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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The Kipling Reader.

‘It’s like home, rather,’ said Scott.  ’I remember—­

’H’sh!  Listen!—­dear.’And it began again: 

        When shepherds watched their flocks by night—­

‘A-h-h!’ said William, drawing closer to Scott.

        All seated on the ground,
        The Angel of the Lord came down,
        And glory shone around. 
        ‘Fear not,’ said he (for mighty dread. 
        Had seized their troubled mind);
        ’Glad tidings of great joy I bring
        To you and all mankind.’

This time it was William that wiped her eyes.

WEE WILLIE WINKIE

AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

His full name was Percival William Williams, but he picked up the other name in a nursery-book, and that was the end of the christened titles.  His mother’s ayah called him Willie-Baba, but as he never paid the faintest attention to anything that the ayah said, her wisdom did not help matters.

His father was the Colonel of the 195th, and as soon as Wee Willie Winkie was old enough to understand what Military Discipline meant, Colonel Williams put him under it.  There was no other way of managing the child.  When he was good for a week, he drew good-conduct pay; and when he was bad, he was deprived of his good-conduct stripe.  Generally he was bad, for India offers many chances of going wrong to little six-year-olds.

Children resent familiarity from strangers, and Wee Willie Winkie was a very particular child.  Once he accepted an acquaintance, he was graciously pleased to thaw.  He accepted Brandis, a subaltern of the 195th, on sight.  Brandis was having tea at the Colonel’s, and Wee Willie Winkie entered strong in the possession of a good-conduct badge won for not chasing the hens round the compound.  He regarded Brandis with gravity for at least ten minutes, and then delivered himself of his opinion.

‘I like you,’ said he slowly, getting off his chair and coming over to Brandis.  ’I like you.  I shall call you Coppy, because of your hair.  Do you mind being called Coppy?  It is because of ve hair, you know.’

Here was one of the most embarrassing of Wee Willie Winkie’s peculiarities.  He would look at a stranger for some time, and then, without warning or explanation, would give him a name.  And the name stuck.  No regimental penalties could break Wee Willie Winkie of this habit.  He lost his good-conduct badge for christening the Commissioner’s wife ‘Pobs’; but nothing that the Colonel could do made the Station forego the nickname, and Mrs. Collen remained ‘Pobs’ till the end of her stay.  So Brandis was christened ‘Coppy,’ and rose, therefore, in the estimation of the regiment.

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