THE GOD FROM THE MACHINE
OF THOSE CALLED
PRIVATE LEAROYD'S STORY
THE BIG DRUNK DRAF'
THE WRECK OF THE VISIGOTH
THE SOLID MULDOON
WITH THE MAIN GUARD
IN THE MATTER OF A PRIVATE
POOR DEAR MAMMA
THE WORLD WITHOUT
THE TENTS OF KEDAR
WITH ANY AMAZEMENT
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW
THE SWELLING OF JORDAN
DRAY WARA YOW DEE
THE JUDGMENT OF DUNGARA
AT HOWLI THANA
IN FLOOD TIME
THE SENDING OF DANA DA
ON THE CITY WALL
THE STORY OF THE GADSBYS
IN BLACK AND WHITE
THE GOD FROM THE MACHINE
Hit a man an' help a woman an' ye can't be far wrong anyways.--
_Maxims of Private Mulvaney._
The Inexpressibles gave a ball. They borrowed a seven-pounder from the
Gunners and wreathed it with laurels and made the dancing-floor
plate-glass and provided a supper the like of which had never been
eaten before and set two sentries at the door of the room to hold the
trays of programme-cards. My friend Private Mulvaney was one of the
sentries because he was the tallest man in the regiment. When the
dance was fairly started the sentries were released and Private
Mulvaney went to curry favour with the Mess Sergeant in charge of the
supper. Whether the Mess Sergeant gave or Mulvaney took I cannot say.
All that I am certain of is that at supper-time I found Mulvaney
with Private Ortheris two-thirds of a ham a loaf of bread half a
_pate-de-foie-gras_ and two magnums of champagne sitting on the roof
of my carriage. As I came up I heard him saying--
'Praise be a danst doesn't come as often as Ord'ly-room or by this
an' that Orth'ris me son I wud be the dishgrace av the rig'mint
instid av the brightest jool in uts crown.'
'_Hand_ the Colonel's pet noosance' said Ortheris. 'But wot makes you
curse your rations? This 'ere fizzy stuff's good enough.'
'Stuff ye oncivilised pagin! 'Tis champagne we're dhrinkin' now.
'Tisn't that I am set ag'in. 'Tis this quare stuff wid the little bits
av black leather in it. I misdoubt I will be distressin'ly sick wid
it in the mornin'. Fwhat is ut?'
'Goose liver' I said climbing on the top of the carriage for I knew
that it was better to sit out with Mulvaney than to dance many dances.
'Goose liver is ut?' said Mulvaney. 'Faith I'm thinkin' thim that
makes it wud do betther to cut up the Colonel. He carries a power av
liver undher his right arrum whin the days are warm an' the nights
chill. He wud give thim tons an' tons av liver. 'Tis he sez so. "I'm
all liver to-day" sez he; an' wid that he ordhers me ten days C. B.
for as moild a dhrink as iver a good sodger tuk betune his teeth.'
'That was when 'e wanted for to wash 'isself in the Fort Ditch'
Ortheris explained. 'Said there was too much beer in the Barrack
water-butts for a God-fearing man. You was lucky in gettin' orf with
wot you did Mulvaney.'
'Say you so? Now I'm pershuaded I was cruel hard trated seein' fwhat
I've done for the likes av him in the days whin my eyes were wider
opin than they are now. Man alive for the Colonel to whip _me_ on the
peg in that way! Me that have saved the repitation av a ten times
better man than him! 'Twas ne-farious--an' that manes a power av
'Never mind the nefariousness' I said. 'Whose reputation did you
'More's the pity 'twasn't my own but I tuk more trouble wid ut than
av ut was. 'Twas just my way messin' wid fwhat was no business av
mine. Hear now!' He settled himself at ease on the top of the carriage.
'I'll tell you all about ut. Av coorse I will name no names for there's
wan that's an orf'cer's lady now that was in ut and no more will I
name places for a man is thracked by a place.'
'Eyah!' said Ortheris lazily 'but this is a mixed story wot's comin'.'
'Wanst upon a time as the childer-books say I was a recruity.'
'Was you though?' said Ortheris; 'now that's extry-ordinary!'
'Orth'ris' said Mulvaney 'av you opin thim lips av yours again I
will savin' your presince Sorr take you by the slack av your trousers
an' heave you.'
'I'm mum' said Ortheris. 'Wot 'appened when you was a recruity?'
'I was a betther recruity than you iver was or will be but that's
neither here nor there. Thin I became a man an' the divil of a man
I was fifteen years ago. They called me Buck Mulvaney in thim days
an' begad I tuk a woman's eye. I did that! Ortheris ye scrub fwhat
are ye sniggerin' at? Do you misdoubt me?'
'Devil a doubt!' said Ortheris; 'but I've 'eard summat like that
Mulvaney dismissed the impertinence with a lofty wave of his hand and
'An' the orf'cers av the rig'mint I was in in thim days _was_
orf'cers--gran' men wid a manner on 'em an' a way wid 'em such as
is not made these days--all but wan--wan o' the capt'ns. A bad dhrill
a wake voice an' a limp leg--thim three things are the signs av a bad
man. You bear that in your mind Orth'ris me son.
'An' the Colonel av the rig'mint had a daughter--wan av thim lamblike
bleatin' pick-me-up-an'-carry-me-or-I'll-die gurls such as was made
for the natural prey av men like the Capt'n who was iverlastin' payin'
coort to her though the Colonel he said time an' over "Kape out av
the brute's way my dear." But he niver had the heart for to send her
away from the throuble bein' as he was a widower an' she their wan
'Stop a minute Mulvaney' said I; 'how in the world did you come to
know these things?'
'How did I come?' said Mulvaney with a scornful grunt; 'bekase I'm
turned durin' the Quane's pleasure to a lump av wood lookin' out
straight forninst me wid a--a--candelabbrum in my hand for you to
pick your cards out av must I not see nor feel? Av coorse I du! Up
my back an' in my boots an' in the short hair av the neck--that's
where I kape my eyes whin I'm on duty an' the reg'lar wans are fixed.
Know! Take my word for it Sorr ivrything an' a great dale more is
known in a rig'mint; or fwhat wud be the use av a Mess Sargint or a
Sargint's wife doin' wet-nurse to the Major's baby? To reshume. He was
a bad dhrill was this Capt'n--a rotten bad dhrill--an' whin first I
ran me eye over him I sez to myself: "My Militia bantam!" I sez "My
cock av a Gosport dunghill"--'twas from Portsmouth he came to
us--"there's combs to be cut" sez I "an' by the grace av God'tis
Terence Mulvaney will cut thim."
'So he wint menowderin' and minanderin' an' blandandherin' roun' an'
about the Colonel's daughter an' she poor innocint lookin' at him
like a Comm'ssariat bullock looks at the Comp'ny cook. He'd a dhirty
little scrub av a black moustache an' he twisted an' turned ivry wurrd
he used as av he found ut too sweet for to spit out. Eyah! He was a
tricky man an' a liar by natur'. Some are born so. He was wan. I knew
he was over his belt in money borrowed from natives; besides a lot av
other matthers which in regard for your presince Sorr I will
oblitherate. A little av fwhat I knew the Colonel knew for he wud
have none av him an' that I'm thinkin' by fwhat happened aftherwards
the Capt'n knew.
'Wan day bein' mortial idle or they wud never ha' thried ut the
rig'mint gave amshure theatricals--orf'cers an' orf'cers' ladies.
You've seen the likes time an' agin Sorr an' poor fun 'tis for them
that sit in the back row an' stamp wid their boots for the honour av
the rig'mint. I was told off for to shif' the scenes haulin' up this
an' draggin' down that. Light work ut was wid lashins av beer and the
gurl that dhressed the orf'cers' ladies--but she died in Aggra twelve
years gone an' my tongue's gettin' the betther av me. They was actin'
a play thing called _Sweethearts_ which you may ha' heard av an' the
Colonel's daughter she was a lady's maid. The Capt'n was a boy called
Broom--Spread Broom was his name in the play. Thin I saw --ut come
out in the actin'--fwhat I niver saw before an' that was that he was
no gentleman. They was too much together thim two a-whishperin'
behind the scenes I shifted an' some av what they said I heard; for
I was death--blue death an' ivy--on the comb-cuttin'. He was
iverlastin'ly oppressing her to fall in wid some sneakin' schame av
his an' she was thryin' to stand out against him but not as though
she was set in her will. I wonder now in thim days that my ears did
not grow a yard on me head wid list'nin'. But I looked straight forninst
me an' hauled up this an' dragged down that such as was my duty an'
the orf'cers' ladies sez one to another thinkin' I was out av
listen-reach: "Fwhat an obligin' young man is this Corp'ril Mulvaney!"
I was a Corp'ril then. I was rejuced aftherwards but no matther I
was a Corp'ril wanst.
'Well this _Sweethearts'_ business wint on like most amshure
theatricals an' barrin' fwhat I suspicioned 'twasn't till the
dhress-rehearsal that I saw for certain that thim two--he the
blackguard an' she no wiser than she should ha' been--had put up an
'A what?' said I.
'E-vasion! Fwhat you call an elopemint. E-vasion I calls it bekaze
exceptin' whin 'tis right an' natural an' proper 'tis wrong an' dhirty
to steal a man's wan child she not knowin' her own mind. There was a
Sargint in the Comm'ssariat who set my face upon e-vasions. I'll tell
you about that--'
'Stick to the bloomin' Captains Mulvaney' said Ortheris; 'Comm'ssariat
Sargints is low.'
Mulvaney accepted the amendment and went on:--
'Now I knew that the Colonel was no fool any more than me for I was
hild the smartest man in the rig'mint an' the Colonel was the best
orf'cer commandin' in Asia; so fwhat he said an' _I_ said was a mortial
truth. We knew that the Capt'n was bad but for reasons which I have
already oblitherated I knew more than me Colonel. I wud ha' rolled
out his face wid the butt av my gun before permittin' av him to steal
the gurl. Saints knew av he wud ha' married her and av he didn't she
wud be in great tormint an' the divil av a "scandal." But I niver
sthruck niver raised me hand on my shuperior orf'cer; an' that was
a merricle now I come to considher it.'
'Mulvaney the dawn's risin'' said Ortheris 'an' we're no nearer
'ome than we was at the beginnin'. Lend me your pouch. Mine's all
Mulvaney pitched his pouch over and filled his pipe afresh.
'So the dhress-rehearsal came to an end an' bekaze I was curious
I stayed behind whin the scene-shiftin' was ended an' I shud ha' been
in barricks lyin' as flat as a toad under a painted cottage thing.
They was talkin' in whispers an' she was shiverin' an' gaspin' like
a fresh-hukked fish. "Are you sure you've got the hang av the
manewvers?" sez he or wurrds to that effec' as the coort-martial
sez. "Sure as death" sez she "but I misdoubt 'tis cruel hard on my
father." "Damn your father" sez he or anyways 'twas fwhat he thought
"the arrangement is as clear as mud. Jungi will drive the carr'ge
afther all's over an' you come to the station cool an' aisy in time
for the two o'clock thrain where I'll be wid your kit." "Faith"
thinks I to myself "thin there's a ayah in the business tu!"
'A powerful bad thing is a ayah. Don't you niver have any thruck wid
wan. Thin he began sootherin' her an' all the orf'cers an' orf'cers'
ladies left an' they put out the lights. To explain the theory av the
flight as they say at Muskthry you must understand that afther this
_Sweethearts'_ nonsinse was ended there was another little bit av a
play called _Couples_--some kind av couple or another. The gurl was
actin' in this but not the man. I suspicioned he'd go to the station
wid the gurl's kit at the end av the first piece. 'Twas the kit that
flusthered me for I knew for a Capt'n to go trapesing about the impire
wid the Lord knew what av a _truso_ on his arrum was nefarious an'
wud be worse than easin' the flag so far as the talk aftherwards
''Old on Mulvaney. Wot's _truso_?' said Ortheris.
'You're an oncivilised man me son. Whin a gurl's married all her kit
an' 'coutrements are _truso_ which manes weddin'-portion. An' 'tis
the same whin she's runnin' away even wid the biggest blackguard on
the Arrmy List.
'So I made my plan av campaign. The Colonel's house was a good two
miles away. "Dennis" sez I to my colour-sargint "av you love me lend
me your kyart for me heart is bruk an' me feet is sore wid trampin'
to and from this foolishness at the Gaff." An' Dennis lent ut wid a
rampin' stampin' red stallion in the shafts. Whin they was all settled
down to their _Sweethearts_ for the first scene which was a long wan
I slips outside and into the kyart. Mother av Hivin! but I made that
horse walk an' we came into the Colonel's compound as the divil wint
through Athlone--in standin' leps. There was no one there excipt the
servints an' I wint round to the back an' found the girl's ayah.
'"Ye black brazen Jezebel" sez I "sellin' your masther's honour for
five rupees--pack up all the Miss Sahib's kit an' look slippy! _Capt'n
Sahib's_ order" sez I. "Going to the station we are" I sez an' wid
that I laid my finger to my nose an' looked the schamin' sinner I was.
_'"Bote acchy"_ says she; so I knew she was in the business an' I
piled up all the sweet talk I'd iver learnt in the bazars on to this
she-bullock an' prayed av her to put all the quick she knew into the
thing. While she packed I stud outside an' sweated for I was wanted
for to shif the second scene. I tell you a young gurl's e-vasion manes
as much baggage as a rig'mint on the line av march! "Saints help
Dennis's springs" thinks I as I bundled the stuff into the thrap
"for I'll have no mercy!"
'"I'm comin' too" says the ayah.
'"No you don't" sez I "later--_pechy!_ You _baito_ where you are.
I'll _pechy_ come an' bring you _sart_ along with me you
maraudin'"-niver mind fwhat I called her.
'Thin I wint for the Gaff an' by the special ordher av Providence
for I was doin' a good work you will ondersthand Dennis's springs
hild toight. "Now whin the Capt'n goes for that kit" thinks I "he'll
be throubled." At the end av _Sweethearts_ off the Capt'n runs in his
kyart to the Colonel's house an' I sits down on the steps and laughs.
Wanst an' again I slipped in to see how the little piece was goin'
an' whin ut was near endin' I stepped out all among the carr'ges an'
sings out very softly "Jungi!" Wid that a carr'ge began to move an'
I waved to the dhriver. _"Hitherao!"_ sez I an' he _hitheraoed_ till
I judged he was at proper distance an' thin I tuk him fair an' square
betune the eyes all I knew for good or bad an' he dhropped wid a
guggle like the canteen beer-engine whin ut's runnin' low. Thin I ran
to the kyart an' tuk out all the kit an' piled it into the carr'ge
the sweat runnin' down my face in dhrops. "Go home" sez I to the
_sais;_ "you'll find a man close here. Very sick he is. Take him away
an' av you iver say wan wurrd about fwhat you've _dekkoed_ I'll
_marrow_ you till your own wife won't _sumjao_ who you are!" Thin I
heard the stampin' av feet at the ind av the play an' I ran in to let
down the curtain. Whin they all came out the gurl thried to hide herself
behind wan av the pillars an' sez "Jungi" in a voice that wouldn't
ha' scared a hare. I run over to Jungi's carr'ge an' tuk up the lousy
old horse-blanket on the box wrapped my head an' the rest av me in
ut an' dhrove up to where she was.
'"Miss Sahib" sez I; "going to the station? _Captain Sahib's_ order!"
an' widout a sign she jumped in all among her own kit.
'I laid to an' dhruv like steam to the Colonel's house before the
Colonel was there an' she screamed an' I thought she was goin' off.
Out comes the ayah saying all sorts av things about the Capt'n havin'
come for the kit an' gone to the station.
'"Take out the luggage you divil" sez I "or I'll murther you!"
'The lights av the thraps people comin' from the Gaff was showin'
across the parade ground an' by this an' that the way thim two women
worked at the bundles an' thrunks was a caution! I was dyin' to help
but seein' I didn't want to be known I sat wid the blanket roun' me
an' coughed an' thanked the Saints there was no moon that night.
'Whin all was in the house again I niver asked for _bukshish_ but
dhruv tremenjus in the opp'site way from the other carr'ge an' put out
my lights. Presintly I saw a naygur man wallowin' in the road. I
slipped down before I got to him for I suspicioned Providence was wid
me all through that night. 'Twas Jungi his nose smashed in flat all
dumb sick as you please. Dennis's man must have tilted him out av the
thrap. Whin he came to "Hutt!" sez I but he began to howl.
'"You black lump av dirt" I sez "is this the way you dhrive your
_gharri?_ That _tikka_ has been _owin'_ an' _fere-owin'_ all over the
bloomin' country this whole bloomin' night an' you as _mut-walla_ as
Davey's sow. Get up you hog!" sez I louder for I heard the wheels
av a thrap in the dark; "get up an' light your lamps or you'll be run
into!" This was on the road to the Railway Station.
'"Fwhat the divil's this?" sez the Capt'n's voice in the dhark an'
I could judge he was in a lather av rage.
'"_Gharri_ dhriver here dhrunk Sorr" sez I; "I've found his _gharri_
sthrayin' about cantonmints an' now I've found him."
'"Oh!" sez the Capt'n; "fwhat's his name?" I stooped down an' pretended
'"He sez his name's Jungi Sorr" sez I.
'"Hould my harse" sez the Capt'n to his man an' wid that he gets
down wid the whip an' lays into Jungi just mad wid rage an' swearin'
like the scutt he was.
'I thought afther a while he wud kill the man so I sez:--"Stop
Sorr or you'll murdher him!" That dhrew all his fire on me an' he
cursed me into Blazes an' out again. I stud to attenshin an' saluted:--
"Sorr" sez I "av ivry man in this wurruld had his rights I'm thinkin'
that more than wan wud be beaten to a jelly for this night's work--that
niver came off at all Sorr as you see?" "Now" thinks I to myself
"Terence Mulvaney you've cut your own throat for he'll sthrike an'
you'll knock him down for the good av his sowl an' your own iverlastin'
'But the Capt'n niver said a single wurrd. He choked where he stud
an' thin he went into his thrap widout sayin' good-night an' I wint
back to barricks.'
'And then?' said Ortheris and I together.
'That was all' said Mulvaney; 'niver another word did I hear av the
whole thing. All I know was that there was no e-vasion an' that was
fwhat I wanted. Now I put ut to you Sorr is ten days' C. B. a fit
an' a proper tratement for a man who has behaved as me?'
'Well any'ow' said Ortheris'tweren't this 'ere Colonel's daughter
an' you _was_ blazin' copped when you tried to wash in the Fort Ditch.'
'That' said Mulvaney finishing the champagne 'is a shuparfluous an'
OF THOSE CALLED
We were wallowing through the China Seas in a dense fog the horn
blowing every two minutes for the benefit of the fishery craft that
crowded the waterways. From the bridge the fo'c'sle was invisible;
from the hand-wheel at the stern the captain's cabin. The fog held
possession of everything--the pearly white fog. Once or twice when it
tried to lift we saw a glimpse of the oily sea the flitting vision
of a junk's sail spread in the vain hope of catching the breeze or
the buoys of a line of nets. Somewhere close to us lay the land but
it might have been the Kurile Islands for aught we knew. Very early
in the morning there passed us not a cable's-length away but as
unseen as the spirits of the dead a steamer of the same line as ours.
She howled melodiously in answer to our bellowing and passed on.
'Suppose she had hit us' said a man from Saigon. 'Then we should have
gone down' answered the chief officer sweetly. 'Beastly thing to
go down in a fog' said a young gentleman who was travelling for
pleasure. 'Chokes a man both ways y' know.' We were comfortably
gathered in the smoking-room the weather being too cold to venture
on the deck. Conversation naturally turned upon accidents of fog the
horn tooting significantly in the pauses between the tales. I heard
of the wreck of the _Eric_ the cutting down of the _Strathnairn_
within half a mile of harbour and the carrying away of the bow plates
of the _Sigismund_ outside Sandy Hook.
'It is astonishing' said the man from Saigon 'how many true stories
are put down as sea yarns. It makes a man almost shrink from telling
'Oh please don't shrink on our account' said the smoking-room with
'It's not my own story' said the man from Saigon. 'A fellow on a
Massageries boat told it me. He had been third officer of a sort on
a Geordie tramp--one of those lumbering dish-bottomed coal-barges
where the machinery is tied up with a string and the plates are rivetted
with putty. The way he told his tale was this. The tramp had been
creeping along some sea or other with a chart ten years old and the
haziest sort of chronometers when she got into a fog--just such a fog
as we have now.'
Here the smoking-room turned round as one man and looked through the
'In the man's own words "just when the fog was thickest the engines