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|Blank Cartridges||Ian Hay|
The Laws Of The Medes And Persians
|Page 3 of 6||
Wagstaffe listened with an appearance of absorbed interest. Finally he said--
"These are very important questions, Mr. Waddell, and you acted quite rightly in laying them before me. I will consult the Deputy Assistant Instructor in Military Etiquette, and will obtain a written answer to your inquiries."
"Oh, thanks awfully, sir!" exclaimed Waddell.
The result of Captain Wagstaffe's application to the mysterious official just designated was forthcoming next day in the form of a neatly typed document. It was posted in the Ante-room (the C.O. being out at dinner), and ran as follows:--
YOUNG OFFICERS, HINTS FOR THE GUIDANCE OF
The following is the correct procedure for a young officer in charge of an armed party upon meeting--
 A Staff Officer riding a bicycle.
Correct Procedure.--If marching at attention, order your men to march at ease and to light cigarettes and eat bananas. Then, having fixed bayonets, give the order: Across the road--straggle!
 A funeral.
Correct Procedure.--Strike up Tipperary, and look the other way.
 A General Officer, who strolls across your Barrack Square precisely at the moment when you and your Platoon have got into mutual difficulties.
Correct Procedure.--Lie down flat upon your face (directing your platoon to do the same), cover your head with gravel, and pretend you are not there.
Correct Procedure.--The soldier will immediately cant the swill-tub to an angle of forty-five degrees at a distance of one and a half inches above his right eyebrow. (In the case of Rifle Regiments the soldier will balance the swill-tub on his nose.) He will then invite the officer, by a smart movement of the left ear, to seat himself on the wheelbarrow.
Correct Acknowledgment.--The officer will comply, placing his feet upon the right and left hubs of the wheel respectively, with the ball of the toe in each case at a distance of one inch (when serving abroad, 2-1/2 centimetres) from the centre of gravity of the wheelbarrow. (In the case of Rifle Regiments the officer will tie his feet in a knot at the back of his neck.) The soldier will then advance six paces, after which the officer will dismount and go home and have a bath.
Correct Procedure.--The soldier will salute with his disengaged arm. The lady will administer a sharp tap with the end of her umbrella to the officer's tunic, at point one inch above the lowest button.
Correct Acknowledgment.--The officer will take the end of the umbrella firmly in his right hand, and will require the soldier to introduce him to the lady. He will then direct the soldier to double back to barracks.
Correct Procedure.--The senior N.C.O. (or if no N.C.O. be present, the oldest soldier) will call the men to attention, and the party, taking their time from the right, will spit upon the officer's head in a soldier-like manner.
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