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to prosecute his business in the counting-house.
I have brought Mr. Grand to look at a cab-horse,' says Lord Maltby. Have you anything likely to suit him?'
To which Mr. Sago bows like an ambassador, and looks at Mr.Grand.
Perhaps the captain will like to walk round the stables, my lord,' says the man in authority; and forthwith a couple of helpers are summoned, the one to strip, the other to re-clothe the horses submitted for an approval.
Before I can spare a glance for the animals, I inspect Mr. Sago, and it strikes me that never, no, never, have I seen breeches and boots fit so marvellously well as those which encase his slender, well-turned limbs. Of course, he sleeps in them, and they are cleaned on his person, as such a fit cannot possibly be made to take off.' The man himself is moulded to be a horseman, and when mounted can, perhaps, make more of the animal that carries him, both as to action and appearance, than any other equestrian in London. In the meantime, Maltby has selected a grey, that looks very like what we want, and as, on being stripped, his make and shape are found to be faultless, we have him out into the yard, to ascertain his capabilities when in motion.
Fine airy goer,' says Mr. Sago, as the grey horse fidgets sidling down the yard, in a manner that would give but little room for the vehicle intended to be attached to him ; — ́ beautiful action, Captain Grand, and great docility-drayhorse power, sir, with the action of a sylph! Like to see him in harness, Captain ?-a child might drive him with a silken thread;' and, accordingly, the grey is lapped in leather forthwith, and I embark on a voyage of discovery by the side of Mr. Sago. 'Let him go- don't hang at his
head,' says the charioteer, making a virtue of necessity, as the horse, plunging vigorously forward, breaks away from the grasp of the attendant helpers, while Mr. Sago goes on talking, as if he were sitting at ease in an arm-chair. Town very full, sir, just now,' as we graze a landau, to avoid coming in contact with an omnibus. Great comfort to drive so handy a horse as this. I'm a very poor coachman myself; but I think I could steer him into the City to buy stock or to borrow money, Captain. Will you like to get your hand on him?' he adds, as by dint of consummate skill, and that delicacy of touch which horsemen call hand,' he succeeds at length in making the animal go quietly up to his bit; and as my practice in olden time with Cartouch's drag had given me some little insight into driving, I soon find that, with regular work, the grey is likely to make me a pleasant and valuable cab-horse. After a short trial, I make up my mind to have him, and the only remaining point to be settled is as to price. For this I am again referred to the counting-house, where, after a brief interview with the proprietor, whose affliction has again attacked him, giving me some difficulty in making him understand that I do not wish to pay immediately for the horse, it is agreed that, if I like him, I am to give two hundred for him at no very remote period-if on further trial I find he will not suit me, I may return him for twenty-five pounds, which is a fair and liberal arrangement on all sides; and I walk out of the yard with Maltby, congratulated by Mr. Sago on my purchase, which he assures me is the most eligible cab-horse in London for appearance and knee action ; and with your finger' upon him, Captain Grand, to make him bend himself, he will be the cynosure of a thousand eyes!'
A FIELD-DAY IN THE PARK-AN OLD FRIEND WITH A NEW FACE-THE ARTILLERY OF THE EYES-MILITARY EVOLUTIONS AND CIVIL EXPLANATIONS-TEACHING THE ART OF WAR, AND LEARNING THE ART OF LOVE.
THERE is a bon-mot, attributed, though I believe very unjustly, to F. M. the Duke of Wellington, to
the effect, that if he were to put 40,000 men into Hyde Park, he had not one general officer in the service
who could get them out again;' and this military sally has for years delighted the inexperienced civilian, who imagines that large bodies of soldiers are to be moved simply by word of command,-in other words, that it is only necessary to holloa at them, without the slightest regard to the technicalities of covering,' 'distances,' and 'priority of position;' for, with reference to the latter essential, you would commit no greater violation of etiquette by walking Lady A. quietly off to dinner, under the very nose of the Duchess of B., with whom, as host, the laws of society exact that you should lead the column, than would be laid to your charge, if, in your arrangements for a field-day, you should post your infantry on the right of your artillery, and destine your smartest regiment of light dragoons to occupy the left of the line. I have been led into this digression by the recollection of the important manner with which my servant proffered the Order-book to my notice, in the pages whereof it was distinctly enacted in brigade orders,' that on the following morning the three regiments of Guards should occupy 'contiguous columns' in the explosive neighbourhood of Hyde Park powder-magazine, while a regimental ukase announced that we were to parade in review order, and that Captain Grand and a party would be furnished' to keep the ground.' And in compliance with these distinct commands, the following morning, at nine, saw me adorned with glittering epaulette, sash of gold, and bear-skin cap-no pleasant covering under a sweltering summer's sky-offering my valuable assistance to a troop of Life Guards and a handful of police, in restricting John Bull to a certain portion of the Park's dried-up surface, and prevailing on him to abstain from thrusting his unwashed face and opaque figure between the reviewing generals and the troops they were there to inspect. Certainly the goodhumour of an English mob is deserving of all praise; even under circumstances of political excitement, they seldom lose their natural relish for fun and frolic; and when they are met together for anything in the shape of a sight-the Lord Mayor's show, the prorogation of
parliament, the Derby, or a spectacle such as the present-ther sense of the ludicrous, and determi nation to enjoy themselves, are not to be surpassed. The temper displayed by our police, who are truly a long! suffering generation, assists largely in keeping up this feeling of goodfellowship; and though a stalwan sentry may drop the but of his heavy musket on a pair of sensitive toes, or the managed charger of a Life Guardsman disperse a knot of idlers with his disciplined gambols and the whisk of his long, heavy tail, roars of laughter alone greet the sufferers, who in their turn can seldom refrain from joining in the general mirth. I was much struck with this on the morning in question. when, having stationed myself at the point of greatest attraction, and consequently where there was most pressure from the crowd, I found that not even the size and weight of our athletic guardsmen were always sufficient to stem the rush of the populace, and I had occasionally to call in the assistance of a black charger and its immovable rider, the effect of which was instantaneous. But there was one figure that I had observed two or three times trenching upon the forbidden line, and being a gentlemanlike, militarylooking man, he had perhaps been allowed to creep rather more for ward than the rest unmolested; but at length, on his attempting to sepa rate himself from the crowd, and take up his position in the space set apart for officers in uniform and those who had tickets to witness the review, one of my sentries lost all patience, and ordering his firelock in most unpleasant proximity to a well-varnished pair of boots, he at the same time bid the intruder stand back, and interposed his own mas sive person, in a manner that left no alternative. I saw an altercation was going on, and as I approached to request the gentleman civilly to withdraw, I overheard an angry ex postulation between the intruder and the unmoved private.
I'm an officer, sentry. I insist upon being allowed to pass.' 'Can't help it, sir-not in uniform.'
'I tell you I'm an officer. I have a right to go through the lines.'
Can't pass without a ticket.'
I'll report you, sir; I will, by heavens! I'm an officer; there's my card. My name's Walker-Major Walker, East India Company's service.'
Major Walker, is it?' said the stoical guardsman, who was, moreover, a bit of a wag, in a quiet way then, if you be Major Walker, the best thing as you can do, is to walk off!'
I had some difficulty in preserving my gravity, as I came up and was appealed to by the irate field-officer. However, having every reason to suppose, from his manners and appearance, that he was what he represented himself, I passed him through on my own authority, and was thanked with a courtesy that showed my civility was not misplaced.
Sundry little episodes of the same kind, varied by the occasional 'break-down' of a temporary wooden stand, and comical discomfiture of its occupants, served to pass the time until the troops had taken up the several positions assigned to them; and as my situation was close behind the saluting point, from which favourable locality all the intricate manœuvres of the field-day were to be witnessed, I had an uninterrupted view of one of the most beautiful spectacles to be seen by the public in London, and one for which,
unlike all our other national exhibitions, there is nothing to pay.'
By Heaven! it is a splendid sight to see, (For one who hath no friend, no brother there,)
says Byron, in his thrilling description of the eve of mortal fray; but in this mimicry of war, the sight is even more splendid: there is no after-thought of pain or pity to mar the enjoyment of the glittering present, while happy is the fair one who recognises, or thinks she recognises, amidst that immovable mass of red and white, the martial form of a brother, a lover, or even a husband, assisting in the much-admired pageant. Wonderful is the infatuation of woman as regards a scarlet coat. In the absence of a veritable dragoon, and the gloomy listlessness of November, even the stained and draggled crimson of the fox-hunter has a charm; but a real uniform of the killing hue, bedizened with gold lace, more espe
cially if surmounted by a pair of mustachios, is irresistible.
Not the least beautiful portion of the day's display was the mass of lovely and well-dressed women who had congregated to see the review; and many an exclamation of wonder and delight rose from that bewitching assemblage, as column after column moved steadily on to the ground, and halted in its proper place with military exactitude and precision.
'Look, papa!' said a gentle voice behind me, in accents of unmistakeable enjoyment-here come the 17th Lancers; and there is your old corps, the Artillery, as far as you can see, upon our left. And what is that regiment of dark people coming from behind the trees?'
The Rifles, my dear, probably,' was the reply; but my eyesight is so bad, I cannot make out anything at that distance.'
'Oh, how I wish somebody would explain to me what they are going to do, I do so love a review!" said the excited girl.
And thinking it a pity so much military enthusiasm should be thrown away, I was in the act of taking advantage of my official position to furnish the young lady with a programme of the proceedings, when, turning round, I recognised, in the old gentleman of failing vision, a Colonel Belmont, whom I had once met at my father's house, but of whom I knew very little, except that he was a widower with an only daughter.
Can I be of any service to you, Colonel?' I said. Probably you have forgotten Digby Grand??
And whilst papa was occupied in shaking hands, cordially expressing his delight at our mutual recognition, and overwhelming me with inquiries about Sir Peregrine, whom he had probably seen long since his undutiful son, I had time to look at the daughter, whose charming voice had first attracted my attention. Heavens! what a beautiful girl she was! Far be it from me, like Olivia, to enter upon an inventory of her charms-item, two lips, indifferent red, &c.'-but she had the good fortune to possess those violet eyes, with long, black eyelashes, that, with dark hair and a fair complexion, have made a fool of many a wise
man since the days of King Solomon. Ere I was presented to her, I had seen at a glance that she was bien gantée and bien chaussée, those two essentials in a lady's dress; and as she turned her graceful head towards me, and received papa's introduction with her own sweet smile, I thought I should wish no better amusement than to act cicerone to this fascinating Miss Belmont during the whole of the coming perform
But the dark massive columns have deployed into line, and, far as the eye can reach, extends a belt of red and white, flanked by the dusky Rifles and grim batteries of artillery; while the lightsome pennons of the Lancers come wheeling rapidly from the rear. All eyes are directed towards Hyde Park Corner, and the crowd are mute with expectation, for a hoarse and indistinct command, reiterated in the front, is followed by the flash of steel along the whole line, as a thousand bayonets leap into air, and the brigade shoulders arms,' preparatory to receiving, with due respect, the time-honoured hero who is to inspect them. A brilliant and glittering staff winds through the iron gates near Apsley House, and sweeping rapidly into the Park, advances almost to where we are standing, as if expressly to give Miss Belmont an uninterrupted view of the Iron Duke, whom she adores with lady-like devotion. The line opens its ranks, and 'presents arms;' the Commander-in-chief returns the salute, and though he bares a venerable head, white with the snows of eighty winters, the frame below is lithe and hardy, almost as in the prime of life, the heart within game and dauntless as ever. The populace cheer, the band plays 'God save the Queen,' and the tears sparkle in Miss Belmont's eyes.
'How well the old Duke is looking,' says every one, with an affectionate emphasis on the adjective. And then the habitués, proud of their better information, instruct their country cousins in the identity of the different notabilities. Prince George; and there's the Duke of Hessians; and here comes Earl Sabre-tasche-how well he rides; and there goes one of the Plantagenets;-what a nice bay horse!
and which is the Marquis's other leg?' as the finest horseman in Eng land sways his mutilated figure wo every motion of the highly-broke charger he bestrides. And so they run over the whole staff, with a remark for each-delighted beyond measure if a nod of recognition should reach them from any indi vidual of that brilliant cortège.
All this time the review is going on, and I have the pleasant task of explaining to Miss Belmont the different manoeuvres of the regi ments in motion. How they advance in column, covered by skirmishers, as the smart and active riflemen dot the surface of the Park; how they form line with wondrous rapidity ere the smoke created by the ar tillery has half cleared away. How the cavalry make a brilliant and inexplicable charge, then opening out like some ingenious display of fireworks, retire by wings and are no more seen. How the infantry in the meantime have betaken themselves to the formation of im pregnable squares, and having 'prepared to resist cavalry by creating living fortresses bristling with bayonets, are peppering away to their hearts' content. The only drawback to this striking manoeuvre being the critical position of the 120th Foot, who receive and return the combined fire of her Majesty's three regiments of Guards with a gallantry and steadiness that, if ballcartridges were substituted for blank, would win them undying fame. However, the spectators do not find it out, so it matters but little. And now there is more smoke than ever, and a little divertissement by a dismounted aide-de-camp, whose loose horse much distracts the attention of the ladies. When we have ascer tained he is not killed or even hurt, and have time to look about us a little, the line has re-formed, and after a steady advance, commences a series of file-firing,' producing, as Miss Belmont observes, very much the effect of running one's finger rapidly down the keys of a piano-forte, and the precision of which is testified by the attitudes of sundry ragamuffins and boys of the looser sort, who, having got within the lines, are now feigning to suffer great loss and slaughter amongst themselves
from the efficient aim of the troops, and are lying about the field in every distorted and agonized species of pantomimic death. 'Fire a volley,' says the senior in authority. Fire a volley,' repeat colonels and majors to their respective regiments and battalions. Steady, men,' says the sergeant-major; 'lock up! that rear-rank' (which does not imply that one-half the regiment is to be condemned to solitary confinement), and a thundering volley discharges itself, under cover of which the uncompromising bayonet is levelled, and a combined charge executed by the whole line, which looks as if it would sweep general officers, staff, police, spectators, ladies, and all into Park-lane. Abstaining, however, from so general a scrimmage,' they halt and retire in admirable order, covered by cavalry and artillery, and throwing out clouds of skirmishers, till they have reached the same ground and taken up the same positions with which the review commenced.
And now, Miss Belmont,' I explain to my attentive companion, the points are being placed, and the regiments will march past.'
'Oh, how delightful,' says the fair enthusiast. And will your company march past, Captain Grand? And shall we hear the band? Papa, now you will see the Guards quite close.'
And quite close the imposing columns came; and many an adjutant's heart leapt for joy as company after company, Guards, Rifles, and infantry of the line, moved steadily past the saluting point, exact as a machine regulated by mechanism, level as a wall of brick. There always appears to me something awful in the uncompromising, unwavering advance of a large body of disciplined men. It is his resolute,
unflinching bearing, his steady demeanour, totally uninfluenced by extraneous circumstances in a
word, it is the magic power of discipline that gives the soldier his moral advantage over all the headlong gallantry and numerical superiority of undrilled thousands. And this steadfast reliance on himself, his officers, and his comrades, is only to be acquired by constant mutual practice in the field-practice that must be often repeated on the drillground before it can be brought into play under the fire of an enemy. This is the secret of all the marchings and counter-marchings, so often sneered at by the ignorant of military affairs. This is the object of the frequent parades and countless manoeuvres that to the unreflecting appear so unnecessarily to harass the soldier. And all this must be brought to a very high state of perfection before such a march past' can be witnessed as delighted the unpractised eyes of pretty Miss Belmont, and called forth an approving sentence from the Duke himself.
And now, much to my annoyance, the movements of the day are to come to a conclusion. The line, once more formed, advances in open order to the music of the three finest bands in the service, and again present arms' as a sort of farewell to the illustrious hero. A few words of approbation addressed by him to the respective colonels are soon made known to the officers and privates of the different troops and companies: and I am compelled to bid Miss Belmont farewell, not however, before I have discovered her whereabouts in London; and collecting my dispersed party together, I march them back towards the barracks under the wing of the battalion to which they belong.