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criticism of Latin literature, and offers in addition a few kindly hints to budding authors, full of his inexhaustible good sense, and of his jealousy for the high claims and dignity of Literature. If Suetonius is right the epistle in question must have been written in reply to a somewhat angry remonstrance which Augustus had sent to his laureate, with whom, nevertheless, he lived on the most friendly terms, after reading his newly published volume. 'I am much annoyed with you because in what you write of this kind you address yourself to me. Are you afraid then that intimacy with me will be set down to your discredit in years to come?'
But neither his love for Maecenas nor his respect for his political lord and master could ever induce the poet to abate one jot of his moral independence and liberty. And it redounds greatly to the Emperor's credit that he bore the poet no resentment. This letter to Augustus is very possibly the last one that Horace ever wrote, and with the one to Florus and the Ars Poetica it ranks, in the opinion of a judge so fastidious as Mommsen, as one of the three' most graceful and delightful works in all Roman literature.'
With these literary epistles Horace's work as an author was ended. On the 27th of November, B.C. 8, after a sudden and brief illness, he died, and his body was buried in the grounds of the famous Esquiline mansion, near the grave of its lamented owner, his dear knight Maecenas.'
The prophecy of the ode addressed by Horace to his patron nearly twenty years earlier had come all but literally true:
Ah, if untimely fate should snatch thee hence,
Thee, of my soul a part,
Why should I linger on, with deadened sense
A worthless fragment of a fallen shrine?
Think not that I have sworn a bootless oath.
Yes, we shall go, shall go,
Hand linked in hand, whene'er thou leadest, both
The last sad road below.
Odes II. xvii. (Martin).
H. W. HAMILTON-HOARE.
VOL. LXXI-No. 422
THE SUBMERGED SUBALTERN
DURING the autumn of the past year, when discussion was hot on the railway strike question, and on the use of troops in connexion with it, the British officer was described by a leading Labour politician as a representative of the capitalist class. The conceit is delightful. Flashes of humour come so rarely from the quarter where this one was generated that their effect is all the more vivid when they are discharged. The British officer a capitalist! The subaltern, indeed, with whom this paper is concerned, and who was the officer most conspicuous on strike duty, may be said to have some connexion with capital, but if so, it is through the medium of his tailor's bill, or, in bad cases, through the claims of a moneylender. For who is he, and what is his origin? The subalterns have for parents, at the time of their early service, officers, serving or retired, of the Army and Navy, Civil servants, serving or retired, professional men, clergymen, widows in poor circumstances, etc. Occasionally they have no parents, and in quite exceptional instances are the sons of men of means. They are paid at a rate which, if they belonged to a trade union, would very soon cause them to lay down tools and come out, a form of amusement denied to them, and they are saddled with unavoidable expenses which eat up their pay, and leave a margin to be made good by parents and relatives from their own generally narrow resources.
How far this statement is well founded, an examination of the subaltern's monthly budget will show. Taking as postulates (1) that we are dealing with a month of thirty days, and (2) that the officers concerned belong to the infantry, we have the following result:
On the credit side we have, according as the officer is a lieutenant or a second lieutenant, 91. 15s. or 71. 17s. 6d., which sums represent the monthly pay. On the other side comes, first, the principal item of expenditure, the mess bill. And here it may be observed that every subscription, every regimental bill, and every sum of money collected from an officer at his station must pass through his mess bill, so that it can be generally assumed that there should be no charges of a general or public nature which do
not appear in it. The mess bill is made up of the items which follow, most of which require in turn some little explanation.
First comes the messing charge. Every officer, unless married and allowed to live out of mess, is a dining member, and pays his share of the messing. If he is absent on duty or leave for more than three days, he does not pay during the time of his absence, but otherwise he pays, whether he is present in mess or not. The messing charge, including early tea and afternoon tea, may be taken at 4s. 6d. per diem. It may be more; it is seldom less. It may be observed here that good and sufficient feeding is essential to the development of the young officer. Of recent years attention has been given, rightly and with satisfactory results, to the feeding of the young soldier, in order to build up his frame, to fit him for the severe physical exertion he has to undergo, and to counteract any inclination to excess in drinking or smoking. On exactly the same grounds the subaltern needs similar consideration. His messing for the month will, therefore, come to 61. 15s. Next come the charges for wine, etc., and for tobacco, in whatever form it is burned, in which is included the provision of these luxuries to private guests. Most young officers are very moderate in such matters, but unless they neither drink nor smoke, they do not escape without running up a small account, especially if there are several guest nights in the month. An ordinary wine bill would not be less than 21. Then follow such charges as extra messing (for guests or for extras obtained from the mess-e.g. after night operations, etc.); mess guests, i.e. those invited in the name of the colonel and officers, generally making a large monthly amount for division; the regulated monthly subscription graduated according to rank; any other mess maintenance subscription which may be customary in the corps; the monthly charge for newspapers and stationery; charges for cards and billiards; subscriptions to recreation funds; any other subscription the officer has put his name down for; charges made against him from the regimental workshops, for postage, etc., and for any other matter for which he has rendered himself liable. A charge of 5s. a month will also be made for hire of mess and barrack-room furniture.
The mess bill, for the subaltern of moderate habits-and nowadays few officers are inclined to be immoderate-and of average disposition as regards economy, will amount to about 111. 10s. in normal months in which no special subscriptions or charges are included. It is possible for an officer to keep his bill as low as about 81. 10s. by great self-denial and by abstaining from drink and tobacco in every form, and also by not subscribing to anything not compulsory. It requires much character for a young officer to live in a mess in such circumstances, and
particularly to maintain his self-denial when he is assisting to entertain mess guests. It may also have a disadvantageous effect on his prospects in the Service if he does not join in sports, etc., with other officers. Anyhow, it is not very often that an officer so self-controlled is found amongst the young subalterns.
But, having paid his mess bill, whether it is 11l. 10s. or 81. 10s., (and there is no escaping the payment, which must be made by the fifth of the succeeding month), the young officer has still some regular monthly charges to meet. His servant is by regulation entitled to 10s. Most officers give more than that amount; but let us assume the charge to be that allowed. Then come washing, 11., servant's account for various sums spent during the month, say, 10s., and servant's plain clothes and livery, averaging a charge of 10s. per mensem. These items make a total of 21. 10s., and with the mess bill we have accounted for a sum of 111. in the case of the abstaining officer, and 14l. in that of the average subaltern. Comparing the expenditure with the credits shown above of 91. 15s. or 71. 17s. 6d., we find that the second lieutenant is already from 31. 2s. 6d. to 61. 2s. 6d., and the lieutenant from 11. 5s. to 41. 5s., to the bad on his month's pay.
Considering now his finances on an annual basis, and leaving out the small difference, disadvantageous to the officer, of accounting for thirty-one-day months, we find that in the year the abstemious second lieutenant is 371. 10s. to the bad, the lieutenant 151., whilst the average second lieutenant's deficiency is 731. 10s. and the lieutenant's 51l. In arriving at this estimate I have endeavoured to be strictly fair, and not to put any fancy value on any of the items mentioned. On the other hand, the reader must understand that the figures represent normal expenditure, and that within the year it is safe to assume that one or two months will be abnormal, by which term a considerable increase in charges must be understood. Thus a regimental entertainment (a dance, at home,' or sports) will increase materially the monthly charge, as also will manoeuvres, camps, division and brigade training, when extra expenses are thrown on the mess in the form of transport of food and of collecting it in new areas. There are also certain charges in the form of subscriptions to regimental charities, to military charities generally, to bazaars and entertainments in aid of military charitable undertakings, which occur at certain seasons of the year and are outside of the normal mess bills.
It is plain from the foregoing figures that a subaltern at home cannot live on his pay, and, indeed, that is generally understood. Practically all subalterns are in receipt of an allowance from their parents or guardians, and 1001. per annum may be regarded as the sum most commonly given. Some officers have more; a con
siderable number, it is to be feared, have to strive to make two widely separated ends meet on less. Taking 100l. per annum as the average allowance, and applying that sum to the adverse balance brought down by our calculations above, we find that a second lieutenant is left with from 261. 10s. to 621. 10s., and a lieutenant with 491. to 851., after defraying his current monthly expenses. With this balance the subaltern must provide for not only the extra charges in abnormal months, but also all such matters as plain clothes, uniform, boots, underclothing, travelling, sports and entertainments (other than those provided for through the mess), and all the many items on account of which an officer's hand has to seek his pocket or his cheque-book. As regards clothing, a subaltern's duties are very hard upon uniform and boots. Marching, bivouacking, and camping are responsible for the wear and destruction of all articles of clothing and equipment, as well as of underclothing, and the annual training lays on every officer a material burden of expense. Officers, moreover, are expected to be well dressed, both in uniform and in plain clothes, and tailoring will be found to run away with the greater part of their available margin. It is needless to enlarge upon the calls which are made upon the small balance left. They come from every direction with an insistence which is irresistible, and before the officer has time to realise it, he finds himself under water. It should be observed that the balance remaining to an officer, after liquidating current charges, will in the vast majority of cases approximate to the lower of the sums mentioned before; for to obtain the higher margin he must practically sever himself from all the amusements and recreations of his companions, and must, moreover, risk injury to his regimental and service prospects.
The subaltern has so far been assumed to belong to a line regiment. There are, however, certain infantry regiments of a select or special character in which the expenses are considerably higher than in the average regiment. In such corps the allowances to officers must be correspondingly greater, and the net result is probably the same, an equivalent amount being added to each side of the account. In the cavalry the expenses are great, and can only be faced by those who can expect a large allowance. The artillery and engineers, on the other hand, are mostly distributed in small messes, and, contrary to all theory, the actual messing charges in small messes are generally distinctly less than in large messes, whilst the entertaining and other subscriptions are on a much lower scale. Where, however, officers of artillery and engineers are in large messes the expenses are much the same as in the line messes. The officers, however, of the engineers and of the garrison artillery are