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fate of the Birkenhead reminds us that such
terrible events do now and then occur
the lives of soldiers provided with the
improved knapsack would not very readily be

Mr. Berrington having invented his knapsack
an affair, the merits of which could be
proved or disproved in ten minutes by any
impartial mantook out a patent. It was
so obvious to him that the substitution of his
knapsack for that which was in use fifteen
years ago, would increase the health, comfort
and efficiency of troops, that he was quite
sure it would be adopted after due inquiry
by the Government, and substituted gradually
for the old machines. He took out a patent
forfourteen years! The sanguine man!
Is there another man in England who believes
that either military or naval authorities in
this country are able, in so short a time as
fourteen years, to grasp a new idea. The
revolutionary notion! Knapsacks now are
precisely what they were fifteen years ago,
and soldiers become flat-chested in the old
proportion. Mr. Berrington took out his
patent in the year 1838, and his fourteen
years of hope and effort having now expired,
he applied the other day for a renewal of his
patent for seven years more. The sanguine
inventor believed that, if the authorities could
not adopt his improvement of the soldier's
knapsack in fourteen years, they certainly
would do something in twenty-one.

The seven more years were granted, the
bench going through the form of expressing
some surprise at the neglect of the invention,
which would almost throw discredit on the
truth of its pretensions. Since, however, all
evidence was in favour of the new knapsack,
and the renewal of the patent was not
opposed on any ground of demerit, the
patent was renewed for seven years. Seven
years hence, however, we very much fear
that soldiers' knapsacks will be what they
now are, and what they were fifteen or fifty
years ago. The whole dress and equipment
of our infantry requires reform. Ten minutes
would suffice to demonstrate some ten
blunders therein, easily removed. Nevertheless,
we should not like to risk the value of a
patent on the chance of one amendment
introduced, of their own accord, by the
authorities during the next ten years.


IN October 1848, I went over to the Island
of Capri, some twenty miles from Naples, to
enjoy a rustic festival. Our party consisted
of some Englishmen and some Italians; the
latter, being in the service of the Government,
had a fixed limit to their leave of absence.
When the morning arrived that was appointed
for the departure of our Italian friends, we
accompanied them to the shore, where they
made their arrangements for the passage back
to the mainland. There was a strong
west-and-by-south wind roaring round the island
and the sea looked dangerous, but in Naples,
where there is no career for a young man
out of Government employ, an official must
not trifle with his post. The preparations,
therefore, for the launching of the boat
went on.

It was one of those wide-bottomed boats,
commonly used in the Port of Naples, upon
which the stranger starts out for a moonlight
row to Posilippo, or betakes himself with his
portmanteau and his carpet-bag, or with his
wife and her pill-box-full of a few things to
the steamer. Such boats are not made for
riding on a stormy sea. The men preparing
to put out that morning were our two friends
the officials, and two boatmen. One of the
passengers was hailed by the captain of a good
strong bark upon the point of starting.
"Corne with us, Raffaelluccio, it will be
madness to sail out in that cockleshell through
such a sea!" Raffaelluccio, a delicate youth,
replied that he was no coward. He had come
in the boat and might go back in the boat,
with the Madonna's blessing. The other
passenger was a stout black-bearded man, and
the two boatmen were a youth and a weather-beaten
sailor from the port of Naples.

The little harbour at Capri is so sheltered
from certain winds that there is often a
deceptive smoothness in its waters. It was only
by looking out to sea that one detected, on
that wild October morning, how the waters
writhed under the torture of the wind. Far
as the eye could reach, the sea was covered
with those smaller storm waves, called in the
phrase of the country pecore; these, as the
day advanced, swelled into great billows,
cavalloni, which came rolling on upon our
little island, and dashed violently against the
coast of Massa and Sorrento.

The boat had been shoved off, and had
returned for some article, left accidentally
behind. A group of weatherwise old sailors
thronged about the fool-hardy crew, in vain
urging them to wait for fairer weather. They
put out to sea again, and made straight for
the cape under the summer palace of Tiberius.
This is a well-known point which boatmen
often seek when they desire to catch a direct
wind for their passage to the mainland. The
gale that had been blowing round the island
appeared to pour out from this point its
undivided force, and beat the sea with a strength
almost irresistible. We saw the mast of the
ittle boat snapped the moment it had
reached the cape, and the crew put back, not
to await calmer weather, but to seek another
temporary mast, and start again. No threat
or persuasion could detain the Italians, who
feared to exceed their term of leave. A rude
mast was set up, and again the boat started,
leaping across wave after wave. We saw no
more of it. "I watched it for some distance,"
said the captain of the barque, which had
started at the same time. "Their mast bent

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