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the sake of his goodness of soul, his eccentricities,
he must be forgiven for this invincible

None can fail to admire the original dreamer
when he is also a practical worker; while few
will be willing to patronise the mere visionary,
who is always thinking and never doing.



NOTWITHSTANDING the proverbial popularity
of the military amongst womankind, an
average of only five to every ninety-five
private soldiers, are allowed to enter into the
bonds of matrimony. No private can marry
without the leave of his commanding officer.
The soldier's ordinary income, indeed, is not
exceedingly well adapted to support those
domestic relations and additions which belong
to, and are to be looked for, in the married
state. The weekly stipend of seven shillings
and seven-pence does not hold out a very
flattering prospect of wedded bliss; nor would
it, but for an efficient application of the club-
system, support bachelorhood in wholesome
competence. The prodigious quantity of food,
and the enormous expanse of lodging, required
for a hundred thousand men, make them
wholesale dealers in those necessaries in the
largest sense of that term; and, under the
management of their officers, they are fed and
partly clothed out of their pay; but, in
addition to it, Britannia annually provides
each soldier with a coatee, a cap, one pair of
boots, and one pair of trousers. She gives
him lodging gratis also. Despite these helps,
however, his " pay and allowances " leave him
too little to marry upon.

Although, therefore, it is scarcely avoidable
that only five per cent, of the British
rank-and-file should be allowed wives, yet
this " allowance " among his other perquisites
granted, it would be but commonly prudent
if Britannia would permit the fortunate one
in twenty to have decent accommodation
for his wife. At present, the soldier's wife only
shares the wholesale accommodation afforded
to her husband's comrades: sleeping in the
common barrack-room amidst whole
companies of soldiers, she is obliged to dress and
undress in public.

There are, in the army, officers' wives, who
feel for the position of their poorer sisters;
who think that perhaps Britannia has not
peeped into this little corner of her
housekeeping with a sufficiently scrutinising eye;
and who tell her that marriage need not be
discouraged in the army by desecrating it;
by putting it to shame. A country girl, or
a respectable servant (let us say a nursery-
maid) marries a soldier — " then," says an
officer's wife, who writes to us with a
warm zeal upon this subject, " picture her
making her entry into married life over
the threshold of a barrack-room, containing
twenty or thirty men. She hesitates, she
trembles ; some are laughing, some are singing,
some swearing, and some dressing for parade.
She hurries through the throng ; and, ere a
month is past, necessity has reconciled her to
her new position. A thin curtain is all that
screens her from the gaze of her husband's
comrades ; and she yields to the companionship
of women who jeer at her modest
reserves, because their constant intercourse with
coarser natures has hardened them, and put
to flight the modesty themselves once
possessed. Ere long the bride's shame breaks
down ; she who was innocent is now a slut, from
whom, perhaps, you turn aside with scorn."
Scorning, however, is a decided mistake in
every case where human beings are concerned.

From the same correspondent we quote the
following record of a visit to a barrack

"Having ascertained that there was no
objection to our visiting the soldiers' quarters,
no particular apartment was selected;
we crossed the square, and, after passing
several open doors, about which lingered
slatternly women and noisy children, we
entered a long narrow chamber. On either
side were ranged the men's bedsteads, with
their bedding closely rolled up on them.
Above each was placed the whole of each
soldier's property: his knapsack; his great
coat neatly folded, and strapped to it; his
pouch containing sixty rounds of ammunition;
and beside his couch stood his firelock. A table
and benches were stretched along the centre
of the room, and at this were seated two or
three steady characters, reading and writing
amid the din and clatter of their noisy
comrades' glee or arguments. Silence fell
upon the assembly as we entered.

"At the end of this room, near the windows,
was the narrow space allotted to the serjeant
a married man. Two iron bedsteads lashed
together, formed the family couch. Four iron
rods, fastened at the cornel's, supported a
cord on which hung some curtains looped up.
The screen which separated this nook from
the men's quarter was also drawn back. The
place was scrupulously clean, the bed neatly
made, the patchwork quilt displayed industry
and ingenuity; and, on a chest covered with
green baize, and used as a table, lay several
well-chosen books, the Serjeant's writing
materials, and some needle-work. There was an
attempt, too, at ornament, which touched
my heart: arranged with some taste on
the chest and above it, were various
remembrances of foreign climes, where I had been
a sojourner with this respectable soldier's
wife, who had done her best to make this
miserable, noisy, unsettled home comfortable.
Shells there were from the depths of
southern seas, and specimens of manifold
kinds that would have pleased a naturalist.
Above these hung the soldier's cap, sword,
sash, and silver watch, with its heavy steel