The Girl from Alsace
Stewart rose too, his face still mazed with incredulity.
"You really mean----"
"I mean," Bloem broke in, "that to-morrow I go to my depot, hang about my neck the metal tag stamped with my number, put on my uniform and shoulder my rifle. I cease to be an individual--I become a soldier. Good-by, my friend," he added, his voice softening. "Think of me sometimes, in that far-off, sublime America of yours. One thing more--do not linger in Germany--things will be very different here under martial law. Get home as quickly as you can; and, in the midst of your peace and happiness, pity us poor blind worms who are forced to slay each other!"
"But I will go with you to the station," Stewart protested.
"No, no," said Bloem; "you must not do that. I am to meet my cousin. Good-by. Lebe wohl!"
"Good-by--and good luck!" and Stewart wrung the hand thrust into his. "You have been most kind to me."