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denly, I saw a succession of trains drawing up opposite the path which led to the scene of the disaster, and, for a time, stopping the regular traffic. Never was I more strongly impressed with the value
First came a field officer, mounted, at full trot. Then came a strong body of soldiers at the "double," fixing their bayonets as they ran. As they reached the spot they cleared it, forming a line of sentries so that no one could interfere. Then followed more officers and ambulances, and soldiers without number. The latter arranged themselves in the most methodical manner, each man, as he passed a sentry, taking off his coat, folding it, and piling it under guard.
Then the real business began. Some of the soldiers were told off to fill sand-bags, others to cut slabs of the stiff, black, tenacious clay, others to hand them along the lines, others to lay them, and others to ram them down.
The fact was, that the commanding officer at Woolwich had seen the disaster, and had sent every available man in the garrison, in order to avoid a national calamity. There was not a man too much, nor a minute to spare, as it was a fight of man versus tide. Man won at last, but only by a little.
Hour after hour the soldiers worked without cessation, relays continually coming and going, neither officers nor men sparing them. selves, but, with all their trouble, only just succeeding in keeping ahead of the tide and strengthening any weak spot through which the enormous weight of water might have forced its way. therefore necessary to keep watch for several tides, until at last the new bank was pronounced to be safe. I saw the first sod laid by the navvies, and the last sand-bag laid by the soldiers, and never shall forget the volleys of cheering with which they greeted the end of their task.
As far as the soldiers were concerned, it was at first anything but a pleasant business, there being not a man among them who had not spoiled his uniform, the cost of replacing which would, in ordinary cases, fall upon himself. As, however, the work done was excep tional In character, and of such inestimable value, new uniforms were issued gratuitously, and each man received an addition to his pay.
Owing to the power of the explosion, the entire bank on either side of the gap was forced out of its position, so that the new bank, which is, in fact, a sand- bag battery, is quite different in shape to its predecessor. When I last visited the spot, the only vestiges of the two magazines were a few charred and blackened piles, the remnants of the former jetty, and a large pond, in which were swimming a few dabchicks. The birds seemed to be quite aware that guns might not be used, and swam about composedly, entirely regardless of passengers.
The state of the trains was almost indescribable. Vast crowds of
travellers thronged to the spot, but comparatively few who started for Belvedere or Erith reached their destination. Thousands were left crowded together on the platforms. The trains were com pletely invaded, each carriage containing as many persons as could pack themselves into it, and many even trying to seat themselves on the buffers. Some of the London passengers saw that if they once got out they would never get in again, and so went on to Maidstone and returned without ever leaving their seats.
Those who did succeed in reaching the spot were direfully disap pointed. There was nothing to be seen but a piece of plank-flooring making the site of one dwelling house, and a few fragments of walls showing where the other had been. As for the magazines, not a vestige of them was to be seen, except a great crater where they had stood. About the adjacent ploughed fields a few pieces of brick and splinters of wood might be found, but the chief relics were papers, mostly fragments of account books, which were seen floating in the air at great heights, and were gradually deposited at distances of many miles from the scene of the explosion.
The amount of skilled labour and the mass of material which were required in order to fill up only fifty yards of an existing embank ment, caused the spectator to appreciate the magnitude of the enter prise which called the bank into being, and imprisoned the river on both sides for so many miles. Even with all the advantages of modern science, aided by military discipline, it was a very hard task to erect this small portion of wall upon a dry and firm foundation How much harder must it have been to form this wall throngh a clay marsh, submerged at every tide, and with nothing but manual labour to depend upon; and how deep a debt of gratitude do we not owe to our Nameless Benefactors who planned and built it!
J G. WOOD, in Good Words.
HORACE, ODES, I, 15
WHEN the false shepherd in Ida built pinnace
"Home as thou leadest her, fatal the omen!
Her whom the warriors of Greece shall reseek,
"Sweat on the horses, the men, ah, the clangour! Thou dost the race of the Dardans o'erwhelm ; Pallas makes ready her ægis and helm,
Her car and her anger.
Vainly thou boastest that Venus upholds thee,
"Spears and the darts which the Gnossians fling! yet Din of the battle, and Ajax the swift,
Follow; and soon in the war-dust will drift
"Follows the son of Laertes, and see now !
"Need that the steeds should be driven so featly,
With Tydeus' great son, who in battle's award
"Thou, as the stag that sees wolf in the valleys,
"This, with thy vow to thy leman: the ire
Troy and her matrons, enwrapped in her doom,
The Gentleman's Magazine
A DOUBLE MEMORIAL OF NEWSTEAD ABBEY.
NEWSTEAD Abbey has long been one of the great historical mansions of England. Its origin takes us back to the twelfth century, to the days of Henry II., and to the efforts made by him, through the building of religious houses and such-like acts, to expiate the murder of Thomas à Becket. When the monasteries were broken up in the reign of Henry VIII., Newstead was given to the Byrons of Rochdale, and it remained in their possession for the greater part of three centuries. The history of the Byrons is well known, but we must briefly rehearse it. The family receiving a peerage in 1643, kept up no little style at Newstead during the time of the first five barons. The fifth baron received the unenviable title of "the wicked Lord." At a meeting of the Nottinghamshire Club, at the "Star and Garter" in Pall Mall, he had quarrelled with his neighbour, Mr. Chaworth, of Annesley Hall, and swords having been drawn on the spot, Mr. Chaworth was slain. Lord Byron was sent to the Tower, and tried by the House of Lords for wilful murder; but eventually a verdict was given for manslaughter, which, in the case of a peer, was equivalent to acquittal. After this he retired to the Abbey; was gloomy and irritable; did a number of strange things, which the popular imagination exaggerated into horrors; set up in his grounds statues of satyrs, which were called his gods, or his devils, as the case might be, and earned the sobriquet which stuck to his name. A brother of this lord, Admiral Byron, attracted public interest through his shipwreck and sufferings. The father of the poet, son of the Admiral, having carried off to the Continent the wife of a nobleman, married her on her being divorced by her husband, and of their short union came an only child, Augusta. Being deep in debt, and anxious to clear it off, he married, as his second wife, Miss Catherine Gordon, heiress of Gight, in Aberdeenshire. The property of this lady he squandered, and so ill were they assorted that she soon left him, retiring to a poor lodging in Aberdeen, where, on an income of less than £150, she brought up her only child, the famous poet. "Geordie" Byron, as he was familiarly called, went to the school of "Bodsy Bowers," in a dingy lane called Long Acre, and then attended the Grammar or High School of Aberdeen, mingling freely with the boys of the town, the father of the present writer having been one of his class-fellows. On the death of his grand-uncle, in 1798, he succeeded, in his eleventh year, to the title and to the Newstead property. Some twenty years after, he sold the property to his friend. Colonel Wildman, who is
said to have expended £200,000 on the restoration and repair of the Abbey. In 1861, on the death of Colonel Wildman, the property was acquired by the present owner, Mr. W. F. Webb, who has been not less liberal in completing the work which his predecessor began; so that Newstead Abbey is now one of the handsomest, as it always has been one of the most interesting, mansions in England.
In his youth, Mr. Webb was one of the greatest hunters of his day, and in South Africa had met Dr. Livingstone, from whom he received much kindness, and for whom, like all who were at any time in contact with him, he had a great affection. On occasion of Livingstone's second visit to England, Newstead Abbey was his headquarters, and here he wrote his second book, "The Zambesi and its Tributaries." He resided at Newstead from September, 1864, to April, 1865, endearing himself to all, high and low, in and around the house, and leaving behind him a memory fragrant with his beautiful qualities—his childlike simplicity and openness, his joyous and radiant temper, his trust in God and love to man, and his unquenchable desire to spread the blessings of freedom and salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth.
Newstead Abbey is thus especially associated with two great names -Byron and Livingstone. Inside and outside there are memorials of both. Inside there is the Byron room and the Livingstone room. Outside there is Lord Byron's oak and Dr. Livingstone's Wellingtonia. The rooms, as far as possible, are precisely as they were left by their respective occupants. In the Byron room are, the pictures which adorned his room at Cambridge; also a picture of Jackson the pugilist, his lordship's "corporeal pastor and master," and of Joe Murray, his butler. The furniture is mostly as he left it-all simple and without pretence. The Livingstone room is situated in the Sussex Tower; it contains the bed on which he slept, the table at which he wrote, with the inkstand and other writing materials which he used. There is a cedar cabinet in the room, with carved figures, representing the scenes of the Prodigal Son. The window commands a view of the Gigantea Wellingtonia which he planted in 1864, and which, despite the somewhat rough embrace of the west wind, promises to be ere long a noble tree. In the same neighbourhood is an oak planted by Lord Byron when he first came to Newstead in 1798. In the corridors of the house there are also Byron relics and Livingstone relics. There is the table on which Byron wrote part of Childe Harold; sundry swords and sticks; the last cap he wore in Greece, brought home by Fletcher, his trusty valet; a copy of his earliest poems, and sundry autographs and MSS. The Livingstone relics also include the last
*Many other celebrities, indeed, have resided in it, for there are Charles II.'s room, Edward III.'s room, the Duke of Sussex's room, and Henry VII.'s lodging, these apartments being named from their distinguished quondam occupants. But it is with celebrities of a more recent day-Byron and Livingstone-that we are now
The monk's skull, used as a wine cup in Byron's days, has been put out of sight by the present proprietor, who has no wish to perpetuate so offensive a tradition.