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      "Wot does a liddle thing lik that count when it's all so miserable?"She had no patience with Naomi's simmering rebellion; she scoffed at her complaints, and always took Reuben's part against her.

      It was down in the hollow by Totease, as unpromising an estate as one could wish, all on a slope, gorse-grown at the top, then a layer of bracken, and at the Totease fence a kind of oozy pulp, where a lavant dribbled in and out of the grass; to Reuben, however, it was a land of milk and honey. He turned up the soil of it with his foot, and blessed the wealden clay.

      "Hush," she said gently"that's still in the futureand remember not to say 'sarve.'"

      "And Maria and the girls is talkin' about me," he communed with himself. "I knowed that my left ear hadn't bin burnin' ever since we crossed the Ohio River for nothin'. I thought it was because it'd got so tender layin' on pillers that the blankets chafed it. Now I understand it. And I can't hear nothin' of what they've bin sayin' till I git that gun to Sammy. I'll start it to him this day, if it takes a leg. I'd intended to go over to the camp o' the Maumee Muskrats today, on a missionary, tower with them new tricks I brung back with me, but I'll put in the time gittin' Sammy's gun and shippin' it to him. Wonder where I kin pick up a rebel musket and trimmins'?" Shorty did not find this so easy as he had anticipated. Generally, rebel guns had been a drug in the market. They could be found lying around camp almost anywhere, and were used for any purpose to which they could be appliedpoles to hang kettles on over the fire, tent-sticks, revetments to hold the dirt back, or any other use. But under the rigid system now prevailing in Sherman's camps everything had to be accounted for, and every gun sufficiently serviceable to be worth sending to Sammy had been gathered up and stored away in a large shed. Shorty went down there and scrutinized the armory. There were plenty of guns in there, any one of which would make Sammy's heart leap for joy, and render him the object of the burning envy of all the boys for miles around. But there were guards pacing around, and they looked watchful. Still, if the night were dark he might slip in and steal one. But somehow since he had known Maria there had risen in his mind a repugnance to that way of procuring things. It was not in accordance with Klegg ideas. He sat down and pondered on other methods. He went over and talked to the Sergeant in charge, an old acquaintance, but the Sergeant was obdurate.

      But the rain was nearer that Si thought. It came, as the Spring rains come in the North Georgia mountainsas if Niagara had been shifted into the clouds overhead. The boys were literally washed off the road, and clung to saplings to avoid being carried away into the brush.



      "It's goin' to be a big smash this time, sure," said Si. "And the 200th Injianny's got a front seat at the performance. We'll show them how to do it, and we're just the ones that kin. Brace up, boys. The eyes of the whole army's on us. They expect big things from us."


      He did so, and came to a little open space made by the washings which poured over the crest of the rock when the rain descended in torrents. There was a cleft there, but it was 40 feet above them, and surrounded by rebels, who yelled at the sight of his squad, and sent down a volley of bowlders. Si and his squad promptly dodged these by getting behind trunks of trees. They fired at the rebels on the crest, who as promptly lay down and sheltered themselves.Suddenly he heard a knock at the door, and before he could answer, it flew open, and the icy blast, laden with snow, rushed in, and whirled round the hut, fluttering the pages of Lilly's grammar and the fleece of the lamb.