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|Over The Top||Arthur Guy Empey|
From Mufti To Khaki
|Page 3 of 4||
He looked at me in a nonchalant manner, and answered, "That's all right, we take anything over here."
I looked at him kind of hard and replied, "So I notice," but it went over his head.
He got out an enlistment blank, and placing his finger on a blank line said, "Sign here."
I answered, "Not on your tintype."
"I beg your pardon?"
Then I explained to him that I would not sign it without first reading it. I read it over and signed for duration of war. Some of the recruits were lucky. They signed for seven years only.
Then he asked me my birthplace. I answered, "Ogden, Utah."
He said, "Oh yes, just outside of New York?"
With a smile, I replied, "Well, it's up the State a little."
Then I was taken before the doctor and passed as physically fit, and was issued a uniform. When I reported back to the Lieutenant, he suggested that, being an American, I go on recruiting service and try to shame some of the slackers into joining the Army.
"All you have to do," he said, "is to go out on the street, and when you see a young fellow in mufti who looks physically fit, just stop him and give him this kind of a talk: 'Aren't you ashamed of yourself, a Britisher, physically fit, and in mufti when your King and Country need you? Don't you know that your country is at war and that the place for every young Briton is on the firing line? Here I am, an American, in khaki, who came four thousand miles to fight for your King and Country, and you, as yet, have not enlisted. Why don't you join? Now is the time.'
"This argument ought to get many recruits, Empey, so go out and see what you can do."
He then gave me a small rosette of red, white, and blue ribbon, with three little streamers hanging down. This was the recruiting insignia and was to be worn on the left side of the cap.
Armed with a swagger stick and my patriotic rosette I went out into Tottenham Court Road in quest of cannon fodder.
Two or three poorly dressed civilians passed me, and although they appeared physically fit, I said to myself, "They don't want to Join the army; perhaps they have someone dependent on them for support," so I did not accost them.
Coming down the street I saw a young dandy, top hat and all, with a fashionably dressed girl walking beside him. I muttered, "You are my meat," and when he came abreast of me I stepped directly in his path and stopped him with my Swagger stick, saying:
"You would look fine in khaki, why not change that top hat for a steel helmet? Aren't you ashamed of yourself, a husky young chap like you in mufti when men are needed in the trenches? Here I am, an American, came four thousand miles from Ogden, Utah, just outside of New York, to fight for your King and Country. Don't be a slacker, buck up and get into uniform; come over to the recruiting office and I'll have you enlisted."
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|Over The Top
Arthur Guy Empey
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