Stephen Graham A Private in the Guards

ISBN 13: 9780217432931

A Private in the Guards

9780217432931: A Private in the Guards

This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1919. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... II LITTLE SPARTA BARRACKS "To the Asylum and Barracks" says a finger-post pointing upward to Little Sparta, and you climb the hill to the place where you must serve as a novice in soldiering. The lunatic asylum and the barracks stand side by side, and the ineffable sergeant-instructor when he has you in his care is bound to inquire whether by chance you have climbed over the wall. As you climb the steep hill you inevitably wonder what sort of gruelling you will be put through in the famous soldier factory. It has a fame which is somewhat thrilling, the severest training-ground in England, the place where the most rigorous discipline in Europe is maintained. Not even Prussian Guards had a more terrible time in the making. "If you go to Little Sparta it's kill or cure." "If you don't break down during the training you've got a remarkably fine constitution." "If you get through your course at Little Sparta you can get through anything." There is a poor but large village without village life, long lines of poor cottages and poky, mysterious shops; there are sweet-stuff shops, tea-shops, cobblers' shops, diminutive drapers, and crowded little grocers, where the soldiers buy macaroni boxes to make their packs square; there is the Asylum tavern, there is a row of labourers' cottages with lodgings for men who live out, and just outside the gates the little establishment where a man 21 and his wife make a living by selling the soldiers sausage and mashed. At night there is ever the characteristic tramp of guardsmen's feet, the steady beat of army boots as twos and threes stamp past in the style learned upon the barrack square. Civilians have a garishly emaciated look beside the robust recruits, there is a curious humility about their ways, a gentleness, a hesitancy. But ...

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