“And I the second,” said the governor.
“Yes, but the governor must go behind while the president rides.”
Rick’s heart sank within him, but all had promised to obey orders and there was no appeal.
“Every feller’s—I mean knight’s—uniform ready?” asked the president.
Charlie’s certainly was. Every moment he could spare out of school that day, he had been sewing in his snug little bedroom. Such stitches! They looked like pairs of bars trying to straddle a brush fence. For epaulets he arranged pieces of black cloth, the center of each being brightened with a strip of red. His belt was made of white flannel dotted with a flaming row of red stars, and with these were interspersed various sizes of mild chocolate suns. Each of the other warriors sported a chalk shield, as did Charlie. This was the only thing in common. Other insignia varied in character, color, and size, as much as would those of Chinese, Anglo-Saxon and Zulu troops. Pip Peckham, in his anxiety for distinction, had chalked a shield on each shoulder! The cheapness of the material used would readily permit this, but Pip’s appearance was insignificant beside Charlie’s, who strode forward to the march, flourishing grandsir’s sword. Not even Alexander, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, or General Grant, ever had a sword to be compared with Charlie’s that day. The warriors moved out from their “armory” into the yard. Aunt Stanshy was up stairs making a bed. Suddenly under her window, arose a wild, semi-civilized, semi-barbarous shout.
“What is to pay?” she screamed. “O those little boobies!” and she sprang to the window. The “Grand March” had been inaugurated with full pomp. Sid Waters, as president, was sitting in the go-cart, his head ornamented with a huge smothering three-cornered hat, made out of a New York daily. Rick Grimes, as governor, was walking behind the go-cart, now and then giving the “chariot” an obsequious push, but impatiently awaiting his turn for a ride. Billy Grimes and Pip Peckham were serving as horses, and soldiers also, pulling along the president and sharing the broom-handle between them. Whether that handle might be a “musket” or a “spear,” no one could say. Charlie served as a body-guard, now looking at Aunt Stanshy’s window and then glancing in pride at grandsir’s sword. Juggie was a color-bearer, and at the same time a color-guard of one appeared in the shape of Tony, flourishing Aunt Stanshy’s clothes-stick. The colors were a very small American flag on a very long bean-pole. Twenty feet ahead of the whole procession, in solitary glory, walked Wort. He was a kind of “chief marshal,” Sid had said, but Wort could not forget that he had also been made “keeper of the great seal” that very day, and in token of it he took along the borrowed curtain-stick.
This summons came not from the chief marshal but the president, and was promptly obeyed by all. Wort retreated from his advanced position and assumed command. “The grand review will now begin,” he shouted. “The whole of you may get into line. Now forward! For—ward!”