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      While their coffee was boiling Si and Shorty broke off a few cedar branches to lay under them, and keep out the mud. The rain still drizzled, cold, searching and depressing, but they were too utterly tired to do anything more than spread their over coats on the branches, lay their blankets and ponchos over, and crawl in between.

      He lit a match with his thumb-nail. Quick as thought Pen blew out the flame. The young fellow laughed. Pen tried to dart by him. He flung out an arm and gathered her in. She struggled in silent desperation.

      As they bowled over the causeway to the Island Riever said: "I haven't given up hope of you, though. You have a natural hatred of sham. I'll teach you to face the truth yet!"They laid down the rail and sat upon it.

      My luv for you shall never fale.In order to keep up her role of shopper Pen was obliged to purchase a chip basket which she did not want, and a number of articles which she could use of course, but which she had not intended to get that morning. Her purpose in coming to the Island was to send off a letter. She could not write it in the post-office because the sailor from the Alexandra was waiting there, so she bought paper and envelope in the store and wrote it on the counter.

      "Yes," continued the father, growing reminiscential. "There wuz no tin roof, sawed boards, glass winder nor plank floor in that little shack on the203 Wabash, but some o' the happiest days in my life wuz spent in it. Me and your mother wuz both young, both very much in love, both chock full o' hope and hard day's work. By the time you wuz born, Si, we'd got the farm and the house in much better shape, but they wuz fur from being what they are to-day."He put out his hand to her. "When will I see you again?"

      "What a situation for a story," said Pen.

      "I knew it was dangerous work, too. Because I heard the price. It scared me. And I'm not easy scared. But I couldn't let on.... We were going to marry on it and go out to California and live like other people. Raise things..."Directly the Wisconsin chaps began to scatter into the woods. Si watched them as they got behind the trees and threw off their blouses and shirts. He thought at first that perhaps they were going in swimming, but there was no stream of water at hand large enough to justify this theory in explanation of their nudity. As each man set down, spread his nether garment over his knees and appeared to be intently engaged, with eyes and fingers. Si's curiosity was very much excited.


      Later in the service Si learned the inestimable value of coffee to the soldier on the march. Then he stript the cloth from his canteen, fastened the strand with bits of wire and made a fine coffee-pot of it. In the morning he would half fill it with the splendid coffee ihe Government furnished, fill it up with water and hang it from a bush or a stake over the fire, while he went ahead with his other culinary preparations. By the time these were finished he would have at least a quart of magnificent coffee that the cook of the Fifth Avenue could not surpass, and which would last him until the regiment halted in the afternoon.


      CHAPTER XIX. THE DEACON IS TROUBLED"Whisky," said Si and Shorty simultaneously, with a shout of laughter.


      By a gradual process of development his appetite reached the point when he could eat his fat pork perfectly raw. During a brief halt when on the march he would squat in a fence corner, go down into his haversack for supplies, cut a slice of bacon, lay it on a hardtack, and munch them with a keen relish.