"Don't look at each other," said Mr. Morton. "If you do you will be certain to make blunders. I notice that some of you are standing with one shoulder higher than the other. The shoulders should be square, and the body should be erect upon the hips. Attention! So!"
"Very well. Haynes, you are trying to stand too upright. You must not bend backward. All, incline your bodies a little forward. Frank Ingalls is standing correctly."
"I don't think that's very soldierly," said John Haynes, who felt mortified at being corrected, having flattered himself that he was right and the rest were wrong.
"A soldier shouldn't be round-shouldered, or have a slouching gait," said the instructor quietly; "but you will find when you come to march that the opposite extreme is attended with great inconvenience and discomfort. Until then you must depend upon my assurance."
Mr. Morton ran his eye along the line, and observed that most of the boys were troubled about their arms. Some allowed them to hang in stiff rigidity by their sides. One, even, had his clasped behind his back., Others let theirs dangle loosely, swinging now hither, now thither.
He commented upon these errors, and added, "Let your arms hang naturally, with the elbows near the body, the palm of the hand a little turned to the front, the little finger behind the seam of the pantaloons. This you will find important when you come to drill with muskets. You will find that it will economize space by preventing your occupying more room than is necessary. Frank, will you show Sam Rivers and John Haynes how to hold their hands?"
"You needn't trouble yourself," said John haughtily, but in too low a voice, as he supposed, for Mr. Morton to hear. "I don't want a clodhopper to teach me."
Frank's face flushed slightly, and without a word he passed John and occupied himself with showing Sam Rivers, who proved more tractable.