Quotes Fore and Aft


Jakin halted and beat the long roll of the Assembly, while the fife squealed despairingly.“Right about face! Hold up, Lew, you’re drunk,” said Jakin. They wheeled and marched back:—

Those heroes of antiquity
Ne’er saw a cannon-ball,
Nor knew the force o’ powder,

“Here they come!” said Jakin. “Go on, Lew”:— …


This is from “The Drums of the Fore and Aft”, collected in Wee W illie Winkie.

In a brutal little frontier war,  an inexperienced British regiment, fading a force of fanatical Afghans, have retreated in paic. Two young drummer boys, Jakin and Lew are left  stranded between the opposing forces. Emboldened by drink, they decide to rally their comrades, marching back and forth and playing the fife and drum.

There is a volley, the boys drop,  but the regiment returns to the fight, and the battle is won.