The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69
It was whilst here that we heard of the first formation of the present great volunteer system of England, and as we had all the leading English papers in our reading room, we were very well posted in how they were getting on. "Punch," as a matter of course, was bound to note events and have his little joke at the expense of our citizen soldiers. Here are one or two of them, which, perhaps, some of our own volunteers will indulge in a smile over:—A captain was marching his company in line up to a big ditch, but not knowing what command, if any, should be given for them to go over, he, as soon as they came abreast of the ditch, called out, "Halt! Now, as a front rank standing, prepare to jump."
Another captain was marching his company in fours, and they came to a gap through which they could only pass in page 52 single file. He also was at a loss what command to give put them through in military order. So as they got [unclear: to] gap he called "Halt! Break off and fall in on the other [unclear: side]." None but military-trained men can appreciate this.
It was in Aden we heard of the late lamented [unclear: Emper] Frederick paying homage to and carrying off our [unclear: Prince] Royal.
During my stay in Aden a Parsee merchant gave [unclear: me] copy of the Illustrated London News of the 8th February, [unclear: 18] I can hardly account for taking such a fancy to have it, because had no more notion of ever seeing New Zealand than I [unclear: ha] now of seeing dear old England, and that is slight [unclear: indeed.] did take a fancy to it, and I have it yet. In it are [unclear: seve]; sketches of Taranaki, including those of a couple of native chiefs, Tamati and his wife, and Tahana Honi. I [unclear: lit] thought then that in two or three years that good old [unclear: Tam] would be lending me a horse to ride into New Plymouth: see a certain young person not of my own sex. On one those trips Tamati gave me a letter to take in. I [unclear: sh] say more about this further on.
I think I must talk about leaving Aden now. [unclear: After] had been there a few months we were always [unclear: hear] rumours of going away. The wish, perhaps, was [unclear: father] the thought. The time did come, however, when we heard rumour, and one bearing a little truth. A communicate actually came that we were to be relieved by a wing [unclear: of] 4th regiment.
This was news, and an item which sent a thrill of [unclear: pleas] through every man, for were we not soon to gaze [unclear: on] green shrubs and grass of India, a colour we had not [unclear: seen] so long save that which we coloured our scenes with [unclear: in] theatre. It was some time before we did move after the [unclear: we] came that we had to go.
Eventually we packed up and moved down to [unclear: Steam] Point, ready for embarkation. We were put under [unclear: can] there, and made just about as comfortable as we could [unclear: des] We were there for three weeks, when one morning, [unclear: the] 15th March, 1860, we were round the Point bathing, when [unclear: we] a steamer with her decks crowded with men. This, we [unclear: kn] was our relief, and we marched back to camp.
The steamer was at her anchorage almost as soon as reached our tents. The 4th soon landed, and they receive very hearty welcome as they stepped on shore. We [unclear: win] page 53 [unclear: them] every pleasure that the place could afford, but I regret [unclear: to] say that in one month they lost one hundred men, a third [unclear: of] their number nearly. They arrived 350 strong.
We embarked on the 14th, and many came on board to see [unclear: the] last of us, among whom was the good old Brigadier, who [unclear: seemed] really sorry for our going. "When we stepped on [unclear: board,], to our surprise we saw the same Seymour captain that [unclear: ook] us from Malta to Alexandra when on our way to Aden. [unclear: do] not see that I can say much more about Aden, so, as the [unclear: eamer] is headed for Bombay, I will make my final few remarks concerning "Vulcan's Forge."
A very remarkable thing, nearly every important affair [unclear: was] associated with the word or figure 3. We were there [unclear: three] Christmas days. We had potatoes three times. I was [unclear: aid] up three days, and had three dozen leeches applied. The [unclear: tooks] struck for three weeks through our using pork. We had [unclear: three] men killed by sunstroke at one time. All who went out [unclear: against] the Arabs got three days off duty. Our men recovered out [unclear: against] three hundred camels during the deluge, which were [unclear: shed] down into Yeman Bay, and the natives wanted to pay so three rupees for each. When the 29th N. I. came to relieve [unclear: he] 18th, both regiments were there for three weeks. It [unclear: rained] three times. The Rev. Mr Badger undertook to erect [unclear: a] slab, one of three which he had brought some time before [unclear: from] the ruins of Nineveh; and I have no doubt the rev. gentleman duly carried out his promise.
I omitted to mention that this gentleman came on board [unclear: before] we sailed. Although he was the Church of England [unclear: minister] he was highly thought of by all creeds.
On board the steamer up to Bombay one of our men [unclear: discovered] a store of onions, and from the way they were eaten, [unclear: like] apples, the store must have been considerably diminished [unclear: by] the time we landed in Bombay harbour. This was done [unclear: in] six days, and the following day we landed and went straight [unclear: off] to Poonah by train; where we arrived next day, to meet [unclear: a] hearty welcome from our old comrades that we had bidden [unclear: dieu] to in Malta nearly three years before. The regiment [unclear: ad] but recently arrived in Poonah from Ahmednuggar.