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chain and large seal. In a homely brown
jar, jauntily arranged, a nosegay bloomed. At
the foot of the bed, neatly attired, and with a
pretty, cleanly-dressed infant in her arms, sat
the Serjeant's wife, a slender, delicate-looking
creature, of very different mien, I must confess,
to the generality of soldiers' wives.

"She rose as we approached, and I recognised
one of the ' daughters of the regiment.' I had
known her from her childhood.

"My friends, struck with her youthful look.
asked her age.

"She was nineteen!

"And her infant's?

"It was nine months old. It had been born
in that barrack-roomat midnight!"

Our correspondent describes this couple to
exemplify how, amidst every tendency to
demoralisation, a will strong in virtue can
set temptation at naught. But the case of
the Serjeant's wife is, unhappily, exceptional.
"In the regiment to which my husband
belonged for twenty years," continues the
officer's wife, " I could not have singled out
three reputable women. By mixing the
married and single families together, the
women are enabled to smuggle drink into the
barrack-room; and, as to the children, the
more vicious they are, the more encouragement
they meet with. Soldiers' daughters of
seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen, are to be
found in barracks, sleeping almost side by
side with the male inmates.

"Abroad, the soldiers' wives accumulate a
great deal of money, by washing for officers,
and by the illicit sale of wine and spirits.
They are usually industrious and hard-working;
and would, under a better system, employ
themselves to advantage, instead of struggling
on in discomfort, and spending all they can
spare in drink."

It is not of much use to educate the soldiers'
children, while their mothers are committed
to pollution. We do not take upon ourselves
to scold Britannia. Britannia has, of late,
made some wise regulations for the moral and
intellectual improvement of the soldiery; she
has established regimental schools, regimental
savings-banks, (for the soldier can save, it
seems, out of thirteen-pence per day) and
regimental libraries; but we would delicately
say to herBe decent. You have, we would
remark, a large establishment, and you must
economise; but not the most economical of
all your stewards, not the bitterest enemy
of army expenditure, would grudge you the
cost of a few separate cellscheaper than the
cells you offer to the use of those who have
offended your lawswhereinto these your
soldiers could bring, as into a little home, a
modest wife. Here, would you only afford
one separated abode out of every twenty beds,
might the woman remain pure, and exercise
her humanising influence over her husband
and his comrades; here she might wash, or
stitch, and peacefully support her children,
whose young ears she might accustom to a
mother's affectionate teaching, and keep from
the coarse song or jest.


EXCEPT, perhaps, to naturalists, the Seal
will be known to many readers only through
the medium of Sir Walter Scott's
"Antiquary." " 'What is that yonder? says
Hector M'Intyre to his uncle, Jonathan
Oldbuck. ' One of the herd of Proteus,'
replied the Antiquary'a Phoca, or Seal,
lying asleep on the beach.' Upon which
M'Intyre, with the eagerness of a young
sportsman, exclaiming, 'I shall have him! I
shall have him!' snatched the walking-stick
out of the hand of the astonished Antiquary,
at some risk of throwing him down, and set
off at full speed to get between the animal and
the sea, to which element, having caught the
alarm, she was rapidly retreating. . . .
The Seal finding her retreat intercepted by
the light-footed soldier, confronted him
manfully, and having sustained a heavy blow
without injury, she knitted her brows, as is the
fashion of the animal, and making use at once
of her fore-paws and her unwieldy strength,
wrenched the weapon out of the assailant's
hand, overturned him on the sands, and
scuttled away into the sea without doing him
any further injury." We shall not dwell on
the mortification of the gallant captain, or the
gibes of his uncle, as these will readily occur
to the readers of Scott's magic pages. Turning,
then, from the romancer, we shall trace the
records of the Phoca through the denser
chapters of the scientific compiler, and the
Arctic voyagers.

The literature of the Seal, which is very
limited, would lead us to suppose that, like
the owl of terra firma, it maintainsto quote
from one authorityan "ancient, solitary reign,
threading an unfurrowed track along the dark
waters of the Atlantic, and skimming in peace
and security along the margins of ice-bound
shores, where all is dumb." But how stands
the actual facts? In the year 1850, no fewer
than one hundred thousand Seals were
captured by British vessels, and in the present
year a greater number will probably be
slain. What will be the commercial value
of those animals? Reckoning the whole
to be even young Seals, and estimating
one ton of oil to be the produce of one
hundred Seals, the oil will yield, in round
numbers, thirty-five thousand pounds, and the
skins, calculated at three shillings each, would
bring fifteen thousand poundsin all, fifty
thousand pounds. So that we have an
interesting branch of commerce represented
in our literature as all but extinct, while in
reality it is flourishing in a high degree,
adding extensively to national wealth, and
giving employment to a large portion of the
seafaring community.

Whale-fishing in the Arctics has been in
a declining state for a number of years; a