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      It was now daylight, but a dense fog prevented seeing more than a few feet.

      Cadnan stared. "I do not understand," he said slowly.CHAPTER XVII. GATHERING UP THE BOYS AFTER THE BATTLE.

      "I can't wait any longer," he said to Naomi, "something's kept him."

      "Boys," said Shorty, leaning on his musket, and speaking with the utmost gravity, "this's a great military dooty and must be performed without fear, favor nor affection. I'd like to have you all in Co. Q, but this's a thing 'bout which I hain't got no say. There's a great many things in the army 'bout which a Corpril hain't as much inflooence as he orter have, as you'll find out later on. Here comes the Captain o' Co. Q, who, because o' his rank, has the first pick o' the recruits. He's never seen you before, and don't know one o' you from Adam's off-ox. He has his own ideas as to who he wants in the company, and what he says goes. It may be that the color o' your hair'll decide him, mebbe the look in your eyes, mebbe the shape o' your noses. 'Tention! Right dress! Front! Saloot!"And there were no elders any more. There were neither elders nor masters: there was only Cadnan, and Daraand, somewhere, Marvor and the group he had spoken of. Cadnan peered round, but he saw no one. There were small new sounds, and those were frightening, but they were so tinyrustles, squeaks, no morethat Cadnan could not feel greatly frightened by them.

      "The masters are big and we are small," he said slowly. "The masters know better than we know."

      "Right face!" commanded Si.


      Sometimes Reuben would ask himself if he was in love with her, but as the physical element which he had always and alone called love was absent, he came to the conclusion that he was not. If he had thought he loved her he would have avoided her, but there was no danger in this parliament of their minds. Her attitude towards life, though it obsessed him, no more convinced him than his convinced her. They would rail and wrangle together by the hour.


      "Shut up!" roared Shorty. "If you wasn't Orderly-Sergeant I'd punch your head. I won't have nobody sayin' that about little Pete. He's the best boy that ever lived. If I could only git hold of him I'd shake the plaguey life out o' him. Drat him!"Dodd turned to face him. "But you tried to escape."


      Reuben was very kind to Naomi during her illness. He helped his mother to nurse her, and spent by her side all the time he could spare from the farm. He was too strong to vent on her personally the rage and disappointment with which circumstances had filled him. He pitied her fragility, he even pitied her for the antagonism which he saw she still felt towards him.