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nurture of the little Pockets consisted of
alternately tumbling up and lying down.

Under these circumstances, when Flopson and
Millers had got the children into the house like
a little flock of sheep, and Mr. Pocket came out of
it to make my acquaintance, I was not much
surprised to find that Mr. Pocket was a gentleman
with a rather perplexed expression of face, and
with his very grey hair disordered on his head
as if he didn't quite see his way to putting
anything straight.


THERE is only one way of getting men, true
men and plenty of them, into the service of the
country, whether as soldiers or sailors, in the
present day. It is, to secure for them in either
service the reception due to those who spend
their lives and energies in any work, to treat
them with confidence, spare them vexations and
puerile restraints, keep faith with them, and
enable them to feel that they who are set over
them work with them, understanding them and
respecting them, in order that they may be
themselves also understood and respected. Where a
private soldier who has anything to ask of his
officer, is marched up to him by a corporal, who
cries Halt! when he comes to the right speaking
distance, and stands by, ready to cry Right
about face, quick, march! when he has done
and this is no imaginary casethere cannot be
the best of army discipline. When men who
have sacrificed some prejudice to enter for the
ten years' service in the navy, for the benefit of
the small pension and other advantages held
out to them, are, without their consent, paid
off in the course of the term, and told when
they rejoin the service that their ten years
must begin afresh, faith is not kept with them,
and the service of the navy is discredited. It is
in a multitude of small matters, many of them
smaller even than these, that the unpopularity
of the services, and especially of the navy,
among the men who would make good soldiers
and sailors, chiefly consists. The highest and
the strictest reasonable discipline is, above all
others, consistent with justice, thoughtfulness,
and a wise recognition of the human relations
that bind men of all ranks who are engaged in
any common work. Does any shrewd man of
business attempt to carry on his enterprises
without taking what pains he can, to establish
relations of kindliness and mutual understanding
between himself and those on whom he depends?
In these days, few but the idle are illiterate,
and men who years ago might have allowed
themselves to be considered, not as machines,
but as mere nails or screws in a machine, now
try to understand what they are about: becoming
thereby better servants but worse slaves. It is
the element of slavery in the condition of the
private soldier and the common seaman, that
keeps out the better class of recruits; that, to
speak of the navy only, has caused the
conspicuous degradation of the class of seamen
lately enlisted; and that defeats spasmodic
efforts to secure the proper manning of the

There is a book before us by a Common
Soldier, called Army Misrule; with Barrack
Thoughts and other Poems. It is disfigured by
fine writing and party politics, and it is less pleasant
in its way of meditation than the delicious
turn of salt-water reasoning that we get from the
sailors. Two seamen riggers, for example, and a
boatswain's mate being examined as to their
grievances before a parliamentary commission,
one of the riggers was asked whether seamen
would like their mess traps to belong to the
ship, and only be charged to the mess when lost
or thrown overboard? The rigger under
examination thought the change would be liked,
but the boatswain's mate interposed with this
proviso: " Without anything should occur,
that the thing should be expended; if you
could bring it to a true account." We
relish the profoundness of such observations
even when we cannot make out all their
bearings. The Common Soldierwho has
bought his dischargeis quite another sort of
man. He handles my Lord Palmerston with a
contemptuous familiarity, and has no doubt that
the curses of the men in the ranks are what he
would " facetiously phrase cursorary remarks."
But whatever his manner, this writer has facts
to tell. He has lived in Chatham barracks as a
private in a regiment reckoned to be above the
average in comfort; his facts have been
produced and reproduced, not only without
contradiction but with the comment of some readers
that they were too notorious to be worth telling.
To a remark of the Army and Navy Gazette,
that while disclosing many evils in the army he
has proposed no cure, the soldier's answer is to
point to this matter and that, but to add, " still,
I must confess, that the chief points of censure
have root, as it seems to me, in the supercilious
bearing and dictatorial assumption of the executive."
In fact, the feeling of caste among
different grades of the army and navy, is at odds
with the temper of the days in which we live.

On the day that he first entered a barrack-
room, the writer was told, he says, by a soldier
of eleven years' experience, that he had " better
have gone and hung himself at once than do
what he had done." He found hatred of officers
by men, too common a source of barrack
conversation; and to this the non-commissioned
officers expose themselves even more frequently
than those bearing commissions. (But it must
be always remembered that they are more liable
to hostility, as being the immediate executants
of orders.) So in the navy there seems
to be nobody so unpopular as the sergeant-at-
arms, who is in the habit of turning to his
own account the petty authority he has as
an underhand ship's shopkeeper as well as
chief of ship's police. "I was once taking
a comrade's dinner to the hospital," says the
soldier, " when I was ordered back by one of
these non-commissioned officers because I dared
to cross the barrack square without my
regimental stock. The parade-ground was empty

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