London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip
a Beckett, Arthur William
AMATEURS AND PROFESSIONALS.
But to leave generalities to come to particulars. On two distinct occasions the Rifles have shown themselves to be excellent troops. A few years ago
|the Canadian Volunteers gave a good account of the Fenians, and a little later the Post Office Volunteers sent an admirably disciplined force to Egypt. And more recently our Colonial Volunteers have worked wonders in our Cape possessions.|
The German system has shown us how a man who has had a of military training as a lad can be recalled to the colours in middle age and become a first-class warrior. The moment hostilities broke out between Prussia and France, hundreds of quiet sober young clerks threw up their situations in London and hurried away to the Fatherland. They proved themselves thoroughly capable as cavalry, infantry, and artillery, and I venture to think that if the volunteers were called to the colours in defence of their native land they would be equally reliable. Under these circumstances it seems a folly, a shame, a crime, to our citizen soldiers. Nothing kills so surely as ridicule. The comic papers are more merciful than the officials of the War Office. If there is a field day regulars are given the principal commands, and the Volunteers' are left in the cold. This is one of the many grievances that should meet with redress. In spite of C.B.'s (Civil) and long service medals the citizens are distinctly snubbed. Of course an invasion would set everything to rights, but that is a blessing that we would not desire. Until the days of disaster arrive, then, the
|Volunteers must be accepted on trust. They are certainly a very fine body of men. And here before I conclude these brief remarks I may refer to the proposed Ladies' Ambulance Corps. The members of this novel gathering are not only to act as nurses in the hospital but soldiers in the field. They are emphatically to hold their own. I cannot help thinking that the idea is a mistake. When I was in France and Germany during the war I saw a good deal of the Of course, amongst them were some conscientious, self-sacrificing persons. But there were exceptions (possibly proving the rule) in the shape of a few fussy and tiresome females. These ladies were anything rather than popular with the doctors, and, I must add, anything rather than popular with the patients. It appears to me that Amazons may be all very well at a music-hall, but will be decidedly out of place at the seat of war.|
In conclusion, may the London Volunteers increase and prosper. Let not the citizen soldier be ridden rough-shod by the regular. After all, they are both Englishmen, and the amateur is frequently the equal of the professional. This is true enough with cricket; then why not with soldiering?