Quotes Barracks

June 9 to 15


The tension snapped. Simmons fell back on the arm-rack deliberately – the men were at the far end of the room – and took out his rifle and pack of ammunition. ‘Don’t go playing the goat, Sim!’ said Losson. ‘Put it down’; but there was a quaver in his voice. Another man stooped, slipped his boot, and hurled it at Simmons’s head. The prompt answer was a shot which, fired at random, found its billet in Losson.


This is from “In The Matter of a Private” in ‘Soldiers Three’.

A much harried private, bullied by his fellow-soldiers, and driven to desperation by the heat, gives way to hysteria. He runs amuck with a rifle, shoots one of his fellows and wounds another, before being captured, tried, and hanged.

The fallin’-block had sprung free behind a full charge av powder – good care I tuk to bite down the brass afther takin’ out the bullet, that there might be somethin’ to give ut full worth – an’ had cut Tim from the lip to the corner av the right eye, lavin’ the eyelid in tatters, an’ so up along by the forehead to the hair…The dhrink and the stew that he was in pumped the blood strong…


This is from ‘Black Jack’ in ‘Soldiers Three’.

Mulvaney tells the tale of a plot among his fellow soldiers, to shoot their sergeant and put the blame on him. But he had discovered the plot, and tampered with the bullet in his rifle so that it blew back on the would-be killer.

“Knee to knee!” sings out Crook, wid a laugh whin the rush av our comin’ into the gut shtopped, an’ he was huggin’ a hairy great Paythan, neither bein’ able to do anything to the other, tho’ both was wishful.
“Breast to breast!” he sez, as the Tyrone was pushin’ us forward closer an’ closer.
“An’ hand over back!” sez a Sargint that was behin’. I saw a sword lick out past Crook’s ear, an’ the Paythan was tuk in the apple of his throat like a pig at Dromeen Fair.
“Thank ye, Brother Inner Guard,” sez Crook.


This is from “With the Main Guard” in ‘Soldiers Three’

Mulvaney tells a tale of a fight on the Frontier, long ago, to carry his comrades through a stifling June night in Fort Amara.