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Most of the men were having a short rest under
the tents, being disposed of in the same manner
as they sleep at night. About a dozen were
tying together on straw, with their heads resting
on their great-coats at the lower circumference
of the tent, and their feet meeting together at the
pole in the centre, like the spokes of a wheel.
At a given word of command, they all started up,
and went to work with their horses, looking more
like dirty gipsy ostlers than the clean and clipt
soldier who parades the London streets.

The tent of a sub-officer, to which we were
invited, was not remarkable for any luxury,
except the luxury of being a lodging for one.
The sand at the bottom was covered over with
a layer of green leaves, and a sprinkling of straw;
the occupant's soap, and towel, and brush were
lying on the top of a tin box; his small looking-
glass was on the ground, leaning against the side
of the tent; he had made a reclining couch of
one portmanteau, a money-box to hold loose
silver of another, and he had still another huge,
black, drum-like box to offer a friend. He was
quite a gipsy king, in his tent.

As we sat looking out of the mouth of the
tent across the Artillery encampment, and past
the lower end of the North Camp, we could see a
thin winding line of scarlet, that looked like a
row of poppies in a field. There were a few
black patches (the blue Artillerymen and the
green Riflemen) studded about the sandy flat of
common, with here and there a few white stragglers,
probably the Stirlingshire militia, or some
Foot Guardsmen in flannel undress jackets; but
the scarlet patches prevailed in that direction;
and, looking further, we saw the white peaks of
another range of tents.

"The Guards are as badly off there as you are
here," said Lieutenant Hongwee, alluding to the
scarlet patch and the distant tents, and addressing
the gipsy king.

"Worse," returned the gipsy king, "infinitely
worse. We only came from quarters at
Woolwich at the dull time of the year; but
those poor fellows have just been sent down
from London in the height of the season, to be
placed under canvas at once. Canvas is a capital
thing properly appliedwhen it means a dancing
tent on a lawn at Fulhambut canvas at
Aldershott is a far less agreeable affair."

We sauntered slowly towards the Rifle mess-
room for breakfast; Lieutenant Hongwee rather
despondingly, and I rather disposed to condole
with my friend and companion.

The mess-room was a long, airy building, very
lofty for the camp, with a small ante-room in
front, and having the mysteries of the cooking
department concealed by a chocolate-coloured
cloth curtain stretching right across the apartment
near the back. The long dining-table and
sideboard were well covered with food, and the
chairs were the everlasting Windsor regimental
kitchen. To give a dining-room aspect to
these rough companions, they were covered with
a padded leather seat and back: a contrivance
which each officer provides himself, and carries
about with him from one station to another.

"Is this a fair specimen of your ordinary
day?" I inquired, as we proceeded with our
morning repast.

"It is: with the exception of a few field-days,
and our penal servitude under canvas. We rise
about ten A.M.; we show upon parade for about
an hour; and after twelve, until the bugle sounds
to dress for mess, at seven, we have no settled
occupation whatever."

"There is a club-house built in the South
Camp, is there not?"

"There is, but with a lofty rate of
subscription, almost prohibiting the entrance of
poor subalterns. When there, you can only
read, play at billiards, or talk. Most men,
like myself, who get five or six shillings a day,
spend twice as much as they earn, and that
without indulging in any particular extravagance.
As most things are done by mutual and equal
subscription, the pressure of the service outlay
falls heaviest upon the junior members. The
major, or colonel, who sits opposite to me at
dinner, pays no more to the mess fund than I do."

"You have field sports for your amusement,
which need not cost anything."

"No one cares for them. A few men use the
racket-ground; but very few. Rowing up the
canal is a favourite recreation; to drink beer at
a public-house, where they profess to keep an
'officers' room,' and then to row back again.
The common soldier is better off than we are,
for he has his town and his concert-rooms; but
we can do nothing except wait wearily for the
welcome summons to mess.

My vehicle, on its road to the North Camp
railway station, rolled me past trucks of camp
furniture, past cabs containing field officers, past
solitary scarlet soldiers who stood like lonely
poppies in the meadows, past other scarlet
soldiers who wound slowly along the drab and
dusty lanes, and past a group of boy children in
green uniform, coming through a hedge, who
looked as if the very cradles of the country had
been emptied for their contents to be pressed
into the ranks. I broke through another crowd
of soldiers at the station, and plunged into my
carriage, glad to be whirled away.

                           Now ready, price 1s.,
                                 HOUSE, &c.,
                    The Third Monthly Part of
                     A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
                     BY CHARLES DICKENS.
      With Two Illustrations on Steel by HABLOT K.
          To be completed in Eight Monthly Parts.
    CHAPMAN and HALL, 193. Piccadilly, W., AND
"ALL THE YEAR ROUND" Office, 11, Wellington-street
                         North, London, W.C.