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The Daughter Of The Regiment
by [?]

Jain ‘Ardin’ was a Sarjint’s wife,
A Sarjint’s wife wus she,
She married of ‘im in Orldershort
An’ comed across the sea.
‘Ave you never ‘eard tell o’ Jain ‘Ardin’?
Jain ‘Ardin’?
Jain ‘Ardin’?
‘Ave you never ‘eard tell o’ Jain ‘Ardin’?
The pride o’ the Companee?

Old Barrack Room Ballad.

“A gentleman who doesn’t know the Circasian Circle ought not to stand up for it–puttin’ everybody out.” That was what Miss McKenna said, and the Sergeant who was my vis-a-vis looked the same thing. I was afraid of Miss McKenna. She was six feet high, all yellow freckles and red hair, and was simply clad in white satin shoes, a pink muslin dress, an apple-green stuff sash, and black silk gloves, with yellow roses in her hair. Wherefore I fled from Miss McKenna and sought my friend Private Mulvaney, who was at the cant–refreshment-table.

“So you’ve been dancin’ with little Jhansi McKenna, sorr–she that’s goin’ to marry Corp’ril Slane? Whin you next conversh wid your lorruds an’ your ladies, tell thim you’ve danced wid little Jhansi. ‘Tis a thing to be proud av.”

But I wasn’t proud. I was humble. I saw a story in Private Mulvaney’s eye; and besides, if he stayed too long at the bar, he would, I knew, qualify for more pack-drill. Now to meet an esteemed friend doing pack-drill outside the guardroom is embarrassing, especially if you happen to be walking with his Commanding Officer.

“Come on to the parade-ground, Mulvaney, it’s cooler there, and tell me about Miss McKenna. What is she, and who is she, and why is she called ‘Jhansi’?”

“D’ye mane to say you’ve niver heard av Ould Pummeloe’s daughter? An’ you thinkin’ you know things! I’m wid ye in a minut whin me poipe’s lit.”

We came out under the stars. Mulvaney sat down on one of the artillery bridges, and began in the usual way: his pipe between his teeth, his big hands clasped and dropped between his knees, and his cap well on the back of his head–

“Whin Mrs. Mulvaney, that is, was Miss Shadd that was, you were a dale younger than you are now, an’ the Army was dif’rint in sev’ril e-senshuls. Bhoys have no call for to marry nowadays, an’ that’s why the Army has so few rale good, honust, swearin’, strapagin’, tinder-hearted, heavy-futted wives as ut used to have whin I was a Corp’ril. I was rejuced aftherward–but no matther–I was a Corp’ril wanst. In thim times, a man lived an’ died wid his regiment; an’ by natur’, he married whin he was a man. Whin I was Corp’ril–Mother av Hivin, how the rigimint has died an’ been borrun since that day!–my Color-Sar’jint was Ould McKenna–an’ a married man tu. An’ his woife–his first woife, for he married three times did McKenna–was Bridget McKenna, from Portarlington, like mesilf. I’ve misremembered fwhat her first name was; but in B Comp’ny we called her ‘Ould Pummeloe,’ by reason av her figure, which was entirely cir-cum-fe-renshill. Like the big dhrum! Now that woman–God rock her sowl to rest in glory!–was for everlastin’ havin’ childher; an’ McKenna, whin the fifth or sixth come squallin’ on to the musther-roll, swore he wud number thim off in future. But Ould Pummeloe she prayed av him to christen them after the names av the stations they was borrun in. So there was Colaba McKenna, an’ Muttra McKenna, an’ a whole Presidincy av other McKennas, an’ little Jhansi, dancin’ over yonder. Whin the childher wasn’t bornin’, they was dying; for, av our childher die like sheep in these days, they died like flies thin, I lost me own little Shadd–but no matther. ‘Tis long ago, and Mrs. Mulvaney niver had another.

“I’m digresshin. Wan divil’s hot summer, there come an order from some mad ijjit, whose name I misremember, for the rigimint to go up-country. Maybe they wanted to know how the new rail carried throops. They knew! On me sowl, they knew before they was done! Old Pummeloe had just buried Muttra McKenna; an’, the season bein’ onwholesim, only little Jhansi McKenna, who was four year ould thin, was left on hand.