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madeexcursions inland

A comic piece of insubordination on my part recurs
to me inconnection with flogging. About the year 1840 or 1841, amidshipman on the Pacific station was flogged. I think theship was the 'Peak.' The event created some sensation, andwas brought before Parliament. Two frigates were sent out tofurnish a quorum of post-captains to try the responsiblecommander. The verdict of the court-martial was a severereprimand. This was, of course, nuts to every midshipman inthe service.
Shortly after it became known I got into a scrape forlaughing at, and disobeying the orders of, our first-lieutenant, - the head of the executive on board a frigate.
As a matter of fact, the orders were ridiculous, for the saidofficer was tipsy. Nevertheless, I was reported, and had upbefore the captain. 'Old Tommy' was or affected to be, veryangry. I am afraid I was very 'cheeky.' Whereupon SirThomas did lose his temper, and threatened to send for theboatswain to tie me up and give me a dozen, - not on theback, but where the back leaves off. Undismayed by thethreat, and mindful of the episode of the 'Peak' (?) I lookedthe old gentleman in the face, and shrilly piped out, 'It'sas much as your commission is worth, sir.' In spite of hisprevious wrath, he was so taken aback by my impudence that heburst out laughing, and, to hide it, kicked me out of thecabin.
After another severe attack of fever, and during a longconvalescence, I was laid up at Macao, where I enjoyed thehospitality of Messrs. Dent and of Messrs. Jardine andMatheson. Thence I was invalided home, and took my passageto Bombay in one of the big East India tea-ships. As I wasbeing carried up the side in the arms of one of the boatmen,I overheard another exclaim: 'Poor little beggar. He'llnever see land again!'
The only other passenger was Colonel Frederick Cotton, of theMadras Engineers, one of a distinguished family. He, too,had been through the China campaign, and had also brokendown. We touched at Manila, Batavia, Singapore, and severalother ports in the Malay Archipelago, to take in cargo.
While that was going on, Cotton, the captain, and I. Altogether I had a most pleasant time ofit till we reached Bombay.
My health was now re-established; and after a couple of weeksat Bombay, where I lived in a merchant's house, Cotton tookme to Poonah and Ahmadnagar; in both of which places I stayedwith his friends, and messed with the regiments. Here a copyof the 'Times' was put into my hands; and I saw a notice ofthe death of my father.
After a fortnight's quarantine at La Valetta, where two youngEnglishmen - one an Oxford man - shared the same rooms in thefort with me, we three returned to England; and (I supposefew living people can say the same) travelled from Naples toCalais before there was a single railway on the Continent.
At the end of two months' leave in England I was appointed tothe 'Caledonia,' flagship at Plymouth. Sir Thomas Bouchierhad written to the Admiral, Sir Edward Codrington, ofNavarino fame (whose daughter Sir Thomas afterwards married),giving me 'a character.' Sir Edward dermes,sent for me, and wasmost kind. He told me I was to go to the Pacific in thefirst ship that left for South America, which would probablybe in a week or two; and he gave me a letter to his friend,Admiral Thomas, who commanded on that station.  

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