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That’s me all over, Mable is a Webnovel created by Edward Streeter.
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Anybody but Joe could have seen that. Not him. He kept b.u.t.tin in an makin an a.s.s of hisself.
We was ast for dinner at hapast one. Joe thought it would be politer not to run in an eat an run out like it was a canteen so we went a little early. About noon. They played highbrow pieces on the phoneygraph. The kind that has only one tune on them an cost so much that everybody has to lissen. Joe dont know nothin about music of course. Right while K.
Russo was havin an awful time he says if theyll speed it up he like to have a little dance.
The minit we sat down to dinner Joe started tellin one of his stories about how he almost got killed one time. They was all waitin for him to shut up sos the minister could say grace before the soup got all cold.
Joe thought they were listenen to him. Thats somethin that aint ever happened to him before. He kept draggin it out and draggin it out. The only thing that finally stopped him was that he forgot the point. Then the minister put his nose in his soup and began sayin grace. Joe thought he was talkin to him and kept askin “Hows that and what say” all the time he was prayin.
I aint never goin out with that fello no more. I guess thats safe cause he wont never be ast. All the time durin dinner he kept sayin, “My gawd I hate to make such a hog of myself.” Then the minister would look like hed lost some money and my girl would giggle. The ministers wife pa.s.sed him some stuff she said was real old spider corn cake. Joe said he didnt care how old it was. Since hed been in the army hed got sos he could eat anything. Then he thought a while an says he guessed it must have been a relief to the spiders to get rid of them. n.o.body said nothin. Just to show his poyse Joe took his fork out of his mouth and speered four pieces of bread across the table.
[Ill.u.s.tration: “THE MINISTER HAS TWO DAUGHTERS–BOTH GIRLS”]
He was all for keepin the same plate through dinner and gettin up an helpin. Said he knew what it was like to be in the kitchen on Sunday.
They forgot the coffee till dinner was over. They didn’t like to waste it I guess bein war times so the ministers wife ast us if wed like to go into the drawin room an have it. Joe said he wasnt much at drawin but My gawd if he sat round makin a hog of hisself any longer theyd have to give it to him in a bed room.
They gave us coffee in egg cups. Seein I wasnt payin for it I didnt guess it was my place to say nothin. Manners. Thats me all over, Mable.
We got talkin about one thing and another. I was tellin them about the war and when it was goin to end. Joe was sittin on the sofa with the other daughter pickin the sole of his shoe. I felt sorry for him cause I knew hed be lookin at fotygraphs pretty soon if he didnt buck up.
The ministers wife asked me what I thought of wimmins sufrage. I said I thought it was a good thing but you couldnt tell. Thats the beauty of always keepin read up on these things. If you happen to get outside the army for a little while and meet some inteligent people you can talk on pretty near anything. Then she turned to Joe and ast how he felt. Joe jumped like somebody sprung out at him an says “A little sick to my stummick thanks but thatll be all right as soon as things set a bit.”
The good lookin one said she thought our officers was awful cute. I guess she never seen our Lieutenant. She said she just couldnt resist them. I says, quick without thinkin it up “Of course, its against the law to resist an officer.” That got them all laffin an they forgot Joe for a little while.
Both the daughters sang a duette. Joe says that was the best thing about it. They got through twice as quick. We got laffin so hard that I says I guess wed have to go sos to be in time for mess. Then Joe got awful polite and backed over a rubber plant an says “My gawd excuse me.” He wont never be ast again.
Ive been wonderin for a long time, Mable, why the audience officers all wear spurs. They dont ever ride a horse of course. I ast Angus MacKenzie, the skotch fello, the other day and he says its to keep there feet from slidin off the desk. Aint that a funny custom?
[Ill.u.s.tration: “THEY GAVE US COFFEE IN EGG CUPS”]
I guess were goin to begin shootin again pretty soon. The Lieutenant says the artillery is goin to have a Brigade problem and the infantry is comin up from camp for it. I guess well all take a lot more interest in the shootin if theres somethin worth while to fire at.
yours in spite of better things _Bill_.
P.S. Joe Loomis just got a letter that smelt and what do you suppose, Mable? It was from the goodlookin daughter askin him to come over to dinner next Sunday all alone. I guess there not as high brow as I thought.
Were back from shootin at the range. We ended up by firin at the infantry. That was what they was talkin about when they said there was goin to be a garage fire. Thats the army all over, Mable. Tecknickle.
The firin was a total failure, Mable. We fired at the range for three months an never hit it. That aint surprisin cause I never see nothin except some trees in front of the guns and we always fired over those.
When they finally got wise and put some infantry out there for us to fire at we missed them absolutely. Fired everythin in front of them.
Dont say nothin about this cause it might get into the papers and cheer up the Kizer. Its all the Captins falt. I guess he thought he had an Aunty Air Kraft battery. That fello comes from Far Rockaway and he lives in the last house.
The last mornin we fired the Lieutenant says I was battery agent. It seemed kind of silly to me to bother about sellin stuff while we was firin but thats the Lieutenant. He got away before I could ask him what I was to sell. I bought a lot of pop and crackers and stuff and tried to sell em to the fellos, while they was firin. The first sargent wouldnt let me. I told him I was battery agent but not him. That fello wont have to wear no steel helmut when he gets to France. I ate it all myself.
[Ill.u.s.tration: “THE FIRST SARGENT WOULDNT LET ME”]
If the Lieutenant is goin to keep me as battery agent now were back Im goin to ask him if I cant rig up a little office. I wouldnt be surprised if they had me up in Washington pretty soon. Lots of the fellos say they ought to send me somewhere. Im ritin up to N. Y. where theres a place where they make sofa pillos with fellos goin over the top on em and gold rings with your girls name on em free for a dollar twenty ($1.20).
The last week on the range we lived in pup tents. A pup tent Mable is like the roof of a dog house without the house. They call em pup tents cause no one but a very young dog would be fool enough to sleep under one. There made out of a couple of pieces of stuff like what you make porus nit underclothes out of. You b.u.t.ton em together if theres any b.u.t.tons. It dont make much difference as far as keepin the rain out is concerned. The only thing they do to the rain is to strain it.
I guess these pup tents we got is an old issue what was wished on us by the j.a.paneze army. When an ordinary sized fello lies down in one (and thats all you can do in em) hes out doors from the nees down. The Major came round Sunday night. I guess he made a mistake and thought it was Sat.u.r.day. Theres a rule that Majors only come round on Sat.u.r.day cause they bother the men. The Major says “I guess well blow taps an hour early tonight cause the men is all in.” An I says back right out loud “There aint anybody goin to get all in these things, you big overgrown b.o.o.b,” only he happened to be away down the street and didnt hear me. It didnt make no difference to me though. I said it anyway. High spirited.
Thats me all over, Mable.
Angus MacKenzie, the skotch fello, says that these is skotch pup tents.
The skotch he says dont ever wear nothin below the nees. I guess Angus aint a pure skot though cause I heard him and Joe Loomis arguin this mornin cause Angus had swiped Joes horse blanket to wrap round his legs.
It rained for three days before we left. You could have squoze water out of my pistol, Mable. They say a fello is two thirds water anyway. I bet I was 99 and ninety nine 100 per cent pure, eh Mable?
Monday mornin we hiked back to camp. They got us up so early I thought they was blowin taps. The Lieutenant was awful sore. I guess a drop of water came through his tent somewhere during the night and lit on him. He looks at me and says “As you were, Smith.” All I says was “Ill never be again, Lieutenant.”
[Ill.u.s.tration: “THE ONLY THING THEY DO TO THE RAIN IS TO STRAIN IT”]
They made me a driver the last minit on the hike comin home. I guess there breakin me in to every place sos they can let the rest of the battery home on furlo and let me do all the work, from the looks of it.
They showed me two horses. .h.i.tched to the gun and told me they was mine.
Right away I seen that the right hand horse was all hitched up and there wasnt n.o.body there to ride him. So when the sargent says he was all ready I says “No we aint. I aint goin till the fello what rides this horse is here. Theres enough favorites being played in the battery now.”
That showed the Lieutenant where I stood. He said the fello what usually drove the horse was on speshul duty coilin up firin lines. When he put it that way I agreed to lead the right hand horse in to camp. Angus says they call the right hand horse the off horse because the fello what rides him is always off doin somethin else. He aint the only fello whats off round here though. I can tell you that, Mable.
Theres a roomor around here that were going to Honey Lulu. Joe Loomis has sent for his Ukaylaly. Angus says hes orderin a gra.s.s cutter to take with him sos he can make hisself one of those gra.s.s suits over there. I guess the next time I rite it will be from there.
yours till then _Bill_.
I guess I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth though up to now I thought Id swallowed it. I told you Id make you happy some day. Now Im going to. Im comin home on a furlo.
I always wished theyd kristened me somethin besides Smith till now.
Theres a fello named Patrick Smith what lives two tents down with a red nose and hair that hangs down under his hat. His mother rote the Captin an said she was dyin. She said she didnt expect to live more than forty-eight (48) hours or however long it took for her son to get home.
The Captin thought it was me. He called me up an says “Smith your mother is sinkin rapidly.” I couldnt believe that though cause she woudnt never go near any place where they was water. Then he read me the letter. I knew right away it was Patrick Smith’s mother cause he was figurin last week on the most likely one to kill off sos he could get home.
I never let on though. Quick. Thats me all over, Mable. I says “Gee, thats to bad” like I was all broke up. And then I said “Shes the only mother I ever had Captin.” I said it so sad that I almost got myself cryin. An the Captin says “Well Smith, you been workin pretty hard an need a change. Ill give you a ten day furlo to go home to the funeral.”
Nice fello the Captin when you get to know him.
Im comin up Mable just as soon as I can borrow enough close and the like. It seemed to me when I used to lay out my stuff for inspeckshun Sat.u.r.day mornins that I had enough junk to equip the draft army. I just been lookin over my stuff to find somethin to wear home. It makes a fello feel half nakid.
Im going to borrow the money to buy my railroad ticket so you see the trip aint going to cost me a cent. I bet youll be glad to have someone round who aint skared to change a quarter once in a while.
Its kind of hard to get a suitcase. Theres only one in the battery. The fello what owns it says its made the trip north 25 times. From the looks of it hes modest. Else the last fello tied it to the end of the train and let it drag all the way. I guess I can fix it with rope though.
Then Joe Loomis has a uniform that he paid fifteen dollars ($15) for. It looks like an officers unless you wear it in the rain. Joes in the guard house so Im going to take it an not say nothin. I guess Joe’d do the same for a pal. Besides he aint got no kick comin cause theres a rule that we cant speak to prisoners.
Joe got put in the guard house for burnin down the stable tent where they keep the horses serial. He was sittin in the stable tent while he was on stable guard catchin a smoke. Stable guard is a kind of night bell hop and chamber maid to the horses. He heard the Officer of the Day comin and stuck his cigaret but in an oat bag. Then the whole thing burnt down. Angus MacKenzie says thats what he gets for hidin his light under a bushel. Thats a skotch joke though. I guess you wouldnt get it.
Angus is lendin me a pair of spiral puttys. A spiral putty is a flannel bandage what you wind round your leg sos n.o.body cant see that the b.u.t.tons is offen your trouser legs. The fello what made em must have had queer legs cause when you get to the top there aint no place to fasten them. I guess they were built for fellos that was goin to stand still.
As soon as you move they unwind and drag in the dust till a horse steps on one of them. Then you do em up again.
I started savin thrift stamps. I got pretty near two books full. Angus says its got it all over United Segar cupons. When you get enough you get some dandy things. I wrote the premium department at Wash. D. C.