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      The boys were so near that every word could be distinctly heard, and they were floating nearer every moment.Shorty's hair tried to stand on end.

      "Nothin' worse'n gittin' the girl's dad to consent," answered Shorty, "and scratchin' 'round to git the money to git married on to buy a new suit o' clothes, fee the preacher, pay for the license, and start housekeepin'. That's enough for one lifetime.""Take him along?" asked Si of Shorty in a low tone, with a nod toward Nate, as they were making up the squad.

      "You hound, you," he said, taking him by the throat with a fierce grasp, "you've bin bushwhacking, and got these things off some soldier you sneaked onto and killed. We ought to kill you right now, like we would a dog.""Things look bad," said Si to Shorty. "They've halted there to hold us while they send for reinforcements. We'd better go back to the boys and get things in shape. Mebbe we'd better send back to camp for help."

      "How in the world did you come here, Hackberry," asked Shorty.

      "Attention, Co. Q," suggested rather than commanded Capt. McGillicuddy. "Stack arms. Corporal Klegg, you and your squad remain where you are. You are too tired to do any good. Right face; file left; forward march."

      Cheered for President Abraham Lincoln;

      "Me and my pardner 'll look out for them, Colonel, if you think necessary," said Shorty, proud to be of service under the Colonel's direction.CHAPTER XIII. MANY HAPPY EVENTS


      "All right, sir; we'll start at once, sir," said Si with ostentatious alacrity.


      Si and Shorty had thought themselves very familiar with the campground, but they were astonished to find themselves led outside the line without passing under the eye of a single guard. Si looked at Shorty in amazement, and Shorty remarked:


      "O, come off," said Shorty. "You tried your best to keep us from gittin' in. You put up a very pretty little fight, but our cavalry jest rode over you."