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Si Decides to Enlist 017
Si saw the boys around him lightening their knapsacks. He abominated waste above all things, but there seemed no help for it, and, reaching into that receptacle that bore, down upon his aching shoulders like a glacier on a groundhog, he pulled out and tossed into the fence corner the educational works he had anticipated so much benefit from. The bottle of "No. 6" followed, and it seemed as if the knapsack was a ton lighter, but it yet weighed more than any stack of hay on the home farm.
"I don't see the use of carrying two or three pints o' water along all day right past springs and over cricks," he remarked to his chum, as the two were examining the queer, cloth-covered cans.
For the first time in his life Si went to bed hungry that night. Impelled by the gnawings of his appetite he made repeated assaults upon the hardtack, but the result was wholly insufficient to satisfy the longings of his stomach. His supper wasn't anything to speak of. Before going to bed he began to exercise his ingenuity on various schemes to reduce the hardtack to a condition in which it would be more gratifying to his taste and better suited to the means with which nature had provided him for disposing of his rations. Naturally Si thought that soaking in water would have a beneficial effect. So he laid five or six of them in the bottom of a camp-kettle, anchored them down with a stone, and covered them with water. He thought that with the aid of a frying-pan he would get up a breakfast that he could eat, anyway.
Si's mother, like most of the well-to-do farmers' wives in Indiana, was undoubtedly a good cook, and she trained up her daughters to do honor to her teachings, so that Si undoubtedly knew what properly-prepared food was. From the time he was big enough to spank he had fared sumptuously every day. In the gush of patriotic emotions that prompted him to enlist he scarcely thought of this feature of the case. If it entered his mind at all, he felt that he could safely trust all to the goodness of so beneficent a Government as that for the preservation of which he had offered himself as a target for the rebels to shoot at. He thought it no more than fair to the brave soldiers that Uncle Sam should furnish professional cooks for each company, who would serve everything up in the style of a first-class city restaurant. So, after Si got down among the boys and found how it really was, it was not long till his inside was a volcano of rebellion that threatened serious results.
"Yours till deth, Annabel."
'say, Cap, What Kind O' Bug is This?' 099
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