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THE YOUNG RIFLEMAN.
THE IRISH BRIGADE.
It is customary, I believe, with authors who have but little to relate, to press into their service every possible resource of the literary art; that, by the charm of their eloquence, they may hide the paucity of their material. The contrary, however, being my case, I trust the reader will be content to receive a plain, unvarnished tale of military life, instead of a flowing dissertation de omnibus rebus, which I have neither ability nor inclination to cook up for his amusement.
I was born in a small country town, in the south of Ireland, which has furnished more officers to the army than any place in the United Kingdom of thrice its importance. I leave it to casuists to determine whether this was owing to the proverbial pugnacity of the Tipperary boys, or to the idle and unoccupied life of the small gentry, whose family pride made them scorn that trade which was best calculated to repair their family indigence. Certain it is, however, that the soil of many lands has been moistened by the blood, or has witnessed the sufferings, of many of my townsmen and schoolfellows, who began their career in life as I did myself, about the commencement of that tremendous struggle, in which the genius and good fortune of Napoleon sank, at length, under the wealth, the power, and the energies of Great Britain.
My family is traditionally said to be of Spanish descent; without looking so far back into the misty days of Eld, it will be sufficient, as an appropriate introduction to the sayings and doings of my own checkered existence, to state that it was one of the numerous Irish families ruined by a too faithful adherence to the cause of the Stuarts; the battle of the Boyne having effectually disposed of a handsome estate, which had belonged to a Catholic branch of the Blakes for many preceding ages.
After that celebrated "passage of arms,” my pugnacious ancestor, William Blake, who had exchanged his "dirty acres” for the doubtful honour of following King James to the field, obtained a company from the French monarch in the Irish Brigade, and continued to