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congress of commandants meeting at quite clear that the column will not Hythe or elsewhere agree upon some march otherwise than at ease, Volunteers uniform which the government, by giv- having very different ideas (very few of ing a year or more of notice, might com- which are recognised in the Manual, as pel all corps ultimately to adopt, as a to the best way of carrying an "Enfield" condition of receiving government rifles? on the tramp. An Englishman's march Or there might be two patterns, say a at ease is a very steady tramp, though ; grey and a red, and each company or and there is something characteristic corps allowed to choose between them; about it, which makes his nationality the former corresponding to the rifles, recognisable a good way off as he comes and the latter to the infantry, of the in sight over the brow of a Swiss mounregular army. Already there are many tain. He generally keeps up an even alike enough for all practical purposes. pace, and always keeps step with the men If (as is reported,) the rifle-regiments of alongside-a habit for which foreigners the regular army are some day to adopt sometimes laugh at us, being in general grey, it will be a pity if the volunteers not fond of walking themselves. The do not take the opportunity of going column soon turns aside into a field into either red or grey, so as to have with a target in it, surrounded by the two standard colours for the whole mili- usual smallpox-marked walls. Before tary force of the country.
each section is a tripod, rest, and sandBut enough of dress : let us look at bag, on which each man in turn lays his the men. They are of course above the rifle for the criticism of the Instructor, average, not being of the over-worked at what he considers a correct aim,-the portion of the community. One or two intervals of time being as usual filled there are, remarkably powerful well-made up with snapping at the smallpox men, the like of whom (one believes) are marks. Then column of sections again, not often to be seen save in the land of and another half-mile's tramp to the cricket, boats, and bathing; and these “Shingles,” for “judging-distance drill." are fixed upon at once (though often The “Shingles” are
an important wrongly, as it proved,) as sure to be good feature of Hythe.
feature of Hythe. They occupy a tract shots. All
from eighteen of land two miles or more in length, to very nearly if not quite sixty. Many by perhaps half-a-mile in breadthare captains or other officers.
corner of Romney Marsh, once covered The instruction begins with Position- by the sea ; and now an arid expanse drill ; which goes on for nearly a week, of deep beach-shingle, with only a few to give strength and firmness to the left thin rank blades of grass forcing their arm and a correct shooting position. In way between the hungry stones, and the pauses there is aiming at the In- here and there, upon an accidental oasis structor's eye, or at the little black dots of firm earth, a bush of gorse or furze. on the barracks (all the walls about On one side is the sea, two or three have black dots on them as if they had martello-towers, and a fort (the last just had the smallpox); and all day long is reoccupied for the first time since the heard the click of the hammer as it falls last French war). On the other side the on the snap-cap.
Presently, all are greenest of hills, like the Isle of Wight marched up to the lecture-room or undercliff, covered with rich pastures. school-room, and sit down on a form On this shingle one or more fatiguelike good boys, while the Instructor men are posted at known distances. names the different parts of the rifle The sections are told to look at them and lock, and then proceeds to catechize attentively and observe how much is each man in his turn.
visible at each distance,-number of The lesson over, the squads are drawn buttons, features, or colour of coat; up in column of sections. The word
other men are then posted at chance "quick-march” is given, immediately fol- distances, and each volunteer in turn lowed by “March at ease;" for it is guesses the distance, and his guess is taken down by the instructor. The ago. It had run a good course though, line tramps noisily and laboriously over for a thousand years and more, and the shingles, stepping the distance, been a worthy cradle, in Saxon, Norman, which is then measured by a chain ; and and Plantagenet days gone by, for the points given to each man according to baby English navy-changing its site the correctness of his guess. At the and moving ever eastward after the reend of the drill the average of points treating sea, as yard after yard, and mile obtained in each section is taken, and after mile, of sand and shingle were cast the sections march home in order of up into the roads and port, leaving a merit, the one with the greatest number plain of arid beach and unhealth of points triumphantly heading the marsh, till it was distanced in the chase column. But it was chance-work, and and left a good mile behind. And now the section which was first on one day the crack of rifles and whirr of bullets brought up the rear on the next.
is heard where once rode at anchor This completes the morning's work. “caravels” and “shoters,” and wineThere is a muster again in the afternoon. laden Bourdeaux merchantmen. More Position-drill, more snapping, In Roman days Limne was the port. more instruction in cleaning of arms, or Enormous masses of the ruined walls, an excellent 'lecture from one of the seamed with layers of red tile, lie on officers of the staff on the theoretical the slopes of the hills some three miles principles of shooting.
from the present town of Hythe. StandWhen this is over, all further drill is ing above it, on the top of the steep voluntary, and each section drills (or slope, and looking over Romney Marsh does not drill), according to its taste. at the distant Fairlight hills, one can Some fire blank cartridge (ball is not almost fancy the sheets of long grass allowed); some learn bayonet-exercise ; swept by the gale to be the waves of and others wisely stick to position- the sea come back repentant to its old drill. A bathe in the sea fills up the haunts. time till the mess-dinner, which is pro
But before a Saxon keel grounded on vided at the Swan for all who have no Kentish beach, Limne-port was dry wives, or have not brought them to land, and West-Hythe (as it is now Hythe.
called), a mile south-east, had taken Thus, or nearly thus, passes pleasantly away its population and its trade. A enough the first week of the course. great fight was fought, it is said, on the Messing together for breakfast, lunch, beach between Hythe and Folkestone, and dinner, we are soon on friendly in Ethelwolf's reign, with the Danes terms. Esprit-de-corps springs up in retreating to their ships, and a great each section, and a desire to obtain a slaughter of them made, so that their good “figure of merit.” There is a bones lay whitening in sun and rain for decided difference between the sections many a year, till some one gathered in point of attention to drill and regu- them up, and covered them in Church larity. The “ Thefes Scottes,” after the precincts; and they lie now in huge manner of their countrymen, are sedate piles in a crypt of Hythe Church, some and patient of drill, and should by all of the skulls with a hole in them, as if known rules of morality have obtained made by a spear or by the sharp end of the highest figure of merit. It must a battle-axe. be owned, however, that, though they West-Hythe-port, in its turn, was did well, they were beaten by sections choked with sand and shingle, and was far less deserving.
left a straggling suburb to the new Sunday comes round soon, and with town. Yet there still remain there the it leisure for an afternoon's walk about ruins of a small chapel where, some the country round.
centuries later, in the Reformation-times, The sun of the good Cinque-Port of the poor Nun of Kent preached and Hythe set some five or six centuries raved.
Thus gradually did Hythe reach its of wooden one-storied houses three deep, present site, and there, under the Norman built along three sides of a rectangle, and Plantagenet kings it was a flourish- nearly half a mile in length. Thence it ing and famous Cinque Port. Close by is less than eight miles to Dover castle. are the ruins of the great castle of Salt- So that our coast is pretty well watched wood, where Becket's murderers passed thereabouts, one hopes. the night, and whence they rode in the But to return to the musketry-inmorning to Canterbury to do the deed. struction. The first week over, and arms,
In Edward the First's reign the French feet, and shoulders trained to the proper showed themselves with a great fleet position, ammunition is served out, and before the town, and one of their ships, the sections tramp off to the "shingles," having 200 soldiers on board, landed each to its own target.
Twenty rounds their men in the haven : which they are fired; and, the day following, the had no sooner done, but the townsmen excitement begins. In the first period came upon them, and slew every one all are in the third class—that is to say, of them.
they fire twenty shots, five at each Leland (writing in the reign of Henry distance of fifty yards from a hundred VIII.) says: “Hythe hath been a very and fifty to three hundred yards, at a great town in length, and contained target six feet high by four broad.
At “ four parishes that now be clean de- the first two distances very few shots “stroyed. . . In the time of King miss, and everybody feels sure of getting “ Edward II. there were burned by the fifteen points, which it is necessary “casualty eighteen score houses and to get in the twenty shots to pass into
more, and straight followed a great the second class ; but at two hundred
pestilence, and these two things and fifty and three hundred yards " minished the town. There remain misses are more frequent. When the
yet the ruins of the churches and twenty shots are over, about five-andchurchyards. The haven is a pretty twenty unlucky men are short of the rode, and lieth meatly straight for number. A doleful group they look at passage owt of Boleyn ; it croketh in first, when told off into à section by
so by the shore along, and is so bakked themselves for a second period in the " from the main sea with casting of third class ! According to their different shingle, that small ships may come up shortcomings, they are called winkers
, a large mile towards Folkestone, as in blinkers, bobbers, and pokers, (or lamea sure gut.”
ducks,) which designations must be left The “sure gut'
is gone, but our to the imagination and appreciation of grandfathers sixty years ago were still the reader, as being as unintelligible to of Leland's opinion (though they did not the uninitiated as they are patent to view it in the same light), that Hythe the experienced. The General goes lay“ meatly strayt for a passage owt of down to the beach and comforts them; Boleyn ” (Boulogne), and (not feeling and by a hint or two many are so imquite easy about the Martello towers) proved, that they afterwards pass many they set to work, and dug a military of those who had got into the second canal along what was once the sea-line. class at the first trial. The shooting in It starts from near Sandgate, and goes the second class, kneeling, at distances north-west for nearly twenty miles, and from four to six hundred yards, goes on must have been a work of enormous at the same time.
In twenty shots, labour and cost. Whether it would be twelve points are to be made to pass of any use in case of invasion the mili- into the first class ; and great is the tary authorities know best. At present excitement during the last five shots at it has a reputation only for suicides and six hundred yards, when distance begins smells. Near its south-eastern end, on to tell, and many are within a point or the breezy top of the cliffs above Sand- two of their number but cannot hit, gate, is the Camp of Shorncliffe—a row and after a miss or a ricochet, entirely agree with the Royal Irishman (the half believing, with Tacitus, that “felionly representative of his country, the citas” is part of a man's mental constitumost popular man of the whole party, tion, which is born with him. and the life and soul of the mess,) when Most gratifying it is to meet with so he calls out “ Bedad ! I wish somebody much encouragement from army-men. “was kicking me down Sackville Street Indeed, the Volunteers have been rather “just now !”
too much complimented, and (except by Scarcely less anxious, each for the the small boys in the streets) have had success of the men under him, are the too much respect paid them. It is (or Instructors. No Cambridge tutor was ought to be) rather unpleasant for a ever more eager for the success of his young Volunteer officer, who a year ago pupils, or more untiring in his zeal, did not know his facings, to be saluted, than were these good fellows about their as he walks down Oxford Street, by (sometimes unmanageable) squads. a Crimean veteran with half-a-dozen
And here let me bear my humble medals. testimony, as far as my small expe- Cheering it is too to see on the whole rience goes, to the excellence of every (there are exceptions, no doubt,) how arrangement, not merely at Hythe, but little exclusiveness there is; how general in all matters whatsoever connected the wish that no one should be prevented with the Volunteers with which the from joining by want of pecuniary War-office has had to do. It is really means : wonderful to reflect how enormous a
“Che per quanto si dice più li nostro, body of men have been armed and
Tanto possiede più di ben ciascuno, brought into something like organization in a single year by a department
E più di caritade arde in quel chi
ostro." of the government already fully occupied. Truly there has been no want of How much better is loyalty than administrative ability and patient in- jealousy for equality! What if Rifle dustry here.
Corps should be an instrument for efIt is over at last; and the skilful fecting what agitations and monster and fortunate pass into the first class, meetings seem only to have removed and shoot at distances up to nine hun- farther off? May it not possibly be a dred yards. The second class (reinforced greater privilege, a closer bond of union by a batch from the third class, most between Englishman and Englishman, of whom passed at the second trial,) to stand, to be ready if need be to fight, shoot as before in the third and final side by side in the ranks, than for a period, which determines the classifi- man to have the privilege of pushing cation.
through a noisy crowd once in every To get a good class has been the one three or four years, to vote that A rather object of life for the last fortnight, and than B, neither of whom he has never grave men are as eager about it as if spoken to in his life, should go as his they were boys. Men take their success "representative" to Westminster ? very differently. A, who is accustomed How pleasant too are the opportunities to be good at all points—a crack game which it affords of intercourse between shot, a good cricketer, and a good oar- men of different pursuits and occupafrets and chafes under his second-class tions, and with whom Dame Fortune as if he were ruined for life ; while B, has dealt unequally. Not the least satiswho with hard reading got only a second factory part of the day of a sham-fight at Cambridge, and pulled laboriously in some fourteen miles from home, by the “ sloggers" all his time, has by long no means remarkable for good manageexperience learned that it is better to ment, or for ability on the part of some content himself with mediocrity, and of the commanders, was the tramp home takes his second-class contentedly, as through the short midsummer-night to neither more nor less than he deserves, the time of fragments of songs and choruses, with an occasional note from tude, having, for instance, in its extreme the bugler by way of accompaniment need, or second childhood, taken to Never before did those dull hard black believing, or pretending to believe, in metropolitan roads seem so little dull to French Imperialism, and be likely, ere the men of the 19th Middlesex as they very long, taking a chill in the cold air trudge over them, and the clocks in the of Volunteering, to go the way of all ugly churches strike the “small hours flesh,—the way of old-fashioned Toryone after another, and road-side ginger- ism and Whiggery, like them having done beer women make fabulous gains, till its particular work,-proclaimed its parone by one the men drop off
, (hoping ticular truth, -on its death to be wrought the house-door is on the latch); and the imperishably into the curious fabric of toll-taker on Waterloo-bridge looks re- English creeds and English history? signed and even benignant as the dimi- May not this movement—by extending nished remains of the Company, without as it does in a great degree, and as it offering him a farthing, pass over and will do, it is to be hoped, far more, to get shome and to bed by the light of all classes—be a sign of hope that one the rising dawn, full of friendliness and class is no longer afraid of another, no respect for their comrades, and not ill- longer struggling to get the power in satisfied with their share of the last its own hands, and thus a period of real twelve hours work; for the ten pounds union be ushered in, wherein, in the weight of arms carried by a full private absence of any merely political Reformis no joke on a long tramp: let him Bills, there may be leisure and inclinawho doubts try. Yet they are not tion for undoubted Reform, financial, more tired or half so head-achy, or in municipal, educational, sanitary? The any respect less fit for church next staunch Church-and-State heroes who morning than if they had got home two rallied round the throne, and made hours earlier, after spending Saturday glorious the reign of Queen Elizabeth, evening in a stifling theatre.
were not unworthy sons of the leaders Is it not possible that in a generation of the Reformation. Need the sons or two even government by party may of those who carried Roman Catholic become less prominent in the list of our emancipation, the first Reform-Bill, the National Institutions - that constitu- Poor-law, and Free-trade, be ashamed ents and their representatives may come to follow in their footsteps ? 1 to be of opinion that time and labour and money spent upon registration com
1 With some of the sentiments which our mittees and conservative associations and
respected contributor has thought it right to
express in the few preceding paragraphs, I do ballot societies may be worse than wasted? not quite agree. Volunteering, besides its Five minutes' walk from Palace Yard other uses, will have, I believe, a wholesome are foul haunts of disease and
effect on our home politics. But I do not
know that the nature or the range of that tion, physical and moral, hardly sur
effect is very calculable as yet; nor do I think passed in London,-corruption so ma- it desirable at the outset that volunteering lignant that even the masters of schools should be identified with any one expectation and reformatories, with which it abounds,
or calculation on the subject — particularly hardly escape the contagion. All this
with an expectation that there will thereby be
a cessation of interest in any order of political misery chiefly for want of proper drain
questions. Rather, I think, Volunteers should age and decent dwellings matters agree to consider volunteering as a unanimous surely within the scope of legislation ! association to preserve for Great Britain, But how can Parliament attend to such
against foreign force or threat, all that is,
has been, or may be, British ; in the very matters? Is not the Reform debate
centre of which, surely, as Britain's greatest taking up half the session ? Has not this speciality among the nations, is included the loss of time been an incalculable evil? right of her inhabitants to be Whigs, Tories, What if modern Radicalism, (the more
or Radicals, as they see fit, and to wrestle out
their views on all subjects whatever by free restless discontented elements of it, at
discussion and combination. The Whiz least) be showing symptoms of decrepi- Volunteer defends the right of his comrade to