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half made up "book" for the Derby, the
"engagements" for Ascot, the park hack,
the Richmond pink bonnets, the Greenwich
whitebait, the select society of fighting
men, the mess jokes, the Tower guard, the
royal parade, the Pall Mall loiter, all the
delights that make up a guardsman's life?
Othello's occupation is not gone; it is come.
These boys are to learn, in a sterner school,
the great lessons of life and death. Beardless
dandies, bucks of Almack's and Court
balls; they are to showand they WILL
showin a foreign land and a strange
climate, and in the fury of deadly fight,
that they are the same guards who died
so mathematically in square at Waterloo;
who lay down patiently for so many hours
biding their time, and when the time did
come, who rushed so gloriously and resistlessly
down the hill of Mont St. Jean. They are
to show to mobs of serf-soldiers, civilised by
the stick and disciplined by the whip, that
indomitable perseverance, and that
inextinguishable pluck which in every age have
distinguished English men and English

Yes, these are the same Guards (though
hundreds of them have never smelt anything
stronger than review powder), these are the
same British Grenadiers, that on the plains of
Flanders, long ago, fought like Alexanders
under Marlborough. These are the Guards
that routed the famous Maison du Roy, that
vanquished at Minden, that were themselves
vanquished, but ah! so gloriously, at
Fontenoy. These are the Guards that marched
to Finchley, and that Hogarth drew. These
are the Guards of the Peninsula, of Waterloo:
the Guards that went to Canada and to
Lisbon. The dresses are altered, pigtails and
pomatum have been abolished, and pipeclay
nearly so; the times are altered, and generations
of officers and privates have died since
the Guards were first enrolled. But they are
the same Guards: they have the same bold
bearing, the same manly hearts, the same
strong hands.

And the girls they leave behind them?
There are grand old houses in green
England, in whose parks the deer browse, on
whose lawns and gravelled walks the gaudy
peacocks sweepand a Russian Mujik on
three copecks a day can cause these houses
to change owners: and the lance of a
Cossack can give employment to Mr. Mattock,
the mortuary sculptor, and Mr. Jay, the
mourning furnisher, and Mr. Resurgam, the
herald painter. While these young sparks
are cheapening chiboucks and Damascus
pistols in the Stamboul Bezesteen, sipping
thimblefuls of coffee with thick bearded
pachas, pattering about the mosaic floors of
St. Sophia, in slippers, and dodging after a
laquais de place; lounging about the bazaars
of Hadrianople; snipe-shooting on the sedgy
islands in the Danube; reconnoitring with
their best Dollond's telescopes the opposite
bank; indulging in sly flirtations with Bulgarian
maidens, the girls they leave behind them
will be waiting with sore anxiety for every
newspaper, every despatch, every letter, to
tell them of the welfare of the well beloved
in the East. And there are many here, too,
perchance, the sons of widowed mothers
who have lost other sons by the deadly fever,
or the deadlier sword, in India. But of what
avail is all this? The band strikes up again,
and the regiment marches gaily over the bridge
towards the railway station, and the girls
that are left behind can but weep and pray
and hope.

In Mr. Thackeray's good book, in the
part where Amelia is mourning for her
husband gone to battle, and will not
be comforted, there is a little Belgian
chambermaid who endeavours to solace
her by this remark: "Tenez, Madame, est-ce
qu'il n'est pas aussi à l'armée, mon homme
à moi?" Was not her sweetheart gone to
battle too? Had she not as great and sad a
stake in the dread game of war? So, are
there some thousands of non-commissioned
individuals, privatescommon soldiers in fact
who must also listen with sad feelings to the
tune of the "Girl I left behind me." These
girlspoor decent, but thinly cladhang
on the arms, about, around, almost upon, the
scarlet items that make up the regiment
marching past. As they clear the bridge, a
mighty multitude encompasses them. The
Waterloo Road casts its heterogeneous
population out upon them. The disreputable
denizens of the New Cut rush forward with wild
whoops to "see the sodgers off." The ragged
street boys throw savage somersaults into
the air at the unwonted sight. The city,
wakening up, sends forth people of all classes.
Policemen bustle to and fro. And amidst the
loudest brazening of the band, and the tremendous
cheers of the people, the Guards march
into the railway station, gates are closed, and
the show is over.

As I turn back, and pick my way
among the dispersing crowd I see a woman
with a little basket weeping silently; and in
the distance the band, which is now on the
railway platform, sends forth, once more, the
suggestive strains of the "Girl I left behind me."

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