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of these inveterate smokers carry a reserve
cigar stuck behind each ear, as clerks carry


THIS is how we first saw Gibraltar,
generally known to subs of the Driver and Spanker
class, familiarly as The Rock, or Gib.

The Firefly French steamer, bound from
Carthagena to Cadiz, bore me towards the heights.
It was quite dark, and I was hanging about
on the "fo'ksal," talking with a Newcastle
lawyer, whom I had picked up at Granada
round the tall, raw, square-looking old castle.
We were canopied by the huge flying banner
of white smoke which blew from the great
black funnel, and I was trying to abstract
my mind from my friend's touching narrative
of the expenses of the late Chancery suit,
Niggle versus Naggle, in which he acted
for the defendant, to imagine myself borne
through white clouds upon the wooden horse
of the beautiful old Arabian story. This was
not difficult; for the soft, white, warm vapour
blew straight down on us, and wrapped us in
so closely, that we could not, for minutes
together, see the grim, silent man at the
wheel far away opposite, the captain on the
paddle-box, the men up aloft reefing, or the
fussy old boatswain with the chirping and
importunate silver whistle. The talkative
Frenchmen smoking on the quarter-deck, the
steward peeping up the cabin stairs, were
hid and shown to us only by fits. Every
now and then, however, the long trailing
white cloud lifted or veered, and we saw
again the living blue darkness vaulted over
us, and the quivering glory of the southern
stars, nearer, larger, and thicker set than
in our honest, cold English heavens.
Suddenly, the lawyer sprang to the vessel's
side (I had heard a sailor mutter
something to him, leaning forward over a coil
of ropes) and cried "Gibraltar." I looked
where he looked; there was nothing but
the darkness. I beat the dark jet line of
the horizon as a dog beats a covert, and
at lastdark as with an inner, deeper, and
more majestic darknessI became aware of
a huge nightmare shape, like a black whale's
back looming out of a nightmare sea;
like a great shapeless sorrow rising through
an evil dream. It was the Rock. On the
other side, could I but see it, lay Africa;
that mysterious region still haunted and
unknown; the region of Robinson Crusoe, of
the Moors, of Hannibal and Dido; of Saint
Augustin and the Donatists; of Carthage;
and of that terrible coast where Tommy and
Harryespecially Harrywas torn and
eaten by lions. I looked up with wonder at
the voiceless but keen-eyed stars, and felt a
throb of pride burn through my heart and
up into my brain to think I was one of that
great nation who had put such a bridle as
this fortified and impregnable rock into the
mouth of the ancient world. At that instant,
as if in personal compliment to myself for my
transitory and unusual patriotism, there rose
from the long dark mountain a flaring column
of light, and the next instant the deep, bull-
dog bellow of the evening gun sounded
defiantly across to Africa, It was a loud-
tongued assertion of something more than
mere brute power shouted with a spirit's
voice to angry Spain chafing in its distant
cities; it shook the roofs across the Bay in
Algeciras; it was to all a triumphant assertion
of a nation in its full stern manhood.

That night I fell asleep in the hot boarded
bedroom of the Club House Hotel, Gibraltar,
which rears its yellow-ochry bulk in a small
market-square just out of Waterport Street,
which is the High Street of Gib. I fell
asleep after doing battle with the mosquitoes,
and thanking Heaven for again getting,
after many wanderings, under the red and
blue cross, and sank down a sort of dark
well-shaft into abysses of balmy forgetfulness.
A great boom and bellow, a twiddling and
chirping awoke me. I ran to the great
folding glass window and looked out. Good
heavens! the waits? A gigantic military
serenade given by the Governor to some
hidden Moorish beauty? No. The usual
night-tatoo, only go-to-bed-Tom, on great
drums and little drums and shrill, petulant
fifes. There they are just opposite the guard-
house, where all day languid young fops in
scarlet lounge in the balcony, and read the
Times. Great drum flinging out his arms as
if going to hug the instrument, or cooper a
cask. Little drums subservient but
vociferous. Fifes with heads on one side (wry-
necked as the great Williams calls them)
whistlingly military and official. Now they
burst out with The British Grenadiers, with
a tow-row-row that must make the sleeping
Spaniards turn in their beds and finger the
long knives under their pillows. Now they
form two deep, and storm away down the
main street, and I fall asleep before God
save the Queen has died out in the

Many a night afterwards, tired from wild-
boar seeking in the cork-woods, or after
wild Tartar scampers on horseback over the
sands to Saint Roque, or after cavalry charges
to outpost stations at Catalan Bay, or through
the parade to Ragged Staff and Europa
Point: after pleasant noisy revelries in
Spanker and Driver's mess-rooms, or smoking
chats in chairs outside the hotel door, I heard
that band, yet never did the exhilarating
insolence and tumultuous exuberance of military
stirring national ardour rouse me as it
did that first night in Gib. I sleep, I thought,
beneath the countless guns of England, guarded
by her sons, who are my brothers. Gib's
governor is my governor.

I saw Gib often again. From distant sea-
shore mountains, from the broad green
washing bay that always frets about the

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