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pepper gunpowder, ram down the charge, cant
round the rifle, tip off the black split cap
and put on a bran-new one, let down the
hammer and re-cock it. "Now then, front-rank
men, are you ready?— togethermake ready
present fire!" And so go all our three hundred
rhubarb and greens, except those who, having
double-loaded and got alarmed, have fallen to
the rear to have their rifles examined by the

Now, having rushed forward in a waving line,
always breaking at intervals like a sand rope,
we are pushed forward; we charge up the furzy
hill and drive the enemy through the woods,
that now smoke and echo with the fire of our
skirmishers. The advance is rather trying to
the patience, especially when nagged and taunted
by Filer and Snapper. The furzes prick us, the
footing is uncertain, the long drooping
fir-boughs rough with cones slap back in our
faces, the brambles claw us; a line it is
impossible to keep. We talk to each other, and
joke about the disgraceful nature of the ground
on which we are expected to execute complicated

"Keep together, gentlemen! Dressdress!
This is disgraceful! No talking there in the
ranks, or I give up the command. Dressfor
Heaven's sake, dress!"

At last we get on to a small plateau at the
edge of the woods, and at the head of a wooded
valley that swarms with troops. It is the
scene of the last act of our field-day. We are
now the reserve. We lie down and watch, we
see the skirmishers ferret into the wood, kneel,
blaze away, and push on. We see the
smoke-puffs spreading between the trees where the
men shelter themselves to fire. Now and then
an adjutant dashes round the wood with

Presently the whole valley is full of men; they
ooze from every bush and covert; the smoke
comes up as from a great caldron. The roar of
the guns tears the sky, and the echoes reduplicate
every shot. It is one unceasing rattling
echo, one rolling and swelling, but still unceasing
volley. The great crimson setting sun looks
down astonished. At last we are repulsed; we,
the reserve, are to head the retreat. Slowly we
break through the woods, now getting damp and
grey with evening dews. We charge up-hill at
the double; show our unabated vigour (I am
dead tired, and as for Filer, I am certain he
would like to be carried); we are drawn up in
line opposite three blazing camp-fires and a
waggon full of beer and sandwiches.

After a slight mutiny at a delay, each gets
what so few men gethis desert. The
sandwiches fly down our throats, the willing casks
are besieged and almost staved in by thirsty

Some daring creature with strong legs then
proposes to walk home to Staunton, where most
of us will have to disperse. The minority is
afraid to dissent. The drum awakes, the fife
soars aloft; off we go into the darkness, the
stars piloting our way. We sing that brave
old bragging war song of the Irish chaplain,
dead so many years since,

"There's none in the world you can compare to the
British grenadier;"

we sing Canadian boat songs and German.
lieder; Le Sieur de Framboisie scares the owls
of Biddicombe Park; Cum. Marte Minerva
rouses the night echoes of Witherington. Our
march through villages is a sight to see. Little
children in their nightgowns run down to
cottage doors to look at "the soldiers." Old
night-capped women peer at us through horny
spectacles, out of latticed windows. Boozy revellers
in ale-house parlours seem inclined to take
us for the French, and, discovering their
mistake, dash their pipes on the ground and cheer
drunkenly. Policemen glance at us patronisingly.
Village quidnuncs pronounce us "the
right sort of thing." The stars are winking
sleepily when we reach Staunton and disperse.


IN this little gossip on chimneys and
chimney-pieces, I assume as my text that the primitive
fireplaces were those made on the floor, in the
middle of the room; and that fireplaces having
flues or chimneys, were an after construction.

It has been supposed, though I think not quite
satisfactorily proved, that the Norman castles
were constructed originally with chimneys, much
after the fashion of those now in use; and some
examples are pointed out in proof of their
existence at this periodsuch as Hedingham
and otherswhere most undoubtedly there are
chimneys. But these castles were in good
repair, and in occupation in Edward the Fourth's
reign, and probably in that of Henry the
Seventh's alsocertainly that of Hedingham
was, for in it John de Vere, Earl of Oxford,
entertained this monarch in a most sumptuous
manner, putting his numerous retainers into
livery, and thus breaking a statute previously
passed, for which the king fined him fifteen
hundred marks. This was rather hard on a
mau who had done so much to honour his
sovereign as his guest, and who had been
one of the main instruments in raising him to
the throne. Such castles, with the Jews'
House at Lincoln, Boothby Pagnel
Manor-house, and others, are cited for showing the
great antiquity of chimneys; but at the present
period it is almost impossible to say what alterations
may have taken place from time to time in
the improvement of the domestic arrangements
of the abodes of our ancestors, though the
original structure and style of architecture may
have remained in most respects unchanged. I
therefore venture to assume that the chimneys
alluded to as now existing in these early
mansions, are rather examples of an abandonment of
the old inconvenient mode of making fires on
the open ground, in favour of the invention of
flues or chimneys. This is surely a more
reasonable supposition, than that the great advantage
derived from these tubes for conveying