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proper way is for the prepositor to walk backwards with his face to the master and with his feet close together."
“ And he ought not to lift his feet from the ground,” added Smith minimus, “but he must shuffle them from toe to heel, very slow; so as to allow time for the fellow to be begged off.”
Just so," said Elmes, “ that has always been the rule. But if the old rules are to be broken by any master who takes it into his head, what is to become of the liberties of the school! We might as well live under a pure despotism. If it should be attempted with us in the fourth form, I know it will be taken up by the fifth, and by all, and there will be such a booing as never was known at Eton before !"
“And there's another shame," said little Smith minimus, speaking feelingly; "that fellow Birchell doosn't make up the rods fair. You know six sticks is the proper number ; it was always six sticks ever since the college was founded
“ You talk too much," interposed the president, regarding the precocious Smith minimus with rather a severe countenance.
“ No, I don't ; I want to say that the one Keate flogged me with had eight sticks, and they were all full of buds ! I wish some big fellow would give that Birchell a good licking and not let him be so hanged officious!"
“ All the better, my hearty,” said Lackrent ; " the thinner the rod the more it stings; don't you know that? But for all that we won't give up any of our rights. I'll stand by our rights to the last,” continued the noble lord, speaking energetically, and very fast, with his voice a little thick, and endeavouring at the same time to squeeze a few drops more of shrub from the empty bottle : “And whether it is in the form above or the form below me, "I'll stand by the rights of the whole school. We will all stick to one another. I say, Elmes, old fellow, the bishop's out, there's no shrub left, and my mouth is as dry as saw dust. Who mixes the whiskey-punch? and, I say, let us have a game at cards, a round game at any thing. What's o'clock?”
“ Half past nine,” said I, wishing to make myself agreeable, and hastening to answer the question.
“ Is it a good goer,” asked Lackrent, taking the watch froin my hands, which surrendered it with some reluctance; a silver hunter; it's as good a sort as any ; for if a watch has no outer case, the first lick with a ball or a hoopstick, or what not, smashes the glass and then it's good for nothing till you get a new one.”
“Where's your gold repeater, Lackrent?" asked Elmes. “In my bureau, done
up: I left that little ass Smith minimus to boil the
eggs for me the other day, and gave him my watch to boil them by; and, by George, the little wretch popped it into the pot with the eggs and boiled it."
“ It was not my fault,” said Smith minimus ; “I couldn't help it. Just as I was putting the eggs in, Green major came and told me to go up town for him, and in the hurry I forgot the watch; but I don't see that it did it any harm ; it looks as weli as ever it did.” “Well
, there was not much harm done, perhaps,” said Lackrent; “ but the worst of it was, when I came back the eggs were boiled as hard as bonces, and so I lost
breakfast !" “I had a watch once,” said Smith minimus, “but, somehow, as often as I wound it up, it went whiz! whiz! and the hands turned round like winky: so I changed it with Moses at the Long Wall; he said it was worth nothing; but he gave me a squirrel for it in a cage, and two white mice, with a magnifying-glass and a toasting-fork-and a jew'sharp besides ; but they're all smashed long ago !"
“I'll keep your watch to-night," said Lackrent to me, depositing it very coolly in his fob. “ I'm going out a-shooting to-morrow morning, and I shall want it to tell me the time. Jack Slug says he knows where there's a lot of birds, and I've secured one of Mortimer's guns. The one I had last kicked awfully !"
“ Take care not to shoot such a tough old fellow as the moor-hen we had to-night,” said Linden ; “I do believe it was the great-grandmother of all the moor-hens on the river!"
“Oh! I shall shoot any thing I see,” said Lackrent ; "what does it matter, so long as you have a shot ?"
“ You won't shoot any more farmers' ducks,” said Elmes ; "you were done there. What do you think,” he continued, addressing the company; “I must tell you the story. Lackrent was out shooting one morning when he came on a lot of ducks in a pond, looking as serious and contemplative as privy-councillors. There was a farming-man standing by, and said Lackrent, — What will you take to let me have a shot at those ducks ?'— A crown,' said the man. Lack had only five shillings in his pocket, but the temptation was too strong to be resisted, so he forked out, and gave it to the rustic, who pocketed it, and said nothing. Then, as he had paid for the shot, he took deliberate aim, and shot, I don't know how many of them, and there was such a screaming and fluttering of feathers as had never been seen on any piece of water since the general deluge. "How do you like that, governor,' said Lack.— It's all the same to me,' replied the man; "the ducks arn't mine; they belong to Farmer Bullfist, who lives in the house opposite!' As he said that, Farmer Bullfist appeared in person, in the highest possible state of excitement, and doubling a fist, which in bigness justified his cognomen, he would have given Lack a more vigorous thrashing than he had ever given his corn, if our friend had not made himself scarce without ceremony. So Lack was obliged to scud for it, with the old farmer with a pitchfork, bellowing behind him.”
“Well,” said Lackrent, “ I wouldn't interrupt you, but now that you have done, I say, where's the whiskey-punch ?"
The reply to this interesting question was interrupted by the sudden entrance of our dame, whose appearance was instantly followed by the secretion of the bottle of whiskey, and by a general rising on the part of the company, who greeted her with the most extravagant demonstrations of respect and affection. The lady gave an interrogatory sniff with her nose, and had no difficulty in detecting the savoury fragrance of the bishop, intermingled with the fumes of the aromatic shrub. It being against the rules of the college for the boys to drink spirit or wine in their rooms, it was incumbent on her to express her disapprobation of the excess which had evidently been committed ; and she half uttered something about being "obliged to report the offence to the proper authorities." But all the company protested in the strongest terms that they had tasted nothing but water all the evening, in proof of which they exhibited the milk-jug, which was full of that primitive liquid. The water-jug, they averred, had contained nothing but lemonade, and how it came to smell of bishop, as they candidly acknowledged it did, surpassed their comprehensions? As to the two pint bottles, they were empty, as she might
see, and although it was possible that they might formerly have contained shrub, as they were aware that shrub was occasionally put in pint bottles, they certainly contained none of the forbidden liquor now; and they accounted for the odour from the circumstance of Lord Lackrent having particularly requested that some liquorice-water might be prepared for himself specially, as he had caught cold from playing with a damp football, as Elmes alleged ; an explanation which his lordship unhesitatingly confirmed, adding that the smell of liquorice and shrub was curiously the same, as he had frequently remarked—that is to say—at home ; for as to there being any of that pleasing liquor at Eton or Windsor, it was a fact of which he was not personally cognisant, never having seen it on any occasion ; although he was free to confess that it had sometimes been made the subject of conversation in his presence, but always in a theoretical and ideal sense, and never in its substantive capacity.
With this explanation our dame was obliged to be satisfied; trusting, perhaps, that as all the vessels were empty, there was no further mischief to be apprehended on that score ; but she recommended the company, which, in her language of suavity, was equivalent with a command, to retire immediately to their respective rooms, as it was time to go to bed. To this intimation all promptly replied that such was their intention ; and they declared that they were in the very act of separating when she came in, appealing to each other for the verification of this statement, which was vouched for with the utmost readiness by every one present, excepting myself, who, as a new boy, maintained a modest silence.
The lemons now attracted our dame's attention ; and her suspicions pegan to revive that a further carousal was meditated; but this was decisively met by each boy taking his candle, and retiring with the most polite manifestations of respect towards Miss Angelo, not without some compliments as to her good looks, Lord Lackrent taking occasion to remark “how well she looked that night;" and in truth, she was a pretty woman, about forty years of age, with a juvenile-looking figure, and of a very amiable disposition. Miss Angelo, on this dispersal, after making some inquiries of me, as a new boy, hoping that I felt comfortable, and trusting that my companions would take care of me till I got used to the ways of the place, descended to her own apartment ; and as soon as it was ascertained that she was secure, our party immediately reassembled; the punch was brewed, and they made a jolly night of it. 1, being shy, partook but moderately of the mixture ; but soon my senses became confused in a strange manner; I saw a prodigious quantity of candles; and, as I was afterwards informed, insisted on haranguing the company on the merits of my long-tailed pony, on which I promised them all a ride the next morning. I finished with a song, which, as I neglected to conclude, I was charitably put to bed in a state of oblivion. The rest kept it up as long as the punch lasted, no other incident worthy of note occurring, with the exception of a very fierce dispute between Linden and Lackrent about the respective merits of their dogs, which each kept on the sly, the same being forbidden by the rules of the college. The dispute ended in a quarrel, which it was agreed should be settled by a fight the next morning after first school, in the playing-fields ; Elmes offering to be Lackrent's second, and Mortgage proffering the same service to Linden ; an arrangement which was satisfactory to all parties.
Such was my first night at Eton College.
RECOLLECTIONS OF AN OLD VOLUNTEER.
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
in arms in opposition to Old England, and every Briton was a patriot, and felt bimself a hero. It was a feeling which made him ready to contend with the gigantic powers eager to crush him ; it was a 'feeling which led him on to victory Well do I remember, as if it were yesterday, when quitting my books and quiet study, I joined the Light Horse Volunteers, and first handled a rifle. Laugh not, reader, at the idea of a horseman handling a rifle, for know that I belonged to a dismounted troop of that chivalric body—a body which, I have no doubt, had they ever been called into action, would have shown that they had not degenerated from their ancestors who fought at Cressy and Poitiers, for many
of the privates were of the most noble and high-born in the land. As it was, they did good service by setting an example of that spirit of enthusiasm and devotion to their country and their sovereign which became general throughout all ranks of society. We mustered, as far as I recollect, eleven or twelve hundred men among the six troops of mounted and three troops of dismounted volunteers who composed our body. Our uniform was superb, and when drawn out on parade we presented a mag, nificent display. Our helmets were covered by a bear-skin surmounted by a feather, and the word “FORWARD” on the front. Our jackets were scarlet, richly ornamented, and our dismounted troops were armed with rifles of the first manufacture, and swords to fasten at the muzzles to serve as bayonets. At first the swords were short, and the whole weapon was well-balanced and extremely handy, but somebody took it into his head that they were not sufficiently long to meet cavalry or to charge against bayonets, and we changed them for long spit-like weapons, which made us fear we should tumble on our noses when we came to move at double quick time over rough ground.
We had also a green dress to put over our red uniform in case we were called upon to act as riflemen. This was rolled up on our backs, together with a huge horseman's cloak, a knapsack with shoes, shirts, socks, trousers, and a variety of other articles of the toilette, and several rounds of ammunition, making altogether a weight which it was no joke to carry; but we bore it cheerfully and gladly, and if our backs ached, we felt that it was for the good of our country. Those were days, it must be remembered, of pomatum and pipe-clay, and our great general had not introduced those reforms which have made the British soldier a far more efficient, healthy, not to say cleanly being than he then was, and I hope when my sons are called out to serve their Queen and their country they will go with as light hearts as did their father, but with less weight on their backs. As omnibuses were then unknown to fame, we had large cars to carry us to the field, drawn by four or six horses, like the stage-cars in Ireland. We sat on them back to back with our rifles between our knees, and a fine appearance they cut as they dashed through the streets of London, picking up their warriors on the way. What execution we used to commit on the eggs and bacon, when on our grand field days we advanced as far as Blackheath, or Finchley Common, all the survivors of the corps will bear witness. Alas! how few of those gallant gentlemen now remain to narrate the deeds of their early days. Some afterwards were engaged in the noble scenes of active warfare, and fell on the field of victory; the swords of others have long since rusted, and have, like their owners, returned to their mother earth, while I with a few others survive, again perchance, to see enacted the scenes which now rise to my mind as if they occurred but yesterday.
None can forget those two days, the 26th and 28th of October, 1803, when his majesty George III. reviewed in Hyde Park the volunteer corps of London and its vicinity, which amounted alone to 46,000 effective men. I can scarcely attempt to enumerate them—there were artillery, cavalry, and infantry ; every parish had its corps, and many companies turned out fine bodies of men. The East India Company had three regiments of about 600 men each, and the inns of court and other law associations had theirs ; every man of spirit, worthy of the name of man, whatever his rank or station, shouldered his musket and did duty in the ranks if he had not a commission as an officer, and one feeling animated the whole, a firm determination to die rather than yield up his honour or his liberty. It is impossible to describe the magnificence of the spectacle, as our beloved sovereign, accompanied by his brilliant staff, rode along the line of gallant hearts drawn up for his defence ; nor can words speak the enthusiasm with which after we had given three volleys, the like number of shouts from full 200,000 voices rent the skies, amid the waving of hats and handkerchiefs, as the bands of the different corps
“ God save the King.” Those who live in these days scarcely know that such things were. To me the very character of my countrymen seems changed; the words loyalty, patriotism, and honour, are never uttered. I trust the sentiments they express are not extinct. No, I am sure they cannot be, and if I thought they existed not in the bosoms of my own boys I would disown them forthwith, and send them away to become French dancing-masters and tiddlers, as the only occupation for which they would be fitted. But I expect better things of them and of their generation ; I still believe that like circumstances will call forth like sentiments, and that if there was the hint of any invasion from any foe we should soon have a million of men under arms in Great Britain, and that I shall see her Majesty Queen Victoria riding along the ranks of the London volunteers, and being received with the same heartfelt enthusiasm and loyalty which greeted her revered grandsire. No sooner had Napoleon declared war and threatened England with invasion, than nearly 500,000 volunteers immediately came forward, and drilled and exercised without cessation till they were considered efficient to take the field ; and they not only supported themselves, but large funds were forthwith subscribed for the raising of regular troups, for rewarding those who should perform acts of gallantry, and for the support of the families of those who might fall in the defence of their country. Even the members of the universities used to quit their studies every day to drill under officers and non-commissioned officers appointed for the purpose, and I well remember the tutors expressing a wish that the same system should be kept up as a part of their academic studies. Had it been so we should now have had a large number of English gentlemen ready to drill their tenants, and to form corps which would be not a little formidable to an invading army. Avarice and selfishness were scouted as they deserved, and each man was most eager to give his treasure or his blood for the