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      "No," said Si decisively. "I'm your superior officer, and it's my privilege to have the first shy at him. I'll 'tend to him. I want a chance singlehanded at a man that talks that way. You take care of Rosenbaum."

      "I wouldn't take you!" he said simply. "Not that! Not unless we could hold our heads up."

      "Well, sir, that is a Pediculus. That's a Latin word, but it's his name."

      Si didn't want to be killed if he could help it."We're going to search the house!"

      As if by a preconcerted plan, the establishment came to a sudden halt and the mules began to rear and kick and plunge around in utter disregard of consequences. It didn't take more than a minute for them to get into a hopeless tangle. They were in all conceivable shapesheads and tails together, crosswise and "every which way," tied up with the straps of the harness. The air in all directions was full of heels. There was a maddening chorus of discordant braying.

      "Ah then, you're getting closer to it. Who is this man?"


      Shorty was alert on the instant.


      The latter took hold of Si in various places, and by the time he had caught up with the regiment one eye was closed, and there was a big lump on his nose, besides several more stings which the bees had judiciously distributed about his person. It was very evident that he had been overmatched and had come out second best in the encounter.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.