London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip

a Beckett, Arthur William

1900

THE DAYS OF THE FIRST VOLUNTEERS.

 

Of course all the world knows (and by the phrase I refer chiefly to the of the Reading-Room at the British Museum) that in the early years of the Volunteers were immensely useful in dispelling the scare raised by the rumour that we

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were about to be invaded by the French. In spite of the paucity in our numbers as compared with our population of to-day, we managed to gather together a host of men. The force in London alone compared favourably with our existing Metropolitan Volunteer Corps. A short while ago I had occasion to glance through an old Army List published before the century departed had reached its teens, and was surprised to find that all the had their full complement of officers. There was no difficulty in getting men to accept commissions eighty or ninety years ago, and many a portrait of a grand-father or great-grandfather in full regimentals, honoured by members of the present generation, affords evidence that the recipients of the King's favours were not ashamed of their uniforms. Gentlemen of various professions joined the ranks and worked their way up to the silver epaulettes. They did not seem to consider that they were doing more than their duty, and it is interesting to note that although the militia sometimes came in for the hard rubs of the caricaturists, the volunteers were allowed to go Scot free. It was assumed, and I think rightly assumed, that if a man took the trouble to find time from his general legitimate work to make himself efficient for the defence of his native land he deserved well of his country. The scare died away, and with it the The corps disappeared

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from the army lists, and the old colours found a resting-place in the churches. Not very long ago I came across a number of flags in St. Luke's (the old St. Luke's), Chelsea, close to Battersea Bridge. They had been there for more than half a century, and, hearing that the 's Westminsters might possibly be able to lay claim to their reversion, I called the attention of Colonel Sir Howard Vincent to their existence. If they are still at St. Luke's, or have been removed, I know not, but I have no doubt that a diligent search would assist in the discovery of a number of other colours that have fluttered in the breezes of Hyde Park in the days of the Georges.

 
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 Title Page
 Dedication
 PREFACE
CHAPTER I: LONDON AT THE END OF THE CENTURY
CHAPTER II: STRANGERS IN LONDON
CHAPTER III: RELIGION IN LONDON
CHAPTER IV: A PEEP INTO STAGELAND
CHAPTER V: PARLIAMENT UP TO DATE
CHAPTER VI: A NIGHT IN THE HOUSE
CHAPTER VII: THE PREMIER CLUB OF ENGLAND
CHAPTER VIII: LONDONERS HOLDING HOLIDAY
CHAPTER IX: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CLUB
CHAPTER X: IN RATHER MIXED CLUBLAND
CHAPTER XI: IN AUXILIARY CLUBLAND
CHAPTER XII: A PANTOMIME AT DRURY LANE
CHAPTER XIII: LONDON EXHIBITIONS
CHAPTER XIV: COACHING THE UNIVERSITY CREW
CHAPTER XV: THE SEQUEL TO THE DERBY
CHAPTER XVI: THE LONDON GONDOLA
CHAPTER XVII: LONDON ON STRIKE
CHAPTER XVIII: LONDON FIRES
CHAPTER XIX: PALL MALL AND PRIVATE THOMAS ATKINS
CHAPTER XX: CONCERNING THE LONDON VOLUNTEERS
CHAPTER XXI: SERVING WITH THE LONDON MILITIA
CHAPTER XXII: LONDON GUNNERS AT SHOEBURYNESS
CHAPTER XXIII: BECOMING A SOCIETY LION
CHAPTER XXIV: ENTERTAINING THE WORKING MAN
CHAPTER XXV: CHOOSING A FANCY DRESS
CHAPTER XXVI: PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKING
CHAPTER XXVII: ART IN LONDON
CHAPTER XXVIII: SPENDING BANK HOLIDAY IN LONDON
CHAPTER XXIX: A BANK HOLIDAY WITHOUT 'ARRY
CHAPTER XXX: LONDON OUT OF TOWN
CHAPTER XXXI: LONDONERS AND THEIR SUMMER HOLIDAYS
CHAPTER XXXII: LONDONERS AND THE CHANNEL
CHAPTER XXXIII: LONDON UNDER DOCTOR'S ORDERS
CHAPTER XXXIV: TWO CITIES IN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS
CHAPTER XXXV: THE LONDONER'S SEARCH FOR HEALTH
CHAPTER XXXVI: THE PARISIAN PART OF THE LONDON DISTRICT
CHAPTER XXXVII: A NOVELTY IN LONDON RECREATIONS
CHAPTER XXXVIII: LONDON SCHOOLBOYS AT THE END OF THE CENTURY