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The Swelling of Jordan
by [?]

If thou hast run with the footmen and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace wherein thou trustedst they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?

SCENE.–The GADSEYS’ bungalow in the Plains, on a January morning. MRS. G. arguing with bearer in back veranda.

CAPT. M. rides up.

CAPT. M. ‘Mornin’, Mrs. Gadsby. How’s the Infant Phenomenon and the Proud Proprietor?

MRS. G. You’ll find them in the front veranda; go through the house. I’m Martha just now.

CAPT. M. ‘Cumbered about with cares of khitmatgars? I fly.

Passes into front veranda, where GADSBY is watching GADSBY JUNIOR, aged ten months, crawling about the matting.

CAPT. M. What’s the trouble, Gaddy–spoiling an honest man’s Europe morning this way? (Seeing G. JUNIOR.) By Jove, that yearling’s comin’ on amazingly! Any amount of bone below the knee there.

CAPT. G. Yes, he’s a healthy little scoundrel. Don’t you think his hair’s growing?

M. Let’s have a look. Hi! Hst! Come here, General Luck, and we’ll report on you.

MRS. G. (Within.) What absurd name will you give him next? Why do you call him that?

M. Isn’t he our Inspector-General of Cavalry? Doesn’t he come down in his seventy-two perambulator every morning the Pink Hussars parade? Don’t wriggle, Brigadier. Give us your private opinion on the way the third squadron went past. ‘Trifle ragged, weren’t they?

G. A bigger set of tailors than the new draft I don’t wish to see. They’ve given me more than my fair share–knocking the squadron out of shape. It’s sickening!

M. When you’re in command, you’ll do better, young ‘un. Can’t you walk yet? Get my finger and try. (To G.) ‘Twon’t hurt his hocks, will it?

G. Oh, no. Don’t let him flop, though, or he’ll lick all the blacking off your boots.

MRS. G. (Within.) Who’s destroying my son’s character?

M. And my Godson’s. I’m ashamed of you, Gaddy. Punch your father in the eye, Jack! Don’t you stand it! Hit him again!

G. (Sotto voce.) Put The Butcha down and come to the end of the veranda. I’d rather the Wife didn’t hear–just now.

M. You look awf’ly serious. Anything wrong?

G. ‘Depends on your view entirely. I say, Jack, you won’t think more hardly of me than you can help, will you? Come further this way.–The fact of the matter is, that I’ve made up my mind–at least I’m thinking seriously of–cutting the Service.

M. Hwhatt?

G. Don’t shout. I’m going to send in my papers.

M. You! Are you mad?

G. No–only married.

M. Look here! What’s the meaning of it all? You never intend to leave us. You can’t. Isn’t the best squadron of the best regiment of the best cavalry in all the world good enough for you?

G. (Jerking his head over his shoulder.) She doesn’t seem to thrive in this God-forsaken country, and there’s The Butcha to be considered and all that, you know.

M. Does she say that she doesn’t like India?

G. That’s the worst of it. She won’t for fear of leaving me.

M. What are the Hills made for?

G. Not for my wife at any rate.

M. You know too much, Gaddy, and–I don’t like you any the better for it!

G. Never mind that. She wants England, and The Butcha would be all the better for it. I’m going to chuck. You don’t understand.

M. (Hotly.) I understand this. One hundred and thirty-seven new horses to be licked into shape somehow before Luck comes round again; a hairy-heeled draft who’ll give more trouble than the horses; a camp next cold weather for a certainty; ourselves the first on the roster; the Russian shindy ready to come to a head at five minutes’ notice, and you, the best of us all, backing out of it all! Think a little, Gaddy. You won’t do it.

G. Hang it, a man has some duties towards his family, I suppose.

M. I remember a man, though, who told me, the night after Amdheran, when we were picketed under Jagai, and he’d left his sword–by the way, did you ever pay Ranken for that sword?–in an Utmanzai’s head–that man told me that he’d stick by me and the Pinks as long as he lived. I don’t blame him for not sticking by me–I’m not much of a man–but I do blame him for not sticking by the Pink Hussars.