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      Well, I say, lets reorganize, Dick had a twinkle in his eye. You, Larry, will be the sole member of the Sky Patroland Sandy and I will beerthe ground crew!

      "I've got an idee," said Shorty, as Si came up to commune again with him as to the misfortune. "I noticed five mighty lively young Irishmen in that bridge gang that's on the rear car, and I've got a pint flash of whisky that some fellow was green enough to lay down while we was there in Nash ville. I'm goin' back to that car on recruitin' duty."

      Then he became really serious.There was an expression in his eyes Cairness did not understand. It was not like their usual twinkle of welcome. "Wait a moment," he said, and went on with his writing. Cairness dropped down on the ground, and, for want of anything else to do, began to whittle a whistle out of a willow branch.

      The spirit of gambling thus set going by Government itself soon surpassed all bounds, and burst forth in a thousand shapes. It was well known that the king, his mistresses, his courtiers, his son and heir apparent, were all dabbling busily in the muddy waters of this huge pool of trickery and corruption. A thousand other schemes were invented and made public to draw in fresh gudgeons, and the Prince of Wales allowed his name to stand as governor of a Welsh Copper Company. All ranks and classes rushed to Change Alleydukes, lords, country squires, bishops, clergy (both Established and Dissenting), were mixed up with stockjobbers and brokers in eager traffic. Ladies of all ranks mingled in the throng, struggling through the press and straining their voices to be heard amid the hubbub. There and all over the kingdom were advertised and hawked about the following and other schemes:Wrecks to be fished for on the Irish coast; plans for making of oil from sunflower seeds; for extracting of silver from lead; for the transmuting of quicksilver into a malleable and fine metal; for importing a number of large jackasses from Spain; for a wheel for perpetual motion; and, finally, for an undertaking which shall in due time be revealed!

      "When he gets here," continued Billings, "we shall have enough weapons to finish our outfit, and give every member, including them initiated tonight, a good, serviceable arm, as effective as any in the hands of our enemies. We shall then be in shape to carry out the several projects which we have before discussed and planned. We shall be ready to strike at any moment. When we do strike success is sure. The Southern armies, which have so long bravely battled for the Constitution and the laws and white men's rights, are again advancing from every point. Every mail brings me glad good news of the organization of our brave friends throughout this State and Illinois. They're impatient to begin. The first shot fired will be the signal for an uprising that'll sweep over the land like a prairie fire and"Lieut.-Col. Billings started, and his face flushed, when he saw Shorty stalk in, severely erect and soldierly. Billings was too little of a soldier to comprehend the situation. His first thought was that Shorty, having been taken under the General's wing, had come back to triumph over him, and he prepared himself with a volley of abuse to meet that of his visitor. But Shorty, with stern eyes straight to the front, marched up to him, saluted in one-two-three time, drew the envelope from his belt, and thrusting it at him as he would his gun to the inspecting officer on parade, announced in curtly official tones, "With General's compliments, sir," saluted again, about-faced as if touched with a spring, and marched stiffly toward the door.



      "That stuff's not fit to put into an ostrich's stomach," he said. "Mr. Klegg, you will have to watch this man very carefully."He pursued his way without haste. While he had been divesting himself of his coat Larry had urged the caretaker to go on to his duties.


      Jeff Wilson, the Chief Clerk, got wind of the expedition, and he too begged to be taken along, to which Shorty consented.