London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
CONCERNING THE LONDON VOLUNTEERS.
EASTER Sunday and Monday for the last twenty years or so have been invariably associated with the Volunteers. Not so very long ago the Review was one of the features of the military year. But of late it has become the fashion to the credit of the force, and to assume that the two hundred thousand men forming the Citizen Army of England are merely a weapon-carrying mob. I fancy that this has been the fault to a great extent of the Volunteers themselves. They have been so ready to take for granted that opinion must be right that they have ignored their own common-sense. I have often been amused at seeing a Colonel of Volunteers of twenty years' service-a man who has passed the school at the Wellington Barracks and has earned the for tactics-absolutely hanging on the words of some subaltern of scarcely six
|months' standing. And when I say amused, I might almost add ashamed. The Colonel of Volunteers is impressed with the But of late the to which I have referred, if not on the decrease, is being mitigated by what may be termed Some little while ago officers of twenty years' service received a decoration, then it was extended to sergeants, now it is to be given to corporals, lance-corporals, and the rank and file. The snubbing is the brimstone and the decoration is the treacle. But, unfortunately, the brimstone dealt out to our Volunteers is scarcely likely to be more useful to our riflemen than the same nauseous medicine was to the scholars of Dotheboys Hall. However, as Volunteers and their work are at the moment well to the fore, thanks to the absence of the regulars on active service, it may not be out of place to devote a few pages to the consideration of the merits of these martial Londoners as we find them at the end of the century.|