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    Air Service Boysin the Big Battle, or,Silencing the Big Guns Charles Amory Beach     Air Service Boys in the Big Battle 1 CHAPTER IBAD NEWS FROM THE AIR“Well, Tom, how’s your head now? ”“How’s my head? What do you mean? There’s nothing the matterwith my head, ” and the speaker, who wore the uniform of a Frenchaviator, glanced up in surprise from the cot on which he wasreclining in his tent near the airdromes that stretched around a greatlevel field, not far from Paris.“Oh, isn’t there? ” questioned Jack Parmly, with a smile. “Then I begyour pardon for asking, my cabbage! I beg your pardon, SergeantRaymond! ”Tom Raymond, whose, chum had addressed him by the militarytitle, looked curiously at his companion, and smiled at theappellation of the term cabbage. It was one of the many little trickspicked up by association with their French flying comrades, ofspeaking to a friend by some odd, endearing term. It might becucumber or rose, cabbage or cart wheel—the words mattered not, itwas the meaning back of them.“Say, is anything the matter? ” went on Tom, as his chum, attiredlike himself’, but wearing an old blouse covered with oil and grease,continued to smile. “What gave you the notion that my head hurt? ”“I didn’t say it hurt. I only asked how it was. The swelling hasn’t begun to subside in mine yet, and I was wondering if it had inyours.”“Swelling? Subside? What in the world—” Jack Parmly brought to a sudden termination the rapid torrent ofwords from the mouth of his churn by silently pointing to a smallmedal fastened to the uniform jacket of his friend. It was the covetedcroix de guerre.“Oh, that! ” exclaimed Tom.  Air Service Boys in the Big Battle 2 “Nothing else, my pickled beet! ” answered Jack. “Doesn’t it makeyour head swell up as if it would burst every time you look at it?Now don’t say it doesn’t, for that’s the way it affects me, and I’msure you’re not very different. And every time I read the citation thatgoes with the medal—well, I’m just aching for a chance to show it tothe folks back home, aren’t you, Sergeant? ”Tom Raymond started a bit at the second use of the title.“I see you aren’t any more used to it than I am! ” exclaimed Jack.“Well, it’ll be a little time before we stop looking around to see if itisn’t some one behind us they’re talking to. So I thought I’d practiceit a bit on you. And you can do the same for me. I should think, outof common politeness, you’d get up, salute and call me the same. ”“Oh! Now I see what you’re driving at, ” voiced Tom, as he glancedup from a momentary look at his medal to the face of his comrade-in-arms, or perhaps in flying would be more appropriate. “Thewind’s in that quarter, is it? ”“No wind at all to speak of, ” broke in Jack. “If you’d like to go for afly, and see if we can bag a Boche or two, I’m with you. ”“Against orders, Jack. I’d like to, but we were ordered here for restand observation work; and you know, as well as I do, that obeyingorders is just as important as sending a member of the Hun FlyingCircus down where he can’t do any more of his grandstand stunts.But I’m hoping the time will come when we can climb up back of ourmachine guns again, and do our bit to show that the little old U. S. A.is still on the map. ”“I guess that time’ll soon come, Tom, old man. I heard rumors that alot of us were to be sent up nearer the front shortly, and if they don’tinclude you and me, there’ll be something doing in this camp! ”“That’s what I say. So you thought I’d have a swelled head, did you, because they gave us the croix de guerre? ”“I confess I had a faint suspicion that way, ” admitted Jack. “Both ofus being advanced to sergeants was a big step, too. ”
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