Private Spud Tamson by R. W. Campbell

Private Spud Tamson

byR. W. Campbell

Kobo ebook | December 1, 2014

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The Glesca Mileeshy was a noble force, recruited from the Weary Willies and Never-works of the famous town of Glasgow. It was also a regiment with traditions, for in the dim and distant past it had been founded by 1000 heroic scallywags from out of the city jails. These men were dressed in tartan breeks and red coats, given a gun and kit, shipped straight to the Peninsula, and on landing there were told to fight or starve.
"We'll fecht," was their unanimous reply, and fight they did. Inured to hardships, they quickly adapted themselves to the tented field, and early displayed a thirst
"Ay—I waant tae jine the Mileeshy."
"Which Militia?"
"The Glesca Mileeshy, of coorse."
"Very well, come with me, and I'll get you a Field-Marshal's baton," said the sergeant with glee, for this recruiter was feeling thirsty and much in need of his half-crown fee. He led Spud into the recruiting office, and told him to strip.
"When did you have a bath last?"
"Last Glesca Fair," answered Spud, quite unashamed of his nigger-like skin.
"What! Ten months ago?"
"Ach! that's naething; ma faither hisna had a waash since he got mairret."
"Well then, what's your age?"
"Age! I dinnae ken!"
"Don't know your age?"
"Naw, but I wis born the year that the auld chap wis sent tae Peterheid."
"Oh, what was that for?"
"Knockin' lumps aff the auld wife's heid wi' a poker."
"Very well, we'll say you're nineteen," added the sergeant. "Now, what's your religion?"
"The Salvation Army. Ye see, the auld chap kept in wi' them, for they gie him a bed when he's 'on the bash.'"
"And what's your occupation?"
"Cornet-player. I blaw the trumpet, an' the auld chap gies oot the balloons and candy."
"What is your full name and address?"
"Spud Tamson, Murder Close, the Gallowgate, five up, ticket number 10,005."
"That's a big number!"
"Ay, that's the number o' fleas in the close."
"Now, my lad, get into that bath and then you'll pass the doctor."
When Spud emerged from the water he was a different lad. The grime of years had gone, leaving his skin pink and fresh. He looked fit indeed with the exception of his spurtle legs and somewhat comical face. However, the old sergeant wanted his half-crown, so Spud had to pass by hook or by crook. He made him hop round the doctor's room like a kangaroo, and when he was just on the verge of failing in the eyesight test he whispered the number of dots in his ear. And so Spud Tamson was passed as a fullblown private into the Glesca Mileeshy.
"There's the shilling. Go home and say good-bye to your friends; but remember, be at the station to-night at eight."
"A' richt, sergint. I'll be there," replied Spud, as he marched proudly out of the door. Soon after, he announced the news to his now fond and proud parents.
"I'm prood o' ye, son," said Mrs Tamson. "Here, tak' yer faither's shirt and Sunday breeks and pawn them. You'll get twa shillin's on them. And bring back a gill o' the best, twa bottles o' table beer, an' a pun' o' ham. We'll hae a feast afore ye gang tae the Mileeshy," concluded his mother, as she handed Spud the articles for pawning. He blithely stepped off, and on his return was followed by all the thirsty members of the "Murder Close Brigade."
"Here's tae Private Spud Tamson of the Glesca Mileeshy," said Mrs Tamson, raising a glass to her lips, and giving Spud a look of pride.
"Ay, he'll be a braw sodger," chimed in an old wife.
"If it wisnae for his legs," said Tamson senior.
"Let's hae a sang," interjected "Hungry Bob," another relative who was a professional militiaman. All were agreed, and Bob commenced to sing—
"Their caps were tattered and battered,
And jackets faded and worn,
Their breeches ragged wi' crawling
When boosey and a' forlorn;
Yet when dressed in the tartan
They're the pride o' the women's eye,
Are the Rusty, Dusty, Deil-may-care,
Plucky Auld G.L.I."

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Title:Private Spud TamsonFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:December 1, 2014Publisher:WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONSLanguage:English

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