+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

she knew Herbert meant to propose to me
last night, and feared how it would end.
Being in much the same case, we sympathised
with each other, and combined to keep up our
spirits for better times.  I should have liked
to leave Meadowlands good friends with
everybody, but that cannot be.

Herbert has given me a little ring set with
five turquoises, like a forget-me-not, which I
am always to wear; and I have given him
my plain signet with the blood-stone.  We
intend to write to each other often.


DURING the late war, I was despatched to
the East, together with thirty-nine other
persons, on a sort of irregular service.  We
were on pay for about fifteen months; and
we cost the country, in that time, something
like forty thousand pounds.  There were
certain phenomena of our brief corporate
existence that some of us attributed to
jobbery, and even the most indulgent of us
to neglect.  For eight months we were not
employed, and should have been recalled.
Our nominal head spent the liberal stipend
of his office in Saint James's; and
occupied himself with some reforms in the
management of his club.  Our storekeeper
could not produce his original invoices; and
property to a large amount was left to be
wasted without check or responsibility.  The
official arrangements for our rations, our pay,
our transport from place to place, were
characterised by recklessness, wastefulness,
confusion, and mismanagement, such as we have
never seen paralleled.  But we felt our own
insignificance; we knew what great affairs
required the attention of the executive; and
we could scarcely wonder at the scant notice
we received.

So, when some numbers of a certain book
reached a certain town in Asia Minor, and
were there discussed, we agreed that the
Circumlocution Office was hardly used.  We
bore united witness to the personal courtesy
with which we had been treated in the neigh-
bourhood of Whitehall.  But still:—

Penny related how three young gentlemen
of prepossessing personal appearance had been
hopelessly unable to spell the classical name
of the steamer in which he voyaged. They
consulted together, made various guesses, tried
the look of several phonetic readings upon
scraps of paper; and at last applied to him,
before they could accomplish " BACCHANTE".

Twopenny mentioned that he was ordered
to join a certain steamer at Deptford on a
certain day.  The vessel was detained in the
river for fully a week afterwards; and the
authorities on shore would not condescend to
explain the cause of the detention to the
captain.  They told him he was waiting for
orders for their orders, that was to say; and
intimated that his inquiries were improper.
At length he mollified a clerk by the gift of
a superlatively good cigar; and the following
dialogue took place:

"Why is it that you keep me here?"

"Captain, if you must know, we are keeping
you to receive a small lot of medicine
stores for Malta."

''Indeed! How many packages?"


"Where from ?"

"Green and Watson's."

"Indeed ? " replied the captain, dryly;
"they were the first goods I shipped, and they
have been in the hold these three weeks."

The clerk upset a stool, and rushed into
the office of his superior.  The captain
thought he heard mention of the name of
Lindsay.  At all events, the clerk returned
quickly with an order to get up steam and
to be off with all speed.  The anchor was
weighed in an hour, and Twopenny narrowly
escaped being left behind.

Groat said that when his transport
anchored in the Golden Horn, they were hailed
by a sister ship, and asked what cargo they
brought?  " Beef and pork " was the answer.
The sister ship had been four months in the
transport service; busy, during the first two
months, in conveying beef and pork from
Constantinople to Balaklava; busy, during
the last two months, in conveying beef and
pork, in the same casks, back from Balaklava
to Constantinople.

Shortly after the talk related above, the
little party in Asia was broken up by the
peace, and I found myself once more in
England.  My pay ceased on my arrival, so
I had orders to report myself immediately;
as I had parted with my money freely on
the way home, I was by no means indifferent
to the speedy payment of a considerable
balance due to me.  Following my instructions,
I turned into Whitehall Place, and
inquired for Mr. A.

A messenger showed me into a room occupied
by a most courteous and gentlemanly
man, with whom I had transacted business
prior to my departure.  Mr. A. remembered
me, congratulated me on my safe return, and
then addressed himself to his official duties.
He asked for my order to return to England,
for my order for a passage, for my last pay
certificate; when all these had been handed
to him and inspected, he said,

"Who told you to come to me?"

I mentioned the name of my immediate

"I am not by any means sure that he was
right," replied Mr. A.  He spoke very
slowly and gently, taking off his spectacles
the while, and deliberately folding them.
"In fact, I am nearly sure that he was
wrong.  I think your affair belongs to Mr.
B., at the Horse Guards.  Yes, certainly, if
you will take the trouble to go across to Mr.
B., you will find that he has precedents, and
knows exactly what to do for you.  Should