“Th’ Avingin’ Line,
“Their Food, and
“As th’ dhread formation moved off in th’ bright sunlight iv that fair day in March, with th’ band playin’ a quick shtep an’ th’ colors flyin’ in th’ air, it was a sight to make ivry Englishman proud iv th’ fact that he had to be an Englishman. Detarmination was written in ivry face—th’ detarmination to go on at anny risk till tea time. No flinchin’, no hisitation, ivry man with his head erect an’ th’ feelin’ in his heart that on him rested th’ security iv th’ impire if so. On, an’ iver on they marched, fr’m Spimfontein, past th’ gleamin’ spires iv Wa-aberneck, till they saw in th’ distance th’ long, low line iv purple light that marked th’ walls iv Boobenastofein. It was thin four o’clock P.M., an’ th’ column halted while th’ bugles blew th’ cheery call to tea. Eager hands unshipped th’ marmalade an’ opened th’ caddies, bread was toasted on th’ small stoves carrid be ivry officer’s valet, th’ pickets an’ scouts were dispatched f’r plum cake an’ f’rgettin’ f’r a moment th’ thriles iv th’ campaign, th’ rough warryors indulged in that repast that has done so much to make Englishmen what they are. At siven, havin’ taken all precautions, havin’ placed th’ powdher in a cool runnin’ brook an’ tethered th’ mules to th’ rifles, th’ vast army slept. It was breakfast time whin th’ God iv Slumber was dhriven off be th’ other British God iv Appetite. Such, Hinnissy, is th’ brief story iv Gin’ral Kitchener’s cillybrated dhrive, as I read it in th’ pa-apers.
“To some extint it was succissful an’ to some other extints not. Th’ bands were good. Th’ tea was fine, though some prefer Oolong. Rifles, pompons, mules, fusileers, etcethry had been lost. But not wan British gin’ral had been captured. Not wan. They were all at breakfast an’ th’ great heart iv th’ British nation was sad. Th’ great heart begun to grumble, which is a way th’ great heart iv a nation has. It ast what was th’ use iv this costly manoover—if they was as manny gin’rals left afther it as befure. While in this mood, it was ilicthryfied be a piece iv startlin’ intilligince. Th’ whisper ran round, grew to be a murmur, increased to a roar, mounted to a shriek that Mechoon was captured.
“It seemed too good to be thrue. No wan cud believe it at first. But fin’lly it was officially announced in Parlymint be that hot headed ol’ pathrite, Lord Salsberry himsilf. In a voice choked be emotion he arose an’ give three cheers. Afther which he read Gin’ral Kitchener’s dispatch: ‘I have th’ pleasure to rayport that yisterdah at nine o’clock Lord Mechoon be a superb sthrategy had himsilf surrounded be an infeeryor foorce iv Boers undher Gin’ral Delaney or some such name. Our cust’mary precaution iv dhrawin’ in th’ pickets afther nightfall an’ buryin’ our rifles, which had repeatedly failed in th’ past owin’