"I wouldn't advise you to be a soldier," retorted Bob. "You're too fat to run, and would be too frightened to fight."
"I certainly couldn't expect to keep up with those long legs of yours, Bob," said Wilbur, laughing.
The boys dispersed in excellent humor, fully determined to persevere in their military exercises.
CHAPTER XXV. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
For the six weeks following, Mr. Morton gave lessons twice a week to the boys. At the third lesson they received their muskets, and thenceforth drilled with them. A few, who had not been present at the first two lessons, and were consequently ignorant of the positions, Mr. Morton turned over to Frank, who proved an efficient and competent instructor.
At the end of the twelfth lesson, Mr. Morton, after giving the order "Rest!" addressed the boys as follows:
"Boys, we have now taken twelve lessons together. I have been very much gratified by the rapid improvement which you have made, and feel that it is due quite as much to your attention as to any instructions of mine. I can say with truth that I have known companies of grown men who have made less rapid progress than you.
"The time has now come when I feel that I can safely leave you to yourselves, There are those among you who are competent to carry on the work which I have commenced. It will be desirable for you at once to form a company organization. As there are but fifty on your muster-roll, being about half the usual number, you will not require as many officers. I recommend the election of a captain, first and second lieutenants, three sergeants and three corporals. You have already become somewhat accustomed to company drill, so that you will be able to go on by yourselves under the guidance of your officers. If any doubtful questions should arise, I shall always be happy to give you any information or assistance in my power.