Rough Scan
 

 

 

 



 
        
       
        JEEMS AT THE FRONT
        Three 
          Miles frae Zigzag, Egypt, Sept. 20th.
         
         
        A WHEEN o’ thae 
          or’nary newspaper correspondents telegraph their news, but as ye can 
          explain best in a letter, I prefer tae write; of course, it mak’s me 
          a wee later than the rest, but it’s mair trustworthy.  Weel, when we arrived at Egypt, I got my carpet bag an’ my umbrella, 
          an’ bidding the captain an’ the mate, an’ the first an’ second engineers, 
          good-bye, I walked ashore.  As 
          I planted my first step on the land my mind’s eye wandered back to the 
          days of my innocence, when I used tae recite-
         
        From 
          Africa’s burning mountains,
        And 
          India’s coral strand,
         
        an’ I felt sad.  
          Hooever, doon comes an aid-de-colong tae the end o’ the gangway, 
          an’ asked if I wis Corporal Kaye, an’ I said I wis, so he said he wis 
          tae tak’ me up tae Sir Garnet Wolseley.  
          Then on we gaed, arm-in-arm, till I sees a military-looking gentleman 
          rinning doon, wi’ his hauns stretched oot, an’ he gruppit me, an’, wi’ 
          a tremlin’ voice, cried out, “Oh! Mr Kaye, are ye here at last?  
          I thocht ye wid never come.  
          I’ve been telegraphing richt an’ left aboot ye.  
          Hooever, noo that ye are here, there’s a load aff my mind, for 
          I’ve you tae consult wi’.  Alloo 
          me tae introduce ye tae Sir Archibald Alison, a Glesca chappie like 
          yersel’.”  “Gentlemen,” I says, “I’m but an humble corporal 
          in a military sense, an’ an industrious coal merchant in a civil capacity; 
          but ony advice I can gie ye ye are welcome tae, an’ it’ll be queer if 
          atween us we dinna put saut on this chiel Arabi’s tail.  D’ye ken, I’m rale gled tae be on dry land 
          again; I could tak’ a wee bottle o’ porter, if ye had ony.”
        “Porter!” says 
          Sir Garnet, “awa’ wi’ yer porter; ye’ll hae naething bit champagne.  Come in tae ma tent an’ we’ll talk ower the 
          situation, for Arabi’s gieing us a heep o’ bother.”  So off we set tae the tent, a’ the sodgers shoothering arms an fixing 
          bayonets at us.
        As we got tae 
          the tent, I says— ”Gentlemen, don’t talk aboot business the
        nicht, for 
          my heid’s no clear yet after that long voyage; let us enjoy oorsel’s 
          for once, maybe it’ll be oor last.”
        “Richt,” says 
          Sir Garnet; so he ca’d a sergeant, an’ he brocht in ceegaurs and champagne, 
          an’ we a’ sat roon a wee table an’ played at the dominoes for a bawbee 
          the gemm.  Then Sir Garnet gied 
          orders that we werena tae be disturbed on any account, short o’ Arabi 
          himsel’ ca’ing.
        As we were playing 
          awa’, says Sir Archy—
        “An’ hoo’s Glesca 
          getting on, Mr Kaye?  I see by 
          the papers that Councillor Martin has begun tae use tooth brushes an’ 
          nail brushes noo, altho’ Dr Russell advised him no.  
          I wis reading also that the doctor o’ the Govan Poorhouse is 
          sae thrang attending tae the patients that he hadna time tae go oot 
          tae the gate tae look at a bairn that had been run ower by a baker’s 
          van!  Dear me, sich changes!  Hae 
          ye got a new wharf for the steamers yet, or are the tramway guards any 
          better dressed than they used tae be?”
        “Noo,” says 
          Sir Garnet, “don’t be talking ‘shop’ that way you twa Glesca folk.  Dooble seeven, Mr Kaye; can ye follow that?”
        “I can,” says 
          I, an’ I followed it, BAILIE; aye, an’ won gemm after gemm, till I rookit 
          them baith, an’ then Sir Garnet said that after that he wid mak’ me 
          a “Pasha.”  Kaye Pasha wid be my title as lang as I wis 
          in Egypt.  Then I got a shake-doon, 
          an’ the len’ o’ Sir Garnet’s ain nichtcap, as I found oot that I had 
          left mine on board the boat.  It 
          wis maybe jist a size ower sma’, an’, haeing nae strings, wisna sae 
          easy kept on.
        Next day we 
          prepared tae inspect the troops.  They 
          were a’ mustered up, an’ amang them wis the 19th Bengal Lancers, mounted 
          on the 25 mules the Government bocht frae the Glasgow Tramway Co.  D’ye ken, BAILIE, it seemed tae me like meeting 
          auld freens tae see thae bits o’ beasties that had sae often ran between 
          the ‘Shaws an’ St. Vincent Street.  
          Sir Garnet recommended ane o’ them for my ain special use, as 
          he said they were peaceable things; so I got up; but, as I’m nae great 
          rider, twa black men walked at each side an’ steadied me a wee, and, 
          as the sun wis strong, that left me free to keep up my umbrella.  
          The bugler tootled out a bit tune, an’ a’ wis animation.  Sir Garnet, Sir Archy, an’ me rode up an’ doon 
          in the front an’ examined a’ the men, an’ then I wis asked tae say a 
          word.  So a black man held a 
          bag o’ corn tae my mule’s nose, an’ I rose up in my stirrups, as faur 
          as I wis able, an’ says, “Bugler, sound oot ‘attention,’ ‘eyes left.’  Fellow comrades! we’re here the day, an’ guid kens whaur we’ll be 
          the morn, so it behoves ye a’ tae look tae yer guns.  Military authorities are agreed that the first duty o’ a sodger 
          is cleanliness, therefore, tak’ plenty o’ soap an’ water an’ wash your 
          guns oot weel at nicht, and hae them ready for the morning.  The eyes o’ the hale country are on ye.  Before I left hame the bills o’ the papers were full o’ your exploits; an’ ye scarcely needit 
          tae buy the papers at a’, for ye got everything in the bills.  I may tell ye this tae, that when I went hame 
          at nicht the first thing our Betty aye said wis:  ‘Hoo’s the war getting on noo, Jeems?’  Yes, I expect great things o’ ye.  Tae the Heelan’men I wid say a special word.  Ye’ve a’ on spec’s like mysel’, but that’s 
          fashionable noo-a-days, altho’ some alloo it’s for the sand-clouds.  Hooever, they’ve left ye the kilts, an’ that’s 
          something in thae times o’ continual changes.  What a fricht ye’ll gie thae black folk.  When I’m riding on the banks o’ this canawl 
          I hear sae much about — I suppose it’ll be something like the Paisley 
          ane that they’ve made intae a railway — an’ I’m writing oot my despatches 
          for the BAILIE, I fancy I see ye charging, as ye did at Waterloo, wi’ 
          the
         
        Low, 
          eager cry;
         
        an’ then as 
          ye warm up, after haeing run thro’ twa or three black fellows, getting 
          oot with the great hurrah of—
         
        Scotland 
          forever;
         
        for altho’,
        noo-a-days, it’s the ‘English’ army an’ the ‘English’ navy, they take 
          guid care tae order the Scotchmen tae the front when they think there’s 
          tae be ony extra hard fechting.  Bugler, 
          gae a bit tootle on your trumpet an’ we’ll march.”
        So we marched 
          and we marched tae some purpose, as ye ken by this time, for ye wid 
          hear that it wis jist after I arrived that a decisive blow wis struck, 
          an’ Arabi grippit.
        Sir Garnet, 
          an’ Sir Archy, an’ me a’ got intae a waggonette, an’ we had a plan a’ 
          the country spread oot on oor knees tae study.  
          I, being kin’ o’ stoot, had fa’en asleep wi’ the fatigue, an’ 
          Sir Garnet gies me a nudge, an’ spears: —
        “What wid you 
          advise, Mr Kave?”
        So I says, “Bring 
          your left battery up here, jist where my finger is, an’ then sen’ up 
          the Bengal Lancers wi’ the mules tae support the richt wing—an’ then-
        “Aye, but Mr 
          Kaye, ye’re forgetting the Duke a’ Connaught; we must gie him some post.”
        “Oh!” says I, 
          “jist tell him tae hae a general supervision ower the hale affair—jist 
          tae please him, ye ken; of coarse, between you an’ me, he’s no’ o’ much 
          account, an’ min’ tae keep him weel at the back—he’ll be safest there, 
          an’, tae tell ye the truth, as I hope tae be there mysel’ when the fechting 
          begins, I’ll dae my best tae amuse him.  
          I’ll tell him some o’ the stories oor minister tell’t us at the 
          last soiree.”
        “Quite richt, 
          Mr Kaye, we’ll do as you advise, an’ noo we attack the enemy.”
        “Oh! if it’s 
          come tae that already,” says I, “I’ll jump oot: tell the driver tae 
          haud on a minute.  That’s it;
        weel, goodbye tae ye a’!  Push 
          on, Sir Garnet, show a bold front—that was the way old Disraeli used 
          tae fricht them.”
        I stood at the 
          side o’ the road an’ saw a’ the troops marching on, an’ when the Bengal 
          Lancers wi’ the mules come up I gied my umbrella a wave in the air an 
          shouted oot—
        “Up, guards, 
          an’ at them!”