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"I suppose I'll have a good deal of leisure time while we're in camp," said Si to himself and the others; "I believe I'll just put this Ray's Arithmetic and Greene's Grammar in."
Just as he was beginning to properly appreciate his canteen, he learned a sharp lesson, that comes to all of us, as to how much "cussedness" there can be in the simplest things when they happen to go wrong. He went out one day and got a canteen of nice sweet milk, which he and "Shorty" Elliott heartily enjoyed. He hung the canteen upon the ridge-pole of the tent, and thought no more about it until the next day, when he came in from drill, and found the tent filled with an odor so vile that it made him cough.
The first day or two after reaching Louisville the 200th received rations of "soft bread." But that didn't last long. It was only a way they had of letting the fresh soldier down easy. Orders came to get ready to pull out after Bragg, and then Si'a regiment had its first issue of army rations. As the Orderly pried open a box of hardtack and began to distribute them to the boys, exclaimed:
It happened that this lot was one of extra quality as to hardness. The baker's watch had stopped, or he had gone to sleep, and they had been left in the oven or dry-kiln too long. Si took one of them and carried it to his mouth. He first tried on it the bite which made such havoc with a quarter section of custard pie, but his incisors made no more impression upon it than if it had been a shingle.
IT WAS told in the last chapter how the patriotic impulses of Si Klegg, of the 200th Ind., reached his stomach and digestive apparatus, and brought them under obedient subjection to hardtack. He didn't have quite so rough an experience with that other staple of army diet, which was in fact the very counterpart of the hardtack, and which took its most popular name from that part of the body of the female swine which is usually nearest the ground. Much of Si's muscle and brawn was due to the fact that meat was always plenty on his father's farm. When Si enlisted he was not entirely free from anxiety on the question of meat, for to his appetite it was not even second in importance to bread. If bread was the "staff of life" meat was life itself to Si. It didn't make much difference to him what kind it was, only so it was meat. He didn't suppose Uncle Sam would keep him supplied with quail on toast and porterhouse steaks all the time, but he did hope he would give him as much as he wanted of something in that line.
One morning three or four days after leaving Louisville, word was passed around that the regiment would not move that day, and the boys were so glad at the prospect of a day of rest that they wanted to get right up and yell. Si was sitting on a log, with his shoes off, rubbing his aching limbs and nursing his blisters, when the Orderly came along.
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