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Soldiers Three   By: (1865-1936)

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Soldiers Three

The Story of the Gadsbys In Black and White

By Rudyard Kipling

1895

CONTENTS

THE GOD FROM THE MACHINE OF THOSE CALLED PRIVATE LEAROYD'S STORY THE BIG DRUNK DRAF' THE WRECK OF THE VISIGOTH THE SOLID MULDOON WITH THE MAIN GUARD IN THE MATTER OF A PRIVATE BLACK JACK POOR DEAR MAMMA THE WORLD WITHOUT THE TENTS OF KEDAR WITH ANY AMAZEMENT THE GARDEN OF EDEN FATIMA THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW THE SWELLING OF JORDAN DRAY WARA YOW DEE THE JUDGMENT OF DUNGARA AT HOWLI THANA GEMINI AT TWENTY TWO IN FLOOD TIME THE SENDING OF DANA DA ON THE CITY WALL THE STORY OF THE GADSBYS IN BLACK AND WHITE

THE GOD FROM THE MACHINE

Hit a man an' help a woman, an' ye can't be far wrong anyways. Maxims of Private Mulvaney.

The Inexpressibles gave a ball. They borrowed a seven pounder from the Gunners, and wreathed it with laurels, and made the dancing floor plate glass, and provided a supper, the like of which had never been eaten before, and set two sentries at the door of the room to hold the trays of programme cards. My friend, Private Mulvaney, was one of the sentries, because he was the tallest man in the regiment. When the dance was fairly started the sentries were released, and Private Mulvaney went to curry favour with the Mess Sergeant in charge of the supper. Whether the Mess Sergeant gave or Mulvaney took, I cannot say. All that I am certain of is that, at supper time, I found Mulvaney with Private Ortheris, two thirds of a ham, a loaf of bread, half a pate de foie gras , and two magnums of champagne, sitting on the roof of my carriage. As I came up I heard him saying

'Praise be a danst doesn't come as often as Ord'ly room, or, by this an' that, Orth'ris, me son, I wud be the dishgrace av the rig'mint instid av the brightest jool in uts crown.'

' Hand the Colonel's pet noosance,' said Ortheris. 'But wot makes you curse your rations? This 'ere fizzy stuff's good enough.'

'Stuff, ye oncivilised pagin! 'Tis champagne we're dhrinkin' now. 'Tisn't that I am set ag'in. 'Tis this quare stuff wid the little bits av black leather in it. I misdoubt I will be distressin'ly sick wid it in the mornin'. Fwhat is ut?'

'Goose liver,' I said, climbing on the top of the carriage, for I knew that it was better to sit out with Mulvaney than to dance many dances.

'Goose liver is ut?' said Mulvaney. 'Faith, I'm thinkin' thim that makes it wud do betther to cut up the Colonel. He carries a power av liver undher his right arrum whin the days are warm an' the nights chill. He wud give thim tons an' tons av liver. 'Tis he sez so. "I'm all liver to day," sez he; an' wid that he ordhers me ten days C. B. for as moild a dhrink as iver a good sodger tuk betune his teeth.'

'That was when 'e wanted for to wash 'isself in the Fort Ditch,' Ortheris explained. 'Said there was too much beer in the Barrack water butts for a God fearing man. You was lucky in gettin' orf with wot you did, Mulvaney.'

'Say you so? Now I'm pershuaded I was cruel hard trated, seein' fwhat I've done for the likes av him in the days whin my eyes were wider opin than they are now. Man alive, for the Colonel to whip me on the peg in that way! Me that have saved the repitation av a ten times better man than him! 'Twas ne farious an' that manes a power av evil!'

'Never mind the nefariousness,' I said. 'Whose reputation did you save?'

'More's the pity, 'twasn't my own, but I tuk more trouble wid ut than av ut was. 'Twas just my way, messin' wid fwhat was no business av mine. Hear now!' He settled himself at ease on the top of the carriage. 'I'll tell you all about ut. Av coorse I will name no names, for there's wan that's an orf'cer's lady now, that was in ut, and no more will I name places, for a man is thracked by a place.'

'Eyah!' said Ortheris lazily, 'but this is a mixed story wot's comin'.'

'Wanst upon a time, as the childer books say, I was a recruity... Continue reading book >>




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