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Camps, Quarters, and Casual Places by Archibald Forbes

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My obligations for permission to incorporate some of the articles in this
volume are due to Messrs. George Routledge and Sons, Mr. James Knowles of
the _Nineteenth Century_, Mr. Percy Bunting of the _Contemporary Review_,
and the Proprietor of _McClure's Magazine_.

LONDON, _June_ 1896.






















The interval between the declaration of the Franco-German war of 1870-71,
and the "military promenade," at which the poor Prince Imperial received
his "baptism of fire," was a pleasant, lazy time at Saarbruecken; to which
pretty frontier town I had early betaken myself, in the anticipation,
which proved well founded, that the tide of war would flow that way first.
What a pity it is that all war cannot be like this early phase of it, of
which I speak! It was playing at warfare, with just enough of the grim
reality cropping up occasionally, to give the zest which the reckless
Frenchwoman declared was added to a pleasure by its being also a sin. The
officers of the Hohenzollerns--our only infantry regiment in garrison--
drank their beer placidly under the lime-tree in the market-place, as
their men smoked drowsily, lying among the straw behind the stacked arms
ready for use at a moment's notice. The infantry patrol skirted the
frontier line every morning in the gray dawn, occasionally exchanging with
little result a few shots with the French outposts on the Spicheren or
down in the valley bounded by the Schoenecken wood. The Uhlans, their
piebald lance-pennants fluttering in the wind, cantered leisurely round
the crests of the little knolls which formed the vedette posts, despising
mightily the straggling chassepot bullets which were pitched at them from
time to time in a desultory way; but which, desultory as they were, now
and then brought lance-pennant and its bearer to the ground--an occurrence
invariably followed by a little spurt of lively hostility.

I had my quarters at the Rheinischer Hof, a right comfortable hotel on the
St. Johann side of the Saar, where most of the Hohenzollern officers
frequented the _table d'hote_ and where quaint little Max, the drollest
imp of a waiter imaginable, and pretty Frauelein Sophie the landlord's
niece, did all that in them lay to contribute to the pleasantness and
comfort of the house. Not a few pleasant evenings did I spend at the table
of the long dining-room, with the close-cropped red head of silent and
genial Hauptmann von Krehl looming large over the great ice-pail, with its
_chevaux de frise_ of long-necked Niersteiner bottles--the worthy
Hauptmann supported by blithe Lieutenant von Klipphausen, ever ready with
the _Wacht am Rhein_; quaint Dr. Diestelkamp, brimful of recollections of
"six-and-sixty" and as ready to amputate your leg as to crack a joke or
clink a glass; gay young Adjutant von Zuelow--he who one day brought in a
prisoner from the foreposts a red-legged Frenchman across the pommel of
his saddle; and many other good fellows, over most of whom the turf of the
Spicheren, or the brown earth of the Gravelotte plain, now lies lightly.

But although the Rheinischer Hof associates itself in my mind with many
memories, half-pleasant, half-sad, it was not the most accustomed haunt of
the casuals in Saarbruecken, including myself. Of the waifs and strays
which the war had drifted down to the pretty frontier town the great
rendezvous was the Hotel Hagen, at the bend of the turn leading from the
bridge up to the railway station. The Hagen was a free-and-easy place
compared with the Rheinischer, and among its inmates there was no one who
could sing a better song than manly George--type of the Briton at whom
foreigners stare--who, ignorant of a word of their language, wholly
unprovided with any authorisation save the passport signed "Salisbury,"
and having not quite so much business at the seat of war as he might have
at the bottom of a coal-mine, gravitates into danger with inevitable
certainty, and stumbles through all manner of difficulties and bothers by
reason of a serene good-humour that nothing can ruffle and a cool
resolution before which every obstacle fades away. Was there ever a more
compositely polyglot cosmopolitan than poor young de Liefde--half
Dutchman, half German by birth, an Englishman by adoption, a Frenchman in
temperament, speaking with equal fluency the language of all four
countries, and an unconsidered trifle of some half-dozen European
languages besides? Then there was the English student from Bonn, who had
come down to the front accompanied by a terrible brute of a dog, vast,
shaggy, self-willed, and dirty; an animal which, so to speak, owned his
owner, and was so much the horror and disgust of everybody that on account
of him the company of his master--one of the pleasantest fellows alive--
was the source of general apprehension. There was young Silberer the
many-sided and eccentric, an Austrian nobleman, a Vienna feuilletonist and
correspondent, a rowing man, a gourmet, ever thinking of his stomach and
yet prepared for all the roughness of the campaign--warm-hearted,
passionate, narrow-minded, capable of sleeping for twenty-three out of the
twenty-four hours, and the wearer of a Scotch cap. There was Kuester, a
German journalist with an address somewhere in the Downham Road; and Duff,
a Fellow of ---- College, the strangest mixture of nervousness and cool
courage I ever met.

We were a kind of happy family at the Hagen; the tone of the coterie was
that of the easiest intimacy into which every newcomer slid quite
naturally. Thus when on the 31st July there was a somewhat sensational
arrival, the stolid landlord had not turned the gas on in the empty saal
before everybody knew and sympathised with the errand of the strangers.
The party consisted of a plump little girl of about eighteen with a bonny
round face and fine frank eyes; her sister who was some years older; and a
brother, the eldest of the three. They had come from Silesia on rather a
strange tryst. Little Minna Vogt had for her _Braeutigam_ a young Feldwebel
of the second battalion of the Hohenzollerns, a native of Saarlouis. The
battalion quartered there was under orders to join its first battalion at
Saarbruecken, and young Eckenstein had written to his betrothed to come and
meet him there, that the marriage-knot might be tied before he should go
on a campaign from which he might not return. The arrangement was
certainly a charming one; we should have a wedding in the Hagen! There was
no nonsense about our young _Braut_. She told me the little story at
supper on the night of her arrival in the most matter-of-fact way
possible, drank her two glasses of red wine, and went off serenely to bed
with a dainty lisping _Schlafen Sie wohl!_

While Minna was between the sheets in the pleasant chamber in the Hagen
her lover was lying in bivouac some fifteen miles away. In the afternoon
of the next day his battalion approached Saarbruecken and bivouacked about
two miles from the town. Of course we all went out to welcome it; some
bearing peace-offerings of cigars, others the drink-offering of potent
Schnapps. The Vogt family were left the sole inmates of the Hagen,
delicacy preventing their accompanying us. The German journalist, however,
had a commission to find out young Eckenstein and tell him of the bliss
that awaited him two short miles away. Right hearty fellows were the
officers of the second battalion--from the grizzled Oberst down to the
smooth-faced junior lieutenant; and the men who had been marching and
bivouacking for a fortnight looked as fresh as if they had not travelled
five miles. Kuester soon found the young Feldwebel; and the Hauptmann of
his company when he heard the state of the case, smiled a grim but kindly
smile, and gave him leave for two days with the proviso, that if any
hostile action should be taken in the interval he should rejoin the
colours immediately and without notice. "No fear of that!" was
Eckenstein's reply with a significant down glance at his sword; and then,
after a cheery "good-night" to the hardy bivouackers, we visitors started
in triumph on our return to the Hagen, the young Feldwebel in our midst It
was good to see the unrestraint with which Minna--she of the apple face
and frank eyes--threw herself round the neck of her betrothed as she met
him on the steps of the Hagen, and his modest manly blush as he returned
the embrace. Ye gods! did not we make a night of it! Stolid Hagen came out
of his shell for once, and swore, _Donner Wetter_ that he would give us a
supper we should remember; and he kept his word. The good old pastor of
the snow-white hair and withered cheeks--he had been engaged to perform
the ceremony of the morrow--we voted into the chair whether he would or
not; and on his right sat Minna and Eckenstein, their arms interlacing and
whispering soft speeches which were not for our ears. The table was
covered with bottles of Blume de Saar, the champagne peculiar of the Hagen;
and the speed with which the full bottles were converted into "dead
marines" was a caution to teetotallers. Then de Liefde the polyglot gave
the health of the happy couple in a felicitous but composite speech, in
which half a dozen languages were impartially intermixed so that all might
understand at least a portion. George the jolly insisted in leading off
the honours with a truly British "three times three;" and that horrible
dog of Hyndman's gave the time, like a beast as he was, with stentorian
barkings. Then Minna and her sister retired, followed by Herr Pastor; and
after a considerable number of more bottles of Blume de Saar had met their
fate we formed a procession and escorted the happy Eckenstein to the
Rheinischer Hof where he was to sleep.

Next morning by eleven, we had all reassembled in the second saal of the
Hagen. In the great room the marriage-breakfast was laid out, and in the
kitchen Hagen and his Frau were up to their eyes in mystic culinary
operations. Minna looked like a rosebud in her pretty low-necked blue
dress, and the pastor in his cassock helped to the diversity of colour. We
had done shaking hands with the bride and bridegroom after the ceremony,
and were sitting down to the marriage feast, when young Eckenstein started
and made three strides to the open window. His accustomed ear had caught a
sound which none of us had heard. It was the sharp peremptory note of the
drum beating the alarm. As it came nearer and could no longer be mistaken,
the bright colour went out from poor Minna's cheek and she clung with a
brave touching silence to her sister. In two minutes more Eckenstein had
his helmet on his head and his sword buckled on, and then he turned to say
farewell to his girl ere he left her for the battle. The parting was
silent and brief; but the faces of the two were more eloquent than words.
Poor Minna sat down by the window straining her eyes as Eckenstein,
running at speed, went his way to the rendezvous.

When I got up to the Bellevue the French were streaming in overwhelming
force down the slope of the Spicheren into the intervening valley. It was
a beautiful sight; but I am not going to describe it here. Ere an hour was
over the shells and chassepot bullets were sweeping across the Exercise
Platz, and it was no longer a safe spot for a non-combatant like myself.
Before I got back into the Hagen after paying my bill at the Rheinischer
and fetching away my knapsack, the French guns were on the Exercise Platz.
I heard for the first time the angry screech of the mitrailleuse and saw
the hailstorm of its bullets spattering on the pavement of the bridge.
Somehow or other the whole of our little coterie had found their way into
the Hagen; by a sort of common impulse, I imagine. The landlady was
already in hysterics; the Vogt girls were pale but plucky. Presently the
shells began to fly. The Prussians had a gun or two on the railway
esplanade above us, the fire of which the French began to return fiercely.
Every shell that fell short tumbled in or about the Hagen; and a company
of the Hohenzollerns was drawn up in the street in front of it, in trying
to dislodge which the French fire could not well miss the Hagen and the
houses opposite. A shell burst in the back-yard and the landlady fainted.
Another came crashing in through a first-floor window, and, bursting,
knocked several bedrooms into one. Then we thought it time to get the
women down into the cellar--rather a risky undertaking since the door of
it was in the backyard. However, we got them all down in safety and came
up into the second saal to watch the course of events. Hagen gave a
fearful groan as a shell broke into the kitchen behind us, and, bursting
in the centre of the stove, sent his _chefs-d'oeuvre_ of cookery sputtering
in all directions. He gave a still deeper groan as another shell crashed
into the principal dining-room and knocked the long table, laid out as it
was for the marriage-feast, into a chaos of splinters, tablecloth, and
knives and forks. The Restauration Kueche on the other side was in flames,
so was the stable of the hotel to the left rear. In this pleasing
situation of affairs George produced a pack of cards and coolly proposed a
game of whist. Kuester, de Liefde, and Hyndman joined him; and the game
proceeded amidst the crashing of the projectiles. Silberer and myself took
counsel together and agreed that the occupation of the town by the French
was only a question of a few hours at latest. We were both correspondents;
and although the French would do us no harm our communications with our
journals would inevitably be stopped--a serious contingency to contemplate
at the beginning of a campaign. We both agreed that evacuation of the
Hagen was imperative; but then, how to get out? The only way was up the
esplanade to the railway station, and upon it the French shells were
falling and bursting in numbers very trying to the nerves. However, there
was nothing for it but to make a rush through the fire; and saying
good-bye to the whist-players we sallied forth. To my disgust I found that
Silberer positively refused to make a rush of it. Although an Austrian all
his sympathies were Prussian, and he had the utmost contempt for the
French. In his broken language his invariable appellation for them was
"God-damned Hundsoehne!" and he would not run before them at any price. I
would have run right gladly at top-speed; but I did not like to run when
another man walked, and so he made me saunter at the rate of two miles an
hour till we got under shelter. After a hot walk of several miles, we
reached the Hotel Till in the village of Duttweiler. After all the French,
although they might have done so, did not occupy Saarbruecken; and towards
evening our friends came dropping into the Hotel Till, singly or in pairs.
Kuester and George brought the Vogt sisters out in a waggon--it was
surprising to see the coolness and composure of the girls. By nightfall we
were all reunited, except one unfortunate fellow who had been slightly
wounded and whom a Saarbruecken doctor had kindly received into his house.

On the 6th August came the Prussian repossession of Saarbruecken and the
desperate storm of the Spicheren. The 40th was the regiment to which was
assigned the place of honour in the preliminary recapture of the Exercise
Platz height. Kameke rode up the winding road to the Bellevue; then came
the march across the broad valley and after much bloodshed the final storm
of the Spicheren, in which the 40th occupied about the left centre of the
Prussian advance. Three times did the blue wave surge up the green steep,
to be beaten back three times by the terrible blast of fire that crashed
down upon it from above. Yet a fourth time it clambered up again, and this
time it lipped the brink and poured over the intrenchment at the top. But
I am not describing the battle.

When it was over or at least when it had drifted away across the farther
plateau, I followed on in the broad wake of dying and dead which the
advance had left. The familiar faces of the Hohenzollerns were all around
me; but either still in death or writhing in the torture of wounds. About
the centre of the valley lay the genial Hauptmann von Krehl, more silent
than ever now, for a bullet had gone right through that red head of his
and he would never more quaff of the Niersteiner; neither would Lieutenant
von Klipphausen ever again stir the blood of the sons of the Fatherland
with the _Wacht am Rhein_; he lay dead close by the first spur of the
slope--what of him at least a bursting shell had left. On a little flat
half up sat quaint Dr. Diestelkamp, like Mark Tapley jolly under
difficulties; by his side lay a man who had just bled to death as the good
doctor explained to me. While he had been applying the tourniquet under a
hot fire his right arm had been broken; and before he could pull himself
up and go to the rear another bullet had found its billet in his thigh.
There the little man sat, contentedly smoking till somebody would be good
enough to come and take him away. Von Zuelow too--he of the gay laugh and
sprightly countenance--was on his back a little higher up, with a bullet
through the chest. I heard the ominous sound of the escaping air as I
raised him to give him a drink from my flask. What needs it to become
diffuse as to the terrible sights which that steep and the plateau above
it presented on this beautiful summer evening? It was farther to the
right, in ground more broken with gullies and ravines, that the second
battalion of the Hohenzollerns had gone up; and I wandered along there
among the carnage eking out the contents of my flask as far as I could,
and when the wounded had exhausted the brandy in it filling it up with
water and still toiling on in a task that seemed endless. At last, in a
sitting posture, his back against a hawthorn tree in one of the grassy
ravines, I saw one whom I thought I recognised. "Eckenstein!" I cried as I
ran forward; for the posture was so natural that I could not but think he
was alive. Alas! no answer came; the gallant young Feldwebel was dead,
shot through the throat. He had not been killed outright by the fatal
bullet; the track was apparent by the blood on the grass along which he
had crawled to the hawthorn tree against which I found him. His head had
fallen forward on his chest and his right hand was pressed against his
left breast. I saw something white in the hollow of the hand and easily
moved the arm for he was yet warm; it was the photograph of the little
girl he had married but three short days before. The frank eyes looked up
at me with a merry unconsciousness; and the face of the photograph was
spotted with the life-blood of the young soldier.

I sent the death-token to Saarlouis by post to the young widow. I never
knew whether she received it, for all the address I had was Saarlouis.
Eckenstein I saw buried with two officers in a soldier's grave under the
hawthorn. Any one taking the ascent up the fourth ravine Forbach-ward from
the bluff of the Spicheren, may easily find it about halfway up. It may be
recognised by the wooden cross bearing the rude inscription: "Hier ruhen
in Gott 2 Officiere, 1 Feldwebel, 40ste Hohenzol. Fus. Regt."



By Christmas 1878 the winter had brought to a temporary standstill the
operations of the British troops engaged in the first Afghan campaign, and
I took the opportunity of this inaction to make a journey into Native
Burmah, the condition of which seemed thus early to portend the interest
which almost immediately after converged upon it, because of King Thebau's
wholesale slaughter of his relatives. Reaching Mandalay, the capital of
Native Burmah, in the beginning of February 1879, I immediately set about
compassing an interview with the young king. Both Mr. Shaw, who was our
Resident at Mandalay at the time of my visit, and Dr. Clement Williams
whose kindly services I found so useful, are now dead, and many changes
have occurred since the episode described below; but no description, so
far as I am aware, has appeared of any visit of courtesy and curiosity to
the Court of King Thebau of a later date than that made by myself at the
date specified. One of my principal objects in visiting Mandalay, or, in
Burmese phrase, of "coming to the Golden Feet," was to see the King of
Burmah in his royal state in the Presence Chamber of the Palace. Certain
difficulties stood in the way of the accomplishment of this object. I had
but a few days to spend in Mandalay. With the approval of Mr. Shaw, the
British Resident, I determined to pursue an informal course of action, and
with this intent I enlisted the good offices of an English gentleman
resident in Mandalay, who had intimate relations with the Ministers and
the Court.

This gentleman, Dr. Williams, was good enough to help me with zeal and
address. The line of strategy to adopt was to interest in my cause one of
the principal Ministers. Of these there were four, who constituted the
_Hlwot-dau_, or High Court and Council of the Monarchy. These "Woonghys"
or "Menghyis," as they were more commonly called--"Menghyi," meaning
"Great Prince"--were of equal rank; but the senior Minister, the
Yenangyoung Menghyi, who had precedence, was then in confinement, and,
indeed, a decree of degradation had gone forth against him. Obviously he
was of no use; but a more influential man than he ever was, and having the
additional advantages of being at liberty, in power and in favour, was the
"Kingwoon Menghyi." He was in effect the Prime Minister of the King of
Burmah. His position was roughly equivalent to that of Bismarck in
Germany, or of Gortschakoff in Russia, since, in addition to his internal
influence, he had the chief direction of foreign affairs. Now this
"Kingwoon Menghyi" had for a day or two been relaxing from the cares of
State. Partly for his own pleasure, partly by way of example, he had laid
out a beautiful garden on the low ground near the river. Within this
garden he had the intention to build himself a suburban residence, which
meanwhile was represented by a summer pavilion of teak and bamboo. He was
a liberal-minded man, and it was a satisfaction to him that the shady
walks and pleasant rose-groves of this garden should be enjoyed by the
people of Mandalay. He was a reformer, this "Kingwoon Menghyi," and
believed in the humanising effect of free access to the charms of nature.
His garden laid out and his pavilion finished, he was celebrating the
event by a series of _fetes._ He was "at home" in his pavilion to
everybody; bands of music played all day long and day after day, in the
kiosks, among the young palm trees and the rosebushes. Mandalay, high and
low, made holiday in the mazy walks of his garden and in an improvised
theatre, wherein an interminable _pooey,_ or Burmese drama, was being
enacted before ever-varying and constantly appreciative audiences. Dr.
Williams opined that it would conduce to the success of my object that we
should call upon the Minister at his garden-house and request him to use
his good offices in my behalf.

It was near noon when we reached the entrance to the garden. Merry but
orderly sightseers thronged its alleys, and stared with wondering
admiration at a rather attenuated jet of water which rose into the clear
air some thirty feet above a rockwork fountain in the centre. Dignitaries
strolled about under the stemless umbrellas like huge shields, with which
assiduous attendants protected them from the sun; and were followed by
posses of retainers, who prostrated themselves whenever their masters
halted or looked round. Ladies in white jackets and trailing silk skirts
of vivid hue were taking a leisurely airing, each with her demure maid
behind her carrying the lacquer-ware box of betel-nut. As often as not the
fair ones were blowing copious clouds from huge reed-like cheroots. Sounds
of shrill music were heard in the distance. Walking up the central alley
between the rows of palms and the hedges of roses, we found in the veranda
a mixed crowd of laymen and priests, the latter distinguishable by their
shaved heads and yellow robes. The Minister was just finishing his
morning's work of distributing offerings to the latter, in commemoration
of the opening of his gardens. In response to a message, he at once sent
to desire that we should come to him. The great "shoe-question," the
_quaestio vexata_ between British officialism and Burmah officialism, did
not trouble me. I had no official position; I wanted to gain an object. I
have a respect for the honour of my country, but I could not bring myself
to realise that the national honour centres in my shoes. So I parted with
them at the top of the steps leading up into the Minister's pavilion, and
walking on what is known as my "stocking-feet," and feeling rather
shuffling and shabby accordingly, was ushered through a throng of
prostrate dependents into the presence of the Menghyi. He came forward
frankly and cordially, shook hands with a hearty smile with Dr. Williams
and myself, and beckoned us into an inner alcove, carpeted with rich rugs
and panelled with mirrors. Placing himself in a half-sitting,
half-kneeling attitude which did not expose his feet, he beckoned to us to
get down also. I own to having experienced extreme difficulty in keeping
my feet out of sight, which was a point _de rigueur_; but his Excellency
was not censorious. There was with him a secretary who had resided several
years in Europe, and who spoke fluently English, French, and Italian. This
gentleman knew London thoroughly, and was perfectly familiar both with the
name of the _Daily News_ and of myself. He introduced me formally to his
Excellency, who, I ought to have mentioned, was the head of the Burmese
Embassy which had visited Europe a few years previously. That his
Excellency had some sort of knowledge of the political character of the
_Daily News_ was obvious from the circumstance that when its name was
mentioned he nodded and exclaimed, "Ah! ah! Gladstone, Bright!" in tones
of manifest approval, which was no doubt accounted for by the fact that he
himself was a pronounced Liberal. I explained that I had come to Mandalay
to learn as much about Burmese manners, customs, and institutions as was
possible in four days, with intent to embody my impressions in letters to
England; and that as the King was the chief institution of the country, I
had a keen anxiety to see him and begged of his Excellency to lend me his
aid toward doing so. He gave no direct reply, but certainly did not frown
on the request. We were served with tea (without cream or sugar) in pretty
china cups, and then the Menghyi, observing that we were looking at some
quaint-shaped musical instruments at the foot of the dais, explained that
they belonged to a band of rural performers from the Pegu district, and
proposed that we should first hear them play and afterwards visit the
theatre and witness the _pooey_. We assenting, he led the way from his
pavilion through the garden to a pretty kiosk half-embosomed in foliage,
and chairs having been brought the party sat down. We had put on our shoes
as we quitted the dais. The Menghyi explained that it was pleasanter for
him, as it must be for us, that we should change the manner of our
reception from the Burmese to the European custom; and we were quite free
to confess that we would sooner sit in chairs than squat on the floor.
More tea was brought, and a plateful of cheroots. After we had sat a
little while in the kiosk we were joined by the chief Under-Secretary for
Foreign Affairs, the Baron de Giers of Burmah, a jovial, corpulent,
elderly gentleman who had the most wonderful likeness to the late Pio
Nono, and who clasped his brown hands over his fat paunch and kicked about
his plump bare brown feet in high enjoyment when anything that struck him
as humorous was uttered. He wholly differed in appearance from his
superior, who was a lean-faced and lean-figured man, grave, and indeed
somewhat sad both of eye and of visage when his face was in repose. As we
talked, our conversation being through the interpreting secretary, there
came to the curtained entrance to the kiosk a very dainty little lady. I
had noticed her previously sauntering around the garden under one of the
great shield-like shades, with a following of serving-men and
serving-women behind her. She greeted the Menghyi very prettily, with the
most perfect composure, although strangers were present. She was clearly a
great pet with the Menghyi; he took her on his knee and played with her
long black hair, as he told her about the visitors. The little lady was in
her twelfth year, and was the daughter of a colleague and a relative of
the Menghyi. She had an olive oval face, with lovely dark eyes, like the
eyes of a deer. She wore a tiara of feathery white blossoms. In her ears
were rosettes of chased red gold. Round her throat was a necklace of a
double row of large pearls. Her fingers--I regret to say her nails were
not very clean--were loaded with rings set with great diamonds of
exceptional sparkle and water; one stone in particular must have been
worth many thousands of pounds. She wore a jacket of white silk, and round
her loins was girt a gay silken robe that trailed about her bare feet as
she walked. She shook hands with us with a pretty shyness and immediately
helped herself to a cheroot, affably accepting a light from mine. The
Menghyi told us she was a great scholar--could read and write with
facility, and had accomplishments to boot.

By this time the provincial band had taken its place under one of the
windows of the kiosk, and it presently struck up. Its music was not
pretty. There were in the strange weird strain suggestions of gongs,
bagpipes, penny whistles, and the humble tom-tom of Bengal. The gentleman
who performed on an instrument which seemed a hybrid between a flute and a
French horn, occasionally arrested his instrumental music to favour us
with vocal strains, but he failed to compete successfully with the
cymbals. I do not think the Menghyi was enraptured by the music of the
strollers from Pegu, for he presently asked us whether we were ready to go
to the _pooey_. He again led the way through a garden, passing in one
corner of it a temporary house of which a company of Burmese nuns,
short-haired, pallid-faced, unhappy-looking women, were in possession; and
passing through a gate in the wicker-work fence ushered us into the
"state-box" of the improvised theatre. There is very little labour
required to construct a theatre in Burmah. Over a framework of bamboo
poles stretch a number of squares of matting as a protection from the sun.
Lay some more down in the centre as a flooring for the performers. Tie a
few branches round the central bamboo to represent a forest, the perpetual
set-scene of a Burmese drama; and the house is ready. The performers act
and dance in the central square laid with matting. A little space on one
side is reserved as a dressing and green room for the actresses; a similar
space on the other side serves the turn of the actors; and then come the
spectators crowding in on all four sides of the square. It is an orderly
and easily managed audience; it may be added an easily amused audience.
The youngsters are put or put themselves in front and squat down; the
grown people kneel or stand behind. Our "state-box" was merely a raised
platform laid with carpets and cushions, from which as we sat we looked
over the heads of the throng squatting under and in front of us. Of the
drama I cannot say that I carried away with me particularly clear
impressions. True, I only saw a part of it--it was to last till the
following morning; but long before I left the plot to me had become
bewilderingly involved. The opening was a ballet; of that at least I am
certain. There were six lady dancers and six gentlemen ditto. The ladies
were arrayed in splendour, with tinsel tiaras, necklaces, and bracelets,
gauzy jackets and waving scarfs; and with long, light clinging silken
robes, of which there was at least a couple of yards on the "boards" about
their feet. They were old, they were ugly, they leered fiendishly; their
faces were plastered with powder in a ghastly fashion, and their coquetry
behind their fans was the acme of caricature. But my pen halts when I
would describe the gentlemen dancers. I believe that in reality they were
not meant to represent fallen humanity at all; but were intended to
personify _nats,_ the spirits or princes of the air of Burmese mythology.
They carried on their heads pagodas of tinsel and coloured glass that
towered imposingly aloft. They were arrayed in tight-bodiced coats with
aprons before and behind of fantastic outline, resembling the wings of
dragons and griffins, and these coats were an incrusted mass of spangles
and pieces of coloured glass. Underneath a skirt of tartan silk was
fitfully visible. Their brown legs and feet were bare. The expression of
their faces was solemn, not to say lugubrious--one performer had a most
whimsical resemblance to Mr. Toole when he is sunk in an abyss of dramatic
woe. They realised the responsibilities of their position, and there were
moments when these seemed too many for them. The orchestra, taken as a
whole, was rather noisy; but it comprised one instrument, the "bamboo
harmonicon," which deserves to be known out of Burmah because of its
sweetness and range of tone. There were lots of "go" in the music, and
every now and then one detected a kind of echo of a tune not unfamiliar in
other climes. One's ear seemed to assure one that _Madame Angot_ had been
laid under contribution to tickle the ears of a Mandalay audience, yet how
could this be? The explanation was that the instrumentalists, occasionally
visiting Thayet-myo or Rangoon, had listened there to the strains of our
military bands, and had adapted these to the Burmese orchestra in some
deft inscrutable manner, written music being unknown in the musical world
of Burmah.

Next day the Kingwoon Menghyi took the wholly unprecedented step of
inviting to dinner the British Resident, his suite, and his visitor--
myself. Mr. Shaw accepted the invitation, and I considered myself
specially fortunate in being a participator in a species of intercourse at
once so novel, and to all seeming so auspicious.

About sundown the Residency party, joined _en route_ by Dr. Williams, rode
down to the entrance to the gardens. Here we were warmly received by the
English-speaking secretary, and by the jovial bow-windowed minister who so
much resembled the late Pio Nono. We were escorted to the verandah of the
pavilion, where the Menghyi himself stood waiting to greet us, and were
ushered up to the broad, raised, carpeted platform which may be styled the
drawing-room. Here was a semicircle of chairs. On our way to these, a long
row of squatting Burmans was passed. As the Resident approached, the
Menghyi gave the word, and they promptly stood erect in line. He explained
that they were the superior officers of the army quartered in the capital--
generals, he called them--whom he had asked to meet us. Of these officers
one commanded the eastern guard of the Palace, the other the western; two
others were aides-de-camp after a fashion. Just as the Menghyi and his
subordinate colleagues represented the Ministry, so these military people
represented the Court. The former was the moderate constitutional element
of the gathering; the latter the "jingo" or personal government element,
for the Burmese Court was reactionary, and those military sprigs were of
the personal suite of the King and were understood to abet him in his
falling away from the constitutional promise with which his reign began.
Their presence rendered the occasion all the more significant. That they
were deputed from the Palace to attend and watch events was pretty
certain, and indeed the two aides went away immediately after dinner,
their excuse being that his Majesty was expecting their personal
attendance. After a little while of waiting, the _mauvais quart d'heure_
having the edge of its awkwardness taken off by a series of introductions,
dinner was announced, and the Menghyi, followed by the Resident, led the
way into an adjoining dining-room. Good old Pio Nono, who, I ought to have
said, had been with the Menghyi a member of the Burmese Embassy to Europe,
jauntily offered me his arm, and gave me to understand that he did so in
compliance with English fashion. The Resident sat on the right of the
Menghyi, I was on his left; the rest of the party, to the number of about
fifteen, took their places indiscriminately; Mr. Andrino, an Italian in
Burmese employ, being at the head of the table, Dr. Williams at the foot.
Our meal was a perfectly English dinner, served and eaten in the English
fashion. The Burmese had taken lessons in the nice conduct of a knife and
fork, and fed themselves in the most irreproachably conventional manner,
carefully avoiding the use of a knife with their fish. Pio Nono, who sat
opposite the Menghyi, tucked his napkin over his ample paunch and went in
with a will. He was in a most hilarious mood, and taxed his memory for
reminiscences of his visit to England. These were not expressed with
useless expenditure of verbiage, nor did they flow in unbroken sequence.
It was as if he dug in his memory with a spade, and found every now and
then a gem in the shape of a name, which he brandished aloft in triumph.
He kept up an intermittent and disconnected fire all through dinner, with
an interval between each discharge, "White-bait!" "Lord Mayor!"
"Fishmongers!" "Cremorne!" "Crystal Palace!" "Edinburgh!" "Dunrobin!"
"Newcastle!" "Windsor!"--each name followed by a chuckle and a succession
of nods. The Menghyi divided his talk between the Resident and myself. He
told me that of all the men he had met in England his favourite was the
late Duke of Sutherland; adding that the Duke was a nobleman of great and
striking eloquence, a trait which I had not been in the habit of regarding
as markedly characteristic of his Grace. He spoke with much warmth of a
pleasant visit he had paid to Dunrobin, and said he should be heartily
glad if the Duke would come to Burmah and give him an opportunity of
returning his hospitality. Here Pio Nono broke in with one of his
periodical exclamations. This time it was "Lady Dudley." Of her, and of
her late husband, the Menghyi then recalled his recollections, and if more
courtly tributes have been paid to her ladyship's charms and grace, I
question if any have been heartier and more enthusiastic than was the
appreciation of this Burmese dignitary. The soldier element was at first
somewhat stiff, but as the dinner proceeded the generals warmed in
conversation with the Resident. But the aides were obstinately
supercilious, and only partially thawed in acknowledgment of compliments
on the splendour of their jewelry. Functionaries attached to the personal
suite of his Majesty wore huge ear-gems as a distinguishing mark. The
aides had these in blazing diamonds, and were good enough to take out the
ornaments and hand them round. The civil ministers wore no ornaments and
their dress was studiously plain. We were during dinner entertained by
music, instrumental and vocal, sedulously modulated to prevent
conversation from being drowned. The meal lasted quite two hours, and when
it was finished the Menghyi led the way to coffee in one of the kiosks of
the garden. I should have said that no wine was on the table at dinner.
The Burmese by religion are total abstainers, and their guests were
willing to follow their example for the time and to fall in with their
prejudices. After coffee we were ushered into the drawing-room, and
listened to a concert. The only solo-vocalist was the prima donna _par
excellence,_ Mdlle. Yeendun Male. The burden of her songs was love, but I
could not succeed in having the specific terms translated. Then she sang
an ode in praise of the Resident, and gracefully accepted his pecuniary
appreciation of her performance. Pio Nono then beckoned to her to flatter
me at close quarters; but, mistaking the index, she addressed herself to
the Residency chaplain in strains of hyperbolical encomium. The mistake
having been set right, much to the reverend gentleman's relief, the
songstress overpowered my sensitive modesty by impassioned requests in
verse that I should delay my departure; that, if I could not do so, I
should take her away with me; and that, if this were beyond my power, I
should at least remember her when I was far away. The which was an
allegory and cost me twenty rupees.

When the good-nights were being said, the Menghyi gratified me by the
information that the King had given his consent to my presentation, and
that I was to have the opportunity next morning of "Reverencing the Golden

The Royal Palace occupied the central space of the city of Mandalay. It
was almost entirely of woodwork, and was not only the counterpart of the
palace which Major Phayre saw at Amarapoora, but the identical palace
itself, conveyed piecemeal from its previous site and re-erected here. Its
outermost enclosure consisted of a massive teak palisading, beyond which
all round was a wide clear space laid out as an esplanade, the farther
margin of which was edged by the houses of ministers and court officials.
The Palace enclosure was a perfect square, each face about 370 yards. The
main entrance, the only one in general use, was in the centre of the
eastern face, almost opposite to which, across the esplanade, was the
_Yoom-dau_, or High Court. This gate was called the _Yive-dau-yoo-Taga_,
or the Royal Gate of the Chosen, because the charge of it was entrusted to
chosen troops. As I passed through it on my way to be presented to his
Majesty, the aspect of the "chosen" troops was not imposing. They wore no
uniform, and differed in no perceptible item from the common coolies of
the outside streets. They were lying about on charpoys and on the ground,
chewing betel or smoking cheroots, and there was not even the pretence of
there being sentries under arms. Some rows of old flintlock guns stood in
racks in the gateway, rusty, dusty, and untended; they might have been
untouched since the last insurrection. Crossing an intermediate space
overgrown with shrubbery, we passed through a high gateway cut in the
inner brick wall of the enclosure; and there confronted us the great
Myenan of Mandalay--the Palace of the "Sun-descended Monarch." The first
impression was disappointing, for the whole front was covered with
gold-leaf and tawdry tinsel-work which had become weather-worn and dingy.
But there was no time now to halt, inspect details, and rectify perchance
first impressions. A message came that the Kingwoon Menghyi, my host of
the previous evening--substantially the Prime Minister of Burmah, desired
that we--that was to say, Dr. Williams, my guide, philosopher, and friend,
and myself--should wait upon him in the _Hlwot-dau_, or Hall of the
Supreme Council, before entering the Palace itself. The _Hlwot-dau_ was a
detached structure on the right front of the Palace as one entered by the
eastern gate. It was the Downing Street of Mandalay. Its sides were quite
open, and its fantastic roof of grotesquely carved teak plastered with
gilding, painting, and tinsel, was supported on massive teak pillars
painted a deep red. Taking off our shoes we ascended to the platform of
the _Hlwot-dau_, where we found the Menghyi surrounded by a crowd of minor
officials and suitors squatting on their stomachs and elbows, with their
legs under them and their hands clasped in front of their bent heads. The
Menghyi came forward several paces to meet us, conducted us to his mat,
and sitting down himself and bidding us do the same, explained that as it
was with him a busy day, he would not be able personally to present me to
the King as he had hoped to have done, but that he had made all
arrangements and had delegated the charge of us to our old friend whom I
have ventured to call "Pio Nono." That corpulent and jovial worthy made
his appearance at this moment along with his English-speaking subordinate,
and with cordial acknowledgments and farewells to the Menghyi we left the
_Hlwot-dau_ under their guidance. They led us along the front of the
Palace, passing the huge gilded cannon that flanked on either side the
central steps leading up into the throne-room; and turning round the
northern angle of the Palace front, conducted us to the Hall of the
_Bya-dyt_, or Household Council. We had to leave our shoes at the foot of
the steps leading up to it. The _Bya-dyt_ was a mere open shed; its lofty
roof borne up by massive teak timbers. What splendour had once been its in
the matter of gilding and tinsel was greatly faded. The gold-leaf had been
worn off the pillars by constant friction, and the place appeared to be
used as a lumber-room as well as a council-chamber. On the front of one of
a pile of empty cases was visible, in big black letters, the legend,
"Peek, Frean, and Co., London." State documents reposed in the receptacle
once occupied by biscuits. Clerks lay all around on the rough dusty
boards, writing with agate stylets on tablets of black papier-mache; and
there was a constant flux and reflux of people of all sorts, who appeared
to have nothing to do and who were doing it with a sedulously lounging
deliberation that seemed to imply a gratifying absence of arrears of
official work. We sat down here for a while along with Pio Nono and his
assistant, who busied himself in dictating to a secretary a description of
myself and a catalogue of my presents to be read by the herald to his
Majesty when I should be presented. Then Pio Nono went away and presently
came back, saying that it was intended to bestow upon me some souvenirs of
Mandalay, and that to admit of the preparation of these the audience would
not take place for an hour or so. He invited us in the meantime to inspect
the public apartments of the Palace itself and the objects of interest in
the Palace enclosure. So we got up, and still without our shoes walked
through the suite leading to the principal throne-room or great hall of

These were simply a series of minor throne-rooms. The first one in order
from the private apartments was close to the _Bya-dyt_. It must be borne
in mind that the whole suite, including the great audience hall, were not
rooms at all in our sense of the word. They were simply open-roofed
spaces, the roofs gabled, spiked, and carved into fantastic shapes, laden
with dingy gold-leaf garishly picked out with glaring colours and studded
with bits of stained glass; the roofs, or rather I should say, the one
continuous roof, supported on massive deep red pillars of teak-wood. The
whole palace was raised from the ground on a brick platform some 10 feet
high. The partitions between the several walls were simply skirtings of
planking covered with gold-leaf. The whole palace seemed an armoury. Some
ten or twelve thousand stand of obsolete muskets were ranged along these
partitions and crammed into the anteroom of the throne-room proper. The
whole suite was dingy, dirty, and uncared-for; but on a great day, with
the gilding renewed, carpets spread on the rugged boards, banners waving,
and the courtiers in full dress, no doubt the effect would have been
materially improved. The vista from the throne of the great hall of
audience looked right through the columned arcade to the "Gate of the
Chosen"; and that we might imagine the scene more vividly, we considered
ourselves as on our way to Court on one of the great days, and going back
to the gate again began our pilgrimage anew. The pillared front of the
Palace stretched before us raised on the terrace, its total length 260
feet. Looking between the two gilded cannon, we saw at the foot of the
central steps a low gate of carved and gilded wood. That gate, it seemed,
was never opened except to the King--none save he might use those central
steps. Raising our eyes we looked right up the vista of the hall to the
lofty throne raised against the gilded partition that closed at once the
vista and the hall. We had been looking down the great central nave, as it
were, toward the west gate, in the place of which was the throne. But
along the eastern front of the terrace ran a long colonnade, whose wings
formed transepts at right angles to the nave. The throne-room was shaped
like the letter T, the throne being at the base of the letter and the
cross-bar representing the colonnade. Entering at the extremity of one of
these, we traversed it to the centre and then faced the nave. The throne
was exactly before us, at the end of the pillared vista. Five steps led up
to the dais. Its form was peculiar, contracting by a gradation of steps
from the base upwards to mid-height, and again expanding to the top, on
which was a cushioned ledge such as is seen in the box of a theatre. On
the platform, which now was bare planks, the King and Queen on a great
reception day would sit on gorgeous carpets. The entrance was through
gilded doors from a staircase in the ante-room beyond. There was a rack of
muskets round the foot of the throne, and just outside the rails a
half-naked soldier lay snoring. Our Burman companion assured us that
seeing the throne-room now in its condition of dismantled tawdriness, I
could form no idea of the fine effect when King and Court in all their
splendour were gathered in it on a ceremonial day. I tried to accept his
assurances, but it was not easy to imagine such forlorn dinginess changed
into dazzling splendour. Just over the throne, and in the centre of the
Palace and of the city, rose in gracefully diminishing stages of fantastic
woodcarving a tapering _phya-sath_ or spire similar to those surmounting
sacred buildings, and crowned with the gilded _Htee_, an honour which
royalty alone shared with ecclesiastical sanctity. The spire, like
everything else, had been gilt, but it was now sadly tarnished and had
lost much of its brilliancy of effect.

Having looked at the hall of audience we strolled through the Palace
esplanade. A wall parted this off from the private apartments and the
pleasure grounds occupying the western section of the Palace enclosure. A
series of carved and gilded gables roofed with glittering zinc plates was
visible over the wall. The grounds were said to be well planted with
flowering shrubs and fruit trees and to contain lakelets and rockeries.
Built against the outer wall and facing the enclosed space were barracks
for soldiers and gun sheds. The accommodation was as primitive as are the
weapons, and that was saying a good deal. Pio Nono led us across to a big
wooden house, scarcely at all ornamented, which was the everyday abode of
the "Lord White Elephant." His "Palace," or state apartment, was not
pointed out to us. His lordship, in so far as his literal claim to be
styled a white elephant, was an impostor of the deepest dye and a very
grim and ugly impostor to boot. He was a great, lean, brown, flat-sided
brute, his ears, forehead, and trunk mottled with a dingy cream colour.
But he belonged all the same to the lordly race. "White elephants" were a
science which had a literature of its own. According to this science, it
was not the whiteness that was the criterion of a "white elephant." So
much, indeed, was the reverse, that a "white elephant" according to the
science may be a brown elephant in actual colour. The points were the
mottling of the face, the shape and colour of the eyes, the position of
the ears, and the length of the tail. Certainly the "Lord White Elephant"
had, to the most cursory observation, a peculiar and abnormal eye. The
iris was yellow, with a reddish outer annulus and a small, clear, black
pupil. It was essentially a shifty, treacherous eye, and I noticed that
everybody took particularly good care to keep out of range of his
lordship's trunk and tusks. The latter were superb--long, massive, and
smooth, their tips quite meeting far in front of his trunk. His tail was
much longer than in the Indian elephants, and was tipped with a bunch of
long, straight, black hair. Altogether he was an unwholesome,
disagreeable-looking brute, who munched his grass morosely and had no
elephantine geniality. He was but a youngster--the great, old, really
white elephant which Yule describes had died some time back, after an
incumbency dating from 1806. The "White Elephant" was never ridden now,
but the last King but one used frequently to ride its predecessor, acting
as his own mahout. We did not see his trappings, as our visit was paid
unawares when he was quite in undress; but Yule says that when arrayed in
all his splendour his head-stall was of fine red cloth, studded with great
rubies, interspersed with valuable diamonds. When caparisoned he wore on
his forehead, like other Burmese dignitaries including the King himself, a
golden plate inscribed with his titles and a gold crescent set with
circles of large gems between the eyes. Large silver tassels hung in front
of his ears, and he was harnessed with bands of gold and crimson set
freely with large bosses of pure gold. He was a regular "estate of the
realm," having a _woon_ or minister of his own, four gold umbrellas, the
white umbrellas which were peculiar to royalty, with a large suite of
attendants and an appanage to furnish him with maintenance wherewithal.
When in state his attendants had to leave their shoes behind them when
they enter his Palace. In a shed adjacent to that occupied by the "Lord
White Elephant" stood his lady wife, a browner, plumper, and generally
more amiable-looking animal. Contrary to universal experience elsewhere,
elephants in Burmah breed in captivity, but this union was unfertile and
the race of "Lord White Elephants" had to be maintained _ab extra_. The
so-called white elephants are sports of nature, and are of no special
breed. They are called Albinoes, and are more plentiful in the Siam region
than in Burmah.

By this time the hour was approaching that had been fixed for the
presentation, and we returned to the _Bya-dyt_. The summons came almost
immediately. Ushered by Pio Nono and accompanied by several courtiers, we
traversed some open passages and finally reached a kind of pagoda or kiosk
within the private gardens of the Palace. The King was not to appear in
state, and this place had been selected by reason of its absolute
informality. There was no ornament anywhere, not so much as a speck of
gilding or an atom of tinsel. We solemnly squatted down on a low platform
covered with grass matting, through which pierced the teak columns
supporting the lofty roof. A space had been reserved for us in the centre,
on either side of which, their front describing a semicircle, a number of
courtiers lay crouching on their stomachs but placidly puffing cheroots.
On our left were two or three superior military officers of the Palace
guard, distinguishable only by their diamond ear-jewels. My presents--
they were trivial: an opera-glass, a few boxes of chocolate, and a
work-box--were placed before me as I sat down. There were other offerings
to right and to left of them--a huge bunch of cabbages, a basket of
_Kohl-rabi_, and three baskets of orchids. In the clear space in front I
observed also a satin robe lined with fur, a couple of silver boxes, and a
ruby ring. These, I imagined, were also for presentation, but it presently
appeared they were his Majesty's return gifts for myself. Before us, at a
higher elevation, there was a plain wooden railing with a gap in the
centre, and the railing enclosed a sort of recess that looked like a
garden-house. Over a ledge where the gap was, had been thrown a rich
crimson and gold trapping that hung low in front, and on the ledge were a
crimson cushion, a betel box, and a tall oval spittoon in gold set with
pearls. A few minutes passed, beguiled by conversation in a low tone, when
six guards armed with double-barrelled firearms of very diverse patterns,
mounted the platform from the left side and took their places on either
side, squatting down. The guards wore black silk jackets lined with fur
and with scarlet kerchiefs bound round their heads. Then a door opened in
the left side of the garden-house, and there entered first an old gaunt
beardless man--the chief eunuch--closely followed by the King, otherwise
unattended. His Majesty came on with a quick step, and sat down, resting
his right arm on the crimson cushion on the ledge in the centre of the
railing. He wore a white silk jacket, and a _loonghi_ or petticoat robe of
rich yellow and green silk. His only ornaments were his diamond
ear-jewels. As he entered all bent low, and when he had seated himself a
herald lying on his stomach read aloud my credentials. The literal
translation was as follows:--"So-and-so, a great newspaper teacher of the
_Daily News_ of London, tenders to his Most Glorious Excellent Majesty,
Lord of the Ishaddan, King of Elephants, master of many white elephants,
lord of the mines of gold, silver, rubies, amber, and the noble
serpentine, Sovereign of the empires of Thunaparanta and Tampadipa, and
other great empires and countries, and of all the umbrella-wearing chiefs,
the supporter of religion, the Sun-descended Monarch, arbiter of life, and
great, righteous King, King of kings, and possessor of boundless
dominions, and supreme wisdom, the following presents." The reading was
intoned in a uniform high recitative, strongly resembling that used when
our Church Service is intoned; and the long-drawn "Phya-a-a-a-a" (my lord)
which concluded it, added to the resemblance, as it came in exactly like
the "Amen" of the Liturgy.

The reading over, the return presents were picked up by an official and
bundled over to me without any ceremony, the King meanwhile looking on in
silence, chewing betel and smoking a cheroot. Several of the courtiers
were following his example in the latter respect. Presently the King spoke
in a distinct, deliberate voice--

"Who is he?"

Dr. Williams acting as my introducer, replied in Burmese--

"A writer of the _Daily News_ of London, your Majesty."

"Why does he come?"

"To see your Majesty's country, and in the hope of being permitted to
reverence the Golden Feet."

"Whence does he come?"

"From the British army in Afghanistan, engaged in war against the Prince
of Cabul."

"And does the war prosper for my friends the English?"

"He reports that it has done so greatly and that the Prince of Cabul is a

"Where does Cabul lie in relation to Kashmir?"

"Between Kashmir and Persia, in a very mountainous and cold region."

There had been pauses more or less long between each of these questions;
the King obviously reflecting what he should ask next; then there was a
longer, and, indeed, a wearisome pause. Then the King spoke again.

"Where is the Kingwoon Menghyi?"

"In Court, your Majesty," replied Pio Nono. "It is a Court day."

"It is well. I wish the Ministers to make every day a Court day, and to
labour hard to give prompt justice to suitors, so that there be no
complaint of arrears."

With this laudable injunction, his Majesty rose and walked away, and the
audience was over.

The King of Burmah, when I saw him, was little over twenty, and he had
been barely four months on the throne. He was a tall, well-built,
personable young man, very fair in complexion, with a good forehead,
clear, steady eyes, and a firm but pleasant mouth. His chin was full and
somewhat sensual-looking, but withal he was a manly, frank-faced young
fellow, and was said to have gained self-possession and lost the early
nervous awkwardness of his new position with great rapidity. Circumstances
had even then occurred to prove that he was very far from destitute of a
will of his own, and that he had no favour for any diminution of the Royal
Prerogative. As we passed out of the Palace after the interview a house in
the Palace grounds was pointed out to me, within which had been imprisoned
in squalid misery ever since the mortal illness of the previous King, a
number of the members of the Burmese blood royal.

_P.S._--A few days after my visit, all these unfortunately were massacred
with fiendish refinements of cruelty.


In the multifarious ramifications of their military organisation the
Germans by no means neglect religion. Each army corps is partitioned into
two divisions and each division has its field chaplain. In those corps in
which there is a large admixture of the Catholic element, there is a
cleric of that denomination to each division as well as a Protestant
chaplain. The former is known as a _Feldgeistliger_, a word which in
itself means nothing more distinctive than a "field ecclesiastic," while
the Protestant chaplain has usually the title of _Feldpastor_. Of the
priest I can say but little. The pastors, for the most part, are young and
energetic men. They may be divided into two classes: those who have at
home no stated charges, and those who have temporarily left their charge
for the duration of the war. The former generally are regularly posted to
a division; the latter, equally recognised but not perhaps quite so
official, are chiefly to be found in the lazarettoes, in the battlefield
villages whither the wounded are borne to have their fresh wounds roughly
seen to, and on the battlefield itself. Not that the regular divisional
chaplains do not face the dangers of the battlefield with devoted courage;
but their duties, in the nature of their special avocation, lie more among
the hale and sound who yet stand up before an enemy, than with the poor
fellows who have been stricken down. Earnestness and devotion are the
chief characteristics of those pastors. It struck me that their education
was not of a very high order--certainly not on a par with that of the
average regimental officer.

The _Feldpastor_ wears an armlet of white and light purple to denote his
calling; but indeed it is not easy to mistake him for anything else than
he is. He has his quarters with the Divisional General, and preaches
whenever and wherever it is convenient to get a congregation. A church is
passed on the wayside, a regiment halts and defiles into it, and the
pastor mounts the steps of the altar and holds forth therefrom for half an
hour. There is a quiet meadow near a village, in which a brigade is lying.
Looking over the hedge, you may see in the meadow a hollow square of
helmeted men with the general and the pastor in the centre, the latter
speaking simple, fervent words to the fighting men. When, as during the
siege of Paris, a division occupies a certain district for a long time,
you may chance--let me say on a New Year's night--on the village church
all ablaze with light. The garrison have decorated the gaunt old Norman
arches with laurels and evergreens; they have cleared out the
market-vendor's stock of tallow-dips to illuminate the church wherewithal.
The band has been practising the glorious _Nun Danket alle Gott_ for a
week; the vocalists of the regiments have been combining to perfect
themselves in part-singing. The gorgeous trumpery of Roman Catholic church
paraphernalia, unheeded as it is, looks strangely out of place and
contrasts curiously with the simple Protestant forms.

The church is crowded with a denser congregation than ever its walls
contained before. The _Oberst_ sits down with the under-officer; the
general gropes for half a chair between two stalwart _Kerle_ of the line.
Hymn-cards are distributed as at the Brighton volunteer service in the
Pavilion on Easter Sunday. As the pastor enters and takes his way up the
altar steps--he goes not to the pulpit--there bursts out a volume of vocal
devotional harmony, which is so pent in the aisles and under the arches
that the sound seems almost to become a substance. Then the pastor
delivers a prayer and there is another hymn. He enunciates no text when he
next begins to speak; he chops not a subject up into heads, as the
grizzled major who listens to him would partition out his battalion into
companies. There is no "thirteenthly and lastly" in his simple address.
But he gets nearer the hearts of his hearers than if he assailed them with
a battery of logic with multitudinous texts for ammunition. For he speaks
of the people at home, in the quiet corners of the Fatherland; he tells
the soldier in language that is of his profession, how the fear of the
Lord is a better arm than the truest-shooting _Zuendnadelgewehr_; how
preparedness for death and for what follows after death, is a part of his
accoutrement that the good soldier must ever bear about with him.

Herr Pastor has other functions than to preach to the living. The day
after a battle, his horse must be very tired before the stable-door is
reached. The burial parties are excavating great pits all over the field,
while others pick up the dead in the vicinity and bear them unto the brink
of the common grave. Herr Pastor cannot be ubiquitous. If he is not near
when the hole is full, the _Feldwebel_ who commands the party bares his
head, and mutters, "In the name of God, Amen," as he strews the first
handful of mould on the dead--it may be on friends as well as on foes. If
the pastor can reach the brink of the pit, it is his to say the few words
that mark the recognition of the fact that those lying stark and grim
below him are not as the beasts that perish. The Germans have no set
funeral service, and if they had, there would be no time for it here.
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of
the resurrection to eternal life, _durch unsern Herr Jesu Christe_. Amen;"
words so familiar, yet never heard without a new thrill.

They are slightly uncouth in several matters, these _Feldpastoren_, and
would not quite suit sundry metropolitan charges one wots of. They do not
wear gloves, nor are they addicted to scent on their pocket-handkerchiefs.
Their boots are too often like boats, and when they are mounted there is
frequently visible an interval of more or less dusky stocking between the
boot-top and the trouser-leg. They slobber stertorously in the consumption
of soup, and cut their meat with a square-elbowed energy of determination
that might make one think that they had vanquished the Evil One and had
him down there under their knife and fork. But they are simple-hearted and
valiant servants of their Master. Who was it, in the bullet-storm that
swept the slope of Woerth, from facing which the stout hearts of the
fighting men blenched and quailed, that there walked quietly into it, to
speak words of peace and consolation to the dying men whom that terrible
storm had beaten down? A smooth-faced stripling with the _Feldpastor's_
badge on his arm, the gallant Christian son of an eminent Prussian divine,
Dr. Krummacher of Berlin. At one of the battles (I forget which) a pastor
came to fill a grave, not to consecrate it. Shall I ever forget the
unswerving hurry to the front of Kummer's divisional chaplain when the
_Landwehrleute_, his flock, were going down in their ranks as they held
with stubbornness unto death the villages in front of Maizieres les Metz?
Let the _Feldpastoren_ slobber and welcome, say I, while they gild their
slobbering with such devotion as this! But there must be times and seasons
when Herr Pastor is not at hand; nor can the ministration of any pastor
stand in the stead of private prayer. The German soldier's simple needs in
this matter are not disregarded. Each man is served out when he gets his
kit with a tiny gray volume less than quarter the size of this page, the
title of which is _Gebetbuch fuer Soldaten_--the Soldier's Prayer-Book. It
is supplied from the Berlin depot of the Head Society for the Promotion of
Christian Knowledge in Germany, and it is a compendium of simple war
prayers for almost every conceivable situation, with one significant
exception--there is no prayer in defeat. The word is blotted out of the
German war vocabulary. It has been said that the belief in the divinity of
our Saviour is rapidly on the wane in Germany. If this war prayer-book
avails aught, the taint of the heresy may not enter into the army.

Germany is at war. While Paris is frantically shouting _A Berlin!_, while
all Germany is singing and meaning _Die Wacht am Rhein_, Moltke's order
goes forth into the towns and villages of the Fatherland for the
mobilisation of the Reserves. Hans was singing _Die Wacht am Rhein_ last
night over his beer; but there is little heart for song left in him as he
looks from that paper on the deal table into Gretchen's face. She is
weeping bitterly as her children cling around her, too young to realise
the cause of their parents' sorrow. Hans rises moodily, and pulling down
what military belongings he has not given into the arsenal after the last
drill, falls a turning over of them abstractedly. By chance his hand rests
upon the little gray volume, the _Gebetbuch fuer Soldaten_. It opens in his
hand, and he comes and sits down by Gretchen and reads in a voice that
chokes sometimes, the


O Lord Jesus Christ! let the crying and sighing of the poor come before
Thee. Withhold not Thy countenance from the tears and beseechings of the
woebegone. Help by Thine outstretched arm, and avert our sorrow from us.
Awake us who are lying dead in sin and in great danger, and whose thoughts
often wander from Thee. Let us trust with all our hearts that nothing can
be so broad, so deep, so high, nor so arduous that Thy grace and favour
cannot overcome it; that we so can and must be holpen out of every
difficulty and discomfiture when Thou takest compassion upon us. Help us,
then, through grace, and so I will praise Thee from now to all eternity.

Hans has bidden good-bye to Gretchen, and has kissed the children he may
never see more. He has marched with his fellows to the depot, and got his
uniform and arms. The _Militaerzug_ has carried him to Kreuznach, and
thence he has marched sturdily up the Nahe Valley and over the ridge into
the Kollerthaler Wald. His last halt was at Puttingen, but Kameke has sent
an aide back at the gallop to summon up all supports. The regiment stacks
arms for ten minutes' breathing-time while the cannon-thunder is borne
backward on the wind to the ears of the soldiers. In two hours more they
will be across the French frontier, storming furiously up the Spicheren
Berg. As Hans gropes in his tunic pocket for his tinder-box, the little
war prayer-book somehow gets between his fingers. He takes it out with the
pipe-light, and finds in its pages a prayer surely suited to the
situation--the prayer


O gracious God! I defile from out my Fatherland and from the society of my
friends,[1] and out of the house of my father into a strange land, to
campaign against the enemies of our king. Therefore I would cast myself
with life and soul upon Thy divine bosom and guardianship; and I pray
Thee, with prostrate humility, that Thou willst guide me with Thine eye,
and overshadow me with Thy wings. Let Thine angels camp round about me,
and Thy grace protect me in all the difficulties of the marches, in all
camps and dangers. Give me wisdom and understanding for my ways and works.
Give success and blessing to our ingoings and outcomings, so that we may
do everything well, and conquer on the field of battle; and after victory
won, turn our steps homeward as the heralds who announce peace. So shall
we praise Thee with gladsomeness, O most gracious Father, for Thy dear
Son's sake, Jesus Christ!

[Footnote 1: Every now and then one comes across a German word
untranslatable in its compact volume of expressiveness. How weakly am I
forced to render _Freundschaft_ here! "Outmarching," though a literal, is
a poor equivalent for _Ausmarsch_. In the old Scottish language we find an
exact correspondent for _aus_; the "Furthmarch" gives the idea to a

It is the morning of Gravelotte. King Wilhelm has issued his laconic order
for the day, and all know how bloody and arduous is the task before his
host. The French tents are visible away in the distance yonder by the
auberge of St. Hubert, and already the explosion of an occasional shell
gives earnest of the wrath to come. The regiment in which Hans is a
private has marched to Caulre Farm, and is halted for breakfast there
before beginning the real battle by attacking the French outpost
stronghold in Verneville. The tough ration beef sticks in poor Hans'
throat. He is no coward, but he thinks of Gretchen and the children, and
the Reserve-man draws aside into the thicket to commune with his own
thoughts. He has already found comfort in the little gray volume, and so
he pulls it out again to search for consolation in this hour of gloom. He
finds what he wants in the prayer


Lord of Sabaoth, with Thee is no distinction in helping in great things or
in small. We are going now, at the orders of our commanders, to do battle
in the field with our enemies. Let us give proof of Thy might and honour.
Help us, Lord our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name we go forth
against the enemy. Lord Christ, Thou hast said, "I am with thee in the
hour of need; I will pull thee out, and place thee in an honourable
place." Bethink Thee, Lord, of Thy word, and remember Thy promise. Come to
our aid when we are sore pressed, when the close grapple is imminent, when
the enemy overmatches us, and we have been surrounded by them. Stand by us
in need, for the aid of man is of no avail. Through Thee we will vanquish
our enemies, and in Thy name we will tread under the foot those who have
set themselves in array against us. They trust in their own might, and are
puffed up with pride; but we put our trust in the Almighty God, who,
without one stroke of the sword, canst smite into the dust not only those
who are now formed up against us, but also the whole world. God, we await
on Thy goodness. Blessed are those who put their trust in Thee. Help us,
that our enemies may not get the better of us, and wax triumphant in their
might; but strike disorder into their ranks, and smite them before our
eyes, so that we may overwhelm them. Show us Thy goodness, Thou Saviour,
of those who trust in Thee. Art Thou not God the Lord unto us who are
called after Thy name? So be gracious unto us, and take us--life and soul--
under the protection of Thy grace. And since Thou only knowest what is
good for us, so we commend ourselves unto Thee without reserve, be it for
life or for death. Let us live comforted; let us fight and endure
comforted; let us die comforted, for Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son's sake.

Alvensleben is sitting on his horse on the little hillock behind the
hamlet of Flavigny, pulling his gray moustache, and praying that he might
see the _Spitze_ of Barneckow's division show itself on the edge of the
plain up from out the glen of Gorze. Rheinbaben's cavalry are half of them
down, the other half of them are rallying for another charge to save the
German centre. Hans is in the wood to the north of Tronville, helping to
keep back Leboeuf from swamping the left flank. The shells from the French
artillery on the Roman Road are crashing into the wood. The bark is jagged
by the slashes of venomous chassepot bullets. Twice has Ladmirault come
raging down from the heights of Bruville, twice has he been sent
staggering back. Now, with strong reinforcements, he is preparing for a
third assault. Meanwhile there is a lull in the battle. Hans, grimed and
powder-blackened, may let the breech of his _Zuendnadelgewehr_ cool and may
wipe his blood-stained bayonet on the forest moss. He has a moment for a
glance into the little gray volume, and it opens in his blackened fingers
at the prayer


O Thou Lord and Ruler of Thine own people, awake and look now in grace
upon Thy folk. Lord Jesus Christ, be now our Jesus, our Helper and
Deliverer, our rock and fortress, our fiery wall, for Thy great name's
sake. Be now our Emmanuel, God with us, God in us, God for us, God by the
side of us. Thou mighty arm of Thy Father, let us now see Thy great power,
so that men shall hail Thee their God, and the people may bend their knees
unto Thee. Strengthen and guide the fighting arm of Thy believing
soldiers, and help them, Thou invincible King of Battles. Gird Thyself up,
Thou mighty fighting Hero; gird Thy sword on Thy loins, and smite our
enemy hip and thigh. Art Thou not the Lord who directest the wars of the
whole world, who breakest the bow, who splinterest the spear, and burnest
the chariots with fire? Arouse Thyself, help us for Thy good will, and
cast us not from Thee, God of our Saviour; cease Thy wrath against us, and
think not for ever of our sins. Consider that we are all Thine handiwork;
give us Thy countenance again, and be gracious unto us. Return unto us, O
Lord, and go forth with our army. Restore happiness to us with Thy help
and counsel, Thou staunch and only King of Peace, who with Thy suffering
and death hast procured for us eternal peace. Give us the victory and an
honourable peace, and remain with us in life and in death. Amen.

Hans has marched from before Metz towards the valley of the Meuse, and the
regimental camp for the night is on the slopes of the Ardennes, over
against Chemery. The setting sun is glinting on the windows of the Chateau
of Vendresse, where the German King is quartered for the night. The birds
are chirruping in the bosky dales of the Bar. The morrow is fraught with
the hot struggle of Sedan, but honest Hans, a simple private man, knows
nought of strategic moves and takes his ease on the sward while he may. He
has oiled the needle-gun and done his cooking; a stone is under his head
and his mantle is about him. As he ponders in the dying rays of the
setting sun there comes over him the impulse to have a look into the pages
of the _Gebetbuch_, and he finds there this prayer


Heavenly Father, here I am, according to Thy divine will, in the service
of my king and war-master, as is my duty as a soldier; and I thank Thee
for Thy grace and mercy that Thou hast called me to the performance of
this duty, because I am certain that it is not a sin, but is an obedience
to Thy wish and will. But as I know and have learnt through Thy gracious
Word that none of our good works can avail us, and that nobody can be
saved merely as a soldier, but only as a Christian, I will not rely on my
obedience and upon my labours, but will perform my duties for Thy sake,
and to Thy service. I believe with all my heart that the innocent blood of
Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, which He has shed for me, delivers and saves
me, for He was obedient to Thee even unto death. On this I rely, on this I
live and die, on this I fight, and on this I do all things. Retain and
increase, O God, my Father, this belief by Thy Holy Ghost. I commend body
and soul to Thy hands. Amen.

It is the evening of Sedan, the most momentous victory of the century. The
bivouac fires light up the sluggish waters of the Meuse, not yet run clear
from blood. The burning villages still blaze on the lower slopes of the
Ardennes, and the tired victors, as they point to the beleaguered town,
exclaim in a kind of maze of sober triumph, "_Der Kaiser ist da!_" Hans is
joyous with his fellows, chaunts with them Luther's glorious hymn, _Nun
Danket alle Gott_; and as the watch-fire burns up he rummages in the
_Gebetbuch_ for something that will chime with the current of his
thoughts. He finds it in the prayer


God of armies! Thou hast given us success and victory against our enemies,
and hast put them to flight before us. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
but to Thy holy name alone be all the honour! Thou hast done great things
for us, therefore our hearts are glad. Without Thy aid we should have been
worsted; only with God could we have done mighty deeds and subdued the
power of the enemy. The eye of our general Thou hast quickened and guided;
Thou hast strengthened the courage of our army, and lent it stubborn
valour. Yet not the strategy of our leader, nor our courage, but Thy great
mercy has given us the victory. Lord, who are we, that we dare to stand
before Thee as soldiers, and that our enemies yield and fly before us? We
are sinners, even as they are, and have deserved Thy fierce wrath and
punishment; but for the sake of Thy name Thou hast been merciful to us,
and hast so marked the sore peril of our threatened Fatherland, and hast
heard the prayer of our king, our people, and our army, because we called
upon Thy name, and held out our buckler in the name of the Lord of
Sabaoth. Blessed be Thy holy name for ever and ever. Amen.

The surrender of the French army of Sedan has been consummated, and
Napoleon has departed into captivity; while Hans, marching down by Rethel,
and through grand old Rheims, and along the smiling vinebergs of the Marne
Valley, is now _vor Paris_. He is on the _Feldwache_ in the forest of
Bondy before Raincy, and his turn comes to go on the uttermost sentry
post. As the snow-drift blows to one side he can see the French
watch-fires close by him in Bondy; nearer still he sees the three stones
and the few spadefuls of earth behind which, as he knows, is the French
outpost sentry confronting him. The straggling rays of the watery moon now
obscured by snow-scud, now falling on him faintly, could not aid him in
reading even if he dared avert his eyes from his front. But Hans had come
to know the value of the little gray volume; and while he lay in the
_Feldwache_ waiting for his spell of sentry go, he had learnt by heart the
following prayer


Lord Jesus Christ, I stand here on the foremost fringe of the camp, and am
holding watch against the enemy; but wert Thou, Lord, not to guard us,
then the watcher watcheth in vain. Therefore, I pray Thee, cover us with
Thy grace as with a shield, and let Thy holy angels be round about us to
guard and preserve us that we be not fallen upon at unawares by the enemy.
Let the darkness of the night not terrify me; open mine eyes and ears that
I may observe the oncoming of the enemy from afar, and that I may study
well the care of myself and of the whole army. Keep me in my duty from
sleeping on my post and from false security. Let me continually call to
Thee with my heart, and bend Thyself unto me with Thine almighty presence.
Be Thou with me and strengthen me, life and soul, that in frost, in heat,
in rain, in snow, in all storms, I may retain my strength and return in
health to the _Feldwache_. So I will praise Thy name and laud Thy
protection. Amen.

It is the evening of the 2nd of December. Duerot has tried his hardest to
sup in Lagny, and has been balked by German valour. But not without
terrible loss. On the plateau and by the party wall before Villiers, dead
and wounded Germans lie very thick. In one of the little corries in the
vineberg poor Hans has gone down. The shells from Fort Nogent are bursting
all around, endangering the _Krankentraeger_ while prosecuting their duties
of mercy and devotion. Hans has somehow bound up his shattered limb; and
as he pulled his handkerchief from his pocket the little _Gebetbuch_ has
dropped out with it. There is none on earth to comfort poor Hans; let him
open the book and find consolation there in the prayer


Dear and trusty Deliverer, Jesus Christ, I know in my necessity and pains
no whither to flee to but to Thee, my Saviour, who hast suffered for me,
and hast called unto all ailing and miserable ones, "Come unto Me, all ye
who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Oh, relieve me,
also, of Thy love and kindness, stretch out Thy healing and almighty hand,
and restore me to health. Free me with Thy aid from my wounds and my
pains, and console me with Thy grace who art vouchsafed to heal the broken
heart, and to console all the sorrowful ones. Dost Thou take pleasure in
our destruction? Our groaning touches Thee to the heart, and those whom
Thou hast cast down Thou wilt lift up again. In Thee, Lord Jesus, I put my
trust; I will not cease to importune Thee that Thou bringest me not to
shame. Help me, save me, so I will praise Thee for ever. Amen.

Alas for Gretchen and her brood! The 4th of December has dawned, and still
Hans lies unfound in the corrie of the vineberg. He has no pain now, for
his shattered limb has been numbed by the cruel frost. His eyes are waxing
dim and he feels the end near at hand. The foul raven of the battlefield
croaks above him in his enfeebled loneliness, impatient for its meal. The
grim king of terrors is very close to thee, poor honest soldier of the
Fatherland; but thou canst face him as boldly as thou hast faced the foe,
with the help of the little book of which thy frost-chilled fingers have
never lost the grip. The gruesome bird falls back as thou murmurest the


Merciful heavenly Father, Thou God of all consolation, I thank Thee that
Thou hast sent Thy dear Son Jesus Christ to die for me. He has through His
death taken from death his sting, so that I have no cause to fear him
more. In that I thank Thee, dear Father, and pray Thee receive my spirit
in grace, as it now parts from life. Stand by me and hold me with Thine
almighty hand, that I may conquer all the terrors of death. When my ears
can hear no more, let Thy Spirit commune with my spirit, that I, as Thy
child and co-heir with Christ, may speedily be with Jesus by Thee in
heaven. When my eyes can see no more, so open my eyes of faith that I may
then see Thy heaven open before me and the Lord Jesus on Thy right hand;
that I may also be where He is. When my tongue shall refuse its utterance,
then let Thy Spirit be my spokesman with indescribable breathings, and
teach me to say with my heart, "Father, into Thy hands I commit my
spirit." Hear me, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

Would it harm the British soldier, think you, if in his kit there was a
_Gebetbuch fuer Soldaten_?



In broad essentials the marryings and givings in marriage of India
nowadays do not greatly differ from these natural phenomena at home; but
to use a florist's phrase, they are more inclined to "sport." The old days
are over when consignments of damsels were made to the Indian
marriage-market, in the assured certainty that the young ladies would be
brides-elect before reaching the landing ghat. The increased facilities
which improved means of transit now offer to bachelors for running home on
short leave have resulted in making the Anglo-Indian "spin" rather a drug
in the market; and operating in the same untoward direction is the growing
predilection on the part of the Anglo-Indian bachelor for other men's
wives, in preference to hampering himself with the encumbrance of a wife
of his own. Among other social products of India old maids are now
occasionally found; and the fair creature who on her first arrival would
smile only on commissioners or colonels has been fain, after a few--yet
too many--hot seasons have impaired her bloom and lowered her
pretensions, to put up with a lieutenant or even with a dissenting
_padre_. Slips between the cup and the lip are more frequent in India than
in England. Loving and riding away is not wholly unknown in the
Anglo-Indian community; and indeed, by both parties to the contract,
engagements are frequently regarded in the mistaken light of ninepins.
Hearts are seldom broken. At Simla during a late season a gallant captain
persistently wore the willow till the war broke out, because he had been
jilted in favour of a colonel; but his appetite rapidly recovered its tone
on campaign, and he was reported to have reopened relations by
correspondence from the tented field with a former object of his
affections. Not long ago there arrived in an up-country station a box
containing a wedding trousseau, which a lady had ordered out from home as
the result of an engagement between her and a gallant warrior. But in the
interval the warrior had departed elsewhere and had addressed to the lady
a pleasant and affable communication, setting forth that there was
insanity in his family and that he must have been labouring under an
access of the family disorder when he had proposed to her. It was hard to
get such a letter, and it must have been harder still for her to gaze on
the abortive wedding-dress. But the lady did not abandon herself to
despair; she took a practical view of the situation. She determined to
keep the trousseau by her for six months, in case she might within that
time achieve a fresh conquest, when it would come in happily. Should
fortune not favour her thus far she meant to advertise the wedding-gear
for sale.

Miss Priest was no "spin" lingering on in spinsterhood against her will.
It is true that when I saw her first she had already been "out" three
years, but she might have been married a dozen times over had she chosen.
I have seen many pretty faces in the fair Anglo-Indian sisterhood, but
Miss Priest had a brightness and a sparkle that were all her own. At
flirting, at riding, at walking, at dancing, at performing in amateur
theatricals, at making fools of men in an airy, ruthless, good-hearted
fashion, Miss Priest, as an old soldier might say, "took the right of the
line." There was a fresh vitality about the girl that drew men and women
alike to her. You met her at dawn cantering round Jakko on her pony.
Before breakfast she had been rinking for an hour, with as likely as not a
waltz or two thrown in. She never missed a picnic to Annandale, the
Waterfalls, or Mashobra. Another turn at the Benmore rink before dinner,
and for sure a dance after, rounded off this young lady's normal day
during the Simla season. But if pleasure-loving, capricious, and reckless,
she scraped through the ordeal of Simla gossip without incurring scandal.
She was such a frank, honest girl, that malign tongues might assail her
indeed, but ineffectually. And she had given proof that she knew how to
take care of herself, although her only protectress was a perfectly
inoffensive mother. On the occasion of the Prince of Wales's visit to
Lahore, had she not boxed the ears of a burly and somewhat boorish swain,
who had chosen the outside of an elephant as an eligible _locale_ for a
proposal, the uncouth abruptness of which did not accord with her notion
of the fitness of things?

Miss Priest may be said to have lived in a chronic state of engagements.
The engagements never seemed to come to anything, but that was on account
mostly of the young lady's wilfulness. It bothered her to be engaged to
the same man for more than from a week to ten days on end. No bones were
broken; the gentleman resigned the position at her behest, and she would
genially dance with him the same night. Malice and heartburning were out
of the question with a lissom, winsome, witching fairy like this, who
played with her life as a child does with soap-bubbles, and who was as
elusory and irresponsible as a summer-day rainbow. But one season at
Mussoorie Miss Priest contracted an engagement somewhat less evanescent.
Mussoorie of all Himalayan hill-stations is the most demure and proper.
Simla occasionally is convulsed by scandals, although dispassionate
inquiry invariably proves that there is nothing in them. The hot blood of
the quick and fervid Punjaub--casual observers have called the Punjaub
stupid, but the remark applies only to its officials--is apt to stir the
current of life at Murree. The chiefs of the North-West are invariably so
intolerably proper that occasional revolt from their austerity is all but
forced on Nynee Tal, the sanatorium of that province. But Mussoorie,
undisturbed by the presence of frolicsome viceroys or austere
lieutenant-governors, is a limpid pool of pleasant propriety. It is not so
much that it is decorous as that it is genuinely good; it is a favourite
resort of clergymen and of clergymen's wives. It was at Mussoorie that
Miss Priest met Captain Hambleton, a gallant gunner. They danced together
at the Assembly Rooms; they rode in company round the Camel's Back; they
went to the same picnics at "The Glen." The captain proposed and was
accepted. For about the nineteenth time Miss Priest was an engaged young
lady. And Captain Hambleton was a lover of rather a different stamp from
the men with whom her name previously had been nominally coupled. He was
in love and he was a gentleman; he had proposed to the girl, not that he
and she should be merely engaged but that they should be married also.
This view of the subject was novel to Miss Priest and at first she thought
it rather a bore; but the captain pegged away and gradually the lady came
rather to relish the situation. Men and women concurred that the wayward
pinions of the fair Bella were at last trimmed, if not clipped; and to do
her justice the general opinion was that, once married, she would make an
excellent wife. As the close of the Mussoorie season approached the
invitations went out for Bella Priest's wedding, and for "cake and wine
afterwards at the house." The wedding-breakfast is a comparatively rare
_tamasha_ in India; the above is the formula of the usual invitation at
the hill-stations.

It happened that just two days before the day fixed for the marriage of
Miss Priest and Captain Hambleton, there was a fancy-dress ball in the
Assembly Rooms at Mussoorie. I think that as a rule fancy-dress balls are
greater successes in India than at home. People in India give their minds
more to the selection and to the elaboration of costumes; and there is
less of that _mauvaise honte_ when masquerading in fancy costume, which
makes a ball of this description at home so wooden and wanting in go. At a
fancy ball in India "the devil" acts accordingly, and manages his tail
with adroitness and grace. It is a fact that at a recent fancy-dress ball
in Lahore a game was played on the lap of a lady who appeared as "chess,"
with the chess-men which had formed her head-dress. This Mussoorie ball,
being the last of the season, was to excel all its predecessors in
inventive variety. A _padre's_ wife conceived the bright idea of appearing
as Eve; and only abandoned the notion on finding that, no matter what
species of thread she used, it tore the fig-leaves--a result which,
besides causing her a disappointment, imperilled her immortal soul by
engendering doubts as to the truth of the Scriptural narrative of the
creation. Miss Priest determined to go to this ball, although doing so
under the circumstances was scarcely in accordance with the _convenances_;
but she was a girl very much addicted to having her own way. Captain
Hambleton did not wish her to go, and there was a temporary coolness
between the two on the subject; but he yielded and they made it up. The
principle as to her going once established, Miss Priest's next task was to
set about the invention of a costume. It was to be her last effort as a
"spin"; and she determined it should be worthy of her reputation for
brilliant inventiveness. She had shone as a _Vivandiere_, as the Daughter
of the Regiment, as a Greek Slave, Grace Darling, and so forth, times out
of number; but those characters were stale. Miss Priest had a form of
supple rounded grace, nor had Diana shapelier limbs. A great inspiration
came to her as she sauntered pondering on the Mall. Let her go as Ariel,
all gauze, flesh-tints, and natural curves. She hailed the happy thought
and invested in countless yards of gauze. She had the tights already by

Now Miss Priest, knowing the idiosyncrasy of Captain Hambleton, had little
doubt that he would put his foot down upon Ariel. But she knew he loved
her, and with characteristic recklessness determined to trust to that and
to luck. She too loved him, even better, perhaps, than Ariel; but she
hoped to keep both the captain and the character. She did not, however,
tell him of her design, waiting perhaps for a favourable opportunity. But
even in Arcadian Mussoorie there are the "d----d good-natured friends" of
whom Byron wrote; and one of those--of course it was a woman--told Captain
Hambleton of the character in which Miss Priest intended to appear at the
fancy ball. The captain was a headstrong sort of man--what in India is
called _zubburdustee_. Instead of calling on the girl and talking to her
as a wise man would have done, he sat down and wrote her a terse letter
forbidding her to appear as Ariel, and adding that if she should persist
in doing so their engagement must be considered at an end. Miss Priest
naturally fired up. Strangely enough, being a woman, she did not reply to
the captain's letter; but when the evening of the ball came, she duly
appeared as Ariel with rather less gauze about her shapely limbs than had
been her original intention. She created an immense sensation. Some of the
ladies frowned, others turned up their noses, yet others tucked in their
skirts when she approached; and all vowed that they would decline to touch
Miss Priest's hand in the quadrille. Miss Priest did not care a jot for
these demonstrations, and she never danced square dances. Among the
gentlemen she created a perfect furore.

Captain Hambleton was present at the ball. For the greater part of the
evening he stood near the door with his eye fixed on Miss Priest,
apparently rather in sorrow than in anger. His gaze seemed but to
stimulate her to more vivacious flirtation; and she "carried on above a
bit," as a cynical subaltern remarked, with the gallant major to whom she
had been penultimately engaged. Toward the close of the evening Captain
Hambleton relinquished his post of observation, seemed to accept the
situation, and was observed at supper-time paying marked attention to a
married lady with whom his name had been to some extent coupled not long
before his engagement to Miss Priest.

Next morning Miss Priest took time by the forelock. She waited for no
further communication from Captain Hambleton; he had already sent his
ultimatum and she had dared her fate. The morrow was the day fixed for the
marriage. Many people had been bidden. Mussoorie, including Landour, is a
large station, and the postal delivery of letters is not particularly
punctual. So she adopted a plan for warning off the wedding-guests
identical with that employed in Indian stations for circulating
notifications as to lawn-tennis gatherings and unimportant intimations
generally. At the head of the paper is written the notification,
underneath are the names of the persons concerned. The document is
intrusted to a messenger known as a _chuprassee_, who goes away on his
circuit; and each person writes "Seen" opposite his or her name in
testimony of being posted in the intelligence conveyed in the
notification. Miss Priest divided the invited guests into four rounds and
despatched four _chuprassees_, each bearing a document curtly announcing
that "Miss Priest's marriage will not come off as arranged, and the
invitations therefore are to be regarded as cancelled."

Miss Priest had no fortune, and her mother was by no means wealthy. It may
seem strange to English readers--not nearly so much so, however, as to
Anglo-Indian ones--that Captain Hambleton had thought it a graceful and
kindly attention to provide the wedding-cake. It had reached him across
the hills from Peliti's the night of the ball, and now here it was on his
hands--a great white elephant. Whether in the hope that it might be
regarded as an olive-branch, whether that he burned to be rid of it
somehow, or whether, knowing that Miss Priest was bound to get married
some day and thinking that it would be a convenience if she had a
bridecake by her handy for the occasion, there is no evidence. Anyhow, he
sent it to Mrs. Priest with his compliments. That very sensible woman did
not send it back with a cutting message, as some people would have done.
Having considerable Indian experience, she had learned practical wisdom
and the short-sighted folly of cutting messages. She kept the bridecake,
and enclosed to the gallant captain Gosslett's bill for the dozen of
simkin that excellent firm had sent in to wash it down wherewithal.

Bridecakes are bores to carry about from place to place, and Miss Priest
and her mother were rather birds of passage. Peliti declined to take this
particular bridecake back, for all Simla had seen it in his window and he
saw no possibility of "working it in." So the Priests, mother and
daughter, determined to realise on it in a somewhat original and indeed
cynical fashion. The cake was put up to be raffled for.

All the station took tickets for the fun of the thing. Captain Hambleton
was anxious to show that there was no ill-feeling, and did not find
himself so unhappy as he had expected--perhaps from the _redintegratio
amoris_ in another quarter; so he took his ticket in the raffle like other
people. It is needless to say that he won; and the cake duly came back to

Had Captain Hambleton been a superstitious man, he might have regarded
this strange occurrence as indicating that the Fates willed it that he
should compass somehow a union with Miss Priest. But the captain had no
superstition in his nature; and, indeed, had begun to think that he was
well out of it; besides which it was currently reported that Miss Priest
had already re-engaged herself to another man. But the bridecake was upon
him as the Philistines upon Samson; and the question was, what the devil
to do with it? He could not raffle it over again; nobody would take
tickets. He had half a mind to trundle it over the _khud_ (_Anglice_,
precipice) and be done with it; but then, again, he reflected that this
would be sheer waste and might seem to indicate soreness on his part. It
cost him a good many pegs before he thought the matter out in all its
bearings, for, as has been said, he was a gunner, but as he sauntered away
from the club in the small hours a happy thought came to him.

He would give a picnic at which the bogey bridecake should figure
conspicuously, and then be laid finally by the process of demolition. His
leave was nearly up; he had experienced much hospitality and a picnic
would be a graceful and genial acknowledgment thereof. And he would ask
the Priests just like other people, and no doubt they would enter into the
spirit of the thing and not send a "decline." Bella, he knew, liked
picnics nearly as well as balls, and it must be a powerful reason indeed
that would keep her away from either.

Captain Hambleton's picnic was the last of the season, and everybody
called it the brightest. "The Glen" resounded to the laughter at tiffin,
and the shades of night were falling ere stray couples turned up from its
more sequestered recesses. Amid loud cheers Miss Priest, although still
Miss Priest, cut up her own bridecake with a serene equanimity that proved
the charming sweetness of her disposition. There was no marriage-bell yet
all went merry as a marriage-bell, which is occasionally rather a sombre
tintinnabulation; and the _debris_ of the bridecake finally fell to the

I would fain that it were possible, having a regard to truth, to round off
this little story prettily by telling how in a glade of "The Glen" after
the demolition of the bridecake, Miss Priest and the captain "squared
matters," were duly married and lived happily ever after, as the
story-books say. But this consummation was not attained. Miss Priest
indeed was in the glade, but it was not with the captain, or at least this
particular captain; and as for him, he spent the afternoon placidly
smoking cigarettes as he lay at the feet of his married consoler. To the
best of my knowledge Miss Priest is Miss Priest still.


Referring to a particular phase of this memorable combat, Mr. Kinglake
wrote: "The question is not ripe for conclusive decision; some of those
who, as is supposed, might throw much light upon it, have hitherto
maintained silence." It was in 1868 that the fourth volume--the Balaclava
volume--of Mr. Kinglake's History was published. Since he wrote,
singularly few of those who could throw light on obscure points of the
battle have broken silence. Lord George Paget's Journal furnished little
fresh information, since Mr. Kinglake had previously used it extensively.
There is but a spark or two of new light in Sir Edward Hamley's more
recent compendium. As the years roll on the number of survivors diminishes
in an increasing ratio, nor does one hear of anything valuable left behind
by those who fall out of the thinning ranks. The reader of the period, in
default of any other authority, betakes himself to Kinglake. There are
those who term Kinglake's volumes romance rather than history--or, more
mildly, the romance of history. But this is unjust and untrue. It would be
impertinent to speak of his style; that gift apart, his quest for accurate
information was singularly painstaking, searching, and scrupulous. Yet it
cannot be said that he was always well served. He had perforce to lean on
the statements of men who were partisans, writing as he did so near his
period that nearly all men charged with information were partisans.
British officers are not given to thrusting on a chronicler tales of their
own prowess. But _esprit de corps_ in our service is so strong--and, spite
of its incidental failings that are almost merits what lover of his
country could wish to see it weakened?--that men of otherwise implicit
veracity will strain truth, and that is a weak phrase, to exalt the
conduct of their comrades and their corps. No doubt Mr. Kinglake
occasionally suffered because of this propensity; and, with every respect,
his literary _coup d'oeil_, except as regards the Alma where he saw for
himself, and Inkerman where no _coup d'oeil_ was possible, was somewhat
impaired by his having to make his picture of battle a mosaic, each
fragment contributed by a distinct actor concentrated on his own
particular bit of fighting. If ever military history becomes a fine art we
may find the intending historian, alive to the proverb that "onlookers see
most of the game," detailing capable persons with something of the duty of
the subordinate umpire of a sham fight, to be answerable each for a given
section of the field, the historian himself acting as the correlative of
the umpire-in-chief.



* * * * *

Figures 1 to 6 indicate Redoubts.

A. Point of collision.

B. "C" Troop R.H.A.'s position during combat, in support Heavy Cavalry.

C. "C" Troop in action against fugitive Russian Cavalry about D., range
about 750 yards.

E. Lord Lucan's position watching advance of Russian Cavalry mass.

F. Position "C" Troop when approached by Cardigan and Paget after Light
Cavalry charge.

G. Position "C" Troop in support Light Cavalry charge.

H. Russian Cavalry mass advancing at trot up "North" valley.

HH. Russian Cavalry General and Staff trotting along Causeway heights,
with view into both valleys.

K. Line of Light Cavalry charge.

L. Light Brigade during Heavy Cavalry charge.

M. "I" Troop R.H.A. during ditto.

N. Lord Raglan's position (approximate).

O. Scarlett's five squadrons beginning their advance.

P. Russian Cavalry mass halted.]

It is true that the battle of Balaclava was fought to "a gallery"
consisting of the gazers who looked down into the plain from the upland of
the Chersonese. But of close and virtually independent spectators of the
battle's most thrilling episodes, so near the climax of the Heavy Cavalry
charge that they heard the clash of the sabres, so close to the lip of the
Valley of Death that they discerned the wounds of our stricken troopers
who strewed its sward and could greet and be greeted by the broken groups
that rode back out of the "mouth of hell," there was but one small body of
people. This body consisted of the officers and men of "C" Troop, Royal
Horse Artillery. "C" Troop had been encamped from 1st October until the
morning of the battle close to the Light division, in that section of the
British position known as the Right Attack. When the fighting began in the
Balaclava plain on the morning of the 25th, it promptly started for the
scene of action. Pursuing the nearest way to the plain by the Woronzoff
road, at the point known as the "Cutting" it received an order from Lord
Raglan to take a more circuitous route, as by the more direct one it was
following it might become exposed to fire from Russian cannon on the
Fedoukine heights. Pursuing the circuitous route it came out into the
plain through the "Col" then known as the "Barrier," crossed the "South"
or "Inner" valley, and reached the left rear of Scarlett's squadrons
formed up for the Heavy Cavalry charge. Here it received an order from
Brigadier-General Strangways, who commanded the Artillery, with which it
could not comply; and thenceforward "C" Troop throughout the day acted
independently, at the discretion of its enterprising and self-reliant
commander. What it saw and what it did are recorded in a couple of
chapters of a book entitled _From Coruna to Sevastopol_. [Footnote: _From
Coruna to Sevastopol_: The History of "C" Battery, "A" Brigade (late "C"
Troop), Royal Horse Artillery. W.H. Allen and Co.] This volume was
published some years ago, but the interesting and vivid details given in
its pages of the Balaclava combats and the light it throws on many obscure
incidents of the day have been strangely overlooked. The author of the
chapters was an officer in the Troop whose experiences he shared and
describes, and is a man well known in the service to be possessed of acute
observation, strong memory, and implicit veracity. The present writer has
been favoured by this officer with much information supplementary to that
given in his published chapters, which is embodied in the following
account throughout which the officer will be designated as "the 'C' Troop

The "Plain of Balaclava" is divided into two distinct valleys by a low
ridge known as the "Causeway Heights," which bisects it in the direction
of its length and is everywhere easily practicable for all arms. The
valley nearest to the sea and the town of Balaclava has been variously
termed the "South" and the "Inner" valley; it was on the slope descending
to it from the ridge that our Heavy Cavalry won their success; the valley
beyond the ridge is the "North" or "Outer" valley, down which, their faces
set eastward, sped to glorious disaster the "noble six hundred" of the
Light Brigade. On the north the plain is bounded by the Fedoukine heights;
on the west by the steep face of the Chersonese upland whereon was the
allied main position before Sevastopol during the siege; on the south by
the broken ground between the plain and the sea; on the east by the River
Tchernaya and the Kamara hills. Our weakness in the plain invited attack.
At Kadikoei, on its southern verge, Sir Colin Campbell covered Balaclava
with a Scottish regiment, a Field battery, and some Turks. Near the
western end of the South valley were the camps of the cavalry division.
Straggled along the Causeway heights was a series of weak earthworks whose
total armament consisted of nine iron guns, and among which were
distributed some six or seven battalions of Turkish infantry. At daybreak
of 25th October the Russian General Liprandi with a force of 22,000
infantry, 3300 cavalry, and 78 guns, took the offensive by driving the
Turkish garrisons out of these earthworks in succession, beginning with
the most easterly--No. 1, known as "Canrobert's Hill." The Turks holding
it fought well and stood a storm and heavy loss before they were expelled.
The other earthworks fell with less and less resistance, and the first
three, with seven out of their nine guns, remained in the Russian

During the morning, while the Russians were taking the earthworks along
the ridge, our two cavalry brigades, in the words of General Hamley, had
been manoeuvring so as to threaten the flanks of any force which might
approach Balaclava, without committing themselves to an action in which
they would have been without the support of infantry. Ultimately, until
his infantry should become available, Lord Raglan drew in the cavalry
division to a position on the left of redoubt No. 6, near the foot of the
Chersonese upland.

While it was temporarily quiescent there Liprandi was engaging in an
operation of enterprise rare in the record of Russian cavalry. General
Ryjoff at the head of a great body of horse started on an advance up the
North valley. Presently he detached four squadrons to his left, which
moved toward where Sir Colin Campbell was in position at the head of the
Kadikoei gorge, was repulsed without difficulty by that soldier's fire, and
rode back whence it had come. The main body of Russian horse, computed by
unimaginative authorities to be about 2000 strong, continued up the valley
till it was about abreast of redoubt No. 4 [Footnote: See Map.], when it
halted; checked apparently, writes Kinglake, by the fire of two guns from
a battery on the edge of the upland. The "C" Troop chronicler states that
in addition to "a few" shots fired by this battery (manned by Turks), the
guns of "I" troop R.H.A., temporarily stationed in a little hollow in
front of the Light Brigade [Footnote: See Map.], fired rapidly one round
each, "haphazard," over the high ground in their front. General Hamley
assigns no ground for the Russian halt, but mentions that just at the
moment of collision between our Heavies and the Russian mass "three guns"
on the edge of the upland were fired on the latter. From whatever cause,
the Russian cavalry wheeled obliquely to the leftward, crossed the
Causeway heights about redoubt No. 5, and began to descend the slope of
the South valley. Kinglake heard of no ground for believing that the
Russian horse thus wheeling southward, were cognisant of the presence of
the Heavies in the valley they were entering. But the "C" Troop chronicler
states that as the Troop was crossing the plain a few Russian horsemen
were seen by it trotting fast along the top of the ridge [Footnote: See
Map.], who, when almost immediately afterwards the head of the Russian
column showed itself on the skyline, were set down as the General
commanding it and his staff.

Kinglake observes that the Russians have declared their object in this
operation to have been the destruction of a non-existent artillery park
near Kadikoei, while some of our people imagined it to have been a real
attempt on Balaclava. But up the centre of the North valley was neither
the directest nor the safest way to Kadikoei, much less to Balaclava. Is it
not more probable that the enterprise was of the nature merely of a sort
of "snap-offensive"; while as yet the allied infantry visibly pouring down
the slopes of the upland were innocuous because of distance and while the
sole occupants of the plain were a couple of weak cavalry brigades and a
single horse battery? Ryjoff on the ridge could see in his front at least
portions of the Light Brigade; its fire told him the horse battery was
thereabouts too, and there were those shots from the cannon on the upland.
Is it not feasible that, looking down on his left to Scarlett's poor six
squadrons--his two following regiments were then some distance off--and
seeing those squadrons as yet without accompanying artillery, he should
have judged them his easier quarry and ordered the wheel that should bring
his avalanche down on them?

Kinglake recounts how, while our cavalry division yet stood intact near
the foot of the upland, Lord Raglan had noticed the instability of the
Turks under Campbell's command at Kadikoei and had sent Lord Lucan
directions to move down eight squadrons of Heavies to support them; how
Scarlett started with the Inniskillings, Greys, and Fifth Dragoon Guards,
numbering six squadrons, to be followed by the two squadrons of the Royals;
how the march toward Kadikoei was proceeding along the South valley, when
all of a sudden Elliot, General Scarlett's aide-de-camp, glancing up
leftward at the ridge "saw its top fretted with lances, and in another
moment the skyline broken by evident squadrons of horse." Then, Kinglake
proceeds, Scarlett's resolve was instantaneous; he gave the command "Left
wheel into line!" and confronted the mass gathering into sight over
against him. Soon after Scarlett had started Lord Lucan had learned of the
advance up the North valley of the great mass of Russian cavalry, which he
had presently descried himself, as also its change of direction southward
across the Causeway ridge; and after giving Lord Cardigan "parting
instructions" which that officer construed into compulsory inactivity on
his part when a great opportunity presented itself, he had galloped off at
speed to overtake Scarlett and give him directions for prompt conflict
with the Russian cavalry. Thus far Kinglake.

The testimony of the "C" Troop chronicler differs from the above statement
in every detail. He significantly points out that Kinglake does not, as is
his custom, quote the words of Lord Raglan's order directing the march of
the Heavies to Kadikoei. His averment is to the following effect. When the
cavalry division after its manoeuvring of the morning was retiring by Lord
Raglan's command along the South valley toward the foot of the upland, it
was followed as closely as they dared by some Cossacks who busied
themselves in spearing and capturing the unfortunate Turks flying from the
ridge toward Kadikoei athwart the rear of the British squadrons. Eventually
the Cossacks reached the camp of the Light Brigade and set about stabbing
and hacking at the sick and non-effective horses left standing at the
picket-lines. Lord Raglan from his commanding position on the upland saw
those Cossacks working mischief in our lines, and sent a message to Lord
Lucan "to take some cavalry forward and protect the camp from being
destroyed." The "C" Troop chronicler has in his possession a letter from
the actual bearer of this message, to the effect that he duly delivered it
to Lord Lucan and that consequent on it his lordship moved forward some
heavy cavalry into the plain toward the picket-lines. Testimony to be
presently noted will indicate the importance of this statement. The
chronicler denies that Lord Lucan, as Kinglake states, galloped after
Scarlett after having given Lord Cardigan his "parting instructions." No
doubt he did give those instructions, when apprised by Lord Raglan's
aide-de-camp of the threatening advance of Russian horse. But what he then
did, assured as he was of the stationary attitude of the heavy squadrons
sent out to protect the camp, was to ride forward along the ridge-line to
discern for himself where, if indeed anywhere, the Russians were intending
to strike. He most daringly remained at a forward and commanding point of
the ridge [Footnote: See Map.] until actually chased off his ground by the
van of the Russian wheel, and he then galloped straight down the slope to
join Scarlett drawing out his squadrons for the conflict with the Russian
mass whose leading files Elliot's keen eye had discerned on the skyline.

If Kinglake were right as to his alleged movement of the Heavies toward
Kadikoei and its sudden arrestment because of Elliot's discovery, "C"
Troop, as it approached them, would have seen the squadrons still in
motion. But the chronicler testifies that "C" Troop, while moving to the
scene of action and when still more than a mile and a half distant (at
least fifteen minutes at the pace the weakened gun-teams travelled), had a
full view of the South valley. And it then saw five squadrons of heavy
cavalry thus early halted in the plain near the cavalry picket-lines,
fronting towards the ridge and apparently perfectly dressed--the Greys
(two squadrons deep) in the centre, recognised by their bearskins; a
helmeted regiment (also two squadrons deep) on the left (afterwards known
to be the 5th Dragoon Guards); and one helmeted squadron on the right (2nd
squadron Inniskillings). A sixth squadron (1st Inniskillings) was visible
some distance to the right rear and it was also fronting towards the
ridge. This force, so and thus early positioned, consisted, avers the
chronicler, of the identical troops which Kinglake erroneously describes
as straggling hurriedly into deployment under the urgency of Scarlett and
Lucan to cope with the suddenly disclosed adversary.

When "C" Troop and its chronicler reached the rear of the formed-up
squadrons they were found in the same formation as when first observed,
but the whole had in the interval been moved somewhat to the right,
farther into the plain, with intent no doubt to be clear of obstacles on
the previous front. Kinglake speaks throughout of the force that first
charged under Scarlett--"Scarlett's three hundred," as consisting of three
squadrons ranked thus:--

------------------- ------------------- -------------------
2nd squad. lst squad. 2nd squad. Inniskillings


And, although his words are not so clear as usual, he appears to believe
that the 5th Dragoon Guards, whom in his plan he places some little
distance to the left rear of the Greys, were actually the last to move to
the attack, of all the five regiments participating in the heavy cavalry
onslaught. The "C" Troop chronicler, noting details, be it remembered,
from his position immediately in rear of the cavalry force which first
charged, describes its composition and formation thus:--

------------------- ------------------- -------------------
Front squad. 5th Dr. Guards. 1st squad. Greys. 2nd squad.
------------------- -------------------
Rear squad. 5th Dr. Guards. 2nd squad. Greys.

in all five squadrons, instead of Mr. Kinglake's three. Nor, according to
the chronicler, did the three squadrons in first line start
simultaneously, as Kinglake distinctly conveys. The leading squadron of
the Greys moved off first, and just as it was breaking into a gallop was
temporarily hampered by the swerving of the horse of Colonel Griffiths,
who was struck in the head by a bullet from the halted Russians' carbine
fire. Next moved, almost simultaneously, the 2nd squadron Inniskillings
and the front squadron 5th Dragoon Guards; thirdly, the 2nd squadron
Greys, and finally the rear squadron 5th Dragoon Guards. Lord Lucan is
represented as having been "personally concerned in or approving of

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