1862 - Marjouram, W. Memorials of Sergeant William Marjouram - CHAPTER I. Boyhood, p 1-6

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  1862 - Marjouram, W. Memorials of Sergeant William Marjouram - CHAPTER I. Boyhood, p 1-6
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CHAPTER I. Boyhood.

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Early History--Enlistment--Promotion--Reduction--Marriage.

"O thou child of many prayers!
Life hath quicksands--life hath snares;
Care and age come unawares."

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WILLIAM MARJOURAM was born in the parish of Easton, in the county of Suffolk, on the 20th day of October 1828. His parents were of humble origin, his father being employed as gardener to the Duke of Hamilton. He received but a common school education, by which, being of a wandering disposition, he did not profit. At the age of fourteen he was very anxious to go to sea. His dear mother used every endeavour to dispossess his mind of this desire; but the more earnestly she tried to dissuade him, the more obstinately he clung to his determination. He soon carried out his resolve. Rising early one Saturday morning, he left his home for the first time, and walked to Ipswich, a distance of fifteen miles. Here he found a master of a merchant vessel who was in want of a cabin-boy, and who at once engaged his services for a trial trip, prior to his becoming his apprentice for five years. This first experiment, however, sufficed to check his ardour for a sea-life, and on the return of the vessel, a fortnight afterwards, he wished the captain good-bye, and went straight home. But not to settle and rest. For this, his roaming spirit and love of adventure, proved too

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strong; and these induced him, at the age of fifteen, to try his fortunes in the army. He enlisted in H. M's. 58th Regiment of Foot; but was immediately liberated on a quick repentance, evidenced by the payment of the "smart-money" fee of £1, 1s. And now he once more returned to his despised but not forgotten home, yet only to repeat this last experiment, which in his waywardness he had attempted and in his fickleness he had abandoned.

This time he joined the Royal Artillery on the 3rd June 1844, and was duly attested. On the 30th he came to Woolwich and commenced his drill as a recruit in the 3rd Battalion of that corps. In the month of March 1845, he was reported competent to perform his duty as an artilleryman. In July of the same year, he was appointed acting bombardier. In May 1846, he joined the 10th Battalion, just then raised to augment the regiment; and in the July following, was promoted bombardier in No. 7 Company. He was then sent to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a recruiting tour, where he remained for seven or eight months. He then returned to Woolwich, and in March 1847 was ordered to Devonport. In February 1848, he joined No. 3 Company at Dover, as corporal, thus attaining the third step on that ladder from which he so shortly fell.

To use his own words--he says: "About this time I was, like most young men, given to excessive drinking and improper company. Oh! that I had paid attention to the warnings of conscience. Had I at this time forsaken the

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paths of sin, bow many hours of bitter grief should I have escaped! But, from what I can even now remember of my heedless folly, it would have almost taken an angel to persuade me to resist sin. Why was I permitted to live? Many fell on the right hand and on the left. Why was I spared? It was mercy, all mercy. May God grant that His forbearance towards me may always keep me humble! and may my spared life shew forth His praise! This bad conduct of mine was not overlooked by my superiors, neither could it go unpunished. Some time after my arrival in Dover, I was reduced from corporal to the rank of gunner and driver."

In the month of February 1849, he was sent to Woolwich and attached to the field-batteries, where, with four others, he was selected to learn the rough-riding,, which he completed in a few months. At this time his diary records an instance of Christian kindness shewn him by Colonel A-----, the officer commanding the field-batteries:--

"Having committed a very serious offence, by absenting myself without leave for twenty-four hours, I was brought before this gentleman and servant of Christ, for punishment. My sentence was twenty-four hours in the black-hole; I begged him to forgive me, and promised him it should not occur again. He looked upon me with feelings of pity, and, with a true Christian spirit, gave me advice which I can never forget, (although it was neglected,) and afterwards, in compliance with my request, forgave me. I mention this to shew that God is not without His wit-

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nesses in the army; and my prayer now is, that He will remember him in glory."

He completed his course of battery instruction by the beginning of December, and at Christmas obtained leave of absence to visit his friends, whom he had not seen since 1845.

On the 1st June 1850, having received the necessary permission, he married Catherine Pool, a young woman from Cornwall. The union was solemnized in the parish church of Plumstead, by the Rev. Mr Shackleton. Here the less eventful period of his life closes. Before him lay a field of active and energetic service in which he was now to enter--with its perils at hand, its rewards in store, and its duties, more or less conspicuous, awaiting daily discharge. We shall soon find him bravely equipped for the battle of life, and leaving behind him, as he pushes on, traces of hardness endured and valour displayed.

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