12 DECEMBER 1840, Page 18


SERGEANT ANTON is a Scotch rustic, who, smitten with the charms of a military life, inlisted in the :Militia at the beginning of the century, when not much beyond boyhood. Ilaving beers trained to the f ug tl habits and hard fare of the peasantry of Scotland, he not only foul I the life of a soldier tolerable enough. but contrived to save u 0 my out of his scanty pay ; having accumulated upwards of forty pounds before he volunteered from the Militia into the Line and got married, besides sending his widowed mother " a pound" occasionally. The change in our hero's status flour the stay-at- home militia-man to the regular soldier took place in 1813, when WELLINGTON was pressing SouLT in the Pyrenees; and Cor- poral ANTON (for he was promoted) had not much time allowed him to live at home at ease, being immediately sent off' to the Peninsula. Ilere he " assisted" in driving the Imperial army back into France; and was present at many of the actions, in- cluding the battle of'Toulouse. After a short stay in Ireland, he accompanied his regiment to the Netherlands ; was present at Quatro Bras, where the Forty-second suffered dreadthlly, suet at Waterloo, and remained in France as one of the Artily of Occu- pation. Since then Ids station has been principally in Ireland,— of' the arms-and-peasant-hunting exploits wherein, in times of trouble, he gives a good account; but his home-duty hits been varied by garrison-service at Gibraltar annul Alalta; till, satiate of honour, having risen to the rank of Quartermaster-Sergeant, he retired to private tills.

The habit ofjournal-writing, Mr. ANTON telIS us in his; preface, is now common in the ranks of the army. When he first entered it, the custom was more rare, we imagine, from the want of ability to write ; but having been educated in a village-school, our author was not only suHiciently accomplished with his pen, but united the poet to the diarist. " From in) entering the service," says lie, "in 1803, anti! 1811, I kept a jouroal of what I thought worthy of recording,. This journal I composed in rhyme ; and to tell the truth, I thought it poetry. In 1811, 1 purch:uela grammar ; Idler stinlying it a little, I wancoahlril t•i cli,rovrr HIM I had trespassed again it every rule of the art. And all hough tlitEre was nothing,* in- delicate or offensive in.my work, yet I was vexed that l had been KO silly as to show it to fliers of learnim, and committed it to the names. Still 1 was bent on journalizing ; and having once commenced in rhyme, I felt no inclinatimi to discontinue, more particularly. so as my transfer of survive to the 1,1ne would doubtless enable tire to witness events more worthy lir ITC11111. hi:tving horned my former journal, I commenced my new one on toy landing in Spain in 1813, and carried it OH 1111i il 18111. * * * " Iry 1827, 1 had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a gentleman who hail an excellent library at his colonel/id, turd by him was fsvottre I with die perusal of some excellent 1)0.(4. I now began to s..e my rhyming journal from 1813 to 18111 in almwit the same contemieible li.ht a, I had don.. the pre- ceding one which I had burned, turd 1 set to remodel my 1111111M.1.11)t. I thCre.• fOre Ind only to transpose the loth:pad of my rhyme to prose, and them question myself which of the two was the better."

Luckily, the Quartermaster-Sergeant rightly decided in favour of prose: his decision would have been still better if' he had struck out sundry " apostrophes," and other examples of poetical. digression, which, however fitted liar the original rhyme, are out of

place in a prose narrative, and give it an unreal air. Till we met with the above explanation in the latter part of the volume, we

HUMBER sTnunni.ns.

To a small closet adjohting that %Odell we were to occupy, lodged three un- fathomv girls, lately itrilved front Naohltnn, font which they' had been induced (by prionis,s marriage) to follow their lovers, now stationed near

Effiolitirgh. These poor gills, after being drown sn far from home, were disap- pointed, and they now felt ashamed to return. Yet, although they I it acted Inconsiderately, and perhaps with smite levity, they were neither idly ime wan- tonly inelitied : they wire diligently employed it tie days tambooring line muslin; timid alien this work ,:tiled, they n.se came every morning, talked barefooted to Leith, and were there employed unshipping coals. At night they rettithe.1 to a cold, uxileomeless hoOxe, in prelim e their seamy meal ; while Milne Uagenel'utl, lairs ,i;te tbrown out, as they were turned from the tire, t hat they Might fiat wily I:cep the house in fuel, but tIwtoselves :have working ai snub a

thought the finery interpolated by the gentleman who revised the author's proof-sheets.

The Retrospect ige a Military Life is not a book of changeful for- tune and wonderful adventures: even the perils and privations it narrates lose some of their striking effect from the character of the author. Besides that contentedness with little that we have al- luded to, Mr. Ayrox has the hard-headedness characteristic of his countrymen ; a strong liking for his profession, rendering even its toils and dangers welcome ; coupled with a full sense of the neces- sity of subordination, and a touch of reverence for all his bet ters and those who are put in authority over him, which must. be so valuable in a private or non-commissioned officer. Hence, the scanty rations and accommodation, the exposure to weather, and even the wounds and casualties of battle, that would be so terribly novel to the ele- gant young man nursed in luxury and skilled in letter-craft, do not seem to have made a deep impression upon the hardy Highlander. He narrates them truly, plainly, and even graphically ; but in his hands they have nothing of the romance we attach to war. His remarks on punishment are all in favour of the severe mode, and flogging he upholds as absolutely necessary. Nor does he seem greatly to care about any change in the present system of promo- tion, beyond a better administration, which should favour mere eye-service less ; though we cannot perceive how this is to be effected, since an officer will naturally recommend the man who seems most soldierly and attentive. Officers risen from the rinks, he says, are always the most tyrannical and exacting ; and the men prefer being commanded by persons of civil rank and fortune. This feeling is perhaps founded in our national regard for aristo- cracy, but some of it springs from a regard to number one. The gentleman has more money to spend; and his " influence" may re- commend the well-conducted soldier on his discharge to some place, public or private, as park-keeper. door-keeper, or what not. The soldier of fortune, having nothing but his pay, is driven to exact petty services, and has no "influence" at all. These points are not badly brought out by Sergeant ANTON ; but the real value of his book is in the insight it gives into the feel- ings, habits, and manner of lire of the common soldier, with some incidental glimpses of the poor in general, as well as the conforma- tion it adds to the maxim of the ancient Roman writers on war, always to recruit your army from the hardiest peasantry. Who but peasants, and the very hardiest peasants, would have marched in this way for the mere pleasure of visiting home, or have b:.Tn satis- fied anal saving upon such a mess-table as the following extracts describe?

VOLUNTEER-MARCHING. Our knapsacks contained our complete kits, as well as our new great-coats, and were tar from icing light ; but our hearts were not heavy nor our limbs feeble : we travelled all night, and reached Keith a little past mom next day, a distance of lily-six miles. ly companions barring little further to go in order to reach their reept•etive parties, remained in Keith next (lay, while 1 set out alone to If untly, a hence, after calling on a few friends and bidding them fare- well, I proceeded to In verury. This was a journey of more than thirty miles that day. Next morning I reached Aberdeen, where my mother had been some years residing : here 1 rested five days, and on the sixth proceeded on my journey. I reached Montrose about sunset, having thus travelled thirty-seven miles. The next day I travelled to Kireably, a distance of flirty miles. 1 can- not say that 1 bad any necessity for thus pressing ffirward ; but as I now con- sidered myself a soldier in reality, and having promised to he. in Edinburgh as soon as the party that was marching by the shorter route, I was determined to inure myself to fatigue end privatiom so that 1 might Irate less cause to con- sider Mete distressing if they should come upon me unexpectedly. SOLDIER'S MESS rowel- YEARS SINCE.

I shall here Mention our usual meals (with Which we were perfectly con- tented) during the time we were in (latters, as they differ so widely from what soldiers maw-a. days are accustomed to ; premising that we liad our provisions, without contract, at our owl! purchasing. We breakfasted about nine in the morning, On tread and milk ; dined about two in the often noon, on potatoes and a couple of salt boring, boiled in the pot with the potatoes; a bottle of sin:W- heel., (commonly called srt;pcs,) and a slice of bread served for supper, when are were onnToscO to take that meal, width soldiers seldom tin. On the whole, I am certain our expenses for autssing, dear as markets were, did not exeeed three shillings and sixpence each weekly : and to do our landlady justice, she was not anxious to encourage extravagance ii preparing and cooking our meals, patheolarly such as required fuel and attention ; lord in dud,: matters we were far Irom being troublesome or particular. Our obliging landlady would, when requided, bring its a pennyworth of soup, called kale, fir our dinner, instead of herring ; and it we had a little cause to remark on the want of cleanliness in the dish or its contents, she jocosely replied, " It tale's a deal o' dirt to poison sogcrs."

Here is a sketch of


After having seen the provisions distributed, I set about looking out for some accommodation for my wife; for we had not as yet been accustomed to lie on the open field, us in bivouac, nor even seen the like, and the tent was far from comfortable for a poor wearied young woman : I shall not mention delicacy, thr that would be out of place----we must submit to circumstances. The names of seventeen Olen were on the tent besides myself; so it may be easily guessed how crowded it must have beet!, bad the %%hole been ott' duty, but this was seldom the ease. However, as no other shelter was to be had, we took a berth under it. Eleven whiter; Ian in it that night along with us, all stretched with their feet to the centre, and their heads to the curtain of the tent, every man's knapsack below his head, and his clothes and accoutrements on his body ; the one-half of the blankets under and the other spread over the whole, so that we ;di lay in one bed. Often did my poor wife look up to the thin canvass that screened her 'rave from the night-dew, and wish fur the approaching morn. It was announced at last, befiwe daybreak, by an exclamation of " Rouse I" which passed front tent to tent along the lines, when every man started up, folded his blanket, and stropped it on the hack of his knapsack, ready for a march.


The weather again pot a stop to hostilities, and arrangements were made,

without further delay, for the troops taking op winter-quarters. That part of the country assigned for our division extended from Villafranque (the head- quarters of General Clinton) to the heights overlooking Bayonne, a district already overrun by both armies, and stripped ofevery article of provision. The houses allotted for our accommodation were in a very dilapidated state, and the man were ;lc ranch (701%1101 in then: as on board transports. The flooring of the litmus was so openly laid, tied articles heavier than dust were frequently falling, either neeidentally or tit,signedly, for mischief or sport, on the head of some grunilding Mow. It was not a little owing to the generous dispo- sition of our oilleers cotifilling themselves to less room than they might have dune if ot here. ise disp,ised, that our married people had generally an apartment assigned for ilieeiselve,. In short, every class was so accustomed to the habits and 'usages of di,: campaign, that amidst every privation each man made himself happy, or apparent ly so. PiloviSioNS IN WINTER•qUAIITERS.

We were paying, at this din:, two shillings and sixpeore for a loaf of bread between turn Will three pounds v.eight, terIncd a PnInPitinailt; the same price was asked for a pound ot l:wan stig ,r ; a pound of soap ,, ..... the site price; and an English pint of mil!: was tanperee, lint that could rarely he obtained. ColTee and tea were scarce articles, end beyond the reach of :t soldier's purse. We toasted the biscuit to serve ;is a substitute for coffee. and when a little wheat could he obtained it was pr.. ft'. rl-ll : we also considered wheat a very good mess, when boiled ii water alai kit a few minutes to cool and swell.

The narrative of the three principal actions presents a very good idea of battle as seen by an individual, with the prefix and affix of fatigue, hunger, wet, wouds, and discomfort of every kind,

sufficient, it would seem a priori, to unman every one. These points, however, require a greater space to exhibit effectively., than we can bestow : but we can recommend the volume, especially the earlier portions of it, as an interesting piece of humble auto- biography, and an excellent picture of military life, painted by a very respectable soldier with a satisfied mind.