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      "No. Stack 'em; stack 'em, I tell you," said Si impatiently. "And be quick about it. They'll all git ahead o' you. Don't you see the rest stackin' arms?"

      "Can't he turn the steam onto 'em, and scald 'em if they try to git at him?"

      The rumor he'd heard from Norma was barely rumor any more: instead, it had become the next thing to an officially announced fact. Everyone knew it, even if next to no one spoke of it. The Confederation was going to send shipshad probably sent ships already. There was going to be a war."Great Jehosephat," exploded Shorty; "you kin certainly be the stubbornest mule over nothin', Si Klegg, that I ever seen. We've done fightin' enough to excuse sich a report, or any that we've a mind to make."

      "What fools we wuz to both go off and leave 'em," murmured Si in deep contrition. "What fools we wuz."

      "I wanted reaction," Dr. Haenlingen said. "I wanted somebody's reaction. But I can't get yours. As far as I can see you're the white hope of the Psychological Divisionbut even you are afraid of me, even you are masking any reaction you might have for fear the terrifying Dr. Anna Haenlingen won't like it." She paused. "Good Lord, girl, I've got to know if I'm getting through!""And Maria and the girls is talkin' about me," he communed with himself. "I knowed that my left ear hadn't bin burnin' ever since we crossed the Ohio River for nothin'. I thought it was because it'd got so tender layin' on pillers that the blankets chafed it. Now I understand it. And I can't hear nothin' of what they've bin sayin' till I git that gun to Sammy. I'll start it to him this day, if it takes a leg. I'd intended to go over to the camp o' the Maumee Muskrats today, on a missionary, tower with them new tricks I brung back with me, but I'll put in the time gittin' Sammy's gun and shippin' it to him. Wonder where I kin pick up a rebel musket and trimmins'?" Shorty did not find this so easy as he had anticipated. Generally, rebel guns had been a drug in the market. They could be found lying around camp almost anywhere, and were used for any purpose to which they could be appliedpoles to hang kettles on over the fire, tent-sticks, revetments to hold the dirt back, or any other use. But under the rigid system now prevailing in Sherman's camps everything had to be accounted for, and every gun sufficiently serviceable to be worth sending to Sammy had been gathered up and stored away in a large shed. Shorty went down there and scrutinized the armory. There were plenty of guns in there, any one of which would make Sammy's heart leap for joy, and render him the object of the burning envy of all the boys for miles around. But there were guards pacing around, and they looked watchful. Still, if the night were dark he might slip in and steal one. But somehow since he had known Maria there had risen in his mind a repugnance to that way of procuring things. It was not in accordance with Klegg ideas. He sat down and pondered on other methods. He went over and talked to the Sergeant in charge, an old acquaintance, but the Sergeant was obdurate.

      "You'll git tired o' this soon enough," said Si. "It's awful nice for a change, but I don't want it to last long. I want to be able to git up and git out. I hate awfully to have women-folks putterin' around me."

      "They were justhaving fun," Norma said. "There was nothing wrong, nothing at all. You happened to come in at a bad moment, but it didn't mean anything, there wasn't anything going on that should have bothered you...."


      Naomi soon came to enjoy her coddling, even though occasionally his solicitude was inclined to be tiresome. As time wore on he would not let her walk up and down[Pg 82] stairs, but carried her up to bed himself, and down again in the morning. She grew fat, white, and languorous. She would lie for hours with her hands folded on her lap, now and then picking up a bit of sewing for a few minutes, then dropping it again. She was proud of her position in comparison with other farmers' wives in the same circumstances. Their men kept them working up to the last week.


      One of the other elders said: "You bring a new one to us?"


      "Humph, not much of a name," said Monty in a disappointed tone, for he had been an assiduous reader of dime novels. "'Tain't anything like as fine as Tecumseh, and Osceola, and Powhatan, and Jibbeninosay, and Man-Afraid-of-Gettin'-His-Neck-Broke. Wasn't much of a big Injun."The neighbourhood sniggered when it heard of Odiam's new land. When it heard of Reuben's plans for it and the oats that were to be it grew openly derisive. The idea of anyone thinking he could grow oats on Boarzell was an excellent joke. Young Backfield, however, ignored public opinion, and bought rape-dust for manure.