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such structures as would have been deemed
impossible, even in the early part of the
present century."


MAURICE SAVAGE was one of a family of
seven children, whose parents were poor
cottagers in Wiltshire, and livedas poor
cottagers contrive to liveon the lowest
wages for the hardest labour. The father's
strength and the mother's health failed
them utterly before their eldest girl was
twelve years old, and they both died
within a few months of each other, leaving
their family on the parish. Seven fresh
inmates in one day were a serious pull on the
funds of a union so heavily burdened with
paupers as Wallington; but Mr. Broadcast,
the overseer, was a man fertile in expedients
and prompt in the execution of his plans; and
before a week had gone by since he first heard
the formidable announcement of "We are
seven!" he had contrived to draft four out of
the number in such a way as to relieve the
parish from much of the threatened expense,
and so to dispose of the others as to make it
fall lightly on the rates.

The three eldest, who were girls, gave their
unpaid services to neighbouring farmers, by
whom they were employed chiefly in household
work. Maurice, the fourth, was initiated
also into the mysteries of a farmer's life;
but as his age did not admit even of turnip-
pulling, he began literally at the beginning
and officiated for the first year or two as a
scare-crow. In this capacity, when he didn't
go birds' nesting, or blackberrying, or fall
asleepoccurrences which were not rarehe
figured with a certain degree of respectability.
To trace his agricultural career through the
several phases of cattle-driving, swine-tending,
potato-digging, hay-making, sheep-washing,
mowing and reaping, till he attained the
dignity of a ploughboy doing a ploughman's
work, would be beside the purpose of this
narrative. We find him at eighteen years of
age in the capacity just mentioned.

What Maurice longed for was to do as his
elder sisters had doneget up to London.
They had all found "places," and why should
not he likewise? He did not aim at being a
butler all at once, or even at the situation of
a valet. But what he wanted was "to
better himself," and he conceived that London
was the best place for him to make the
attempt in. He rose with the sun one fine
summer's morning, and disregarding the
formality of leave-taking, employed his legs to
such good purpose, that before the sun
set he was well-nigh fifty miles from
Wallington, on his way to the golden metropolis.
He had no bed to go to, and his supper
was somewhat of the scantiest; but he had
not been so tenderly nurtured as to make
him think the lee of a haystack a very
uncomfortable couch; or a piece of breadthe
gift of a woman nearly as poor as himself
worse than nothing. He slept without nightmare,
and rose sufficiently refreshed to enable
him to look at the eighteen or twenty miles
that yet lay before him as less than half a
day's journey.

That half day's journey was got overwith
a little limping, it is true, but still
accomplishedand Maurice found himself in London,
quite at liberty to select any employment that
presented itself for his choice. But an
awkward ploughboy, barely eighteen years old, is
not exactly the person to find employment
the moment he asks for it, in a city where,
according to the popular belief, "one half of
those who go out in the morning have no
certain knowledge that they shall get a meal
before they return at night."

He accordingly passed the first four-and-
twenty hours of his visit to the metropolis,
without food, or the slightest means of
procuring it, and might have repeated the
programme, to the catastrophestarvation; but
just as he was thinking whether it would not
be as well to return to Wiltshire, chance threw
him in the way of a recruiting party, very gaily
decorated with ribbons of every hue, and
having that devil-may-care expression on their
countenances, which proves so irresistible
both to youth and maiden. To encounter a
young fellow like Maurice, with famine in his
eyes, and thirst, long unslaked, on his dry lips
strong tokens of the ardent recruitwas a
godsend to Sergeant Pike who commanded
the party, and who, at the moment, was very
much put to it to make up a batch of recruits.
He accordingly invited Maurice to "step in"
and "take a pot," to which bread and cheese
were speedily added, and then, in military
phrase, the Sergeant at once broke ground.

This gallant individual did not, it is true,
find Maurice altogether unprepared for the
proposition which he made him, to accept the
short cut to fortune which is so obviously
within the reach of every private soldier in
the British army; for where is the country
lad to be found, who has not indulged in the
splendid vision, whether impelled towards it
by the love of glory, or the perfidious conduct
of "Nancy?" But the notion was too indistinct
for any practical application, till the
certainty of its realisation was set forth in the
glowing language of Sergeant Pike. A few
pints of beer, a red-herring, or "soger," as he
facetiously called it, an exordium on the light,
easy, "ge'tl'm'ly" duties of the soldier, a
glass or two of hot whiskey and water,—a
brief allusion to the Duke of Wellington's
career,—" his luck, you know, may be yours
or mine to-morrow,"—and then came the
inevitable shilling which, from a mere
hawbuck, converted Maurice Savage into a full
private in Her Majesty's service.

Medical inspection and attestation over, our
Wiltshire recruit was forthwith despatched,
with some ten or a dozen other aspirants for

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