Smithy Abroad - Edgar Wallace - ebook

Smithy Abroad ebook

Edgar Wallace

0,0

Opis

Further collection of 24 war-time short stories about Smithy, the soldier and his comrades Nobby and Spud in the British army before WWI. This is the second anthology in Wallace’s „Smithy” series in which the famous character T. B. Smith makes his appearance. Also Smithy’s pal „Nobby” Clark has now emerged very much as the main character in these, usually humorous stories of pre world war one British army life. These stories are more clearly set in the Boer war. While the first Smithy volume was quite a test of patience, this volume at least has some well-done humor, mostly derived from the zany characterizations of the soldiers.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 345

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

I. THE ARMS STORE

II. THE BAPTISM OF STEVENS

III. THE ROTTEN AFFAIR

IV. THE BACHELORS’ CLUB

V. WHY “FEATHERWEIGHT JACKSON” ENLISTED

VI. NOBBY’S LOVE STORY

VII. THE CHUCKAJEE PLATE

VIII. THE WANDERER

IX. THE FIGHT

X. THE MISER

XI. NOBBY, LIMITED

XII. AN ACT OF WAR

XIII. THE FOOTBALL MATCH

XIV. THATCHER’S BROTHER

XV. THE INVENTION CRAZE

XVI. MARSHY, DETECTIVE

XVII. THE GHOST OF THE BROOK

XVIII. SMITHY ON HUMOUR

XIX. PIKEY’S LUCK

XX. THE BUGLERS

XXI. HONOUR

XXII. SACRIFICE

XXIII. A SUPPRESSED BOOK

XXIV. A SOLDIER AND A MAN

I. THE ARMS STORE

SMITHY sat on the edge of his cot and sorted his belongings. The solid black trunk that a paternal Government provided for the reception of the soldiers’ worldly possessions was wide open, and the inside of the lid was a picture gallery of cigarette pictures. “When Nobby became my bed chum,” reflected Smithy, “I had three pairs of socks–I had two new blacking brushes and a bit of scented soap–likewise a brand new shavin’ brush.”

Private Clark, stretched full length on the adjoining cot, immersed in the mysteries of an elementary French grammar (Nobby is studying for a first-class certificate) treated the insinuation with silent contempt.

“A man who wastes his time tryin’ to learn a language wot nobody speaks except French people,” complained Smithy, bitterly, “ought to have time to go through his kit, an’ sort out stolen property: a man who can afford to buy––”

“I have not the socks of my friend,” interrupted Nobby, dreamily. “I have not seen the socks of my comrade. Ah, nong, jammy.”

“I lent you––” disputed Smithy hotly.

“Have you the pen of my sister, no but I have the paper of my aunt. Be’old! I have the chalk of my cousin,” murmured Nobby.

“Have you got my socks?” demanded the wrathful Smithy.

“Nong, mais j’avvy––”

“Talk English, you big-footed barman.”

“I haven’t got your socks, an’ I’d be very sorry to be seen wearin’ ’em,” said the exasperated Nobby. “If that ain’t English enough, I’ll talk Lal Sahib to you.”

Smithy grinned.

“Never heard about Lal Sahib, have you?”–he smiled grimly–“he was the chap to talk English.” Smithy waited for his audience to collect and prefaced his narrative with a homily on soldiering.

“There’s three kinds of soldiers.” said Smithy. “There’s old soldiers, recruits, an’ soldiers–just soldiers. You can always tell the ‘roosters’ by their silliness: you don’t often see ’em in the streets because they’re mostly in hospital with heart disease, an’ lunacy, an’ any old disease that’ll get ’em a ticket.* The old soldiers you can generally spot: they’re the chaps who come round for the washin’ on Monday mornin’s. They also get charge of fatigue parties that do work that a lance-corporal wouldn’t bemean hisself to do. The soldier–well, anybody can tell a pukka soldier. A fine-lookin’, healthy upstandin’–well, take me for example.

* Ticket: i.e., discharge certificate.

“Young soldiers spend their time wantin’ things that ain’t good for ’em, and the thing they mostly want is foreign service an’ a war.

“Any hour of the day you can hear ’em sayin’ ‘Roll on the big ship an’ the white helmet,’ an’ they’re no sooner abroad than they’re singin’, with tears in their eyes–

‘Motherland. Motherland! See thy exiled children stand,”

or words to that effect.

“When we was stationed in Peshawar, which is half way between India an’ hell, our second battalion was at Gib. an’ we got a draft of young chaps sent to us. They was the haughtiest draft you could ever imagine. Half a dozen of ’em was sent to ‘B’ Company. One of the chaps, whose name was Sigee, fairly made your head ache to listen to him.

“We always try to be nice an’ polite to new chaps, so, just by way of makin’ him feel at home, Nobby told him all the news, how there was a lot of cholera about, an’ how Fatty Pink was down with sunstroke.

“‘Heat don’t worry me,’ sez Sigee, very cocky. ‘I’m used to foreign service–been on the Rock a year.’

“‘But this heat,’ sez Nobby.

“‘Nothin’ to the Rock,’ sez the young feller.

“‘An’ the cholera,’ sez Nobby.

“‘Nothin’ to the enteric you get on the Rock,’ sez Sigee.

“‘There’s a lot of gun-runnin’,’ sez Nobby.

“‘You ought to see the smugglers nippin’ over to La Linea from the Rock,’ sez Sigee, an’ that made Nobby wild.

“‘What Rock?’ he sez.

“‘Gibraltar,’ sez the other.

“‘Where’s that?’ sez Nobby, innocent. ‘In the Isle of Wight?’

“You see,” explained Smithy, “it’s very hard to convince a chap who’s never been further out of England than Douglas, Isle of Man, that Gibraltar ain’t abroad.

“We had a long argument about it the night the draft arrived, an’ Nobby said that ‘abroad’ didn’t begin till the nacheral colour of the inhabitants of the place was black, an’ that brought up the question of Black and White.

“Sigee was one of them chaps that’s prepared to argue always on the other side. He waited till he saw we was all in agreement about the question, then he hopped in to prove that the native was twenty times a better man than the white.

“‘He’s our black brother, too,’ he sez.

“‘He ain’t no brother of mine,’ sez Nobby.

“What made me an’ Nobby so cross was the way Sigee took up with Lal Ra–‘Lal Sahib’ the natives called him.

“He was a pukka Pathan, that some silly old General had found when he was a kid. I forget what expedition it was on, but it was one of them shoot-quick-an’-get-away fights that we’re always havin’ in the hills. The General found this little Pathan an’ took him home. Got to like him, an’ havin’ more money than sense had him educated like a proper sahib. Went to Oxford, this kid did, an’ learnt Greek an’ algebra and mathematics, an’ when the old feller died he come back to Peshawar an’ started a native school in the city. To hear him talk, you would think you was listenin’ to a real gentleman. Somehow our officers didn’t cotton on to him, so he tried the men, an’ we wasn’t takin’ him either. But Sigee stuck on to him like a fly on treacle, and it made us sick to see ’em walkin’ through the bazaar together as thick as thieves.

“‘He’s a gentleman, born and bred,’ says Sigee, ‘I’ve seldom met a better.’

“‘That I can quite understand,’ sez Nobby, politely.

“What put the tall hat on Sigee was the order that came out that the native town was out of bounds, and that soldiers were practically confined to barracks.

“‘It’s a bit of spite,’ sez Sigee, ‘to prevent me meetin’ my friend.’ As a matter of fact, our Colonel, who gave the order, didn’t know anything about Sigee, but what he did know was, that there was going to be a bit of trouble down in that part of the world.

“We chaps didn’t know what the game was fully till one afternoon, the order came out that there was to be double guards on all the outlying posts. Then we smelt bloodshed.

“An’ it came all right.

“That night, when me an’ Nobby was sittin’ outside the canteen with a lot of chaps, an’ watchin’ the twinklin’ lights of the native town down below the hill, we hears a shot, then another, an’ in a minute we heard the sentry on the main guard shout, ‘Guard, turn out!’

“Then the Adjutant came pelting across the square, an’ we could see in the moonlight he had a revolver in his hand. ‘Assembly!’ I heard him shout, then he went off like a streak in the direction of the Arms Store, which is just on the edge of the cantonment.

“We didn’t wait for the assembly to sound. Me an’ Nobby jumped for our bungalow. The Colour-sergeant, as white as a sheet, was opening the ammunition locker.

“He chucked half a dozen packets at me an’ Nobby.

“‘Take your rifles and double as hard as you can to the Arms Store,’ he shouted, and in a minute there was half a dozen of us runnin’ like mad in the direction the Adjutant had taken.

“He was there with a file of the guard when we reached him, bending over something on the ground.

“It was poor little Jayson, of ‘H.’…. a horrible sight…. They had smashed in the door of the store and got away with a dozen rifles.

“There was a double guard on after that night, but the worst was to come.

“The Arms Store is a fairly lonely post. Ammunition is stored there, an’ naturally it’s got to be a certain distance away from the barracks. There was a lot of bad Pathans in the Town, who wanted to get rifles. When I say ‘bad Pathans’ I mean extra bad, because I’ve never met a Pathan that was good for anything but murder.

“It appears that there was trouble brewin’ on the frontier somebody was preachin’ a Holy war, and rifles was selling at 200 rupees in the town.

“‘I’ve known about this for weeks,’ sez Sigee, very proud–he was just goin’ on guard–‘my friend, Lal Sahib, told me that owin’ to the foolish and shortsighted policy of the Government––’

“‘Dry up,’ sez Nobby, ‘we ain’t interested in your nigger pal, nor what he says.’

“Nobby has never forgiven hisself for snappin’ pore old Sigee’s head orf, for next mornin’, when the corporal of the guard went to relieve Sigee an’ his chum, they found ’im stark and dead, with an Afghan knife laying carelessly round to show how it was done.

“We buried poor old Sigee that night, and his black pal, Lal Sahib, sent a wreath with some Greek poetry on it. After that, Arms guard got a bit too jumpy.

“Sigee was killed on the Tuesday night. On the Friday night Harry Bayle, of ‘C,’ and young Turner were laid out on the same post, practically in sight of the camp, an’ nobody was any the wiser. At neither time did the Pathans manage to get away with rifles except the guns of the poor chaps they slaughtered.

“And the curious thing about it was that although there was a strict battalion order that the sentries were never to separate, but to stick together throughout their guard, they were always found one on one side of the Arms building, and the other poor chap on the other.

“On the Sunday night, me and Nobby was sent for to the officers’ quarters.

“The Adjutant took us to his room.

“‘Smith,’ he sez, ‘I am putting you and Clark on Arms guard to-morrow–and you’ll be first relief. I’ve sent for you two, because, being old soldiers, I can depend on you.’

“‘Yessir,’ sez me an’ Nobby.

“‘You can be depended upon to carry out orders,’ he sez, slowly, ‘an’ these are your orders: if anyone approaches your post challenge them once–then fire or use your bayonet.’

“As this was the ordinary regulation, we was puzzled at the Adjutant sendin’ specially for us.

“‘Understand,’ he sez more slowly, ‘if you challenge an’ the person you challenge can’t give you the countersign straight off–you’re to kill him.’

“We nodded.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.