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Part I Mark Twain

Chapter VI - Soldier Boy And The Mexican Plug

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"No, I never have."

"Well, then, he's a reptile. That's settled."

"Why, look here, whatsyourname"

"Last alias, Mongrel."

"A good one, too. I was going to say, you are better educated than you have been pretending to be. I like cultured society, and I shall cultivate your acquaintance. Now as to Shekels, whenever you want to know about any private thing that is going on at this post or in White Cloud's camp or Thunder-Bird's, he can tell you; and if you make friends with him he'll be glad to, for he is a born gossip, and picks up all the tittle-tattle. Being the whole Seventh Cavalry's reptile, he doesn't belong to anybody in particular, and hasn't any military duties; so he comes and goes as he pleases, and is popular with all the house cats and other authentic sources of private information. He understands all the languages, and talks them all, too. With an accent like gritting your teeth, it is true, and with a grammar that is no improvement on blasphemy - still, with practice you get at the meat of what he says, and it serves. . . Hark! That's the reveille. . . .


"Faint and far, but isn't it clear, isn't it sweet? There's no music like the bugle to stir the blood, in the still solemnity of the morning twilight, with the dim plain stretching away to nothing and the spectral mountains slumbering against the sky. You'll hear another note in a minute - faint and far and clear, like the other one, and sweeter still, you'll notice. Wait . . . listen. There it goes! It says, 'IT IS I, SOLDIER - COME!' . . .

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. . . Now then, watch me leave a blue streak behind!"

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A Horse's Tale
Mark Twain

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