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There are regiments where flogging and drunkenness are unknown !!!
Richard Biddulph was a mere drummer to the marching, no not marching but drunken, aye, and flogging regiment too, for the matter of that which has already been referred to, so that he had to beat the drum daily in order that his comrades might come forth to behold a man suffer corporal punishment. The drum rattled away merrily, just as though some marriage were about to be solemnized, and the men took their places mechanically round and about the fellow who was to suffer, who generally looked quite as unconcerned as the doctor who stood beside him; but really it is better to give a little in detail, so that your plain civilian may know something about that which used to be an every day affair with British soldiers.
Well, then the square was formed the officers were at their places, and the drums were beating a finish, when a sickly, white-faced man was marshalled into the centre, under a sergeant's escort, who stripped off his clothes, and put his hands up to the halberts, so that they might be tied previous to the commencement of 500 lashes. The fellow's name was Jackson-Thomas Jackson-and this was his third appearance in that character. To be sure, he had only joined three months, and that accounted for his not having been punished oftener; but really, when he went up this time, there appeared to be some strange and fearful event about to happen, by his fixing his eyes so intently upon the colonel, who stood by during the ceremony. The man had joined for the sake of honour and glory; he had witnessed a man flogged-he had taken strong drink when he was flogged also. Again, and now a third time--500 lashes. Five hundred lashes! Yes, it was a third offence, and that was to be his punishment. The acticles of war were read over: there was a stillness-a deadly silence when the drummer raised the cat, swung it over his head, and made it descend upon the already-marked back of the unfortunate prisoneragain-again. The man had joined for the sake of honour-and oh, how he was disappointed; for glory—and here was ignominy. His head was turned towards the colonel, as though he were the representative of the system ; and whether he went to the right or to the left, backwards or forwards, the man's cycs followed him, and fixed upon him. Drummer followed drummer with fresh instruments; and the doctor stood by, looking up at the sky, which was lovely, and not at the scene which was not. 1, 2, 3–350 lashes had descended, when the man fainted, and was put up again; 60, 70, he did so again. 80, 90—400, again, and was put up again. “Discipline," he fainted said the colonel, " example-discipline."
Now the lashes were bloody, and the man's back presented the appearance of a field of battle after a victory, yet the drummers did their duty. Lash after lash-Oh, it was dreadful! Oh, it was barbarous ! Oh, heaven, it was devilish! Why, the face of the drummer is proverbially ferocious; and really, when associated with such scenes as these, it is wonderful they do not commit murder, and they would, if they dare go out of protection.
The doctor put his hand to the man's pulse, and took it away again, when another lash descended; the eyes, which were still fixed upon the colonel, lost a portion of their fire-a slight “Oh” escaped from
May, 1845.--VOL. XLIII.-NO. CLXIX.
the lips—then the jaw fell, and Thomas Jackson, who went into the army for the sake of honour, was deadaye, fixed to the halberts; he was a libel upon the law of corporal punishment, although the doctor didn't think so, but simply remarked, that he went off easily; and cited a variety of cases where men had died from similar causes. The colonel thought it strange, that a man should die from a mere flogging; so did the officers; so did the chaplain ; so did the men; but they took him down from the instrument he was tied to, and buried him with funeral honours, because he was a soldier.
Richard Biddulph not only assisted to flog his comrades, but was now and then flogged himself, and was considered quite a hero amongst them for the manner in which he took his punishment. Still, it must be confessed, that these associations are more likely to make his heart harder than it now is, than to bring out any hidden kindnesses; but, whatever it does, you shall be made fully acquainted with, if you follow him into the succeeding chapters. But previous to parting with you for this month, let me entreat you, kindest friend and dearest companion, to allow the same spirit to operate which did originally on behalf of Richard Biddulph, who is, to a certain extent, a creature of circumstances, having had a cruel lesson taught him by his Christian master, before he was turned out upon the world. That is on account of the hero of this history, and now one word for the writer:
Great facts have been stated fearlessly, and will be stated fearlessly still, but pray do not attribute anything in the shape of exaggeration. No! After this work has passed through the Metropolitan, it will be published separately, when the whole subject shall speak for itself, and, if there be slight (?) faults in the systems adopted by society for its government, surely, those faults ought to be reformed
Aye, and they shall !Yes, if you, dear reader, repeat with me the affirmation, “They shall."
Ah! ah! darling maiden, thy clear eye is bright,
Creating alarm and producing dejection,
The spring days pass onward and seem but short hours,
Can only create an eternal objection
BEHIND THE SCENES ;
THE INVISIBLE DRAMAS OF HUMAN LIFE.
Be this, or aught
Milton- Paradise Lost.
On the sixth floor of a magnificent house of the Chaussée d'Antin in Paris, there resided, some years ago, a young man of the name of Mark Anthony Riponneau. He was a stout fresh-coloured young fellow, of about five-and-twenty years of age, endowed by nature with a round, good-humoured-looking countenance, a pair of light blue eyes set rather far apart, a nose slightly retroussé, furnished with a pair of nostrils of most amazing width, and a couple of large projecting lips of a most decided cherry-coloured hue. In short, all the separate elements which united form a true visage of happiness and content were there, had not a low forehead and a thick shock of black thatch, so stiff and 80 strong that it could be likened only to the bristles of a hair-brush, imparted to his physiognomy a mean and envious appearance, denoting more of pig-headed obstinacy than of firmness or intelligence. Mark Anthony was a clerk in the office of the Minister of Finance, with a salary of about 1800 francs a-year; and with this sum he was obliged to content himself, though he was far from being content. Employed in the Budget of the State, he had learned all the illusions, and in his position as clerk in a government office, the constant association with men of influence and wealth, and the sight of that ever-fowing tide of money which rolled unceasingly through his hands, succeeded in completely disgusting him with his own situation in the world. Mark Anthony, as I have said before, received a salary of about 1800 francs a-year ; he had no other resources for increasing his income to look forward to; so that each expense he was obliged at any time to incur was invariably foreseen, calculated, and arranged beforehand. Thus, by dint of strict sobriety and occasionally "supping small," he was enabled to appear at all times tolerably well dressed ; and, by dint of great circumspection in his movements, he maintained his coats in a state of decent preservation, when, upon the shoulders of a gesticulator, they would long since have been worn completely threadbare. Riponneau never permitted himself the slightest movement of arm or limb out of the bounds of the strictest moderation, or even to draw a breath of greater magnitude than its fellows, until disencumbered of every garment liable to be damaged by a too great freedom of action. But it must be said that, during these moments, he amply indemnified himself for his previous six or eight hours' confinement; and it was by a piece
of pantomime, both elaborate and extraordinary, that he would in general accompany the following exclamations :
“To have but a miserable 1800 francs, and to feel within oneself the germs of every noble thought.”
These germs of every noble thought, be it stated, properly speaking, as consisting in a desire for all the luxurious pleasures of the world.
“Ah!" Mark Anthony would continue, "to be poor, and to see in front of one there, on the first floor of that noble mansion, a certain Monsieur and Madame de Crivelin. They are ricb-all smile on them; the world flatters them—they are happy."
Here Master Riponneau would give a mighty stamp upon the floor.
“ If I were only as this M. Donen, who occupies the entire second floor of our house, what a different use I should make of his fortune from what he does! But what matters it ? He is happy in his own way, since, being able to live everywhere, he confines himself to his own rooms; whilst with me, I must deprive myself of everything. Besides, had he no fortune, he would have glory, consideration. Thunder and lightning, how happy he is !".
Riponneau would accompany this passage of his griefs with a clattering of the feet perfectly terrific.
Then would come fresh exclamations ; first upon the hosier who occupied the shop on the right; then upon the confectioner on the lest, and upon all the lodgers in the house, one after the other; for, with the exception of our friend Riponneau and one or two others, the house was tenanted by persons of wealth and consideration. Lacqueys, dogs, and horses, swarmed in the court-yard ; from the kitchens exhaled the most appetizing .fumes. On the staircases, when descending in the morning to procure the milk for his breakfast, Mark Anthony would encounter a host of pretty chambermaids in snowy aprons, perfumed from the essences of their mistresses' toilets. Then he would run up against the jolly red-faced cooks hurrying on their different missions. His boots, blackened with great difficulty by his own hands, paled before the mirror-like brilliancy of the varnished shoes even of the valets-de-chambre. The happiness of the master insulted him through the servant.
Then, in the evening would come the delicious strains of the concerts, the murmurs of the balls, and the sounds of dancing feet; and sometimes, through an open window, would peep a beautiful head, fair or dark, crowned with a garland of flowers-a light and graceful figure, radiant in the folds of the many-coloured silk, or veiled in the mazy vapours of muslin ; at one time, the gentle languor of unoccupied happiness; at another, the ardent fever of pleasure. All these things surrounded Mark Anthony with a burning atmosphere of desires, in the midst of which he incessantly gravitated-opening his chest to this balmy air, his lips to these divine phantoms-unable to seize anything, grasping at emptiness, embracing shadows, and finally reaching those transports of impotent rage under the influence of which he would stamp the floor with his feet, beat the walls of his little aparment with violent blows of his clenched fists, and perform sundry other interesting pantomimic acts of an equally edifying and curious description.
One evening, when the exasperation of our friend Riponneau had reached a fearfully turbulent height, he heard a gentle krock at the door of his apartment, and almost immediately there entered the room a man of about sixty vears of age, enveloped in the folds of a robe-dechambre of wadded India silk drawn in round the waist by a heavy silken cord. The features of this unexpected guest were expressive and intellectual. Under a forehead, the height of which was in appearance increased by the baldness of the entire of the fore and upper parts of the head, there sparkled a pair of vividly bright grey eyes, through which pierced a glance of hidden raillery ; while, as if in compensation for their too sarcastic expression, the entire of the lower portion of the face, and especially the mouth, around which played a gentle and melancholy smile, was of almost feminine grace and beauty.
"My neighbour," said he to Reponneau, in a low and musical tone of soice, “every one is master in his own apartment. I have not been present at the taking of the Bastile, nor assisted at the revolution of July, not to recognize this great political principle. But all liberty has its bounds, otherwise it encroaches on that of others. You have the liberty of crying out, but in a certain degree only, for I have the liberty of sleeping; and if your liberty infringes on mine, it becomes tyranny, and mine slavery, which is contrary to the principles of the two revolutions of which I have just now spoken to you."
Mark Anthony felt a strong desire to get into a passion, but his neighbour did not give him time, and continued as follows :
“Besides, it is not for myself that I complain ; I live willingly in silence or in uproar; but I speak to you on the part of your little neighbour, Mademoiselle Juana, the sempstress, whom I saw come in this evening looking so pale and ill, and her eyes red with tears and the fatigue of work. The poor child is gone to bed, hoping to sleep, as she has told me. Well, my dear neighbour, for her sake, for the sake of that poor girl, do not study your characters quite so loudly."
“Eh!" said Mark Anthony.
“ Besides, continued the neighbour, in the same gentle tone, “I have seen Talma, and believe me, my dear sir, that it was not by means of fierce gesticulations and loud cries that he produced his greatest effects. Look here, in Manlius, for instance, he but raised his finger thus, and looked half round while he repeated these two verses :
“C'est moi qui, prevenant leur attente frivole
Renversai les Gaulois du haut du Capitole."
And the applause throughout the entire house was always deafening. Believe me, monsieur, good declamation ...."
“But, monsieur,” interrupted Riponneau, “I am not a comedian." “Ah, bah!” said the old neighbour, "you are then an avocat ?" “No, no," replied Riponneau.
“You are too young for a deputy. What are you, then, if I may ask without being thought impertinent ?"
Mark Anthony hesitated for a moment, and at length replied :
" I am poor, monsieur, the happiness of the rich afflicts me, and I amuse myself in my own way."
The neighbour regarded Riponneau with an expression of interest ;