Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Ye Brytysh Granadiers a Moyntynge Gvard at St. Iames Hys Place Yarde.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 22

Ye Brytysh Granadiers a Movntynge gvard at St. Iames hys Palace Yarde.


Ye Brytysh Granadiers a Moyntynge Gvard at St. Iames Hys Place Yarde.

[Wedneſday, Auguſt 1, 1849.]

UP mighty betimes, and after a tour Miles' Walk, loſing Weight like a Jockey, to the Palace Yard of St. James's Palace, to ſee the Soldiers mount Guard to guard the Queen, which they do every Morning whether ſhe is there or no, and is a pretty pompous Ceremony. Found myſelf among as dirty ſhabby a Set of Fellows hanging about as I think I ever law, with whom two or three with the Look of Gentlemen, and a pretty Sprinkling of Milliner Girls and Nurſe-Maids, but they presently away from the Ragamuffins to the Eaſt Side of the Yard, and ſo did I. Strange how all Women almoſt do run after Soldiers; which Mr. Pumpkyns do ſay is becauſe Weakneſs do, by Inſtinct, ſeek the Protection of Courage; but I think is owing to Nothing at all but the Bravery of a Red Coat. In a few Minutes more Riff-Raff pouring in; then a Noiſe without of drumming: and then juſt at ¼ to 11, a Party of the Grenadier Guards marching in under the Clock-Tower, the Drums and Fifes in Front of them, and, at the Head of all, the Drum Major, twirling his Staff, ſtrutted like a Pouter-Pigeon, as ſtately, almoſt, as ever I saw J. Bland. The Men at the Word of Command ground Arms with a Clang, and ſtood at Eaſe in Lines, and together with the Spectators made a Square, with the Drums and Fifes at one End, and the Band at the other by the Clock Tower, and a Poſt in the Middle, and around the Poſt, with the Colours, the Officers in full Figg, mighty trim; and Mr. Wagstaffe do tell me that the Guards have brave clothing Colonels. The Band did play while the Men that ſhould relieve Guard were marching off; and I do muſe why Soldiers are provided with ſo much Muſique, and conclude it is to hinder them from thinking, and alſo in Battle to inflame their Minds without making them drunk, which Nothing that I know can do equal to Muſique except Love. At five Minutes to the Hour comes the relieved Guard, and draws up ready to be marched away, and to ſee them backing for Room on the Crowd's Toes! Droll, alſo, to watch the Marſhalman, in his grand Uniform and with his Staff of Office, going about to make Space and keep Order among the ragged Boys; and I remember how, in my Youth, I thought he was a General Officer. More Muſique, in the Meanwhile, by the Band; the Band-Maſter, a rare plump Fellow, in goodly Condition, conducting, with a Clarionet for his Batoon. Suddenly the Muſique cut ſhort by the Drums and Fifes, the Word given, and the Men did fall in, and away to Barracks, a Grand March playing, and all the Tag-Rag at their Heels. But to ſee the Lieutenant, the Officer of the Day, ſet up the Colours on the Port, and touch his Cap and kiſs his Sword to them, ſaluting them, which do ſeem a ſenſeleſs Pantomime, and look more like a Chineſe with his Joſs, than a Chriſtian. Beſides, the Flag, a moſt old and ſorry one, blown into Tatters, which, in our long Peace, muſt have been done by the Breeze and not the Battle; but ſo left, with a Grenadier to guard it, flicking in the Poſt. Then the Officer did diſmiſs the Off Guard, and away to his Quarters for the Day; but am told he may go to and fro the Guards' Club Houſe, which being moved from the Top of St. James's Street to nigh Marlborough Houſe, he is ſpared now the Fatigue of marching up Hill. Methinks that mounting Guard at the Palace is a Service of little Danger or Hardſhip; and yet it do appear to be a good Training for fighting Men; and, good Lack! to think what Fire-eaters in Battle are the young Dandy Officers of the Guards, and how their Men will follow them through thick and thin, and what Work those Fellows can do when called on, that play Soldiers about St. James's!