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CHAPTER XI. WINTER QUARTERS"What's the matter, Aunt Maria?"
Three or four miles out from camp the train was halted while the officers in command made inquiries of a cadaverous native who was sunning himself on the fence and whose principal occupation seemed to be chewing tobacco and distributing the resultant liquid around in a promiscuous way."Bring that man out!" said he sternly to one of the guards.
"Here, what in the world are you men doing there?" came in the stentorian tones of the Colonel, who it startled Si to discover was sitting a short distance behind him. "Put that light out this instant."
She still went about her daily tasks like a piece of mechanism. She had to keep in some sort of motion. She experienced strange lapses, discovered herself offering whole corn in her hand to the newly-hatched chicks; came to to find herself in places without any notion of what she had come for. Her father kept out of her way.
The black eyes bored her through and through. Curiosity and suspicion were struggling there. It was strongly in Pen's favor, however, that she was being tracked by a detective. "Do you live in this town?" the girl demanded."But why keep it so long?" persisted Si. "If it can be done up in three months, an' we kin git back home, why dribble it out over three years? That ain't the way we do work back home on the Wabash."