« PreviousContinue »
Harker, who for fifteen from the river to the playingmonths had haunted the fields, where the principal shadows on the look-out for canteen stood. just suoh a “rux,” whose ear “Stodge” was of a surpasscaught every illioit sounding cheapness. That much even the orunch of the n00- was essential when the ex. turnal batter-scotoh-Harker tent of the weekly poeketwas for once unseeing and money was limited (if memory unseon. It needed but this is to be trusted) to one shilling. orowning aot of grace to en. Further, it was of a pleasing dear him for over to his variety, certain peculiar comdeparting flook.
binations, hallowed by tradiYet he had one more oard to tion, being alone unchanging. play, and played it as he passed Of those the most popular in farewell from carriage to was the “Garry Sandwich." oarriage of the departing train. Components: a half-stick of Further, he dealt it with accen- ohooolate - cream sandwiched tuated emphasis for the benefit between two " squashed-fy" of those he thought needed the bisouits; the whole beaten reminder most.
thin with a cricket-bat, gym"Gosh!” ejaculated such an nasium shoe, or other impleone when Harker passed to the ment handy. The peouliarity next carriage: he flopped back of this particular form of on to his seat. “Did you dainty was that it suffioed as hear? He said 'Sir' to each an unfailing bribe wherewith one of us when he said to open negotiations with one good-bye !”
Dunn, the septuagenarian So much for Harker. But keeper of the boat-house. The he brought with him a number moral atmosphere of this haunt, of other memories entangled in consequence of its oustodian's somehow about his personality, sweetness of tooth, came in and on these it may be as well time to resemble that of a to enlarge a little ore they Chinese yamen. slip baok into the limbo of the Another deliosoy, about forgotten past.
which legend clustered, was It says muoh for the vivid- the “Ship’s Bun," split in ness of Harker's personality half, with & liberal cement. that he outran in these re- ing of Devonshire cream and miniscences the memory of strawberry-jam oozing out at “Stodge." Certainly few in- the sides. Concerning the bun terests loomed larger on the itself, the maternal solicitude horizon of these days than the of the authorities extended one oontents of the two canteens gratis to each oadet ashore on ashore.
half - holidays, lest the impoThere was one adjacent to ounious should hunger an. the landing-place : a wise fore- necessarily between lunch and thought of the authorities, tea. The buns were obtain. enabling a fellow to stay his able on application at the stomach during the long olimb counter, whence the daughter
of the proprietor - whom we Cadet. Oh, and a doughnut, will call Maunder—was charged while you're about it. with the duty of issuing thom. Maunder. One strawberry
How she pretended to re- ioe one doughnut thruppenoe. member the two and a half Cadet. That's just to go on hundred faces that presented with. Then in a bag I want themselves in surging crowds & stiok of cream chooolate. round the counter at 4 P.M., Maunder. One strawberry is more than her present re- ice, one doughnut, one stick oorder oan say. But even as oream chocolate, fourpence. she extended a bun to the Cadet (breathlessly). And outstretched grubby hand of a bottle of barley-sugar and a suppliant, an expression of a “My Queen," and four vixen - like indignation and Garry biscuits, and half & canning would transform her pound of sherries and a bottle features.
of lemonade, and one of ginger“You've 'ad a bun afore !” beer and-that's all, I think. she would snap sbrilly, with. , Maunder (coming in a little drawing the bounty in the behind, chanting, the general nick of time. The hungry effeot being that of a duet in petitioner, oheerfully acknow- cannon). One strawberry ice, ledging defeat in å game of one doughnut, one stick oream. bluff, would then withdraw, chocolate, one bottle barleyparsued by Migs Maander's sugar, one “My Queen," &o., invectives,
&o., &o. . . . And a bag one All the same she was not an' thruppence 'a’penny.... infallible, and on oooasions hot Thank you, sir. Next, please. protestations and even mutual On occasion demigods walked reorimination rang to and fro among the children of med. across the counter. Appeal, The visits of the Channel ultimately carried to Mr Fleet to Torbay usually Maunder, was treated in much brought over one or two of the same way as it is by a lately departed term, now oroupiers at Monte Carlo. A midshipmen by the grace of gentleman's word is his word. God, and magnificent beyond But it is as well not to be conception. the viotim of too many mis. It was their pleasure, these takes.
immaculately-clad visitors, to Maunder, who was occupied enter the canteen, greet with the stern responsibility Maunder with easy familiarof catering for the whim of the ity, and Miss Maunder with rich, had a way of recapitulat. something approaching galing the orders from the begin- lantry, alap down a sovereign ning, adding op aloud as the on the counter, and ory free count went on, thus :
stodge all round. They would Cadet. A strawberry ice, oven anbend further, dallying please, Maunder.
with a strawberry-ice in token Maunder. One strawberry of their willingness to be as ice tuppenoe.
other men, and finally depart
mongooliasion dominoxt, piesa
o Cadetulaandere strawberry
in a cloud of oigarette-smoke which the more hardened maleand hero-worship.
factors quailed, his the rasping This record is not concerned voioe that jerked the four terms with the faot that on their ro. to attention at Divisions each turn on board their ship some morninghours later, one suffered stripes “Young gentlemen, 'shun!" for having forgotten to look his The English publio school. ohest before he went ashore, boy is conscious of youth, and and the other, being the most takos the faot of being a gentlejunior of all the junior mid- man for granted. But to hear shipmen, was bidden swiftly himself addressed by a desigto unlace the sub's boots and nation that combined both fotoh his slippers.
qualities was a never-staling To overy dog his day. subjeot for inward mirth and
weird self-congratulation Random memories such as difficult of analysis. It oonthese necessarily present indi. veyed a hint of coming manviduals and incidents, not in hood and responsibilities: it the sequence of their import- was the voice of the Navy, anoe in the cosmos as one seos bending on the leading-strings, it now, but as they appeared heard for the first time. to the vision of the Naval Cadet, But on a plane far nearer whose world was an amiable earth stood the Term Lieuten. Chaos.
ants, each one the god and Thus the Captain fliokers hero, the Big Brother of his through this kaleidoscope, an term. That they, their Boxer awesome bearded figure, in- or South African medal ribfinitely remote from the small bons, their tattoo-marks, County affairs of that teeming rabbit- or International caps, bioeps, warren of youth.
and all the things that were More readily comes to mind theirs, were the objeots of their the picture of his lady wifo, respective torm's slavish aduwhite-haired, with olear eyes lation, goes without saying. and gentle voice, a memory Bloody encounters between somehow entangled with ger. their self-appointed champions aniums in red pots about the over an adverse criticism or high-moulded stern-gallory, and doubt oast apon & forgotten toa on Sunday afternoons in word were not unknown. Two the spacious ohintz - draped entire terms onoo joined battle after - oabin; with irksome and bled each others' noses the football sprains and brief length and breadth of the puerile illnesses made more echoing “Skipper's Woods" to endurable by her visits to clinch some far-flung argument the cotside.
as to the merits of their reThe Commander, though less speative “Loots." awesome than the Captain, There were but four of them, approached the mortal in that and they were picked from the he stooped at times in wrath. wardrooms of the whole Navy. His was the oold eye before Small wonder some three hun.
dred grubby urohins fresh from gogue turned and bit. Terms sobool found in them admirable paid striet allegiance to their qualities.
own chief petty officers. But, Ashore, on the playing-fields, as has already been shown, or across the red plough-land this was an affair of the heart at the tails of the beagles, they and the sentiments. He was laboured in close intimate theirs, and they were his : fellowship with the atoms of thus it had been from the olay Providence thrast beneath beginning. their thumbs. But on board it There was, however, one seemed they faded from ken, voice that rarely repeated an being rarely seen save at elasses order, one court from which or whon in pairs the term per- appeal, if possible, was uncolated through the wardroom dreamed of-that of the cadet for dessert, plastered as to the captain. Their rulo was withhair, patent-leather shod, to out vexatious tyranny, but it sip and sough over a glass of was an iron rule. The selection ambresial port at either elbow of these cadet captains was of their Lieutenant.
done carefully, and mistakes Seeing and unseen, knowing were fow. The standard of the their terms as only mon who whole was no mean one, and spend their lives among men for three months the Lieatencan know and understand the ant of the First Term had been embryo, they were the guiding studying the raw material, invisible wisdom behind the working with it, playing with cadet captains, who outwardly it, talking to it-or rather ruled the docks.
listening while it talked to The cadet captains were him. ... Thus cadet captains chosen from the three senior were chosen, and the queer terms, set apart from their eager loyalty with which the fellows by the fast that they rest paid them allegiance was wore “stand-up" collars and a the first stirring of the quicktriangular gold badge on the ened Naval Spirit, foreshadowleft ouff.
ing that strange followship to Minor authority in other be, brotherhood of discipline guises was greeted much the and control, of austerity and a same as it is in all communities half-mooking affootionate tolof boyhood. The platitudes of eranoe. notice-boards no fellow with To the oadet oaptains, perhis heart in the right place haps, can be attributed the could be expected to romombor passage, almost untarnished over well. The aeknowledged through the years, of the sway of instructors and mag- Britannia traditions. They ters was largely a matter of were concerned, these youthful knowing to a nicety how far Justices of the Peace, with an adventurous spirit oould go more than the written law. It (in the realms of science and they enforoed right enough, froeband drawing it was a long but with a tolerance one might way) before the badgered poda- expect of fifteen summers ad
ministering the foibles and spending subsequent golden rules of fifty. On the other afternoons on the paradehand, did a "new" unbutton a ground, swinging a heavy barsingle button of his monkey- bell to the tune of “Sweet jacket, & "Three" deign to Dreamland Faces," blared out swing his keys, a “Sixer” to on a cornet by a bored bandstarn up his trousers or tilt man. his oap on the back of his head S o summary justice ruled, (the prerogative of the “Niner” and it ruled in this wise :or Fourth Term), and Nemesis “Shove your knuokles outdescended upon him ere he side that blanket-you needn't slept that night. Nemesis, by pretend to be asleep ". virtue of its unblemished obar- Chorus of snores, deafeping aoter, and the favour its tri. in their realism and self-conangular badge found in the soious rectitude, from the eyes of the gods, was allowed wrongdoer's neighbours. to turn in half an hour after “You were slaok attending the remainder. It occupied belly-muster 1 for the third itself during this time in time running- " guzzling 00008 and biscuits “I swearsmeared with strawberry jam, “You'd better not. You'll provided for its deleotation by get six more for swearing- " the authorities — though the "Ow!” cost was said to be defrayed “Don't make such a rux..." by the parents of the common “Ow!" herd relegated to hammooks, “If you yell you'll get and the contemplation of this double." orgy out of one drowsy though "Ow!" envious oye.
"That's for being slaok. Biscuits finished, Nemesis Now the other hand. ... That's would draw from his pooket a for 'nerving'" (modernised = knotted “togio" of homp, and swanking) “with your thumbs having romoved traces of jam in your bookets_-" from his features, proceed to “Ow!" administer summary justice in "Shut up! Stiok your the gloom where the hammooks knuokles out properly." swung.
“I swear I didn't-owl... It was, of course, grossly Good-night.” illegal, and stigmatised by the · · · · · · authorities as “a pernicious Memories, ah, memories ! system of private and un- Haphazard, but happy as only authorised punishments.” But the far-off things can seem, the alternative was open to any half revealed through the mists who oared to appeal to Cæsar. of years. Grim old oradle of Appealing to Cæsar meant the Eternal Navy, there lies on
I “Belly-muster," as its name gracefully implies, was a parade of lightly.clad suspects in procession past the sick-bay while the lynx-eyed surgoon scanned each brisket for traces of incipient chicken-pox rash.