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CHAPTER I. THE DEACON PROVIDES
"Go ahead, there, Corporal. We're just behind you."Mother and girls were inconsolable, for each had something that they were sure "Si would like," and would "do him good," but they knew Josiah Klegg, Sr., well enough to understand what was the condition when he had once made up his mind.
Shorty fell back a little and walked sullenly along. The people at the house were expecting them, and had a bountiful supper prepared. A good, sousing wash in the family lavatory in the entry, plentifully supplied with clear water, soap, tin basins and clean roller towels, helped much to restore the boys' self-respect and good humor. When they were seated at the table Maria, as the particular friend of the family, assisted as hostess, and paid especial attention to supplying Shorty's extensive wants, and by her assiduous thoughtfulness strengthened her chains upon him and soothed the hurts her tongue had made. Yet he could not see her whisper to one of the other girls, and hear the responsive giggle, but he thought with flushed face that it concerned the Bad Ax incident. But Maria was not doing any such covert work. She was, above everything, bold and outspoken.
HOURS THAT WERE ALL-TOO-FEW AND ALL-TOO-SHORT."Them ain't many for cavalry," said Shorty, as he and Si deployed the boys behind fence-corners, and instructed them to shoot carefully and low.
"Sergeant," said one of the Lieutenants who happened to be passing, "keep your temper. You'll get along better. Don't squabble with your men."
And his eyes took on a far-away look, which Si had no difficulty interpreting that "home" meant a place with a queer name in distant Wisconsin.