London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
TOMMY ATKINS IN RESERVE.
It has been of late the fashion to cry up and I must confess that my knowledge of the gentleman, as represented in the old Constitutional Force, is distinctly in his favour. Take them all in all our soldiers are an excellent set of fellows. Treated well they will go anywhere and do anything. During one of the trainings we were stationed at Aldershot, and for our sins were sent on a flying column. Sometimes we had to march thirty miles a day and not one of our lads (off duty they were costers) would knock off and seek shelter in the ambulance cart. One man in my own company was sent by the doctor to the rear because he had a sore foot, but when we came into camp there was the wounded gentleman tramping by the side of the ambulance cart, and pretending to be guarding it. He had stoutly refused to enter it.
said my gentleman,
|and he pointed with scorn to a cart-load of Guardsmen who had broken down under the stress of the intense heat and the heavy marching.|
said my sergeant to me,
And so they were.