Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Blank Cartridges Ian Hay

The Conversion Of Private M'Slattery

Page 1 of 3

Table Of Contents: The First Hundred Thousand

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

One evening a rumour ran round the barracks. Most barrack rumours die a natural death, but this one was confirmed by the fact that next morning the whole battalion, instead of performing the usual platoon exercises, was told off for instruction in the art of presenting arms. "A" Company discussed the portent at breakfast.

"What kin' o' a thing is a Review?" inquired Private M'Slattery.

Private Mucklewame explained. Private M'Slattery was not impressed, and said so quite frankly. In the lower walks of the industrial world Royalty is too often a mere name. Personal enthusiasm for a Sovereign whom they have never seen, and who in their minds is inextricably mixed up with the House of Lords, and capitalism, and the police, is impossible to individuals of the stamp of Private M'Slattery. To such, Royalty is simply the head and corner-stone of a legal system which officiously prevents a man from being drunk and disorderly, and the British Empire an expensive luxury for which the working man pays while the idle rich draw the profits.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

If M'Slattery's opinion of the Civil Code was low, his opinion of Military Law was at zero. In his previous existence in his native Clydebank, when weary of rivet-heating and desirous of change and rest, he had been accustomed to take a day off and become pleasantly intoxicated, being comfortably able to afford the loss of pay involved by his absence. On these occasions he was accustomed to sleep off his potations in some public place--usually upon the pavement outside his last house of call--and it was his boast that so long as nobody interfered with him he interfered with nobody. To this attitude the tolerant police force of Clydebank assented, having their hands full enough, as a rule, in dealing with more militant forms of alcoholism. But Private M'Slattery, No. 3891, soon realised that he and Mr. Matthew M'Slattery, rivet-heater and respected citizen of Clydebank, had nothing in common. Only last week, feeling pleasantly fatigued after five days of arduous military training, he had followed the invariable practice of his civil life, and taken a day off. The result had fairly staggered him. In the orderly-room upon Monday morning he was charged with--

(1) Being absent from Parade at 9 A.M. on Saturday.

(2) Being absent from Parade at 2 P.M. on Saturday.

(3) Being absent from Tattoo at 9.30 P.M. on Saturday.

(4) Being drunk in High Street about 9.40 P.M. on Saturday.

(5) Striking a Non-Commissioned Officer.

(6) Attempting to escape from his escort.

(7) Destroying Government property. (Three panes of glass in the guard-room.)

Private M'Slattery, asked for an explanation, had pointed out that if he had been treated as per his working arrangement with the police at Clydebank, there would have been no trouble whatever. As for his day off, he was willing to forgo his day's pay and call the thing square. However, a hidebound C.O. had fined him five shillings and sentenced him to seven days' C.B. Consequently he was in no mood for Royal Reviews. He stated his opinions upon the subject in a loud voice and at some length. No one contradicted him, for he possessed the straightest left in the company; and no dog barked even when M'Slattery said that black was white.

Page 1 of 3 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The First Hundred Thousand
Ian Hay

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2005