Page:Air Service Boys over the Rhine.djvu/52

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had at last gotten beyond the bounds of patience with a ruthless and sneaking enemy and was making energetic warfare against him was welcome news to those who had so long borne the unequal brunt of battle.

"Americans? Ah, everything that I have is yours!" the hotel proprietor told Tom and Jack. "You have but to ask. And now come, I will show you the way to the cellar."

"But we don't care to see the cellar," remarked Tom in wonder. "No doubt it is a very fine one, monsieur," he added in his best French, which was nothing to boast of. "No doubt it is most excellent, but we don't care for cellars."

"Ah, I know, but it is for protection in case of an air raid that I show it to you. It is there we all take shelter. There have been raids, and there will be more. It is well to be prepared. It is a well-protected cellar."

"Oh, well, that's different," observed Jack. "Come on, Tom, we'd better learn the best and quickest route to the basement. No telling when we might want to use it."

They descended with the proprietor and saw that he had arranged the cellar with a false roof of beams, on top of which were sand bags. In ease a bomb was dropped on the hotel or in its vicinity the cellar would offer almost certain protection.