Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 167
Publication Date: 1917
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From the Preface: "Every one knows that Germany is famous for her spy system. Scarcely a land on earth but is, or was, honeycombed with the secret agents of the German Government. Ever since this country began to send war munitions to the Allies an organized band of men has plotted and schemed against the peace and welfare of the United States. When America itself declared war their efforts naturally were redoubled. Our Secret Service has been wonderfully efficient, but it has not been humanly possible to apprehend every spy and plotter at once. It is a big task to unravel all the secrets of this great German organization."
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"Well," said Mr. Cook, "I see that the United States has declared war on
Germany. I am glad of it, too."
"Why, Robert!" exclaimed Mrs. Cook. "How can you say such a thing? Just think of all the fine young American boys who may be killed."
"I realize all that," said her husband. "At the same time I agree with President Wilson that the German Government has gone mad, and as a civilized nation it is our duty to defend civilization. The only way left for us is to go in and give Germany a good beating."
"And I shall enlist and get a commission," cried Harold, their eldest boy. "I am twenty-three years old. I have been at Plattsburg two summers, and I have done a lot of studying; I know I can pass the examinations."
"What will you be if you do pass?" inquired his father. "A lieutenant?"
"Well," said Harold, "a second-lieutenant."
"I wish I could enlist," sighed Bob.
"Huh!" snorted his older brother. "You can't enlist. What military training have you had? And besides, you're only seventeen; they wouldn't take you."
The Cook family were seated at the dinner table, mother, father, and three children, the two boys referred to above and a young daughter, Louise, just thirteen years of age.
Congress had that day declared war on Germany, and naturally that was the one thing in every one's mind. Crowds in front of the newspaper offices had greeted the news from Washington with wild enthusiasm, patriotic parades had been organized, and from almost every house and office streamed the Stars and Stripes.
Bob Cook had been among the crowds, and his young mind and heart were fired with patriotism and enthusiasm. A company of soldiers from the Thirty-ninth Infantry called out the week before had caused him to cheer and hurl his cap high in the air, while all the time he envied the men in khaki.
"I hate to think of you enlisting, Harold," said Mrs. Cook sadly.
"Why?" demanded Harold earnestly. "Don't you think it is my duty to offer my services to my country! I'm free; no one is dependent upon me."
"I know," agreed his mother, "but somehow I don't like to have my boy go over to France and be killed. Let some one else go."
"Suppose every one said that," exclaimed Harold. "We shouldn't have much of an army and our country wouldn't be very well defended, would it?"
"Let him go," said Mr. Cook quietly to his wife. "I don't want him killed any more than you do, but there are some things worse than that. Suppose he was afraid to go; you'd be ashamed of your son then I know."
"How do you know I'm going to get killed anyway?" demanded Harold. "Every one that goes to war doesn't get killed. At any rate it's sort of gruesome to sit up and hear your family talk as if you were just as good as dead already."
"True enough," laughed Mr. Cook. "When does your examination come?"
"Will you wear a uniform?" asked Louise.
"Why, certainly," said Harold, swelling out his chest at the thought.
"I wish I could enlist," sighed Bob.
"You're too young, I told you," said Harold scornfully.
"I'll bet I could fight as well as you could," said Bob stoutly. "Besides, I'm big for my age and maybe if I told them I was older than I really am they might take me."
"Don't do that, Bob," said his father earnestly. "Don't lie about it."
"They'd find you out anyway," exclaimed Harold. "You can't fool these recruiting officers."
"I'd like to get to France and see the trenches, and see the soldiers, and the guns, and the fighting," Bob insisted.
"Do you realize that Harold may never get to France even if he does enlist and get a commission?" remarked Mr. Cook.
"First of all on account of Mexico."
"Do you think the Mexicans will make trouble?" inquired Harold.
"I shouldn't be at all surprised," said Mr. Cook. "If they think we have our hands full with Germany those bandits may stir up a fuss and then troops would have to be sent down there."