THE SOLDIER'S WIFE.
It is now many years since the first battalion of the 17th Regiment of Foot, under orders to embark for India, —that far distant land, where so many of our brave countrymen have fallen victims to the climate, and where so few have slept in what soldiers call "the bed of glory,"--were assembled in the barrack yard of Chatham, to be inspected previously to their passing on board tho transports, which lay moored in the Downs.
It was scarcely day-break, when the merry drum and fife wero heard over all parts of the town, and the soldiers were seen sallying forth from their quarters, to join the ranks, with their bright firelocks on their shoulders, and tho knapsacks and canteens fastened to their backs by belts as white as snow. Each soldier was accompanied by some friend or acquaintance,—or by some individual, with a dearer title to his regard than either; and there was a strange and sometimes a whimsical mingling of weeping and laughter among the assembled groups.
The second battalion was to remain in England, and the greater portion of the division was present, to bid farewell to their old companions in arms. But among husbands and wives, uncertainty as to their destiny prevailed for the lots were yet to be drawn—the lots that were to decide which of the women should accompany the regiment, and which should remain behind. Ten of each company were to be taken, and chance was to be the only arbiter. Without noticing what passed elsewhere, I confined my attention to that company which was commanded by my friend Captain Loden, a brave and excellent officer, who, I am sure, has no moro than myself forgotten the scene to which I refer.
The women had gathered round the flag-serjeant,