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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

[Chapter IX.]

Bruin has taken up some space, but not undeservedly. I must now refer to a few dogs, a goat, and the best talking bird I have ever heard, and conclude regarding animals with an account of a dromedary possessed by the regiment in the Crimea.

In Dublin, years ago, the regiment had a dog which would walk out with any man of the regiment, and if he lost sight of him he would run to every red coat to see if he had the 5 and 7 in his cap, if not, off he would trot to the next, and so on till he found the number, then he would keep with that man.

In Aden we had two very good dogs, "Boxer" and "Pincher." They did duty regularly, relieving each other on the Main Pass Guard. They came to grief one day. A color sergeant, who allowed his Welch blood to get the better of his judgment, hung the two of them up together, because he blamed one of them for killing a pet mongoose. When this came to the notice of the commanding officer, he received a severe reprimand for it, and it was very near being much worse.

Another dog, called "Soldier," saved a life. He belonged to an officer's servant, who, with his master, during the very hot windy season resided on the top of Mashaugh, overlooking the sea. To get up to it a narrow path had been cut out of the solid rock and up its side, so narrow that two persons could not walk it abreast. The top must have been about 200 feet.

One night the servant and his dog came down to our bungalows, and the former had taken more porter than would justify his travelling with up this track, and though I did my utmost to get him to remain down all night, it was no use. He, of course, thought he could do all right, and away he went. About half-way up he fell flat, and the dog went on page 50 up, and the servant of the other officer (there were two occupied the same bungalow), saw him attempting to run down the path and going back again. He was drawing the man's (Bates) attention, and when he found there was [unclear: little] no notice taken of him, he took hold of his leg and pulled [unclear: him] toward the path. Bates, seeing him acting so, [unclear: conclude] that there was something wrong, and the fact of his returning alone helped this opinion, so he followed the dog, and above half way down he came upon his friend, snoring. He got his up home. Now, had he been allowed to remain until he awoke of his own accord, there is nothing more certain than that [unclear: he] would have gone over the edge and down; then he would never have seen New Zealand. He did see it, but he he long gone to join the great majority. So has poor Bates, saw him shot fair in the forehead on the 13th March, [unclear: 186] at Kakaramea, near Patea. He was the only one [unclear: kills] when the Maoris endeavoured to stop General [unclear: Cameron] march up the coast. They must have been sorry for the action, for they suffered a loss of over 50 men.

On our arrival in Poonah we found that there was a [unclear: for] old billygoat there that was thought much of, besides a [unclear: few] other pets. Billy was always first out on the parade [unclear: ground]. He knew the warning bugle, and he expected a bit of [unclear: fe] with the few first out. If, as was sometimes the case, no [unclear: a] took notice of him, he would move up near some one a stand on his hind legs to see which was tallest. [unclear: Thou] everyone knew Billy was about, they did not care to [unclear: be] to close to him, and it was well, if possible, to keep [unclear: between] Billy and the wind. The moment the regiment would [unclear: ma] away to the usual drilling ground Billy would take the [unclear: le] not even the pioneers would he allow to lead him. [unclear: Ma] would be the prayers offered up for him if the wind [unclear: was] our faces, for then we should all share the pleasure [unclear: of] company. I never knew an animal so well scented.

To a parrot, which we found was with the regiment, [unclear: me] be given the palm. He could go through all that is said [unclear: when] grand or visiting rounds take a guard. He knew nearly [unclear: ev] man's name in the company which he belonged to, and [unclear: Wa] source of amusement throughout the day. At noon a [unclear: gene] move would be made towards the canteen, and the [unclear: be] would call out to Smith or Jones, perhaps, "Where are [unclear: you] going, Jones?" "To get a drink of porter, Polly." "[unclear: Br] Polly a drink, there's a good fellow." "What bugle. page 51 that?" Polly would say. "The dinner bugle, Polly," would be the reply. Then Polly would say, "Currie and rice for Polly; be quick!" That bird came to New Zealand, and was the wonder of all who heard him.

The "Die Hards" had a fine dromedary in the Crimea not in the line of a pet, though there was a very warm feeling entertained by all hands towards him, for to him must be attributed the credit for that regiment faring so much better than many others as regards supplies. He frequently went down to Balaclava during that very trying time when there was plenty there, but could not be got to the front.

When the regiment was bidding adieu to that now historical spot, the question arose as to what was to be done with the old drom., when it was discovered that he could not be taken down to Malta in the "Etna." So one afternoon he was sent adrift. Many were watching what direction he would take. It was thought he would make for Balaclava—the road he had so often travelled over—but no, he made for the direction of the watering place, as we supposed, to take a last drink about there, and bid an ungrateful lot good-bye; but he passed the water as if it was not there, and made straight for Inkermann, and not one gaze did he bestow on the old familiar spot, so disgusted he must have been at being set adrift after all the service he had rendered and lives he had probably saved.

We often wondered what became of him. Perhaps the poor old fellow, after scaring the lives out of some of the Russians, got his existence ended for a wild beast.