Funny / McAuslan

  • After the battalion football team scores the winning goal against the Royal Navy team, MacNeill, trying to be cool, lights a cigarette but fails miserably: he sets his own sporran alight and leaves the audience box he's in full of smoke, at which point another person in the box comments on his excessive celebration.
  • "Guard at the Castle" begins with a description of the inverse relationship between the importance of the thing/person being guarded and the amount of rigmarole that goes into standing guard over said thing/person. The idea of someone trying to steal the Mons Megnote  from Edinburgh castle is presented and made absurd all at once:
    Edinburgh Castle, from the guards' point of view, is in a class by itself. It is tremendously important, in a traditional rather than strategic sense; if someone broke into it and pinched Mons Meg the actual well-being of the country would not be affected, but the blow to national prestige would be tremendous. The papers would be full of it. Consequently, providing a guard for the Castle involves—or used to—more frantic preparation, ceremonial, organisation, and general nervous tension than the filming of Ben Hur.
  • In one story, there's a long paragraph on the subject of "Johnnie Cope", which ends with this line.
    But whatever it does, for the Jocks or to the enemy, at the proper time and occasion, its effect at 6 a.m. on a refined and highly-strung subaltern who is dreaming of Rita Hayworth is devastating.
  • In the same story, the author gets a bit of his own back on the Pipe-Sergeant by saying that the pipers played Johnnie Cope well enough, but on the other hand, he himself has heard it played by Foden's Motor Works Brass Band. The pipey is about to burst at the unfavourable comparison to a brass band when he realizes he has just been expertly trolled, and he not only vows to try that one on the Pipe-Major when he gets the chance but swears eternal friendship — not explicitly, but by inviting him to come and drink in the Sergeants' Mess, hallowed territory off-limits to all uninvited personnel regardless of rank.
  • It is not merely that McAuslan is, officially speaking, not dirty. It is that it is decided, by a court-martial, that he is so unambiguously not dirty that it is outside reasonable doubt that anyone might think he was.