VI. Jonahs and Beats.
In a former chapter I made the statement that Sibley tents furnished quarters capacious enough for twelve men. That statement is to be taken with some qualifications. If those men were all lying down asleep, there did not seem much of a crowd. But if one man of the twelve happened to be on guard at night, and, furthermore, was on what we used to know as the Third Relief guard, which in my company was posted at 12, midnight, and came off post at 2 A. M., when all were soundly sleeping, and, moreover, if this man chanced to quarter in that part of the tent opposite the entrance, and if, in seeking his blanket and board in the darkness, it was his luck to step on the stockinged foot of a recumbent form having a large voice, a large temper, but a small though forcible selection of English defiled, straightway that selection was hurled at the head of the offending even though well-meaning guard. And if,
“Good people, I'll sing you a ditty,
So bear with me all ye who can;
I make an appeal to your pity,
For I'm a most unlucky man.
'Twas under an unlucky planet
That I a poor mortal was born;
My existence since first I began it
Has been very sad and forlorn.
Then do not make sport of my troubles,
But pity me all ye who can,
For I'm an uncomfortable, horrible, terrible, inconsolable, unlucky man.