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WHAT the Psalmist said in sorrow, those
who witnessed the career of the Honourable
Ensign Spoonbill and his companions might
have said, not in sorrow only but in anger:
"One day told another, and one night certified

When duty was to be performed—(for even
under the command of such an officer as Colonel
Tulip the routine of duty existed)—it was
slurred over as hastily as possible, or got
through as it best might be. When, on the other
hand, pleasure was the order of the day,—and
this was sought hourly,—no resource was
left untried, no expedient unattempted; and
strange things, in the shape of pleasure, were
often the result.

The nominal duties were multifarious, and,
had they been properly observed, would have
left but a comparatively narrow margin for
recreation,—for there was much in the old
forms which took up time, without conveying
any great amount of real military instruction.

The orderly officer for the daywe speak
of the subalternwas supposed to go through
a great deal. His duty it was to assist at
inspections, superintend drills, examine the
soldiers' provisions, see their breakfasts and
dinners served, and attend to any complaints,
visit the regimental guards by day and night,
be present at all parades and musters, and,
finally, deliver in a written report of the
proceedings of the four-and-twenty hours.

To go through this routine, requiredas it
received in some regimentsa few days' training;
but in the Hundredth there was none at
all. Every officer in that distinguished corps
was supposed to be " a Heaven-born genius,"
and acquired his military education as pigeons
pick up peas. The Hon. Ensign Spoonbill
looked at his men after a fashion; could swear
at them if they were excessively dirty, and
perhaps awe them into silence by a portentous
scowl, or an exaggerated loudness of voice;
but with regard to the real purpose of inspection,
he knew as little, and cared as much, as
the valet who aired his noble father's morning
newspaper. His eye wandered over the men's
kits as they were exposed to his view; but to
his mind they only conveyed the idea of a
kaleidoscopic rag-fair, not that of an assortment
of necessaries for the comfort and
wellbeing of the soldier. He saw large masses of
beef, exhibited in a raw state by the quarter-
master, as the daily allowance for the men;
but if any one had asked him if the meat was
good, and of proper weight, how could he have
answered, whose head was turned away in
disgust, with his face buried in a scented
cambric handkerchief, and his delicate nature
loathing the whole scene? In the same spirit
he saw the men's breakfasts and dinners
served; fortifying his opinion, at the first, that
coffee could only be made in France, and
wondering, at the second, what sort of potage it
could be that contrived to smell so
disagreeably. These things might be special
affectations in the Hon. Ensign, and depended,
probably, on his own peculiar organisation;
but if the rest of the officers of the Hundredth
did not manifest as intense a dislike to this
part of their duties, they were members of
much too "crack" a regiment to give
themselves any trouble about the matter. The
drums beat, the messes were served, there was
a hasty gallop through the barrack-rooms,
scarcely looking right or left, and the orderly
officer was only too happy to make his escape
without being stopped by any impertinent

The "turning out" of the barrack guard
was a thing to make an impression on a
bystander. A loud shout, a sharp clatter
of arms, a scurry of figures, a hasty formation,
a brief enquiry if all was right, and
a terse rejoinder that all was remarkably
so, constituted the details of a visit to the
body of men on whom devolved the task
of extreme watchfulness, and the preservation
of order. If the serjeant had replied
"All wrong," it would have equally
enlightened Ensign Spoonbill, who went towards
the guardhouse because his instructions told
him to do so; but why he went there, and for
what purpose he turned out the guard, never
entered into his comprehension. Not even did
a sense of responsibility awaken in him when,
with much difficulty, he penned the report
which gave, in a narrative form, the summary
of the duties he had performed in so
exemplary a manner. Performed, do we say?
Yes, once or twice wholly, but for the most
part with many gaps in the schedule.
Sometimes the dinners were forgotten, now and
then the taptoo, generally the afternoon
parade, and not unfrequently the whole affair.
For the latter omission, there was occasionally
a nominal "wigging" administered, not by
the commanding officer himself, but through
the adjutant; and as that functionary was
only looked upon by the youngsters in the
light of a bore, without the slightest reverence
for his office, his wordslike those of Cassius
passed like the idle wind which none
regarded. When Ensign Spoonbill ''mounted
guard" himself, his vigilance on his new post
equalled the assiduity we have seen him
exhibit in barracks. After the formality of
trooping, marching down, and relieving, was
over, the Honourable Ensign generally amused
himself by a lounge in the vicinity of the
guardhouse, until the field-officer's "rounds"
had been made; and that visitation at an end
for the day, a neighbouring billiard-room,
with Captain Cushion for his antagonist or
"a jolly pool" occupied him until dinner-time.
It was the custom in the garrison where the
Hundredth were quartered, as it was, indeed,
in many others, for the officers on guard to
dine with their mess, a couple of hours or so