The Widow's Uniform - Part 10 of 15:
The lower ranks of the Army served as an anonymous refuge for many disgraced or impoverished gentlemen (including at least one old schoolfriend of Kipling). Out of place among the troopers, shunned by the officer class, the "poor little lambs" offer a different light on – and an indictment of – the rigid class system giving rise to their plight. Kipling's portrait is sympathetic but clear-eyed and singularly unromantic. There are suggestions that he was displeased by such softenings of the harsh edges of his poem as the "Whiffenpoof Song" – we hope he might have approved more of Peter's setting and Brian's dry treatment of it.