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RECOLLECTIONS OF SANDHURST.
BY AN OLD CADET.
Mingleby, as stated in the last chapter, lost a great treat by his playful propulsion of a potato, but the sergeant whose head was struck by that esculent was the very next day again the victim of a practical joke perpetrated by A 42. Sergeant Tunwaite, who had conducted our friend to the holes with the very greatest degree of pleasure, had also to go the following day about the same hour to release him. Tunwaite accordingly, at the expiration of the twenty-four hours, proceeded to Mingleby's cell, unlocked and unbarred the door and entered, informed Mingleby that his time was up, then walked over to the window to see if any panes of glass had been broken by the prisoner, and was just about to inspect the other few articles in the room-if it is not too great flattery to call it such—for the purpose of ascertaining if they had suffered any damage during the last tenancy, when all at once he was interrupted in his examination by a jarring, grating sound, and turning quickly round to discover the cause of it, found to his borror that Mingleby had slipped quietly out, and bad evidently just concluded the operation of bolting and barring bim in. Tunwaite rushed to the door at once, but he was too late, it was securely locked and barred, and he could bear, to his great annoy. ance, Mingleby chuckling away outside with the greatest glee. Here was a nice situation for a stalwart Sergeant, who thinking himself too smart to allow even a crack in a pane of glass to escape unnoticed, suddenly finds himself cooped up like a disgraced cadet. Tunwaite at first hoped that by taking it in good part he might prevail on Mingleby to let him out in a few minutes, so he said very meekly, “Come now, Mr. Mingleby, none of this nonsense-open the door."
“It's more than I dare do," answered Mingleby. “Come on, sir,” said the Sergeant impatiently. “Why, what a fellow you are, you've only just been put in
already “Mr. Mingleby, if you don't let me out at once I shall report you to the Lieutenant-Governor."
“You are really very kind, and I'mn obliged, but that idea of your's will keep till to-morrow."
Will you open the door, sir,” shouted Tunwaite. “ You will get forty-eight bours bread and water for this,” added he.
“Oh, shall I," said A 42. “Now look bere, Tunwaite, don't get angry, you are very fond of locking up other people, but you don't seem to like being locked up yourself at all. But do you really want to come out,
;" said Mingleby, in a much more serious U.S. Mag. No. 146, Jan. 1866.
tone. The Sergeant fancied he saw a gleam of hope contained in the enquiry, so he very civilly answered, “Yes, sir, of course I do."
“Then ring your bell,” said the inexorable Mingleby. This the uninitiated reader must know was an old college joke. In the standing orders of the college, it was directed that in the event of a prisoner being taken ill when in confinement, he was to ring the bell provided for that purpose ; now as these said bells existed merely in imagination, a smile and suppressed titter used to run along the ranks whenever the passage in question was read out to the companies, generally once a month, those acquainted even by report with the boles, knowing, that " ringing the bell” was the very polite expression for kicking at the door. The caged birds, when desiring to be released, generally placing their backs to the door and hammering away with their heels at the panels until their wants were attended to.
I saw it questioned the other day whether people ever really do kick their heels. I can at least certainly and safely say that I have known plenty who could and did kick with them in the fashion above mentioned. But this by the way.
Sergeant Tunwaite was completely dejected, therefore, on re. ceiving the recommendation regarding the bell, “Oh,” said he, "don't talk nonsense, sir, this has lasted quite long enough, don't keep me here any longer.”
A 42, however, had not the slightest intention of liberating his captive so he very coolly said, “Well, if you won't pay attention to the regulations, I can't help it, so I'm off; but take my advice and ring your bell and keep on at it, and you'll be released in time,” with which comforting assurance, Mingleby proceeded to take his leave, saying, “Good bye, Tunwaite, pleasant time to you," as he sauntered slowly down the passage, the Sergeant's parting cry of “Mr. Mingleby, Mr. Mingleby, this is too bad,” sounding like music in bis ears. Mingleby strolled out, and to the first fellows he met, told what he had done. “Such a spree,” he said, “old Tunwaite is in the holes.”
“In the holes," echoed his listeners. “Yes, I've locked him in."
“Oh, come on and let us chaff him,” they immediately proposed. Mingleby, however, would not consent to their going farther than the end of the passage, for fear of attracting attention, but there they could hear old Tunwaite ringing bis bell with a vengeance. He had evidently concluded by this time that Mingleby's suggestion was not to be despised, and he was accordingly kicking away most lustily at the door. Having enjoyed the delightful pleasure of listening to the noise for some time, Mingleby and his friends went off and left Tunwaite to his fate. Poor man, he did not succeed in getting any one to come to his relief until nine o'clock that evening, when the side-doors of the college were being locked, and a fellow Sergeant who was going round heard his bell, or rather his bellow, and released him just as he bad got through seven hours "solitary.” It was bad enough to be locked up all that time, but it would have been far worse to have made a fuss about the matter and thereby brought on the chaff of the whole college, so Tunwaite very sensibly made as light of it as possible, and wisely neglected to report Mingleby for his piece of mischief. A 42, who was very agreeably disappointed to find that no evil consequences to himself were attendant on the prank, declared that had he known Tunwaite was such a brick, he would not have kept him in five minutes, and that in future the Sergeant need not fear a repetition of the act.
Notwithstanding which assurance, however, Tunwaite was always remarkably careful afterwards to prevent its being in his friend's power to serve him a similar trick.
Very great animosity used to prevail between sergeants and cadets, the latter, especially a certain set, looking on the former as their natural and born enemies, and considering it quite fair to baulk, mislead, or oppose them in every possible way. The sergeants, on their part, had by a long course of experience been rendered pretty wide-a-wake, and were very circumspect and vigilant in their duties, so that it required rather more than ordinary ingenuity to do them. But a new hand was much more easily humbugged. Everyone who remembers the misfortunes of a new sergeant on first joining the College from his regiment, will smile when the troubles of that individual are brought to mind. How he would spend many an hour unsuccessfully in trying to find out and warn sundry gentlemen cadets for punishment or guard mounting, who being perfectly well aware of his intention, kept aloof from him in a skilful manner, dodging him at dinner-time, the usual hour of receiving such notice, round the different mess tables, and changing their usual seats for others unknown. How bis extra drill squad would appear to consist of only twenty-five, when thirty or more had apparently answered to their names. How even the punishment-sheet has been stealthily abstracted from his possession, and be left to find out as easily as he could who ought to comprise his charge. How, in fact, everyone's hand seemed turned against his, and how until he had acquired experience he was fooled and foiled in every conceivable way. Experience alone enabled him to cope successfully with those with whom he had principally to deal. It was no use for him to set up as a very smart fellow whom it was impossible to take in, and the very worst mistake a sergeant could make, on his first arrival, was trying to outwit his opponents, who at once considered they were in a way challenged, and commenced a competition with him in which he was invariably beaten.
A very smart Sergeant, who came from the Guards fell into this error. İleavitree instead of acting on the defensive so to speak, and contenting himself with warding off the thrusts of his assailants, had recourse to a number of petty dodges which certainly were sometimes successful, but were never allowed to remain long unbalanced, and being speedily seen through, were occasionally even turned to account against their inventor. Sergeant Heavi. tree, like all new sergeants, found considerable difficulty in getting hold of those cadets who were about to undergo guard, drill, arrest, or confinement, and as he very soon discovered that at dinner-time he was often led a wild goose chase by these gentry, he thought that by standing at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the company's rooms just before that hour, he would have a very good opportunity of looking at each cadet as he came down ready to go on parade, observing the number on bis cap, and giving notice to those whose names were on his list.
The first day Heavitree made use of this stratagem he had no occasion to lament its failure, for it succeeded so beautifully that he managed to catch all those he wanted. But the next time the trick was tried, it was far otherwise. My friend Mingleby, who had actually got off twice scot free, was of course one of those who had suffered by the sergeant's acuteness, and be with one or two others had agreed if he attempted it again to serve hirn out. They arranged that when Heavitree took up his station as before at the foot of the stairs, he was to be enticed by one of the conspirators into standing just clear of the landing place above, and was then to have poured on his devoted head as great a quantity of water as could be possibly managed, Mingleby undertaking to act the part of decoy duck. Consequently, when a day or two after, bis turn of duty baving once more arrived, Heavitree, quite unconscious of the existence of any spirit of revenge, took up as before what he doubtless considered a bighly advantageous position, Mingleby clad only in an old coat and pair of trousers, donned specially for the occasion, and having taken off all under clothing, ran down very innocently and fell into his hands.
"Three days close arrest, sir," said Heavitree loudly, recognising Mingleby's number before the latter had got quite to the bottom of the last flight of steps. A 42 stopped short, *. What for?” said he, although he knew better than his informant. “Reported for wilfully breaking the glass of a lamp,” replied the latter. “Oh it can't be me,” said our friend, “it must be someone else—my number is 42"
“Well, that is the number down here, sir, can you make it out any other ?” said Heavitree, stepping smartly up to him and holding out the punishment-sheet for his inspection. Mingleby pretended to look hard at the numbers on the list, then said in a satisfied sort of way, “ Yes, I'm in for it again." This was the signal to those above, and hardly were the words uttered when down came a deluge of water on them. Now it is by no means pleasant at any time to have a tosh-can full of water emptied over one unex. pectedly, still less so is it on a cold day in the month of October, and even Mingleby who was prepared for a ducking, did not exactly enjoy the small share that fell to his lot, but he did not forget his part and saying hastily to Heavitree, “Oh, it's burst," directed bis attention upwards.
No sooner was the unfortunate sergeant’s gaze turned aloft than down came the contents of tosh-can number two, with great precision on his face, this additional douse completely saturating him from head to foot. Too much crest-fallen at the ignominious failure of his scheme, he waited no longer there that day, and never again proceeded to warn defaulters except in the legitimate manner of poking them in the ribs with a pencil when he found them seated at their messes, ministering to their appetites doses of swipes and stick-jaw.”
By the bye, a few words here on stick-jaw may not be out of place, as thoughts of Sandhurst are often to the old cadet inseparable from thoughts of its stick-jaw. That species of plumpudding wbich has been the same in all ages, which has hardly its like in the wide, wide world, and which is more reverenced for its association with past reminiscences than for its digestible properties, was only partaken freely of by Johus, and only by them until they found the inconvenience arising from having to attend drill immediately after dinner, with a full share of it under their belts. Baked in great tins of an oval shape, which held the allowance for a mess of ten, it came up in substantial simplicity, as if defying destruction, and a mess who could dispose of “ those enormous helps of pudding”—to use the language of the Johnswhich were allotted to it, was never yet, I believe, seen. But I forget that I was still a John myself at the time I speak of, and was not, perhaps, given to eating stick-jaw in the fashionable style of old cadets, who merely cut off and munched the outside crust, and then sat daintily “picking out the plums,” like little Jack Horner, but with different utensils, until the order was given to fall in. I remember it was part of my duty during my “first balf" to secure a piece of stick-jaw for Throgwell, who used to eat it cold on the following day, when it was really not so bad, especially if out surveying on the heath had given a good appetite to a fellow. To lunch on it sometimes also saved a visit to the “ tuck-barrow,” another institution I must not neglect to mention.
This was a sort of band.cart or truck sent up by a pastrycook in Yorktown to the front of the College every morning at parade time, and which contained a supply of pastry for disposal. Generally speaking, as soon as parade was dismissed and belts could be taken off and rifles put away in the arm-racks, down rushed perfect mob to the barrow, everyone going at his best speed, in order to try and obtain a portion of the limited quantity of grub Geld by the machine, short work of which grub was always made