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theorists and their theories, it may be well to
make something like a stock-taking survey of
underground London. Much capital has been
sunk, year after year; much more will have to
be sunk; and many ratepayers may like to hear
in a gossiping way what they have got for their
money. The task of collecting this information
and setting it forth is not quite so agreeable as
a tour in Iceland; but some harmless drudges
must do this parochial work, as some men must
black boots, empty dustholes, and sweep crossings.
It is good sometimes to put the great
epic, the great picture, or the great statue, aside,
and to walk round the parish pump with a
desire to know something about it.

This subject, therefore, shall be resumed next


IN the spring, according to Mr. Tennyson,
the wanton lapwing gets himself another nest,
a brighter iris changes on the burnished dove,
and a young man's fancy lightly turns to
thoughts of love. These are unanswerable
facts; but here is another vernal incident,
which, probably because Locksley Hall was
written before the institution of the volunteer
movement, has been unnoticed by the poet. In
the spring the gentlemen attached to the
various rifle corps, whose ardour has been chilled
by the dreary winter, and whose time has been
consumed in festivity, suddenly recal the fact
that the eyes of their country are earnestly fixed
on them for its defence. I am proud to say
that we of the Grimgribbers were, theoretically,
early in the field. No one who knows Captain
de Tite Strongbow will imagine that he would
have allowed us to be laggards. This
indefatigable young man has never relaxed in his
exertions. After the presentation of our bugle,
recorded in a previous number of this journal,*
the ardour of the members thawed, and the
general voice resolved itself into a-dieu; that is
to say, half the men went to the Continent, and
the other half to the seaside. Before we broke
up, Captain Strongbow called a battalion drill,
when the prevalent disorder showed itself in an
eruption of moustaches of a week's growth, and
in the bulging of Continental Bradshaws from
uniform pockets. Strongbow noticed this, and,
as I may express it in the language of the
Wardour-street Elizabethan drama, "advantaged
himself of the occasion." He put us
through some of the most diificult and most
perspiration-causing movements in the Field
Exercise book, and then, having formed us into
a square, and faced us inward, he solemnly
addressed us. He said that he grieved to find
a general disposition for a holiday, a disposition
by no means in accordance with that solemn
pledge which we had given when we voluntarily
placed our services at her Majesty's disposal.
He mildly hinted that any one declining to
attend parade or drill when summoned, was
guilty of perjury in its grossest form; and he
asked us where we expected to go to? Through
the dead silence which followed this appeal, the
voice of the ill-conditioned private J. Miller was
heard, suggesting "Margate;" but the, ribaldry
had effect on none but a few hardened scoffers.
However, it was useless attempting to stop
the threatened exodus; and, after suggesting
that those who visited the Continent should
keep a sharp eye upon the foreign troops "with
whom they might be called upon to cross
bayonets" (an idea which made a profound
impression on private Pruffle); and that they
should take measures for becoming generally
acquainted with the defensive works of such foreign
fortresses as they might happen to come across;
and after recommending the stay-at-homes to
attach themselves to the garrison of the sea-
port town where they might be staying, and
pass an easy month of relaxation in attending
three drills a day and perusing the Field Exercise
book in the evening; Captain Strongbow
dismissed us with a benediction.

* All the Year Round, vol. iii. p. 499.

I do not believe that any one, save Strongbow
himself (who went first to Hythe and then
to Shorncliffe, and passed the remainder of the
autumn in endeavouring to improve the
Armstrong gun), paid the smallest attention to the
recommendation. Pruffle was seen with a wide-
awake hat and a telescope, on Southend pier.
Lobjoit broke three colts and his own leg
among the Yorkshire spinneys. Skull went to
Worthing, and fell into a chronic state of sleep
and seaweed. Private Miller, though he
certainly visited Aldershott, only went for one night
to assist at the military theatre in an amateur
performance. We all went away, and did
cathedrals, and mountain passes, and ruined
abbeys, and lay on beaches, and swam, and
mooned, and enjoyed ourselves, and by the time
we returned to Grimgribber, we had nearly
forgotten the existence of our noble corps.

The Quakers were in ecstacies; they knew it;
had they not prophesied it? "Friend, did I
not tell thee?" &c. &c. All of which so roused
the ire of De Tite Strongbow, that one day early
in October, every dead wall, tree, and post in
Grimgribber blossomed with a blue and red
announcement of a "Parade on the Common on
Saturday next."

The day came and the hour, but not the men;
that is to say, there was not a very great muster.
Parties of two and three came straggling up the
lane, evidently intending merely to look on;
but they were spied by the videttes posted by
Strongbow at available situations, and immediately
hailed by that energetic officer in stentorian
tones and appealing phrases, all of which
commenced, "Hallo! you sirs!" The persons
addressed, recognising the voice, generally
feigned total deafness, looked round in a vacant
manner, and commenced a retreat; but Strongbow
was by their side before they had gone
three paces, and by coaxing, wheedling, and
bullying, induced most of them to proceed to
the Common, so that at last two-thirds of our
total number were present.

That day will be for ever remembered by the