Why did you join the Army?

I find that when I start investigating some Army history I always find a little nugget of gold or two... Here's another one of those from a book called Drum Taps by Elizabeth Reeves Swift (pg169-170). There's no date for this one, sorry, but it seems to be a late 19th Century publication. This is quoted as it is written, and it's an attempt to capture the Scottish accent of the "Salvation Lassie" being interview here. I think it's got a lot to say about the significance of testimony in the early Army.
"And did no one object to your going to the Army instead?"
"Ay, when I joined it. My minister came efter me, an' asked why I didna' come to kirk [church] any mair? I tellt him 'at I got mair good at the Army. 'But they talk aboot theirsel's,' he says 'an' I preach Jesus.'
"But I wasna sae; the Army folk tellt what God had dune for them, and so I kent 'at He could do it for me. I understood the sairmons, but the talk was too high; religion seemed on'y to preach aboot, an' as if no one could live it. But when I went to the Army an' heard lasses 'at I knew testify, an' saw the change in their lives, I knew 'at the God who saved them could me. I knew all the plan o' salvation as they talked; it was the same doctrine I'd heard in the kirk, on'y the Army puts it plainer, an' sae ye can live it - it's a practical religion."
It continues...
"Why did you join the Army?" I persisted. My lassie pondered a little before she spoke again.
"For a chance to work," she said slowly, at last. "It's a live religion. It's not only goin' to the meetings, but they expect you to live out the religion at home, an' everywhere, an' beside that, to be always doin' something for other souls. I'm willin' to do anything for them. If stayin' home quietlike an' prayin', would get these lasses to go anywhere an' get saved, I'd like that fine, but it winna. So I do what will. An' what got me in will get them yet."


  1. Pubbed in 1890 and I'm sure you knew she won Brengle's heart :-)

    Love that last bit - "it's a live religion".


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