Victor had gone a good way toward acquiring an English accent, the boys thought. At least he said 'necess'ry' and 'dysent'ry'
and called his suspenders 'braces'. He offered Claude a cigarette, remarking that his cigars were in his lost trunk.
"Take one of mine. My brother sent me two boxes just before we sailed. I'll put a box in your bunk next time I go down. They're good ones."
The young man turned and looked him over with surprise. "I say, that's very decent of you! Yes, thank you, I will."
Claude had tried yesterday, when he lent Victor some shirts, to make him talk about his aerial adventures, but upon that subject he was as close as a clam. He admitted that the long red scar on his upper arm had been drilled by a sharpshooter from a German Fokker, but added hurriedly that it was of no consequence, as he had made a good landing. Now, on the strength of the cigars, Claude thought he would probe a little further. He asked whether there was anything in the lost trunk that couldn't be replaced, anything "valuable."
"There's one thing that's positively invaluable; a Zeiss lens, in perfect condition. I've got several good photographic outfits from time to time, but the lenses are always cracked by heat,--the things usually come down on fire. This one I got out of a plane I brought down up at Bar-le-Duc, and there's not a scratch on it; simply a miracle."
"You get all the loot when you bring down a machine, do you?" Claude asked encouragingly.
"Of course. I've a good collection; alimeters and compasses and glasses. This lens I always carry with me, because I'm afraid to leave it anywhere."