chapter  IV
THE SOLDIER'S FRIEND
Pages 8

COBBETT landed at Portsmouth with his regiment in November, 179r. On the rgth of December he was discharged from the army, with an excellent testimonial from his major, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, to the good services he had rendered. He had two immediate objects in view-to find and marry Ann Reid, and to pursue his charges of corruption against those responsible for the affairs of his late regiment. First of all, he sought out his promised wife, finding her in ill circumstances, in domestic service with a family at Woolwich. And thereby hangs a tale. At the time when Ann had left New Brunswick, Cobbett had saved out of his pay and allowances one hundred and fifty guineas. This he had sent to Ann Reid, asking her to keep it for him, or, "if she found her home uncomfortable, to hire a lodging with respectable people; and, at any rate, not to spare the money, by any means, but to buy herself good clothes, and to live without hard work," until he arrived in England. He would get, he said, plenty more before his return. Yet, in the event, after two years' delay beyond the time when he had expected to return, "I found my little girl a servant of all work (and hard work it was), at jive pounds a year, in the house of a Captain Brisac; and, without hardly saying a word about the matter, she put into my hands the whole of my hundred and fifty guineas unbroken ! "