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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Hardly on the Square

Hardly on the Square.

Those who have any knowledge of dockyards are wel aware that smoking is strictly prohibited. It is therefore [unclear: n] small hardship to guards who are on duty for twenty-four hours to be deprived [unclear: of] the soothing weed for that length of time. As may be inferred, this, like all other strict rules, [unclear: is] sometimes broken. One night, at the hours when [unclear: burglars;] and clothes thieves (here) usually select for carrying out [unclear: their] deep-laid plots, a big Grenadier, named Bittle, of the "[unclear: Die] Hards," was on sentry in the dockyard at Malta, and [unclear: was] infringing this rule in the sentry-box, when the man in [unclear: blue], who had evidently been attracted to the spot by [unclear: fragrant] odours of the weed, suddenly appeared before him, without in the slightest apprising him of his approach, and said, "You're smoking."

"Y-y-as," said Bittle.

"Hand me over that pipe and tobacco."

"Do you want a draw?" said Bittle.

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"No," was the reply; "but I want the proof against you."

"Well," said the sentry, "if you are mighty be a little merciful."

"No; hand it over. I've caught you at last"

"Now," said the sentry, "what pleasure will it be to you to see me punished for this heinous offence? I'll be careful that it does not happen again."

"No use. Hand it over at once."

"Very well then, if you will have it, take it."

As soon as the policeman got possession he was moving off, and Bittle knew that was to the sergeant of the guard to have him relieved and his belts taken off (to be made a prisoner).

"Where are you going," said the sentry, "in such a hurry? Come here."

"No use," said the policeman; "I can't look over it."

"Nor can I," said the sentry. "Go in there (pointing to the sentry box). You are my prisoner, and budge if you dare."

The sentry called for the sergeant of the guard, who was soon on the spot.

"Here, Sergeant, I've made a prisoner of this policeman for smoking in the dockyard. Search him, and you'll find his pipe, still warm."

The policeman was nearly knocked dumb with astonishment and vehemently protested his innocence and explained the real position of affairs, which the sergeant was inclined to believe. Still he must support the sentry. It ended, however, in a compromise. Both agreed (policeman and sentry) to say no more about it.

Persons should be very careful how they act towards a sentry, for he possesses great power.

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