkenhayn was playing. sort.
Thus are spun the slender threads Almost a year later General Falken upon which the life of a nation may dehayn, one evening at dinner in Kron- pend. The surprising part of it is that stadt, Transylvania, was reviewing the they do not seem to tear often. The progress of his campaign against the thinnest of them all, however, was the Rumanians. He had executed a most one that held the fate of Turkey susdaring plan, and had succeeded beyond pended throughout the summer, fall, and his own expectations. With the Ger winter of 1915. An empire never before man Ninth Army and some Austro-hung by so slim a spider's thread.
OR twoscore years and got to the office and crowded in with all ten Amos Owens really the other fellows the world was itself had something to worry again-a place of loud voices and much about. In the first part edging of you out of line, but there was of the first score he had a certain three blocks—whistling didn't to worry about his help and running made it worse.
pants, for his mother His early-morning life did not stop made them out of his father's pants. He with the papers. He got a job in the had to worry about not having the guns fish-market and it was his business to and bats and boats that make for popu meet the four-o'clock train and get the larity among one's fellows. He even had stuff right on ice. If he missed that to worry about getting his school-books train— He never finished that sentence —not that he really wanted them, but -more's the pity. his mother's tone in speaking of his not He began working in the fish-market being able to have them led him to asso at sixteen and he bought it at thirty-two. ciate this possibility with catastrophe From the time he was twenty-eight he too great to look in the face. And then was afraid old Doe would die, or give up from the time he was ten years old he
the business, before he had enough saved began to worry about getting up early to buy it. Amos's savings-account ran enough—at ten he got a route and began a race with old Doe's kidneys, and there carrying morning papers. Perhaps if in is something hounding about an oppothose years which might have been ten nent you can't measure. In the second derer he had just once looked the worst year Mr. Doe had an acute attack and that could happen straight in the eye, was taken to the hospital-that was and with bold reasonableness inquired, what made Amos an investor. To get "Well, what if it does happen?”—if just money faster he lent the savings which one morning a little boy of ten had done were bringing him four per cent. to a that, maybe the life of a man would have man who wanted to build a house and been different. Maybe. But his moth would pay eight per cent. er's voice shaped his years. She couldn't would have risked this if he could have say, “What a beautiful sunny morning!" had an accurate report on the kidneys. without giving you a sense of impending Having risked it was anguishing as he doom. And when she said, “Amos, you walked through still, gray streets; secuget to bed and right to sleep, or you'll rities became as thin and, unreal as that not be able to wake up when I call you," light which fills in between night and he couldn't any more have taken a good day. Of course he was going to lose his look at the possibility of not being able money. Money became to him a thing to wake
than he could have struck a you are practically certain to lose. He did match and looked at the monstrous fig not lose it, and he found out how to make ure which must be there when a door it, but that light which is never seen in creaked in the night.
night or day became the light in which And then, from the first, he saw things he saw things. from the early-morning angle. There is When he bought the fish-market he that about the world when people are thought how nice it was going to be to not up to make it seem something is sleep mornings. For years, as he walked bound to happen to them when they do past those drawn shades, he had envied get up. The cats were too queer in the the people warm and unaware in their dawn. Many houses with pulled-down beds. But when you have done an unshades do something to you. When he pleasant thing for twenty-two years it
isn't so easy to leave off doing it. Of a fearful burden of interest. Suppose course he continued to wake at half past the bank came down on him-as she three, and as that was the hour when said it would-as something in him felt things had long seemed all wrong, of sure it must. He suffered, but he went course they continued to seem so. He on. He had to suffer, and he had to go could hear the whistle of the four on. He was like that. o'clock train, and he was sure Fred Long And then one day he made his pile He had not been there to meet it.
was one of three men who financed a so he couldn't bear to lie abed and listen young inventor. The 'fraid-cat had been for that whistle. After a month of more tortured by this than by anything knowing Fred would not be there-a he had done and the gambler more month in which Fred never once failed intrigued. It was a new sort of motorto be therehe told him he'd meet the engine, and there was a fortune in it. train himself.
The man who every morning met the His wife told him he was crazy; when four-o'clock train was the richest man in he acquired the fish-market he acquired town. as wife Josie Smith, bookkeeper in the But he went right on meeting it. grocery-store next door. “You don't When Josie complained about its looking have to do it,” she told him again and queer, he said there was nothing else to again. And he couldn't explain to her, do at that hour in the morning. She not being able to explain it to himself, spoke of sleep. What was the good of that he did have to.
sleep if you couldn't sleep? They There was a great deal he was never bought an imposing house called The able to explain to Josie-or to himself. Manor-an edifice erected by a man There were things in him that fought with a romantic sense which had played with other things, and his make-up him false, and at twenty minutes of four brought him pain. With all his terror every morning this heavy mahogany about his pennies he had that quite door opened and there slunk out of it special romantic sense which points some the master of the house, the richest man men to money. He was a 'fraid-cat and in town, Amos Owens on his old hard a gambler, and all through his life the way to get his fish. gambler tortured the 'fraid-cat. He As he went out he sometimes met his borrowed money up to the hilt, and son coming in-Walter was less inept made money on the borrowed money. than his father in taking his place among His capital was never big enough for his the wealthy. One morning, in the lower business. This consigned him to years hall, he met his daughter, just home most men will understand better than from a fancy-dress Christmas ball
. Edna most women. Josie was one of the put out_her arm, not unkindly, and women who didn't understand it at all. cried, “Father!" at the thought of his She had a tidy little bookkeeping mind going out in the storm. Her arm was which would have things balance no bare and some gold thing was wound matter what the balance might be. round and round it. All the way to Those were dreadful days in the Owens the train it bothered him. It must have household when he had to pull out of his cost a great deal. Why need she have pocket a note for Josie to sign. Josie her arm bound like that? While abthought it all quite simple. They could sorbed in figuring out what the adornget along very well if it weren't for that ment must have cost he slipped on the terrible interest. She never could see ice and broke his ankle. that they moved from a flat on Third That night Josie and Walter and Edna Street to a home on River Heights out of gathered round his bed and read him the what the borrowed money made. She evening papers. They all had the story wanted what it made, but her mind- of how Amos Owens, on his way to the and her judgments-never got past what four-o'clock train from which he had it cost.
long taken his fish, had slipped on the And as he carried away Josie's sig- ice. Josie and Edna cried-and not over nature he always carried with it a ner his broken ankle. Walter said it would vous chill. It was true he was bearing set them back — they weren't well