**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

George’s V.C.
by [?]



The Colonel of the Nth Blankshires was seated in his office. It was not an imposing room to look at. Furnished simply but tastefully with a table, officers, for use of, one, and a chair, ditto, one, it gave little evidence of the distressing scenes which had been enacted in it, and still less evidence of the terrible scene which was to come. Within these walls the Colonel was accustomed to deal out stern justice to offenders, and many a hardened criminal had been carried out fainting upon hearing the terrible verdict, “One day’s C.B.”

But the Colonel was not holding the scales of justice now, for it was late afternoon. With an expression of the utmost anxiety upon his face he read and re-read the official-looking document which he held in his hand. Even the photograph of the Sergeant-Major (signed, “Yours ever, Henry”), which stood upon his desk, brought him no comfort.

The door opened and Major Murgatroyd, second in command of the famous Blankshires, came in.

“Come in,” said Colonel Blowhard.

The Major saluted impressively, and the Colonel rose and returned his salute with the politeness typical of the British Army.

“You wished to see me, Colonel?”

“I did, Major.” They saluted each other again. “A secret document of enormous importance,” went on the Colonel, “has just reached me from the War Office. It concerns the Regiment, the dear old Regiment.” Both men saluted, and the Colonel went on hoarsely, “Were the news in this document to become public property before its time, nothing could avert the defeat of England in the present world-wide cataclysm.”

“Is it as important as that, Colonel?” said the Major, even more hoarsely if anything.

“It is, Major.”

The Major’s voice sank to a whisper.

“What would not Hindenburg give to see it,” he muttered.

“Ay,” said the Colonel. “I say that to myself day and night: ‘What not what–what would what–‘ Well, I say it to myself day and night. For this reason, Major, I have decided to entrust the news to no one but yourself. Our Officers are good lads and a credit to the dear old Regiment”–they saluted as before–“but in a matter of this sort one cannot be too discreet.”

“You are right, Colonel.”

The Colonel looked round the room apprehensively and brought his chair a little closer to the Major.

“The secret contained in this document–Are we alone?”

“Except for each other, Colonel.”

“The secret,” went on the Colonel, “is this: that, on and after the 23rd of the month, men in category X3 are to be included in category X2.”

“My God,” gasped the Major, “if Hindenburg knew!”

“He must not know, Major,” said the Colonel simply. “I can trust you not to disclose this until the time is ripe?”

“You can trust me, Colonel.”

They grasped hands and saluted.

At this moment the door opened and an orderly came in.

“You’re wanted by the Sergeant-Major, sir,” he told the Colonel.

“Ah, excuse me a moment,” said the latter to his second in command, knowing how much it annoys a sergeant-major to be kept waiting. He saluted and hurried out.

“Just a moment, orderly,” said the Major.

The orderly came back. “Yes, sir,” he said.

“Did you give that message to Miss Blowhard?”

“Yes, sir. She says she cannot play golf with you to-morrow because she is playing with Second-Lieutenant Lord Smith.” He saluted and withdrew.

Left alone the Major gave vent to his rage. “Lord Smith!” he stormed. “Curse him! What can she see in that puppy? Thrice have I used my influence to send him away on a musketry course, and thrice has he returned. Could I but turn him out of the Regiment for good, I might win the love of the fair Miss Blowhard, the Colonel’s daughter.” In a sudden passion he picked up the “Manual of Military Law” and flung it to the ground.

All at once an idea struck him and a crafty look came into his eyes.