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pets, and the shouting of the multitude, I dressed myself in haste, sallied forth and followed a prodigious crowd of people to a place called the Battery. This is so denominated, I am told, from having once been defended with formidable wooden bulwarks, which in the course of a hard winter were thriftily pulled to pieces, by an economic corporation, to be distributed for fire-wood among the poor; this was done at the hint of a cunning old engineer, who assured them it was the only way in which their fortifications would ever be able to keep up a warm fire. Economy, my friend, is the watchword of this nation: I have been studying for a month past to divine its meaning, but truly am as much perplexed as ever. It is a kind of national starvation, an experiment how many comforts and necessaries the body politic can be deprived of before it perishes. It has already arrived to a lamentable degree of debility, and promises to share the fate of the Arabian philosopher, who proved that he could live without food, but unfortunately died just as he had brought his experiment to perfection.
On arriving at the battery, I found an immense army, of six hundred men, drawn up in a true mussulman crescent. At first, I supposed this was in compliment to myself, but my interpreter informed me that it was done merely for want of room, the corporation not being able to afford them sufficient to display in a straight line. As I expected a display of some grand evolutions and military manoeuvres, I determined to remain a tranquil spectator, in hopes that I might possibly collect some hints which might be of service to his highness.
This great body of men I perceived was under the command of a small bashaw, in yellow and gold, with white nodding plumes, and most formidable whiskers, which, contrary to the Tripolitan fashion, were in the neighbourhood of his ears instead of his nose. He had two attendants called aid-de-camps, (or tails,) being similar to a bashaw with two tails. The bashaw, though commander-in-chief, seemed to have little more to do than myself :-he was a spectator within the lines, and I without ;-he was clear of the rabble and I was encompassed by them, this was the only difference between us, except that he had the best opportunity of shewing his clothes. I waited an hour or two, with exemplary patience, expecting to see some grand military evolutions or a sham battle exhibited, but no such thing took place; the
men stood stock still, supporting their arms, groaning under the fatigues of war, and now and then sending out a foraging party, to levy contributions of beer and a favourite beverage which they denominate grog. As I perceived the crowd were active in examining the line, from one extreme to the other, and as I could see no other purpose, for which these sunshine warriors should be exposed so long to the merciless attacks of wind and weather, I of course concluded that this must be the review.
In about two hours the army was put in motion, and marched through some narrow streets, where the economic corporation had carefully provided a soft carpet of mud, to a magnificent castle of painted brick, decorated with grand pillars of pine boards. By the ardour which brightened in each countenance, I soon perceived that this castle was to undergo a vigorous attack. As the ordnance of the castle was perfectly silent, and as they had nothing but a straight street to advance through, they made their approaches with great courage and admirable regularity, until, within about a hundred feet of the castle, a pump opposed a formidable obstacle in their way, and put the whole army to a nonplus. The circumstance was sudden and unlooked for,-the commanding officer ran over all the military tactics with which his head was crammed, but none offered any expedient for the present awful emergency. The pump maintained its post, and so did the commander; there was no knowing which was most at a stand. The commanding officer ordered his men to wheel and take it in flank; the army accordingly wheeled, and came, full-butt, against it in rear, exactly as they were before.--" Wheel to the left !” cried the officer ; they did so; and again, as before, the inveterate pump intercepted their progress. “ Right about, face !" cried the officer; the men obeyed, but bungled; they faced back to back. Upon this the bashaw with two tails, with great coolness, undauntedly ordered his men to push right forward, pell-mell, pump or no pump; they gallantly obeyed : after unheard-of acts of bravery the pump was carried* without the loss of a man, and the army firmly entrenched itself under the very walls of the castle. The bashaw had then a coun
* Foote, in his laughable farce of the Mayor of Garratt has not displayed more genuine humour than is contained in this passage.
cil of war with his officers; the most vigorous measures were resolved on. An advanced guard of musicians were ordered to attack the castle without mercy : then the whole band opened a most tremendous battery of drums, fifes, tambourines, and trumpets, and kept up a thundering assault, as if the castle, like the walls of Jericho, spoken of in the Jewish chronicles, would tumble down at the blowing of rams' horns. After some time a parley ensued. The grand bashaw of the city appeared on the battlements of the castle, and, as far as I could understand from circumstances, dared the little bashaw of two tails to single combat; this, thou knowest, was in the style of ancient chivalry:—the little bashaw dismounted with great intrepidity, and ascended the battlements of the castle, where the great bashaw waited to receive him, attended by numerous dignitaries and worthies of his court, one of whom bore the splendid banners of the castle. The battle was carried on entirely by words, according to the universal custom of this country, of which I shall speak to thee more fully hereafter. The grand bashaw made a furious attack in a speech of considerable length; the little bashaw, by no means appalled, retorted with great spirit. The grand bashay attempted to rip him up with an argument, or stun him with a solid fact; but the little bashaw parried them both with admirable adroitness, and run him: clean through and through with a syllogism. The grand bashaw was overthrown, the banners of the castle yielded up to the little bashaw, and the castle surrendered after a vigorous defence of three hours, during which the besiegers suffered great extremity from muddy streets and a drizzling atmosphere.
On returning to dinner I soon discovered that, as usual, I had been indulging in a great mistake. The matter was all clearly explained to me by a fellow-lodger, who, on ordinary occasions, moves in the humble character of å tailor, but, in the present instance, figured in a high military station, denominated corporal. He informed me that what I had mistaken for a castle was the splendid palace of the municipality, and that the 'supposed attack was nothing more than the delivery of a flag given, by the authorities, to the army for its magnanimous defence of the town for upwards of twenty years past, that is, ever since the last war! O, my friend, surely every thing in this country is on
a great scale ! The conversation insensibly turned upon the military establishment of the nation, and I do assure thee that my friend the tailor, though being, according to a national proverb, but the ninth part of a man, yet acquitted himself, on military concerns, as ably as the grand bashaw of the empire himself. He observed that their rulers had decided that wars were very useless and expensive, and ill befitting an economic philosophic nation; they had, therefore, made up their minds never to have any wars, and, consequently, there was no need of soldiers or military discipline: as, however, it was thought highly ornamental to a city to have a number of men dressed in fine clothes and feathers, strutting about the streets on a holiday, and as the women and children were particularly fond of such raree shows, it was ordered that the tailors of the different cities throughout the empire should, forthwith, go to work, and cut out, and manufacture, soldiers as fast as their sheers and needles would permit.
These soldiers have no pecuniary pay; and their only recompense for the immense services which they render their country, in their voluntary parades, is the plunder of smiles, and winks, and nods, which they extort from the ladies.* As they have no opportunity, like the vagrant Arabs, of making inroads on their neighbours, and as it is necessary to keep up their military spirit, the town is, therefore, now and then, but particularly on two days of the year, given up to their ravages. The arrangements are contrived with admirable address, so that every officer, from the basha w down to the drum-major, (the chief of the eunuchs, or musicians,) shall have his share of that invaluable booty, the admiration of the fair. As to the soldiers, poor animals, they, like the privates in all great armies, have to bear the brunt of danger and fatigue, while their officers receive all the glory and reward. The narrative of a parade-day will exemplify this more clearly.
The chief bashaw, in the plenitude of his anthority, orders a grand review, of the whole army, at two o'clock. The bashaw with two tails, that he may have an opportunity of vapouring about as greatest man on the field, orders the army to assemble at twelve. The kiaya, or colonel, as he
* I think this mode of remuneration may, with propriety, betermed the “ cheap defence of nations.”
is called, that is, commander of one hundred and twenty men, orders his regiment, or tribe, to collect, one mile, at least, from the place of parade, at eleven. Each captain, (or fag-rag, as we term them,) commands his squad to meet at ten, at least a half-mile from the regimental parade, and, to close all, the chief of the eunuchs orders his infernal concert of fifes, trumpets, cymbals, and kettle-drums, to assemble at ten; from that moment the city receives no quarter. -All is noise, hooting, hubbub, and combustion. Every window, door, crack, and loop-hole, from the garret to the cellar, is crowded with the fascinating fair of all ages, and of all complexions. The mistress smiles through the windows of the drawing-room; the chubby chambermaid lolls out of the attic casement, and a host of sooty wenches roll their white eyes, and grin, and chatter, from the cellar-door. Every nymph seems anxious to yield voluntarily that tribute which the heroes of their country demand. First struts the chief eunuch, or drum-major, at the head of his sable band, magnificently arrayed in tarnished scarlet. Alexander himself could not have spurned the earth more superbly. A host of ragged boys shout in his train, and inflate the bosom of the warrior with tenfold self-complacency. Aster he has rattled his kettle-drums through the town, and swelled and swaggered like a turkey-cock before all the dingy Floras, and Dianas, and Junos, and Didos, of his acquaintance, he repairs to his place of destination, loaded with a rich booty of smiles and approbation. Next comes the fag-rag, or captain, at the head of his mighty band, consisting of one lieutenant, one ensign or mute, four serjeants, four corporals, one drummer, one fifer, and if he has any privates so much the better for himself. In marching to the regimental parade he is sure to paddle through the street or lane which is honoured with the residence of his mistress or intended, whom he resolutely lays under a heavy contribution. Truly it is delectable to behold these heroes, as they march along, cast side glances at the upper windows, to collect the smiles, the nods, and the winks, which the enraptured fair ones lavish profusely on the magnanimous defenders of their country.
The fag-rags having conducted their squads to their respective regiments, then comes the turn of the colonel, (a bashaw with no tails,) for all eyes are now directed to him; and the fag-rags, and the eunuchs, and the kettle-drummers,