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no future advancement to look to, or if they
have, it is so distant as to be nearly hopeless.
I am quite certain that we have a vast deal of
the best military material in the world if we
only knew how to use it properly; and I am
convinced that we never shall make the most
of our means, until we have introduced a
general system of promotion from the ranks.
Go into any large provincial townalmost into
any family of the upper or lower middle classes
and see the number of young men wasting
their time and substance and hopes, while
"waiting for commissions." Why should not
these youths prove the stuff they are made
of, and take their chance through the barrack-
room? Talk of competitive examinations! I
know of no examination in the world which will
show so completely what a young fellow is made
of as two or three years' service in the ranks.
Nor need such training unfit a youth for other
employment. If he finds he does not like the
service, and leaves it, he will take none the less
kindly to some other profession for which he
may be more suited. I believe that the English
army never had at its head two officers more
thoroughly willing and anxious to try all things
military, and hold fast that which is good, than
the Duke of Cambridge, the commander-in-chief,
and Sir Hugh Rose, who commands in India.
Surely between them something might be done
to improve the social standing of our service,
and to induce young men of respectable families
to enter the ranks? As a matter of economy
alone, such a scheme would recommend itself,
for there can be little doubt that the ever
drinking, always being punished, worthless
scoundrels, of whom we have but too many in
every corps, are most expensive and utterly
useless articles. Until the idea of respectable
young men enlisting as private soldiers became
familiar to the public, the experiment could be
most favourably tried in India. Sons of the
middle classes, who might wish to try the
roughings of a soldier's life, would rather do
so in the East, where they would have comparatively
little chance of meeting former acquaintances,
than at home, where they would see
these at every turn. It is for this reason that
I would advocate the experiment being first
tried in India, and there could not be a more
favourable time than now, when the Indian army
is about to be reorganised.

In manyI will say in mostrespects, the
Spahis do not come up to the standard of
excellence of Jacob's, Christie's, Fane's, Skinner's,
or a dozen other regiments of irregular Indian
cavalry I could name. Still, they are good
soldiers, andwhat is a vast thing with Orientals
a very contented body of men. The French
seem to manage their native troops with great
judgment and success. Recent as is the formation
of their Algerian colony, and young as are
these corps of Spahis when compared with our
Hindostanee corps, the Algerians are very much
more Europeanised than our Indian regiments.
The menor most of themgo through their
forms of Moslem worship, and profess to be
strict followers of the Prophet; but they have
none of that exclusive fanatical fierceness which
distinguishes our Moslem irregulars in India
when off duty, which raises up an impenetrable
barrier between the English commander and
those whom he commands, and which bore
terrible fruit during the mutiny of 1857. The
reason I believe to be, first, that the Spahis
have many more officers than our irregular
corps; secondly, that in every squadron there
are a certain mixture of Frenchmenabout a
fourth, I believe, amongst the privates, and
nearly half the sergeants; and thirdlyalso
chieflythat the native troopers may, and do,
rise to the rank of second captain: a third of
the officers belonging to and below this grade
being Algerians, and taking their turn of duty,
according to seniority, with their French
comrades. In our Indian army a native soldier
may rise to the rank of subadar; but however
senior he may be in the service, the English
ensign of yesterday commands him; nay, I have
seen the European sergeant-major of a Bengal
native infantry regiment, commanding a parade
at which seven or eight old grey-headed subadars
(native captains) were present. How can
we ever expect these soldiers to respect
themselves, when we are ever reminding them that
they are of an inferior race? The French
manage their native troopers better. The French
officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, who
are put into the Spahis corps, are selected
especially for that duty. They get much better pay,
and quicker promotion than in other regiments;
and, except when ordered on foreign service,
they are very little moved about. In each of
the three Algerian provinces, there is a corps
of Spahis; each regiment consists of eight
squadrons; each squadron, of two hundred
men and horses. The trooperseach of which,
as in our Indian irregulars, owns the horse he
ridesof each corps belong to the province in
which the regiment is stationed: so, except
to move beyond sea on foreign service, they are
never far from their families. I have more than
once seen in Syria, small detachments of French
Hussars, French Chasseurs d'Afrique, and Algerian
Spahis, out together: each having an officer
of its own corps; but it has so happened that an
Algerian officer was the senior, and he,
consequently, took command of the whole. Of the
wisdom of this system I have not the slightest


STRANGE, how the merest trifles will sometimes
call up, in the most vivid colours, a train
of recollections we had fancied were so laid
away in the lumber-room we all have in some
back recess of our brains, that they have lost
all distinct form and reality!

To-night, a sound in the street at midnight, a
cry, perhaps from some houseless wanderer,
wakened in terror from her shivering, shelterless
slumbers, thrilled through my very soul
with the startled agony of fear such a sound

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