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for whom this fate is inevitably reserved. It varies with different ranks; it is depressingly high in all. But it need not depress the reader of the K.R. & A.I., because it is outside their concern.

No one will deny, in fact, that this chapter and its successor, which deals with the entry, training, and advancement of men and boys, make fine heartening reading. They scintillate with a profusion of gold lace, with a whole firmament of stars to every one of which a wagon is hitched. Avenues of success open in every conceivable direction. By talking fifteen languages besides his own an officer can supplement his pay by £2 per diem. Failure is scarcely hinted at except in the matter of a swimming test, and then it is decreed that the Service Certificate of an incompetent shall be branded with the inscription 66 Cannot swim."

But after this the book takes on a sterner note Courtsmartial and Discipline generally. It is not easy to sum up these chapters in brief, for Discipline is the pivot on which the whole complex organisation revolves. The Marine defaulter who, on being sentenced at the conclusion of his trial, remarked, "Ho! Naval Justice! I don't think!" must have felt that his attempt at an adequate summary was a failure. He failed badly, as a matter of fact, because his observation must be interpreted into a reproach of unfairness, whereas

no code could be more scrupulously just. What was probably uppermost in his mind was the fact that what constitutes a grievous offence in the Navy may be no more than an amiable eccentricity, or even a virtue ashore. The Index of Offences (although admitting in a note that it is suggestive rather than exhaustive) emphasises the gulf: Being habitually slovenly," "Receiving, giving away, or playing for wine, spirit, or beer," "Lending money at interest," "Neglect with regard to clothes,' "Quarrelling," are a few selected at random; each is labelled with its appropriate punishment.


Naval punishments have at all times been subject to criticism. They have been in the past savagely stupid. They were largely conceived by ignorant men for the correction of subordinates, many of whom chose seafaring as the alternative to the gallows. Up to quite recent years some of the bullying stupidity of a bygone era still clung to certain punishments. It is inconceivable that until a few years ago men could be compelled to spend every moment of their leisure for a fortnight, standing with their hands behind their backs, staring at the paintwork. Yet it was so, and in ships with a "taut " Commander the length of the battery would be ornamented with a row of these unfortunates.

Men may still be childish in respect of some of their failings, but they can


no longer be punished as chil- gods-or what in a sailor's life corresponds to them,-detached for a while from intimacy and obligation, say to his soul, “I am." And lastly, it conjures a picture of a nook between decks forward, crammed with ham and chocolates, cigarettes and liver, kippers, tooth-paste, safety razors, eggs, sardines, cabbage, tinned pine - apple, onions, and blacking-smelling, moreover, of all these things,round which at supper-time the younger members of the ship's company cluster like dace under a bridge.

Punishments are the hardest things in the world to reform. The victim, whose criticism would be of value, is not (in the Navy anyhow) invited to give nis views on their amendThe disciplinarian who inflicts them, even if aware of defects in the system, is loth to move in the matter lest he makes a breach through which will pour a flood of mawkish sentimentality to undermine the whole citadel. But no one who reads the chapter on Punishments to day can level against them the accusation of cruelty or stupidity. Perhaps the highest testimony to their humanity and the psychological insight of their reformers is the fact that the number of men punished daily is relatively about two-thirds of those who "toed pitch" in pre-war days.

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After a contemplation of these sombre chapters, the effect of the heading "Messing, cabins and canteens" is like emerging from the Law Courts into a sunny street. Here again there are prohibitions, as there are policemen in the sunny street. But the mental picture is of living spaces crowded with healthy contented men, of wardrooms and gunrooms and warrant officers' messes where men, obeying mysterious laws, contrive to live in harmony for lengthy periods remote from outside influences; of rows of cabins discreetly curtained, to which a man can retreat, and in the presence of his household

This genial atmosphere is maintained by the heading of the chapter which follows. "Leave of Absence," it reads, and in all the book nothing has a more benevolent ring about it. "The blessings of the land and the fruits of our labours "rise before the reader's eyes in manifold guises. But the very first paragraph raises an impassive hand to quell any hasty and undue enthusiasm.

"Leave of absence to officers and men is to be granted or withheld as the circumstances of the Service may render expedient.”

Thus might the Sphinx itself have spoken: dispassionate, inflexible, sublimely equitable, gazing over the bowed heads of suppliant humanity, indifferent alike to their labour or its fruits, with unseeing eyes upon the Infinite.

It would be ridiculous for any one to cavil at the justice of this clause. It is a precise and comprehensive summing up of the situation. But I do

not somehow think a seaman wrote it.

There are chapters, on the other hand, obviously the work of seamen. One of these contains the Regulations for preventing collisions at sea. It suggests a caravan route in the wilderness whitened by the bones of travellers, made easy to follow by those who never reached their destination. Perhaps the most vital of all the varied knowledge acquired by the seaman, it is instilled into him at a very early stage in his career.

A footnote on one of the pages brings to memory, after the lapse of a quarter of a century,


vision of the seamanship deck in the old Britannia, where that strange figure known to a generation of Naval Officers "Skipper Thomas " held forth upon the rudiments of the Rule of the Road. The note in question reads, "In cases where the Rules require a bell to be used, a drum may be substituted on board Turkish vessels. ..."

It relates to sound signals for use in what Skipper Thomas, shifting his quid and clearing his throat impressively, used to designate


Then, fixing his class with round protuberant eyes like pale-coloured marbles, nodding his head to give emphasis to the words so that the sparse ringlets adorning it trembled,


he proceeded to enumerate the precautions observed by vessels in such an emergency. At the end he paused, preparatory to delivering himself of the climax for which his hearers invariably waited with breathless anticipation. It came in a tone rich and husky, tinged with ineffable contempt

"But in the Turkish Marine they beats a drum!”

It never failed to bring the house down, and until my eye lit on that footnote I had halfsuspected Skipper Thomas of making it up. The Turkish Marine must be a conservative organisation. Like myself, it has passed through a good many vicissitudes since those days. For some reason I am infinitely glad to see it still beats a drum, and that the K.R. & A.I. think it worth while to record the fact.

Those who visited the Navy, Army, and Air Force Tournament some years ago may remember a squad of recruits from the Royal Marine Depot at Deal. They simply went through the Manual Exercise, a performance that can be seen any day on any paradeground where recruits are being drilled. Two features made it an unique and memorable display: one was their unsurpassed smartness, and the other lay in the fact that the Sergeant Instructor gave his orders in a tone practically inaudible to the public seated round the arena.

Once a hapless lad's bayonet caught in the frog, and the spectacular effect of

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the blades leaping out in a level Returns and Correspondence, wave of steel was marred for on the other hand, deal with an instant. The Sergeant In- the matter in considerable destructor said nothing. There tail. They particularise the was a pause while he eyed the width of margins, and give delinquent in utter silence, his explicit directions as to how face expressionless, and they papers are to be fastened towent on to the next movement. gether-together with a wealth The spectators' blood ran cold. of minutiæ connected with what So with the chapter on Royal is called "paper work." There Marines. is an elaborate meticulousness about the whole chapter not equalled even in the orders about magazines and shellrooms.

"The officers and non-commissioned officers shall exercise command agreeably to their respective ranks," we read, and look in vain for the prohibitions and admonitions with which the rest of the Regulations resound. It is all very "agreeable," like the voice of that Sergeant Instructor; very brief-so brief that it seems out of all proportion to the great tradition of the Corps and the part they play in Naval Organisation. It is significant of the former that the first force despatched to China during the recent crisis was composed of Royal Marines, of the latter that when serving afloat they are still invariably messed between the officers and the seamen.

One presumes that even Royal Marines, being human, err sometimes. When they do their officers and non-commissioned officers just look at them in silence-as long as they are in the public eye. What happens afterwards is their own affair. That is why the chapter which the Royal Marines have contributed to the K.R. & A.I., which any one can read, is quite a short one.

Now paper work in the Navy is a dire and terrible thingmore terrible, in fact, than the spoken word, and, dear knows, that can be frightful enough, more potentially devastating even than the magazine. We will suppose that one Snooks, a perfectly harmless, athletically inclined young officer, invents something. Possibly he stumbles upon his discovery while taking the engine of his motor-bicycle to pieces. Or it may be that he thinks of it in his bath, and calls down upon his head the wrath of his messmates by buying up one of the only two available baths beyond his allotted time. Very well. He ruminates over his idea for a while, and finally approaches his captain with a rather garbled story and a lot of little bits of metal or wire or squared paper or whatever is the basis of the invention, and proceeds to elaborate verbally.

The Captain, having promised to take his daughter to

The instructions relating to pick bluebells, it being her

birthday, is sympathetic about Snooks' invention, but anxious to get ashore.

"I tell you what," he says, "you put it all on paper. D'you see? Then I'll send it on to the Admiral with a few covering remarks, and we'll get it up to the Admiralty. It looks a perfectly sound gadget to me. But I can't do much till we get it down on paper. Eh?"

"Ay, ay, sir," assents the inventor doubtfully, and sets off to the ship's office, where he borrows a dozen sheets of foolscap, and retires to his cabin.

Some hours later he emerges, but not quite the same Snooks. There is a slightly mysterious air about him, tinged with selfimportance. He approaches the Captain's Secretary and offers him a cocktail, which the latter accepts warily, with an eye on the scroll of foolscap clutched in Snooks' hand.

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marks. the Admiralty, albeit a measured one (during which Snooks forgot he had ever invented anything, and was intriguing to get appointed to China), resembled that of a snowball. By the time the dossier was a foot thick, and had been retrieved from a Department whose Head, being a little man, used it to augment his height by sitting on it, a sub-committee discovered that there was something in Snooks' invention. It was decided to issue a Handbook on Snooksophones, and as the man to write it was obviously Snooks, his appointment to command a gunboat in China was cancelled, and he was summoned to the Admiralty. Here they gave him an office, a pot of ink and a pen, an abundance of crested foolscap, and a lady typist.

Its progress through

Snooks tried the pen

and found the nib didn't suit him. Looked at the typist, and decided she did. coughed nervously. mind if I dictate to you? inquired.

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He "Do you " he

"Not in the least," said she, speaking the truth, and drew her chair nearer to his desk. "Er," said Snooks.

"Now, let's see. Handbook on Snooksophones.' Got that down? Right. Chapter one. Er-full stop. Er-just read out what you've written, will you?"

But this is a digression from what I originally started to demonstrate, which was the catastrophic effects of putting

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