WE rector to this entertaining work—the best collection of real adventures and anecdotes that we have seen for many a day—in order to give an extract, which was omitted in our last number. It is
THE RISE, PROMOTION, AND RETIREMENT OF SERGEANT STEINSON.
" When I took possession of Banff Castle, I found my old friend Ser- geant Steinson converted into a retired captain on his full-pay, and
living- in a small house within a mile of me. I had previously heard something of his history, for his father, a small farmer, had told me many years back, ' that Jock was an (Wicker, and in the Nast Indies.' I lost no time in calling on my former acquaintance, who had been some time do- mesticated en garcon, at the dilapidated manse of Boyndie, which he had put into tolerable repair, and fitted up barrack fashion. " 1 found the veteran sitting in a small porch, (which he had planted with honeysuckles,) basking in an autumnal evening sun, and smoking his pipe. A pointer was lying at his feet, and a cat purring at his side. His costume was quite picturesque ; an old regimental blue great coat had been cut into a rump jacket, and a scarlet waistcoat was evidently the remains of his uniform, for it retained the button ; a pair of ammu- nition trowsers, patched in various places, had also certainly done duty on the parade, and his bald pate, covered with a cavalry foraging cap, exhibited an admirable portrait of a retired veteran : he might have sat to Wilkie without altering a jot of his dress. " As I approached, he rose from his wicker arm-chair, and saluting me is la militaire, stood as erect as the halberd he had formerly carried. I had no occasion to pronounce my name, for he instantly recognized me, having repeatedly seen me, it appeared, and we cordially shook hands. " 1 had been shooting, and being both tired and thirsty, I begged to take a seat by him, and to quaff a jug of his sma' ale ; ' but the captain insisted on my stepping into his best chamber, to which I was obliged to submit. The apartment, small, and low on the roof, was fitted up alto- gether in the barrack fashion. Over the chimney was a wretched print of the Duke of York, and facing it another of the same school, the effigies of General Wolfe : these were framed and glazed; but on the side-walls he had stuck up representations, in wooden cuts, of the storming of Bunker's Hill, the battle of Lexington, &c. &c., with a grand flaming view of the burning of the Spanish gun-boats by General Elliot. These orna- mented a sky .blue painted wall, and were bordered with scarlet tape, the work of his own hands. On each side of the chimney were trophies of war, composed of a bayonet, and a halberd, a fusee, and regimental sword, sash, and gorget, and a pair of Highland pistols. " When I praised the arrangement of his barrack, as be called it, he observed—' It's all my own doing, Major—You see I have not forgot my first weapons, the bayonet and the halberd; some who have got on like me from the ranks, are ashamed of their origin, but I am proud of having carved out my own fortune.' I applauded his candour, saying, that he well earned what he had obtained by his long and faithful services, and that a good sergeant always made a good officer' He bowed to the com- pliment, and we sat down to a smoked haddock and a mug of brisk home brewed, to which succeeded a bowl of Glenlivet whisky and water. I put my friend in mind of his having enlisted meat Cullen nearly thirty years back, when I was seven years old. ' Aye, Major,' said he, I mind that—ye was a fine speereted callan, and I tould your mamma that I was sure you would make a brave soldier. I was then in Colonel James Abercromby's company—a worthy man, Major, and but for him I never would have been an officher. Honest man, he was aye vary kind to me—He enlisted me id his father's regiment, the 44th, afore I was seven.
teen, and I served in it thirty years.' On my expressing a desire to hear his military exploits in America, where he had served during the whole of the war, he gratified me by a long-winded detail of his services, com- mencing at-Bunker's Hill, and ending by his campaigns in Shetland. " I have had the honour 'of serving his Majesty,' said he, in almost all capacities, from a preevate to command a company, and have been eighteen years a King's °Sicker. The old general (the colonel's father, you know, Major,) recommended me, after the battle of Lexington, to an ensigncy, and I had the honour to carry the King's colours at our next affair, where I got a bullet in my leg. It was a business of out-posts, and a yankee shot me from a tree ;—that was their way of fighting, Maier, d—n them 1—excuse me for swearing, but I hate these yankees, for many a brave man did they bringslown behind a bush. My wound soon healed, and I was again on my legs, when the adjutancy became vacant, and I was appointed to succeed it. I was now rich, Major, with double pay, and I began to save a litLe in case of a rainy day, on being put on half-pay, for the war could not last much longer, and we were getting the worst of it.'
" The detail of his further services and promotion to a company in a garrison battalion lasted three hours, during which we finished as many booties of punch. At length he came to the grand climax, his being sent to Shetland with his company. " I had the honour, Major,' added our hero, of commanding the troops in the island, and I should have been satisfied with the country in spite of its climate, had there been any game in it ; but there's nothing but sea-foot, kittyweacks, tammytoornies, gulls, starts, and many other birds, but all fishy, Major—good practice, but won't do for the pot. I amused myself with gardening, and raised curly and lang kail, and Swedish turnips, under a south wall, and I actually produced gooseberries from some plants sent to me from a friend at Leith. I pro- tected the bushes in winter with straw, though it was an expensive ar- ticle ; and the third year they flowered, but were nipped by a frost in July. The fourth season was more kindly, and I had berries enough to make a couple of pies, but I could na' get them to ripen. I kept a cow the first two years, but found she cost too much, being obliged to bring provender from the continent, for the milk of the hye fed on stock-fish, tangles, and other sea-weed, tastes strong of the fish ; so I imported oil-cake from Leith, and fed my beast up to ten stone (one hundred and sixty pounds), and she was declared to be the largest and fattest cou and the best beef that had been seen in the island for many a year.
" Shetland, Major, is a dullish sitivation,' (the captain's pronuncia- tion was a curious mélange of English and cockneyism intermixed with his mother-tongue,) for a stranger is " a nine-day's wonder ;" and if he brings a few newspapers, he is caressed by all who can read, but months pass without an arrival from the continent, though it cannot be denied that the whale-ships from Greenland enliven us a little now and then. In winter we are all darkness, and the short summer hardly comes before it is gone ; to be sure we have a double allowance of sun during this time, for it only goes down for a few hours, and is not so hot as in Jamaica ! " After a residence of ten years in this settlement, which many people would have thought a banishment (but I never was a growler), I began to tire of the place, and to find out that the climate did not agree well with a rheumatism, which I suppose I had contracted by lyingb out in the swamps in America ; besides, though I was yet gay and smack, I was waxing oldish )sixty-seven last yule, Major), and had a great desire to retire from the service, and to sattle in my native country after fifty years
" ' With the assistance of a friend, the collector of the customs, I drew up a memorial of my long service to King George, which I addressedto his son the Dook of York at the Horse-Gaards,'Snd transmitted it to my corre- spondent at Leith, a grocer, who bad a brother in the same line at Wapping—I dare say ye may have been in Wapping, Major, but take off your heel-top, and we'el replenish the bowlie ;—lassie, mair water, and anither haddock. So, as I was saying—whareabeut's was I, Major ?—noo, I remember ; I got my memorial sent by a preecate hand to Mr. Mackiver, wha doobtless lost nae time to forward it to the Horse-Gaards, but I waited more than eight months without a respaunse. Noo, thinks I, there must be some mistook, for a' the waurld says that if the Dook dis nagraunt a faavour, he aye sinds a ceevil refusal. Sae I mentioned my proceedings to the captain of a vassal hound for Leith, who offered to be the bearer of any other petition; but advising me to desire ray friend there just to for- ward it by the post to his Royal Highness like any other letter. Weel Major,—(but lot's take a glass to your lady, a fine woman ; I saw her at the kirk in the minister's pew,)—what do you think was the upshot ? Afore six months expeered, arrives the packet, and in her a letter for me, as large as an ermy list, wi' a brade seal, of reed waax, and the royal arms on't. To tell ye truth, Major, I was more feart to braak the waax, nor to storm a redoubt ; for I kent weel that my fortune depanded on the contaunts ; sae I got a sheers, and clipp'd the bonny airms aff clean. Ye shall see the kindness of his Royal Heeness ; but lat's first take off our heel-tops,'—and getting with some difficulty on his legs, lie produced from a bureau the identical manuscript locked in a box.—' Noo, Major—(hiccup !)—read that, for hae nae got my spectacles ; seeing's believing:' It was a highly flattering testimonial of the old soldier's service; in consideration of which his Royal Highness had been graciously pleased to permit Captain Steinson, of the 8th gar. battalion, to retire on the full pay of ten shillings and sixpence per day, to take place from the 24th day of April next, 1801, together with the further allowance of twenty pounds in lieu of the ex- penses of his passage from the island to Leith per packet. After the pe- rusal of this precious document, a fresh Lowly made its appearance, ac- companied by a couple of ale glasses. I aye drink the Dook's health,' said he, out of these bickers and on my legs,'—but in this last attempt he could not preserve his equilibrium, and down he tumbled on the floor, bringing with him the table ! I fortunately saved the bowly and my glass, which I had ready charged. The damage was not great, and with the assistance of the housekeeper, a strong country wench, the captain was replaced in his chair ; and when lie found that his favourite china bowl was saved, as well as part of its contents, the health was drank in a fresh
glass of the same calibre. Will ye he kind enough, Major,' rejoined the captain, when he was fairly seated and rubbed down, to read oot the Dook'sletter, for I have na lookit at it for six months, the mair's my shame.' " I read with a sonorous voice, and all the solemnity which the docu- ment required, the compliments of his Royal Highness (taking a glance occasionally at the old fellow's face), and saw the tear of joy and grati- tude streaming over his cheeks ! He was greeting fou into the bargain, and had quite relapsed into the original sin of his native idiom ; so when I had finished, he wiped his eye, -and replenishing his glass said, we maun drink to auld King George, Major, God bless him—I daunt merit his royal bounty, for I am too auld to take the field again, but lat me see the lang-nibbed French vagahounds shaw themselves on our shores, and shaw them I can yet handle brown Bess, and gi' them a skelter, auld as I am'
"After complimenting my host on the good fortune which he so well Merited, and bad earned so hard, I got up to move off, but to this. he would by no means consent. ` I never pairt so soon wi' a freend,' said he, ' and so auld a one as you, Major, wha has done me the honour to call in a freendly way-7We maun just hae an eek ; the stirrup-cup, as they say in the heelands! There was no resisting this invitation, and I .
got permission to make the mixture, which I took care to amalgamate copiously with water, and had the denouement. of his tale. Though it
was not very comprehensible, his patois being more than usually ob--
soave, from the potations he had swallowed, I made out, however, that he had gathered together, by his economies at Shetland, and by his ear; lier savings, about 12001. and being fond of shooting, he had settled near his old home(where game was abundant), and hired the minister's condemned manse already mentioned, in which he was living ; and when he had finished the necessary repairs, purchased his pointers, and made himself comfortable, he received a communication from Lord Findlater's. factor, that he could not be permitted to sport in future over his lord- ship's manors in the Boyne,' which comprehended all the farms within reach of the poor captain, so that he was completely hors de combat. This was the more irksome, being quite unexpected, as he had become the Earl's tenant, expressly on condition that he was to have permission. to shoot parlout, and now he found that this compact was infringed on by the insidious manoeuvres of the Earl of — who had persuaded the noble lord to withdraw leave from every one to shoot within a certain number of miles of — house, under pretence that the pheasants bred in his park having strayed to Lord Findlater's manors, had become the prey of all persons sporting thereon. " It was in vain that Captain Steinson remonstrated, declaring, on. his parole d'honneur , that lie never fired at a pheasant, that he protected. the game in his own neighbourhood by keeping off poachers, and feed- ing partridges, &c."The fiat had gone forth, and the old soldier, who had no resource but shooting to give him exercise, could now only walk out with his dogs to give them an airing. I can hardly conceive anything more galling to an isolated old soldier, who had served his country ho- nourably for half a century, than such an order, subjecting him to the caprice of a selfish and obstinate peer, whom providence had permitted to exist too long for the comfort of his neighbours and his heirs. " I remained but a short time at Banff Castle, after Steinson had set- tled near it. He lived but a few years after my departure, and I have no doubt but his days were shortened by chagrin and want of exercise ; for having no means of amusing himself at home, lie visited the neighbour- ing farmers, and dipped too deep in the mountain dew."