Friday, March 04, 2011

10Jul1881, 50,000 Volunteers

SUNNINGHILL, July 10th, 1881.
—There came off a grand review of volunteers in Windsor Park, over 50,000. No end of croakings heralded it, for up to last Wednesday the weather has been tremendously hot for 10 days or more. Tuesday night, however, brought a prolonged thunderstorm, and Saturday was a perfect day of bright sunshine and fresh breeze, with clouds and a little showering in the afternoon. All went off without a hitch: railway arrangements faultless, military ones ditto. Only 130 or thereabouts had to go to the ambulance at all, and only 1 man has been ill enough (from sunstroke) to be sent into hospital. The Queen immensely delighted, and the Crown Prince of Germany, and other foreigners who were present, struck all of a heap. So many men have never been reviewed in England before. I now gnash my teeth at our never having thought of going to see it, but the authorities did nothing but discourage people. To make it more provoking, we were in the close neighbourhood, having accepted an invitation to "Peck" Hamilton's, close to Sunninghill. F., of course, ran the one train so fine that we missed it, and had to go by one of the innumerable specials to Staines. There we found we were 9 miles from Sunninghill, and not a fly to be had. Left servants and luggage to twirl their thumbs till 8 p.m. and set out walking. Luckily a charming shady road and cool evening. Asked in vain for a trap at many a public, but after walking about 2 1/2 miles, found a crampy little dog-cart beyond Egham, and got to "Peck's" triumphantly about 7.50. Enchanting, delicious place, and most heavenly weather.

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