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ABOUT fifteen years since two young
gentlemen whom I will call (in deference
to the social distinctions of my beloved
country) Nob and Snob, obtained within a
few days of each other, commissions by purchase
in the military service. Nob had imbibed
a great love for London life, and was anxious
to enter the guards; Snob had read accounts
of our great battles in India and other countries,
and wished to see service in the line. Both
obtained their desires, and were duly gazetted
to their respective corps. Nob entered the
guards as an ensign and lieutenant,—that is
to say, he was, at starting in his career, an
ensign in his regiment, but bore the rank
of a lieutenant in the armythe privilege
and advantage enjoyed by young gentlemen
who commence life in either of the three
regiments of foot-guards. He joined his battalion
in London, and commenced learning his
duties. When I say joined, I do not mean that
he took up his abode in barrack; for such
a sacrifice of comfort to duty is never asked
nor expected. No; he hired comfortable
lodgings in a west-end street; so that, when
he was wanted for parade, drill, or guard-
mounting, he could drive to the barracks in
his cab in five minutes. Nor was his presence
often required with his men. For a
couple of months he had a daily drill of
about an hour; but was allowed to learn a
great deal of the manual and platoon exercise
from a sergeant of the corps, whom
he paid for attending him at his lodgings,
without the trouble of going to the
drill-ground to learn it. In about two months
the daily drills were discontinued; for Nob
was advanced enough to attend the adjutant's
parades; which, in the fine season, took
place three times a-week in one of the parks.
These parades were held at the early hour
of seven or eight in the morning, which
considering it was the London season, and
that Nob was very much addicted to balls,
parties, the opera, and other late-hour
amusementswas decidedly a bore. But these
terrible drawbacks only lasted the first year
of his military noviciate: moreover, they
occurred only three times a-week, and as, with
an occasional guard-mounting at St. James's,
they formed the sum total of his duty, he
managed to survive the annoyance, and never
missed but one of these dreadful drills.

The duty of guard-mounting at St.
James's was not disagreeablefar from it.
To call the work "a 'dashed' bore," was a
matter of course; but that after all is only a
fashion of talking. It was rather pleasant
to march through the park, in gorgeous
scarlet and gold lace, preceded by one of the
best military bands in the world, in part
command of a body of bearskin-capped warriors,
the admired of bevies of nursery-maids.
Nor whilst on guard did the time pass
unpleasantly. There was the lounge up to
"the guards' club," the social chat at its
conspicuous window, and the pleasant dinner of
twelve in the palace guard-room; where the
best repast and wine is served every evening
upon the most costly plate, at the expense
of a grateful country, to the officers who go
through the toil and exposure of guarding,
for twenty-four hours, the sacred precincts of
St. James's palace. It imposed just enough
duty to let a man know he had a profession;
a profession which gave him a certain
standing in London society. Nob's battalion
only changed its quarters once in the year,
and that did not always entail a move
amongst the officers. For instance, if the
battalion performed the arduous march from
St. John's Wood barracks to those in
Portman-street, or from Portman-street to
those in Trafalgar-square, the officers of
course need not change their lodgings. To
reach their men's quarters cost only five
minutes more or less in the cab, and that was of
no great consequence to the Bramins. The
greatest distance our hero had to march,
was from London to Winchester, the latter
being the most distant station of foreign
service to which his fortunate corps had ever to
undergo banishment.

For these and other excellent reasons, Nob
stuck to the guards. He liked the admiration
which emblazonment in scarlet and gold attracted
to his handsome person. Besides, he
found the life not ruinously expensive. The
cost of living is by no means great in the
Guards, provided a young man be prudent
during the first years of his service, and be wise
enough afterwards to profit by experience.
Excepting when a battalion of the Bramins
is stationed at Windsor or Winchester,

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