“We are off to the Front!” cried the three children when they were ready for their walk.
“Have you got all you want for the Front?” asked their mother, laughing.
“Yes, everything,” said May. “Tom has a drum and Bertie a bugle, and I am the rest of the army.”
“Very well. Don't be too long at the War, because tea will soon be ready. Better go to meet your father.”
“So we will!”
And away went the three over the white snow in the bright winter day; Tom beating the drum till it was a wonder the parchment did not burst, and Bertie blowing the bugle till he had hardly any breath left. What a splendid noise they all made together! Birds flew out of the hedges and rabbits scuttled away as the army marched on, feeling very warlike indeed; and presently met the army's father.
“Please be our General, father,” they begged, “and lead us against the enemy.”
“Certainly,” he replied; “but first we will return to camp and storm the tea-table.”
So home they went in the same fashion, with drum beating and bugle blowing.
After tea, the younger children also volunteered for the Front, and Uncle Bob was little Dick's horse, for of course cavalry was needed. How Uncle Bob pranced and galloped! The trumpeter nearly fell off his back, but went on blowing the trumpet all the same. Uncle Bob told him to blow it well away from the horse's ears, so Dick sat backwards. As for Baby, big brother Gerald put him on the rocking-horse, to be a rough-rider.
“The great thing is to learn to stick on,” said Gerald, “because you will find falling off is very easy. Hold the horse's nose, Nellie; it seems rather a wild one.”
At last everybody joined the army, except the cat. She sat on a chair and turned up her whiskers; for cats like peace and quietness, and there cannot be much of either when soldiers go to the Front.