Checking the State of the Rations
Military News, The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 18 September 1897
The following story, related by Sir Evelyn Wood, in the English Illustrated, is thought to be quite too delicious:—
"I have said," remarks the distinguished writer, "that soldiers are much better behaved than they were when I entered the service. They are certainly more intelligent, with the increase of education, but nevertheless they are still sufficiently drilled into automation-like procedure and rigid obedience as occasionally to produce a comical situation. Four years ago, when in command of the Aldershot Division, I was riding past a regimental cook-house. I had been taking considerable interest in the preparation of the men's rations, and, seeing a soldier coming out of a cook-house with his mess-tin and what appeared to be very thin soup a few minutes before one o'clock, when the dinner bugle had only just sounded, I ordered the man to halt, and another man to bring me a spoon from the cook-house. 'Hand me up that tin,' said I, and the man obeyed and stood motionless while I tasted the liquid. Getting rid of it as rapidly as possible, I said, 'It appears to me to be nothing but dirty water,' when the man answered, with the most stolid gravity, 'Please, sir, that's what it is; I am washing the tin out.'"