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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Colonel Kemyss of the 40th on the Guadiana

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Colonel Kemyss of the 40th on the Guadiana

Postby jf42 » June 5th, 2016, 11:17 pm

United Services Journal 1829 Part II


ANECDOTES OF THE LATE GEN. KEMYSS. Col. (the late Gen.) Kemyss of the 40th regiment, was remarkable for the studied pomposity of his diction. One day the Colonel feeling particularly dissatisfied with the appearance of his regiment on parade, called the officers to the front, and when they were all assembled, and waiting in profound and respectful attention, he, with suitable gesticulation, thus addressed them : " Field-officers, ye do nothing ; Captains, ye are the worst of your kind. Avaunt, ye Subalterns ; nefarious crew ; delinquents of the deepest dye !" The effect of this singular speech upon the officers, who were now dismissed to their respective posts, it may be imagined, was not so favourable to the maintenance of" good order and military discipline," as the worthy Colonel probably anticipated. On another occasion, Col. Kemyss observing that one of the men in the ranks had a particularly dirty face, which appeared not to have been washed for a twelve-month, was exceedingly indignant at so gross a violation of military propriety. " Take him," said he to the corporal, who was an Irishman, " Take this man, and lave him in the waters of the Guadiana." After some time the corporal returned. " What have you done with the man that I sent with you ? " inquired the Colonel.

Up flew the Corporal's right hand across the peak of his cap, " Sure an't plaise y'r honnur, and didn't y'r honnur tell me to lave him in the river ? and sure enough I left him in the river, and there he is now according to y'r honnur's orders." The bye-standers, and even the Colonel himself, could hardly repress a smile at the facetious mistake of the honest corporal, who looked innocence itself, and wondered what there could be to laugh at.
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