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"Very good, sir," said the Colonel, gravely returning his salute, and speaking as gently as at a tea-table. "It shall be done. Capt. McGillicuddy, take your company back and bring up the battery."
"I'll not go a step under guard, and you can't make me," answered Shorty furiously, snatching up the heavy poker from the stove. "You lunkheaded, feather-bed soldiers jest keep your distance, if you know what's good for you. I didn't come back here from the front to be monkeyed with by a passel o' fellers that wear white gloves and dresscoats, and eat soft bread. Go off, and 'tend your own bizniss, and I'll 'tend to mine."
Si and Shorty and the rest were taking a deep interest in the affair. It was so fresh, so genuine, so unconventional that it went straight to all their hearts, and, besides, made a novel incident in their campaign. They were all on the side of the would-be bridegroom at once, and anxious for his success. The Adjutant had come up with the order that they should stop where they were, for the regiment would go into camp just below for the day. So they had full leisure to attend to the matter. The Tennesseeans took only a modified interest, for the presence of the union army was a much more engrossing subject, and they preferred to stand and gaze open-eyed and open-mouthed at the astonishing swarms of blue-clad men rather than to pay attention to a commonplace mountain wooing.
"I shall report the case to the General," said the Aid, with scarcely-concealed insolence. "Just like these confounded volunteers," he said as he turned away, taking no pains to keep the Captain from overhearing. "Never will be genuine soldiers in the world. Here, my men," continued he, riding over to the wagon, "stir yourselves lively, now, and start these wagons along. I want no more fooling, and won't have it. Start, now.""Yes'm," said Shorty very meekly. "To Co. Q."
"It seems too bad," continued the Lieutenant, moved by Si's earnestness, "to bring you this near, and not let you have a chance to see your folks.The Englishman began disrobing with an alacrity that showed how much his heart was in it. A ring was speedily formed, the officers, mainly Lieutenants and Captains, eagerly assisting, while keeping their eyes over their shoulders to see that no one of much higher rank was in the neighborhood.