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It was afternoon, and the sky was gray;
Peacefully still the North Sea lay;
Far as the watchful eye had seen
There was no sign of a submarine—
Nothing at all that could hint of harm
There on the broad Atlantic's arm.
The English seaplane, patrolling by
Like a mighty bird 'twixt sea and sky,
Swung round and headed for its base.
Suddenly, fear blanched the pilot's face—
The huge craft plunged like a wounded thing,
Righted itself, and plunged again;
And down to the sea, with its freight of men,
It fell with a broken wing.

Up from the wreckage rose a shout:
“The pigeons, boys! Send the pigeons out!”

| !/ o - - 2/// Caged in their basket they were found,

Chilled and dripping, and two of them drowned;
Yet one remained, and an officer pressed
Its little body against his breast,
And warmed and dried it, its life to save.
But dusk was creeping over the wave—
They could not wait—the bird must be sent;
For the plane with its motor and armament
Would not float long, they knew too well,
And the sequel only the sea would tell.

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They wrote a message, and made it fast
To one slender leg; then the bird was cast
Into the air from the pilot's hand.
But all hearts sank when they saw it drop;
Then, just at the wave it seemed to stop
And gather its strength for a splendid flight;
It rose—and, heading toward the land,
It disappeared from sight!

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The papers over the country tossed
The news next day, both brief and right:

“Seaplane N-64 was lost
In the North Sea last night.”

They said no word

Of a little blue bird
Who wind and rain and darkness braved, ~s

And conquered them all with a courage fine;

But the item ended with this line:
“All the crew were saved.”


THE golden light of a delayed-spring sun lay over the world. It yellowed the early tips of millions of blades of wheat in the rich plains; it flung diamonds among the myriads of pebbles in the swift stream bed; it showered like raindrops through the interlacings of soft, new, pitchy green needles of the forest pines. High up on the green hill it touched the bronze cross on the church tower, turning it to gold; crept in through the stained-glass windows to flood the cold stone flaggings with color, spreading, too, an effulgence over the bright banners that flanked the marble altar. One solitary ray, which stole in through a small round aperture in the roof, rested flickering, as if reflected from a pool of water, upon a shield of red, hung on a high pillar, on which was escutcheoned in white a rampant bear, carrying in its fore paws a pennant, and on it was engraved the single word “Chelm,” the name of the town and canton. In the streets below were many carts with small wheels, returning, emptied of early vegetables, from the market. By their sides trudged peasants in costumes of many colors—men with high boots, or barefooted, wearing knee-trousers, adorned with many a stripe, and loose jackets of red or blue; in them rode old men or women, with children by their side, chattering, laughing, conversing gaily or singing. An occasional wayfarer in an ox-drawn cart puffed over an accordion or strummed a knee-harp with its dozen strings. To see them, one would readily believe that the Golden Age had come again, instead of merely the annual approach of summer, rushing across Russia and breaking out through the river valleys of Poland, gladdening all hearts and pouring the fires of East and South into them. It was the year 1580, four years after the choice of Stefan Batory as king of Poland.

For the first time in many decades the country found itself possessed of a ruler loved by noble and peasant alike. He had been prince of Transylvania before his election as king, and knew the ways of Galicians and Cossacks as well as the manners of Cracow and Warsaw. The Cossacks, always an independent people, subject to no nation long, he had sought to win over to Poland by kindness and persuasion, and to such a degree was he successful that large numbers of them were enlisted in his service. But he had a crafty opponent in Ivan the Terrible, of Muscovy, and at this time much of the Cossack allegiance was doubtful. As far as the Bug River, Batory's kingship was unquestioned; but beyond that, the country was treacherous and at all times dangerous to good Poles, although many thousands of them lived in that region, trusting to the good temper of prowling chieftains, to whom they paid much tribute. Cossack friends of to-day, however, might prove terrible enemies of to-morrow. In the very heart of the town of Chelm, close to the Bug River, which has ever been a barrier against too great Cossack invasion, young Adam, the apprentice of Stanislaus Bryck, the blacksmith, was working, hammer in hand, over a large anvil. He was about nineteen, but his great stature and muscular limbs gave him the appearance of a matured man. The smithy was an old stone structure, its sooty walls blackened by years of use. One side of the smithy opened directly to the main street, where the gamins used to gather to watch Adam at work. Two of the other walls were solid, but on the fourth side a door opened upon a little court, cobbled, across which, distant about a hundred feet, stood the square, yellow brick dwelling of Stanislaus the Smith. Adam's boyish blue eyes, raised for the moment from the red of the fire and the blackness of the anvil, were

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