Imperial Bushmen's Contingent.
Mr. LEN JOHNS again writes from the mili- tary camp at Lytton, under date April 26th : -Things are going along all right in the camp. We had a great time last Saturday night. About 200 of us went into Brisbane. We had great difficulty in securing room in the carriages ; even in the first-class car- riages we only had standing room. Queen street was alive with people. About 50 of us went in again on Sunday night. The last train for Cleveland on Sunday nights leave at 8.30, so we had to hire two four horse 'busses to take us home. We are going to shift camp to-morrow, as it is compulsory, owing to the number of typhoid cases break- ing out daily lately. There is also supposed to be one case of bubonic plague, although it has been hushed up, and the victim quaran- tined. It is great fun at the daily horse parades. Last Saturday there were no less than 64 spills. The horses have a bad habit of trying to stand on their heads. I have been lucky so far, as I have only had two spills. This morning I got on a strange horse, and he turned out to be an outlaw. He was a bit frisky when I was getting on him, and I had to get one of the chaps to hold my rifle until I was mounted. After I got going a little bit faster than a canter he started rooting, and then propped, with his head between his two front legs. The saddle went on his neck and I went clean over his
head. There are no knee pads nor cruppers on the military saddles we use. However, I mounted him again, and rode him back to the lines and got another horse. We were served with our khaki uniforms last Saturday week. It included a khaki suit, riding pants, spurs, leggings and hats. We are also to receive hair, horsc, blacking, tooth and clothes brushes, Bengal razor, and sundry
other articles. The pipe band of the Old Scottish Rifles paid us a visit last Sunday,
and discoursed sweet music. All the horses were removed to Pinkcnba last week. The horses left camp at 12 at night, one man leading three horses and riding one. About 12 next day word was received that the horses wcre coming back, owing the mishap to the Manchester Port. That was very "crook," as the horse lines were all taken up and the ropes packed away. They had to be all put down again. Luckily I was not one of the horse party, as they put in 36 hours without sleep or food. We have been doing outpost duty the last couple of days. It is great fun. Anyone you see coming along you have to halt them, and march them between six troopers on horseback to the inspection party. A policeman was coming to the camp and he was halted ; they then blindfolded him and led him to the inspection party. You can imagine how wild the policeman was. Also the other day a big fat constable was walking down between the horse lines. One of the A sentry blocked him, and asked him where he was going. He replied that was his business, as he was on duty. The sentry then told the "trap" to clear out as quick us he could, or he would call out the guard and have him placed in the guard tent (camp lockup). The "trap" had to clear, but he was terribly wild at being ordered about. Thanks for the Champion. It was read by all the Western men in camp. The Orderly Office has two officers-two different ones every day. All they have to do is run messages, deliver letters and telegrams, &c. (The tent is lighted with acetylene gas, and it keeps going almost out, so please excuse the crook writing, as I cannot see the lines.) All the time, especially just now, tho blokes are using unparliamentary language at the light, and I said " Hear, hear," &c. It is indeed very crook. Sometimes one of the blokes comes along with his big feet and walks on the tube and puts the light out.
Just had ten minutes spell, and am now writing by candle light. A couple of chaps were fixing up the machine. They had just supplied it with a now lot of carbon, when one of the silly coots held a match over the machine, and there was a terrible explosion. Talk about a scatter; I never saw such a sudden flare before. One of the officers just came down, and he said be was satisfied that the bloke would face the Boer fire after that, when he went and held a match over the machine full of gas. A table was standing near, and the concussion sent it right over. One day I happened to be with some of the
push unloading cbatf and corn off the
Minor. The chaps like to go to the wharf,
as they often have a good loaf down there. I was on guard duty last Friday night; up all night. The men are all greatly disappointed
at the accident to the Manchester Port. At present the belief is that the tow rope had been tampered with. The sea looks very pretty when we got up in the morning. St. Helena can be plainly seen from our tent, and the buildings look as if they were only a mile away. A great number of steamers pass the river. They have to be examined by the (plague) doctor at Lytton. They all blow a
whistle for the doctor. No more. Candle gone bung. Regards to all.