Page:Yule Logs.djvu/90

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"A FRENCHMAN'S GRATITUDE;"

OR, THE DISASTER OF EL HAMET


By Lieut.-Col. Percy Groves, Royal Guernsey Artillery
(late 27th Inniskillings)


CHAPTER I

A BIRTHDAY PRESENT—OFF TO THE WARS—AN ADVENTURE AT MESSINA

" TOM, my dear boy," said my father, Colonel Sir John Cotton, K.B., as he entered the breakfast room on the morning of the 18th September, "I wish you many happy returns of to-day. There's a present which will give you genuine pleasure," he went on, handing me a formidable-looking letter; "it is your appointment to an ensigncy in my old regiment, the gallant 35th."

I had that day attained my seventeenth year, and was at home on a short exeat from Eton; but now Eton would know me no more—at least, not as a fifth-form boy—for had I not suddenly blossomed into a subaltern in his Majesty's service? It was a proud moment, and I cannot recall any event in my life that has caused me greater satisfaction.

I received the congratulations of my parents and sisters

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