hours of punishment drill. Not for nothing had he acquired the reputation of being the best soldier of his inches in the regiment. Mulvaney had taught personal cleanliness and efficiency as the first articles of his companions creed. A dhirty man, he was used to say, in the speech of his kind, goes to Clink for a weakness in the knees, an is coort-martialled for a pair av socks missin; but a clane man, such as is an ornament to his servicea man whose buttons are gold, whose coat is wax upon him, an whose coutrements are widout a speckthat man may, spakin in reason, do fwhat he likes an dhrink from day to divil. Thats the pride av bein dacint.
We sat together, upon a day, in the shade of a ravine far from the barracks, where a watercourse used to run in rainy weather. Behind us was the scrub jungle, in which jackals, peacocks, the gray wolves of the North-Western Provinces, and occasionally a tiger estrayed from Central India, were supposed to dwell. In front lay the cantonment, glaring white under a glaring sun; and on either side ran the broad road that led to Delhi.
It was the scrub that suggested to my mind the wisdom of Mulvaney taking a days leave and going upon a shooting-tour. The peacock is a holy bird throughout India, and he who slays one is in danger of being mobbed by the nearest villagers; but on the last occasion that Mulvaney had gone forth, he had contrived, without in the least offending local religious susceptibilities, to return with six beautiful peacock skins which he sold to profit. It seemed just possible then
But fwhat manner av use is ut to me goin out widout a dhrink? The grounds powdherdhry underfoot, an ut gets unto the throat fit to kill, wailed Mulvaney, looking at me reproachfully. An a peacock is not a bird you can catch the tail av onless ye run. Can a man run on watheran jungle-wather too?
Ortheris had considered the question in all its bearings. He spoke, chewing his pipe-stem meditatively the while:
To Clusiums royal ome:
An round these bloomin temples ang
The bloomin shields o Rome.
You better go. You aint like to shoot yourselfnot while theres a chanst of liquor. Me an Learoydll stay at ome an keep shopcase o anythin turnin up. But you go out with a gas-pipe gun an ketch the little peacockses or somethin. You kin get one days leave easy as winkin. Go along an get it, an get peacockses or somethin.
Jock, said Mulvaney, turning to Learoyd, who was half asleep under the shadow of the bank. He roused slowly.
Sitha, Mulvaaney, go, said he.
And Mulvaney went; cursing his allies with Irish fluency and barrack-room point.
Take note, said he, when he had won his holiday, and appeared dressed in his roughest clothes with the only other regimental fowling-piece in his hand. Take note, Jock, an you Orthris, I am goin in the face av my own willall for to please you. I misdoubt anythin will come av permiscuous huntin afther peacockses in a desolit lan; an I know that I will lie down an die wid thirrrst. Me catch peacockses for you, ye lazy scuttsan be sacrificed by the peasanthryUgh!
He waved a huge paw and went away.
At twilight, long before the appointed hour, he returned empty-handed, much begrimed with dirt.
Peacockses? queried Ortheris from the safe rest of a barrack-room table whereon he was smoking cross-legged, Learoyd fast asleep on a bench.
Jock, said Mulvaney without answering, as he stirred up the sleeper. Jock, can ye fight? Will ye fight?
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