Page:Air Service Boys over the Rhine.djvu/30

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20
ANXIOUS DAYS

down behind his own lines, amid the cheers of his comrades.

"And I'm glad to be back, not only for my sake, but for the sake of the machine. She's a beauty, and I'd have hated like anything to set fire to her," remarked Tom, after his wound had been dressed.

He referred to the universal practice of all aviators of setting fire to their craft if they are brought down within the enemy lines, and are not so badly injured as to prevent them from opening the gasoline tank and setting a match to it. This is done to prevent the machine, and often the valuable papers or photographs carried, from falling into the hands of the enemy.

The end of the week came, the last of seven anxious days, and it was time for Tom and Jack to be relieved for a rest period. And the days had been anxious because Tom had not heard from his father.

"I hope the vessel he was coming on wasn't torpedoed," said Tom to his chum. "He's had more than time to get here and send me some word. None has come. Jack, I'm worried!" And Tom certainly looked it.