An excerpt from Street Life in London by J.Thomson and Adolphe Smith gives a fascinating glimpse of life as a Recruiting Sergeant in 1877 London. Apparently a recruiting job wasn't the sinecure it seemed:
The amount of work done by the sergeants who loiter about at this corner may best be estimated by the fact that 3605 approved recruits were enlisted from the London district in 1875, and I need scarcely remark that the greater number of these men accepted the fatal shilling at the hospitable bar of the "Mitre and Dove." Henry Cooper, one of the best known and most successful recruiting sergeants, enlisted at this corner during the course of thirteen years upwards of 3000 men; and is generally supposed to have retired with a large fortune. I hear, however, and on good testimony, that this latter detail is altogether erroneous, and that, notwithstanding his prolonged and devoted services, Sergeant Cooper was obliged to resort to the vulgar expedient of a loan on leaving his corps. This last version has at least the advantage of according with the general characteristics of the English army, and harmonizes with that spirit of ungrateful neglect which allows Waterloo heroes to die in the workhouse.
Recruiting sergeants have the credit of making large incomes, but insufficient account is taken of the expenses they are forced to incur. […]
[…] There is no suitable barrack accommodation for the London recruiting sergeants, and 3s. 6d "lodger money" is therefore allowed per week. This is supposed to compensate for the room, fuel, and light which should be given in the barracks. It is, however, difficult to get a suitable room in London under seven shillings per week, and three shillings is but a low estimate for coals and light. Besides this outlay, recruiting sergeants have to be better dressed, and wear out their clothes more rapidly than if they were in ordinary service; yet they have only one pair of boots, and of gloves, and one tunic allowed them per annum, the authorities stretching a point, and giving three pairs of trousers for every two years. As a natural result, the sergeants have to buy the greater part of their clothes, and this at no trifling expense. A good cap, for instance, costs £1 1s., and when exposed day after day without respite to the smoke, dirt, and rain of London, this important appanage to the uniform does not last longer than a year. The recruiting sergeants have, therefore, like every other branch of the service, a formidable list of grievances, and consider themselves far removed from the enjoyment of that good fortune which is generally attributed to them.
[Via And Another Thing]