Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. VI.] The Volunteer Movement.                      77
give his consent under any circumstances to be photo­graphed."
My other anecdote concerns His Grace of Norfolk,, one of the most thorough soldiers and most genial of men I have ever known. It was customary for Officers in camp at Sheffield Park to hire wooden floor-boards as-floors for their tents. As Quartermaster it was my duty to see that the Officers of the 1st Sussex Engineers were so provided by hiring wooden floors from the Army and Navy Stores. At the opening of a certain camp our floor-boards had not arrived, so I went after the A. & N. foreman to complain. He offered the usual apologies, said, of course, that it was the Railway Company that was to blame, but added " There is a set of boards lying against a tree in the 2nd Sussex Lines opposite the Duke of Norfolk's tent. If he does not want them you can have them." Forthwith I sought out and found the Duke, and asked very hmnbly if I might annex the floor-boards alluded to. He replied in a very friendly, insulting, military, sybarite, and emphatic tone, " No sir, I am not going to use them. You want them? You ought to be ashamed of such effeminacy. Look at my tent floor : grass, sir ! grass! quite good enough for me: quite good enough for you! ': Nothing daunted by this patriotic explosion, and with no scruples of conscience, I directed my men to march off with the floor-boards in triumph, and they were safely laid down in my tent. The whole consignment of floor-boards arrived from London a few hours later.
Before quitting the subject of Sheffield Park I must not omit a passing mention of Lord Sheffield's special military gatherings there. On several occasions he invited all the Volunteers of Sussex to assemble theie for Reviews, paying all their travelling and other expenses, feeding them when there, the Officers having champagne luncheons and the men humbler fare. Such gatherings took place on July 21, 1894, July 27, 1895, May 11, 1896. On the last-named occasion the late King, then Prince of Wales, was present. Another such fete took place on July 6, with fireworks in the evening.
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