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      However, he had come to get some comprehension of the lay of the ground and the movements of the trains by this time, and by careful watching succeeded in gathering in his boys, one after another, until he had them all but little Pete Skidmore. The opinion grew among them that Pete had unwisely tried to keep up with the bigger boys, who had jumped across the track in front of a locomotive, and had been caught and crushed beneath the wheels. He had been seen up to a certain time, and then those who were last with him had been so busy getting out of the way that they had forgotten to look for him. Si calmed Shorty down enough to get him to forget the trainmen for awhile and take charge of the squad while he went to look for Pete. He had become so bewildered that he could not tell the direction whence they had come, or where the tragedy was likely to have happened. The farther he went in attempting to penetrate the maze of moving trains, the more hopeless the quest seemed. Finally he went over to the engineer of a locomotive that was standing still and inquired if he had heard of any accident to a boy soldier during the day.


      "Not any better'n Sergeant Klegg," responded Harry, taking up the gantlet for his favorite. "Long-legged men are very good in their way, but they don't have the brains that shorter men have. Nature don't give no man everything. What she gives to his legs she takes off his head, my dad says."


      "Rankin' after me?" inquired Shorty.

      They all faced to the right and stepped into their places without an error."Dumb this mixin' o' military and civilian," said the irritated Deacon, "It's worse'n mixin' religion and politics, and preachin' and tavern-keepin'. Down there in camp everything was straight and systematic. Every feller what don't have nothin' in his shoulder-straps bosses all the fellers what hain't no shoulder-straps at all. The feller what has one bar in his shoulder-straps bosses all the fellers what hain't nothin in theirs, and the feller what has two bars bosses the fellers with but one; the feller with leaves gives orders to the fellers with bars; the feller with an eagle lays clear over him, and the man with a star jest makes everybody jump when he talks. Out at the depot on Bean Blossom Crick Sol Pringle has the say about everything. He knows when the trains come and when they go, and what goes into 'em. This seems to be a betwixt and between place, neither pork nor bacon, I don't like it at all, I always want things straighteither one thing or t'otherreg'ler close communion, total-immersion Babtist, or free-for-all, shoutin' Methodist."

      gear, and"Shorty returned to the fire. Si bade the boys he down again, and took his own blanket. Shorty relighted his pipe, took out his never-failing deck of cards and began running them over.


      "Don't look so very different from the Indiana side," said Harry Joslyn, as they neared the wharf. "Same kind o' wharf-boats and same kind o' men on 'em."

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      "Capt. McGillicuddy, o' the 200th Injianny," said the Deacon, much moved. "You Bay you're Capt. McGillicuddy's man?""See here. Mister Billingsyou're Mister Billings now, and a mighty ornery Mister, too, I'm going to lay for you, and settle several little p'ints with you. You've bin breedin' a busted head, and I'm detailed to give it to you. Git out, you hound."

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      CHAPTER VI. THE BOYS IN THE OLD HOME ON BEAN BLOSSOM CREEK.


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