The grand march.
“Please, aunty, lend me your wash-stick.”
As he spoke Charlie was all excitement, running eagerly from the barn into the house. Obtaining the coveted treasure, he as eagerly ran back. Two minutes passed.
“May I have the curtain-stick up in your chamber that you don’t want?”
“How do you know I don’t want it?”
“’Cause it’s doing nothing, standing up in the corner.”
“O what eyes! Yes, you may have it.”
Three minutes went.
“Aunty, couldn’t I have the broom-handle out in the entry? Some of the boys knew you wouldn’t let me, but I said you would. I knew you would let a feller take it,” said the ingenious Charlie.
“For pity’s sake, Charles Pitt Macomber, what next?”
This was Charlie’s real name and used for greater impressiveness.
“That broom-handle is what I fasten the back window with, and if any bugglars get in tonight, I must blame you.”
However, Charlie carried his point. In a few minutes he appeared again, and pointed at his shoulder.
“Aunty, see here!”
“Why, Charles Pitt, what have you done to your shoulder?”
Charlie grinned. There, on the left shoulder, was a chalk shield. “Teacher, of course, must have time to make our silk shields, and so we got up these.”
Aunt Stanshy’s eyes let out some funny, bright sparks.
“O, no, it’s only the grand march.”
“The grand march!”
“Yes, and see here, aunty. I have only this chalk shield, and you don’t want your boy to go that way. Please let me take that old sword above the sitting-room mantel-piece,” pleaded Charlie, with beseeching eyes.
“Grandsir’s sword? O that wont do. Why, that sword was at the battles of Quebec and Banker Hill and Waterloo and—”
Constantia! In her loyalty to grandsir’s memory, she was unconsciously mentioning places he had never been in! All this array of names only fired Charlie’s ardor. At last Aunt Stanshy said, “There, take it! The next thing, I spose, you’ll want me.”
“We may; but you’d have to dress up in man’s clothes, you know.”
“Never!” said Aunt Stanshy, firmly. “Don’t go out of the lane with grandsir’s sword!”
“We’ll be along soon.”
“How will I know it? I may be up stairs.”
“We will give three cheers under the window.”
There was an increasing commotion in the barn chamber.
“Now, fellers!” exclaimed Sid Waters. “You won’t be ready for the grand march.”
“Yes, yes, yes,” they shouted back.
“Is the chariot ready for the president?” inquired Sid.
“Yes,” said Charlie, who purposed to furnish his go-cart for the occasion. “It’s down in the yard.”
“I have the first ride, you know.”