Join Date: November 2, 1998
Banning the Band...
"On one occasion, with the permission of the captain, a serenade was planned for Major Terrett; but those artistic, well-meant efforts were treated ungratefully - scornfully, in fact, and sad to relate, the amateur band was confined to the guard-house the next day. It happened thus:
After permission had been granted for this pre-supposed treat to the commandant, the few lucky performers were excused from evening drill that they might practice and furbishup old tunes. To aid the memory, a nip of brandy came between each tune. As night drew on every single man of them, having imbibde so much, was in that blissful state where he felt he was a band unto himself.
The performers started out with their instruments, accompanied by a quartette, whose sole instruments were a flask of brandy to each, merely as a matter of throat medicine. They reached the commandant's residence quite late. That worthy man, all unconscious of the treat in store, had long since retired. After a discussion, which came near ending in a fight, as to whether the vocal or the instrumental should open the serenade, it was decided that the quartette most merited the honor. So clearing their throats by a long pull at their melody-inspirer they opened up with 'Come where my love lies dreaming,' but in spite of the tenderness of the refrain the window remained closed. This was rather discouraging, so that the band struck up an attitude; the flutist leaning against the lamp ost, the cornet propped alongside a tree trunk, the small fiddle sitting comfortably on an ash-barrel, the bass vil squatting on the doorstep, while the banoist found himself most satisfactorily lodged on the pavement. As for the quartette, they were almost anywhere; one lying on the cellar door, sound asleep, from whence he was, at the close of the performance, carried home in a wheelbarrow. The other three had voluntarily commenced in stentorian tones, 'Look into my eyes, love.'
In the meantime the instrumental was doing its best. The bass viol grunted, the fiddle shrieked, the cornet tried to blow the roof off the house, the banjo thumped away on its own individual merits, the flute was black in the face and out of wind, when the window was raised at last, the Majory's head protruded, and he thundered out: 'What the devil is all that noise about? What is the meaning of this?'
'Meaning,' replied one of the quartette in hiccough; 'we've come to serenade you, ole boy. Come and take a drink, won't you?'
'Take yourselves off,' shouted the voice, thick with passion, 'or I'll court-martial every mother's son of you in the morning.'
A dead silence followed the sound of the gurgling liquor as it flowed down eavery throat. The cornet suddenly revived and shouted back:
'You be d__d; we've come to serenade you, I say, and we are going to keep on; ain't we, boys?'
A chorus of assent responded, and the music struck up where it had left off....
[to be continued]
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!