The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
A Comedy of Error
A Comedy of Error
It was during those blustering, H 2. O laden days, just after the occupation of Jerusalem's sacred precincts, and when the...A.L.H. were attached to the...Division as Divisional Cavalry, that the incident occurred.
Billeted in a rambling stone, brick-and-mortar sort of a house, which was presided over by a matronly dame of about 63 summers, assisted by a staff whose ages ranged from 14 months to 24 years, regimental headquarters settled down-the morning after the night before, to work. The Colonel had been extremely busy about the cry during the day, as had also the Adjutant, and as a consequence, the R. S.M., known by his mates for the past taree and a half years as "The Old Man", or just plain "Mac", had been left to hold the fort.
Standing just outside the hastily improvised orderly room, which had apparently been a nursery in ante-bellum days, "Mac" had" been on the go all day, receiving and despatching telegrams, telephone messages, and written despatches by mounted orderlies; this did not escape the shrewd eyts of the lady of the manor, who, being unversed in the system of rank insignia, came to the natural conclusion that "Mac" was the Boss Cocky of the ... Divisional Cavalry, and made all preparations necessary towards his leaving with a heart full of gratitude and an inner consciousness that his rank had been duly recognized.
At about 20.00 that evening, one of Abraham's descendants approached the R.S.M., and by means of the sign language ("Mac" is not veised in Hebrew, and his conductor didn't even know that Scotland was on the map), managed to convey to his tired think-tank that the vice-regal Morpheus parlor was rtady for his occupancy. Being "personally conducted" through a maze of hallways and up an ancient, creaking staircase to the guest apartment was very different frr.m "dossing" in the open, with one's saddle for a pillow and rain-soaked blankets to slip into; but "Mac" finally found himself in a high arched bedroom, and for a moment, he tells us, he thought that he was just r-covering from some of the Stuff they used to sell at the Ser-geants' Mess at Moascar.
In the meantime, another room—immediately opposite the royal suite—cobbwebby, airty and not exactly in the same category as the bridal chamber at the Carleton, had been rigged up for the proletariat. Into this dingy apartment had been conducted the tirt d Colonel, at about S O.S. in the morning, when he was introduced to his own bedding-roll, laid out by a weary batman on a floor compared to which adamant wasn't in the same street.
Refreshed by has peaceful slumbers, "Mac" Was up with the Cock o the Morn, and with cer-tain wires received during the night which required an early decision by the Colonel, he started on a quiet search for him. Again bringing the sign language into use, he managed to convey to the sleepy-lidded major domo whom he wanted, and was brought to the door of the Colonel's cell. Repeated hammerings first evoked a subdued rumble, like a goods train in a tunnel, and then a roar that would have made the Halifax explosion turn green -with envy:
"What the Blue Nile do you want?"
"Sorry, sir, but despatches have arrived which require your immediate atte? tion."
About six feet-two of fairly solid bone and meat stretched itself, opened the door, and started reading the despatches, while, in the meantime, tte servitr who had accompanied "Mac" had opened the door opposite, entered, and was returning with the R.S.M.'s great coat, when the Colonel spotted the four-poster.
"Who the.....slept there last night?" demanded the irate officer.
"Well you see, sir, I, that is, the fact of the matter is, sir, you know, you know... I," stammered "Mac," confused and a trifle worried that he had had a downy couch whiie his worn out leader had spent the night on the fl.;or.
"O/ you did, did you? Huh! W-11, I don't know when this.....war is going to end, but I can name the man who is going to occupy that bridal chamber to-night."