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the suggestions made, the main object in doing so has been to show that possibilities, and not castles in the air, are being discussed.
To institute and perfect such an organisation will need a man of influence, energy and ability. Should this paper induce any such philanthropist to give the matter his serious consideration, it will have more than fulfilled the most sanguine expectations of the writer.
Since this article was completed the General Council of the Bar has considered certain proposed New Rules for the assistance of Poor Litigants and has passed resolutions(1) Sanctioning the gratuitous assistance of poor litigants
by barristers. (2) Advocating the establishment of a public fund to meet
the expenses involved in connexion with documents,
witnesses, etc., and
Defence Act system for the selection of Counsel and
A. F. SCHUSTER.
THE MAJOR AND THE MEMBER.
The Major and the subaltern sat beside a little fire of wood. The flame ebbing and flowing made their spurs sparkle, and alternately lit and shadowed their faces; overhead a million millions of stars shone frostily down, while a young moon was sinking in the West. A hundred horses, picketed in double line, were eating with a comfortable sound of mastication the piles of dried grass that lay before them; and behind them lay the saddles in orderly row, with the lances stuck in the ground and standing out dimly and slimly against the star light.
Men stood in groups beside half-a-dozen fires, warming brown hands and extending cold booted feet to the blaze. Two goats hung from a tree and were being dressed by self-appointed butchers, whose knives glittered in the firelight. Near by a man was blowing the embers which glowed in the scooped-out fireplace beneath a huge gridiron, while a couple more were manipulating into flat unleavened cakes great lumps of heavy dough, and placing them in turn upon the grid.
The Major stirred the fire with the toe of his boot, and the resulting flare lit up his face and that of his companion.
'I bet anything,' said the Major, that some of these agitating fellows have been getting at this village. I have never known the people make trouble before about finding supplies for a regiment, let alone a squadron. They are uncommonly glad as a rule to get a little ready money, poor devils.'
'I was here myself last spring,' said the other, 'and they brought a great deal more than we wanted, and were very civil indeed. The head man was rather a decent old boy, but he seems to have gone now. I wonder what's the matter with them?
* Some one has been getting at them, I bet anything. The new head man was downright insolent, and I shall report him. Mind you don't lose those receipts for the payments; I expect he will say we did not pay for what we had.'
The challenge of a sentry interrupted them.
* What do you want? ' replied an angry voice; 'where's your officer?
'Hullo, who's that? ' exclaimed the Major. 'Go and see who it is, Charles, and ask him to come to dinner.'
He glanced at the hanging goats as he spoke, and saw that dismemberment was now in progress.
* Pity we did not bring something from the mess after all,' replied the subaltern, as he walked off in the direction of the sentry.
Turning the corner of the horse-lines he hurried towards a group that was gathered near the 'guard. A loud and angry English voice broke again on his astonished ear, and as he ran forward he caught fragments of heated talk.
'What do you mean by stopping me? I want to speak to the Officer ... What? I don't understand your language. Why don't you speak English? You are a Sergeant, aren't you, with all those stripes on your arm? Eh?'
The Sikh non-commissioned Officer of the Guard who had come to the sentry's assistance was as much nonplussed as the Englishman, and he turned with relief to the Subaltern.
* This Sahib wishes to see you,' he said in Hindustani; ‘I do not understand what he says, but he says continually, Afsar, Afsar.”,
The stranger surveyed the Subaltern with disgust; he had understood that there was a British officer in the camp, and before him stood a turbaned person whom in the darkness he took to be another native.
'I hope to goodness you understand English?' he said, rather crossly. “I want to see your officer. This infernal
' sentry-chap will not let me pass.' * Quite right, too,' answered the subaltern. That's what
. he is there for, to stop unauthorised strangers, you know. Who are you? And what can I do for you?'
“I have just told you that I want your officer. Please call him.'
Well,' replied the subaltern, 'I am an officer myself, if it comes to that. But my Major is over there.'
* You an officer?' ejaculated the stranger in surprise; 'why I thought you were another native.'
'Very likely,' said the other indifferently; ' probably it's my hat makes you think that. But
had better come over and see the Major; he is over there.'
He nodded rather vaguely across the darkness.
• Over where?' asked the other. Perhaps you had better ask him to come to me here.'
The subaltern gazed at him in surprise. Dimly lighted by the non-commissioned officer's lantern, a small man with a blue jowl stood before him; he wore a large solar topee, and the expression of his face so far as it could be seen beneath this big hat was far from amiable.
Oh, no, certainly not,' said the subaltern, in reply to this last remark; ' the Major has had a pretty long day already. If you want to see him you will have to come with me. And if you will excuse me for saying so, you had better talk politely to him, for the Major's rather a stiff chap when he is sick.'
Do you mean that he is ill ? Nothing infectious, is it?'
' Oh, dear no; I meant that he gets stuffy when he loses his shirt.'
Look here, young man,' said the stranger rudely, ' you seem to be having a joke with me. First you say your officer is ill; then you tell me that he has lost his underclothing. Now that won't do; I have taken the trouble to come here on a matter of importance, and I am not to be put off with that kind of talk.'
The subaltern looked at him in astonishment; he was feeling very much annoyed, for he, too, had had a long day and he was hungry as well as tired. But he curbed the rough speech that rose to his lips.
‘I have told you as plainly as I can,' he said with laboured patience, “that the Major gets angry when he's annoyed. And if you talk to him as you have talked to me he certainly will be annoyed.'
A distant shout from the Major reached their ears.
Bring the chap along with you.'
The subaltern turned on his heel.
• Come on,' he said with as much politeness as he could muster.
The oddly-assorted pair made their way back to the officers' fire; the Major rose as they approached.
Good evening,' he said; 'I'm afraid we can't offer you much hospitality; but dinner, such as it is, will be here pretty soon, I expect.'
• Thanks, I have dined,' said the stranger shortly. “May I ask if you are officer in command here?'
* Yes, I am. And this is Mr. Lambert, of my regiment. My name is Matheson.'
'I,' said the stranger, pausing on the word as if to lend emphasis to what was to follow it, ' am called Luxford, Member of Parliament for the Shortwich Division.'
“Ah, indeed,' said the Major. * Very glad to meet you. Won't you sit down? I am afraid there isn't a chair, but here is some straw.'
'I will not sit down, thanks,' said Mr. Luxford. 'I am stopping the night at the rest-house in the village, and a complaint has been made to me about the manner in which you have extorted supplies for your party from the villagers.'
* Well? ' said the Major. The subaltern smiled to himself, for he recognised the tone of the Major's voice.
• The headman of the village came to me, bringing the local schoolmaster to act as interpreter, and he told me that you had demanded and actually forced him to provide flour and meat, and corn and hay. I wish to know what explanation you have to offer.'
The Major sat down on a bundle of straw and again stirred the fire with his boot.
Charles,' he said, you had better remove this chap and put him out of camp. I don't like to do it myself, or I should kick him from here to the village.'
The subaltern, fatigue falling from him like a cast cloak, advanced smiling.
* You silly ass,' he said, “I told you that you had better be civil. Come along.'
The stranger was furious.
'If you lay a finger on me I will prosecute you for assault,' he said.
‘Oh, cheese it,' answered the subaltern, laying a heavy hand
· Wait a bit, Charles,' said the Major. 'Look here, Mr. Luxford, I don't know much about the law, but I rather fancy that you have laid yourself open to a summons for using