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When they went to get on board the train Shorty had to change his tactics. He got Si on his right, the Lieutenant immediately in front of them, and two trusted boys of the squad directly behind, with strict injunctions to press up close, allow nobody between, and keep a hawk's eye on everybody. But both Si and Shorty were breathless with apprehension till they got through the crowd and were seated in the car, and a hasty feeling of various lumps about their persons assured them that their charges were safe. They were in a passenger car, for luck. The Lieutenant sat in front, Si and Shorty next, and the two trusty boys immediately behind. They breathed a sigh of relief. As they stood their guns over against the side of the car, Si suddenly asked:
"Hold on. Tell me the rest after a while. I'm afraid of that man. He's come pretty near getting on to me several times already. He's listening now, unt he'll be sure to suspect something if he don't hear you treating me as you did the others. Begin swearing at me as you did at the rest."
"I have the right to give orders. I represent the General, and speak in his name, and I order that man to be bucked-and-gagged," reiterated the Aid in a flame of anger. "I'll see that it is done. I shall not be so insulted before the whole army. It will destroy all discipline.""Insubordination be damned, and you with it," said Shorty. "You'd better be thinking how we're to git off this island. The water's bin raisin' about a foot a minute. I've bin watchin' while we wuz talkin'."
Even the brash young "Second Lieutenant and Aid-de-Camp" seemed impressed with the intense gravity of the moment. He came up to the Colonel, and seeing he was on foot, respectfully dismounted, saluted, and said, without a vestige of his usual pertness:
"Yes," admitted Shorty, who had not so much reason for being enthusiastic; "but the Wisconsin boys say that Wisconsin's as much finer than Injianny as Injianny's finer'n Tennessee. I'll take you up there some day and show you."
"They're just laying low," whispered Si to Shorty, as they instinctively brought their shoulders together and summoned their energies for the swift advance. "They'll blaze out like the fires o' hell just as we git tangled up in that infernal timber-slashin'.""I've my opinion o' the glorious Fourth o' July," said Shorty, as he nibbled moodily at his solitary cracker. "I'll change my politics and vote for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas after this."