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our host, every now and then, shouts lustily
to a servant who is preparing it somewhere
outside within hearing.  As the servant
does not appear however to make much
progress, and our appetites goad us at last
into extreme measures, we go out to help
him, or worry him into greater speed.

Our cook is a tattered, lantern-jawed,
hollow-eyed fellow, who would not be recognised
as a soldier by any servant-maid in
Knightsbridge. We find him in a state of
despondency peculiar, I think, to the cooking
Englishman. He is kneeling down on
the damp ground and blowing testily at
some wettish smoky shrub-roots, crammed
in a manner inartistic enough into an impromptu
fire-place. He looks a fine illustration
of shame and anger, he dislikes his job,
and he does not know how to perform it.

Let us help him.  I know somebody who is
not a bad cook at a push, and so, if we can
only get some charcoal, I dare say we shall
do very well. We are not badly off for
prog; there is some ration pork, a lean fowl,
some eggs, potatoes, and honey. We have also
got an old iron kettle and a coffee-pot, with
the lid belonging thereto. They are worth
their weight in gold, and I hope we know
how to appreciate them.

Modesty prevents my telling how, by frying
the pork in the lid of the kettle, we obtained
enough grease to fry the fowl; how a mess
of bread and honey, and whipped eggs was
manufactured, which caused a full chorus of
lip-smacking, and which was pensively remembered
long after its abrupt disappearance.
Then we roasted some potatoes among the
embers, and ate them (with the remains of the
grease extracted from the pork) as a delicate
mouthful to crown our repast; and lastly, it
was with all the pride of art, that we stewed
some tea in the coffee-pot, and converted it
into punch of no common bouquet and flavour.

We must have looked a strange company.
All, except myself, were ragged, and oddly
arrayed. They wore their full dress uniform,
dingy and caked over with dirt, till the colour
was undistinguishable. They looked something
between the military mendicants who
prowl about elderly- ladylike neighbourhoods,
and fancy portraits of brigands. Their
beards appeared to begin at the eyelashes,
and to go on till they were lost in the folds of
the voluminous scarfs worn round the waist.
Between the dark neutral tint of their clothes
and that of their hands there was but small
difference, and when they removed their caps
for a moment, the bit of clean skin underneath
presented a contrast quite startling
and ludicrous. There was one thing also
which struck me particularly, and that was our
host's prudent and laudable anxiety with
respect to the fragments of our feast. Once
I remember, as a soldier passed, chuckling
and lugging along a powerful and struggling
goose by the neck, the captain cried out,
with an eagerness of speech inexpressibly
droll, " Hang it, Martin! there goes a fellow
with a goose; be quick and cut after him.
Perhaps he will let us go halves, or tell you
where he got it, if there's another.  Look
sharp, or you 'll lose him." I should be
sorry to bring anything like an unhandsome
charge against the captain's guests, but it
certainly was my impression that Ensign Dash
placed something in his coat pocket; and
that that something was the drumstick of a
fowl, and a hunk of precious black bread,
done up in a pocket-handkerchief.

I remember, as the night deepened, and we
still sat talking, that a certain deep-seated
piety and resignation rested upon my companions,
which I do not remember to have ever
observed in young men before. They appeared
to be filled with tenderness and
brotherhood, when they spoke of fallen comrades.
It seemed as if their own uncertain
chances of life gave them a kindred with
the dead. Little words passedperhaps
unconsciously enoughamong them which may
be some day told solemnly, on summer evenings
and by winter hearths, as the last
yearnings and expressed desires of gallant
hearts which shall then be cold. Sometimes
what they said had a simple and impressive
earnestness, as if the speaker wished that his
words should be hereafter faithfully recorded
as if he felt himself among those who are
doomed. There was no fear or gloom in our
little party that night; only a serious sense
of a grave positionwhich a good man should
not reflect on lightly. It drew the bands of
kindly friendships closer.

They talked with cheerful pathos about
their distant families and friends, so that I
felt even then, while I listened, as if I were
becoming the depository of many precious
secrets, and that I should go upon my way
laden with things which, to some, would be
held of higher value than an argosy. God
be merciful to the bereaved!  Of those
who sat beside me on that day but one remains ;
for two were struck with tardy sickness,
and the third fell suddenly in fight.
God be merciful to the bereaved! and teach
them to think, even in their grief, with a
pride which shall be as balm to them, how
their kindred have gone to join the radiant
band of those who have died uncomplaining,
for the pure cause of duty!  Let us resolve
that they shall be surrounded with respect
and active sympathy, which shall not die
away in words.

This day is published, for greater convenience, and
cheapness of binding,
Price of the Set, thus bound in Five Double instead of Ten
Single Volumes, £2 10s. 0d. The General Index can be
had separately, price 3d.