The majority of the gunboats in commission today arc rather ancient; their bulging sponsons and time-honored appearance give one a feeling of sympathy for those who must be aboard. There is no question, but that gunboat duty is none too attractive; and yet it is an important one, and one that has possibilities of development.
As a matter of fact such duty is good training for officers and men, provided that it is not carried to such lengths as to allow them to go stale. Work and meditation among the benighted and at the stepping off places, are splendid up to the point when the passing months develop into years. Then enthusiasm lags, and disgust creeps in to spoil it all; and many a good man leaves the service sore, just because the thing has been overdone, and he is unable to see the justice of it. A definite period should constitute such service. At the end of that time the individual should feel confident that he would be relieved.