OCR Interpretation


The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, January 26, 1918, Image 5

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1918-01-26/ed-1/seq-5/


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THE WADSWORTH GAS ATTACK a n d RIO GRANDE RATTLER 3 After-Effects of Army Life The Horrible How the Dire Results of the Routine and Discipline Almost Wrecked the Home of Private McBuggs i. Private McBuggs swung off the train w ith his suitcase in his hand. Stealthily he looked up and down the platform . It was late at night. P rivate McBuggs hadn’t notified his fam ily of his home-coming. The effects of arm y life were still so deep in his soul th a t he at once began to plan to slip into the house w ithout being seen. He sneaked up a side street. “Can I get by the guards?” he asked himself. He w ent up the little lane through the back way, past the barn. He rem embered the barn all right. T h a t was the spot where his father first applied home discipline to him, although, to be sure, the barn itself w a sn’t the exact physiological spot of the application. In Through a Window. Climbing through a window, Private Mc­ Buggs found nobody astir in the house. He forgot th a t the house was only an old resi­ dence in which lived his m other, father, sister, brother, and A u n t Myra, a maiden lady much given to music and m u stard plasters. He crept upstairs. “I m u sn’t let the cor­ poral get anything on me.” In his bedroom he found a big w h ite bed. It was ju s t as he had left it. He stared at it curiously. “I wonder w h a t th a t’s for!” He prepared to bunk on it for the night anyway. A m om ent later he m u st have thought he was a sergeant, for he took his pocket flashlight and started along the cor­ ridor of bedrooms. “I gotta take check roll-call,” he m u t­ tered, opening the door to A u n t M yra’s room. He bent over the bed and took hold of the covers. “All present or accounted for?” His flashlight revealed a struggle beneath the sheets and A u n t M yra’s face sticking up, horror-stricken. “H e lp!” she screamed. “B u rglars! Help! Police! M u rder!” P rivate McBuggs fled back to his room. He heard sounds of the household moving about excitedly and his father a t the tele­ phone w aking police headquarters out of a sound sleep. “Gee!” McBuggs dived into bed. “I’d better lie low. They’re calling out the guard.” II. Private McBuggs woke early the next m o rning—at six o’clock, to be exact. He fancied th a t he heard dying out the last notes of reveille. Pie jum p ed out of bed and, tightening his belt, ran out to the street, still gray before dawn. In front of his house he fell into align­ m ent w ith the street car tracks and stood at attention. Strange! He saw no other soldier out yet, except the captain, who as a m a tter of fact was the cop on the beat, look­ ing at him queerly. “Yez can’t be after tak in ’ a car on this line, can yez?” McBuggs saluted him. “Sir, the company is formed.” “Go on, ye h ’a then, the company w int into bankruptcy last A u g u st.” McBuggs saluted again and w ent back to his room. He washed in a tum b ler of w a te r he found in the hall and wiped his face on the bedstead. Then he w e n t to mess. In the dining room he found the other mem­ bers of the family. He Meets His Family. They stared at him dumbfounded, and then pounced upon him. He received their greetings as in a daze. “Well, sonnie,” said his father finally, “let’s sit down and eat breakfast.” H is father and m o ther started forw ard to their chairs, but P rivate McBuggs stopped them w ith a shout. “Hey! Get back there! The mess line forms behind me. W h addya trying to do— slip som ethin’ over me?” The fam ily looked at him aghast. They managed to get through breakfast, however. Then P rivate McBuggs took up his dishes and started for the kitchen. “W h ere in hell’s the hot w a te r? W ho’s on kitchen to-day?” Nora, the cook, dropped a plate in the excitement. “Come on, you rum m ies!” cried McBuggs. “L e t’s go back and get the place ready for inspection.” He w ent to his room and began laying out everything on the bed. His sister came to the door, amazed. “Go out and police the street,” he told her. “Get all those cigarette butts in front of the door, and hu rry up. Shake a leg!” III. The fam ily was assembled in the parlor, discussing the strange case of their soldier boy. “Jim says such irrational things,” com­ plained his m o ther. “Do you suppose his m ind has become unsettled from camp life? He ju s t passed my door as I was lying down, and he told me to 'cut out th a t bunk fatigue.’ W h a t in the world does it all mean ?” “I give it up,” replied Mr. McBuggs, pac­ ing the floor anxiously. “He told me to go out and get busy on the Incinerator. He m u st have forgotten th a t our car is a F o rdb “Well, I guess we’d better—s-s-s’h, here comes Jim now !” He Seems to Get Worse. P rivate McBuggs stood in the doorway. His voice was loud and firm. “This squad’s going on guard to-night, and I don’t w a n t any o’ you boobs reporting for guard m o u n t w ith dirty guns or equip­ ment. Don’t you know how to stand at attention yet?” This to his father who was fidgetting from one foot to the other. “Keep those hands at your side. Quit scratching your nose! You’ll poke your eye out.” He turned around and strode out. A death-like silence fell upon the group. A u n t Myra began to weep. Nobody moved. Only the fuzzy little dog, Hortense, the pride of Mrs. McBuggs’ heart, seem ed not to realize the aw ful crisis th a t hung over the house­ hold. H o rtense wagged her tail as usual. IV, L a ter in the afternoon Private McBuggs blew a blast on his w h istle and summoned the j fam ily to assem b ly on the veranda. “Comp’nee, a-ten . . shu n !” As he gave the order his m o ther and father and au n t and sister stood up as erect as they could: yet they were seized w ith fear and trem b ling. “I have decided,” announced P rivate Mc­ Buggs, “to pitch pup tents on the tennis court.” Mrs. McBuggs let out a scream . She made a lunge and gathered up the fuzzy little dog, H o rtense, into her arm s. She m u rm u red to it hysterically: “No, no, H o rtense! He shan’t harm you.” “Why, w h a t’s the m a tter?” asked Mr. Mc­ Buggs. “M a tter? D idn’t you hear w h a t Jim said. He said he’d 'pitch pup ’Tense on the tennis court.’ Oh, w h a t a brute my son has be­ com e !” V. It was not until evening th a t peace set­ tled over the household. And th a t was only brought about by Mr. McBuggs comm anding his son to go to sleep in the bath-tub full of w ater. Then Private McBuggs felt per­ fectly at home! —C. D; HAVE YOU GOT THEM? W e will gladly pay ten cents per copy for the last three issues of the “W adsw o rth Gas A ttack.” Bring them to J. S. KINGSLEY, Y. M. C. A. H e a d q u a rters.

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