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THE EIGHTEENTH OF JUKE, 1881—THE SCOTS GREYS AND THE 92d GORDON HIGHLANDERS.
The 18th of June, 1881, was a red letter day in the annals of the Scottish Regiments, representing, as it did, not only the 66th anniversary of the tattle of Waterloo, but also the hi-centenary year of service of the "Royal Scots Greys." Raised by a commission granted by King Charles n., in 1681, to Sir Robert Dalzell, the "Greys " have always represented, par excellence, the Cavalry of Scotland, just as the "Highlanders" have been universally accepted as the beau ideal of its Infantry. Who were the Highlanders t The wives of the men who rode the white horses! Such was the belief of at least one foreign commander, if tradition speaks true.
During the hottest of the fight at Waterloo the Royal Scots Greys and the 92d Gordon Highlanders gathered their laurels side by side. Tt was in the attack upon Drouet's column that the gallant Picton, the "mo^t distinguished general of the ftghtinr) division," having received a musket shot in the forehead, fell at the head of the 42d and 92d Highlanders. It was then too that Wellington, seizing the opportunity for repelling the French attack, launched upon Drouet Ponsonby's heavy cavalry brigade—the Royals, Greys, and Enniskillens—under Lord Uxbridge. They came down like a whirlwind, the earth trembling under the shock of their attack, and, notwithstanding the death of the brave Sir William Ponsonby, who was "pierced to the heart with a lance," carried everything before them. The French infantry was paralysed—the eannoniers fell, sabred beside their guns, twenty-two of which were immediately overturned—and the eagles of the 45th and 105th French Regiments of the line fell into the hands of the victors, the former being captured by Sergeant Ewart of the Royal Scots Greys. It must have been a grand spectacle. Napoleon, whilst biting his lips with vexation at the repulse of his column, could not control the feeling of admiration which arose in a soldier's breast—" Regardez ces chevaux gris!" he exclaimed, "quelles braves troupes! commo ils se travaillent!" It is deeds such as these that awaken a spirit of noble emulation in martial bosoms. No wonder the Royal Scots Greys and the 92d Gordon Highlanders havo been sister regiments since the field of Waterloo.
On the 18th of June last a goodly gathering assembled at the Albion Tavern, Aldersgate Street, in the City of London, to commemorate the greatest victory the Iron Duke ever achieved, with, perhaps, the solitary exception of the battle of Assaye. Tho dinner was given by the Scots Greys, not only on the 6Gth anniversary of the great fight, but to record that they were about to enter into their third century of military service. What then more natural than that they should invite their old comrades of the 92(1 to hold high festival with them on such an auspicious occasion. A slight damper was thrown upon the proceedings by the fact that, owing to the existing state of affairs in Ireland, only a small number of the officers of the Greys were able to obtain leave of absence. Among the past and present officers of the two regiments who attended, the following distinguished names may, however, be mentioned :—General Darby Griffith, C.B., in the chair, owing to the absence, through sudden illness, of General Sir John Goviirh, G.C.B., Colonel of the Greys; H.S.H. The Duke of Teck; Field-Marshal Lord Strathnairn; Lieut.-General Calvert Clarke, C.B. ; Major-General Hawley, C.B., Assist.-Adjt.-General; the Earl of Dunmore; Lord Rathdonnell; the Hon. George Waldegrave Leslie; and Sir George Warrender, Bart.; Colonel< Garrick Buchanan, C. B., Nugent, Hozier, Gardyne, Macbean, Tatnall, Hibhert, and Prendergast; Majors von Victinghoff (milit iry attache to the Imperial German Embassy), "Wallace, Miller, Bethune, Macewen, &c. Several valuable and curious objects connected with the history of the Greys were shewn on the occasion. In the banquettingroom hung Miss Thomson's (Mrs Butler) picture of "Scotland for Ever," and the "Fight for the Standard," representing the prowess of Sergeant Ewart, as before mentioned, which had been kindly lent for the occasion by Mrs Baird of Cambusdoon. Besides a quantity of old regimental plate, there might be observed the original commission granted by Charles II. to Sir Robert Dalzell in 1681 ; an old post-box, decorated with the "Waterloo medal, which accompanied the regiment during the campaign of 1815; a journal kept by Lieut. Hamilton of Dalzell, giving an account of the battle of Waterloo, and a photograph of the monument (erected in the church of Sholto, Lanarkshire) to the memory of Lieut. James Inglis Hamilton, who fell there in the famous charge, at the head of the regiment; and, finally, a "cuach" presented by the officers of the 92d to the officers of the Greys on the 50th anniversary of the battle, 1805.
It would be futile here to recount the Menu; those who know the capabilities of the Albion will readily believe that it upheld its wellearned reputation. Neither would it avail much to dwell upon the toasts in general. Suffice it to say, that they conveyed those loyal and patriotic sentiments, dear to the heart of all who esteem it an honour to wear Her Majesty's uniform—that they were ably responded to—and that the accompanying airs were most suitably chosen, and were rendered by the band with becoming spirit. But it is impossible to pass by, without comment, the toasts of the evening—the two sister regiments—" The Royal Scots Greys" and the " 92d Gordon Highlanders." In honour of the occasion, two original songs (never before printed) had been composed by Archibald Maclaren, Esq., and were sung amidst the most boundless enthusiasm. Mr Maclaren gives no further clue to his identity than his name ; but, unless the writer is grievously mistaken, ho hails, or at least used to do so, not a hundred miles from Oxford. Be that as it may, Mr Maclaren courts no feeble muse; his verses possess dash and "go "—the verve which is to the song what elan is to the soldier. As these martial ditties, which remind one strongly of the " Soldateu Leider '' of Germany, were only printed for circulation at the dinner, and are consequently beyond the reach of the majority of the readers of the Celtic Magazine, I am induced to reproduce them; and if they give to others half the enjoyment they have given to me, I am sure they will readily declare that among the Soldier Songs of Scotland they should deservedly stand in the first rank.
The first song is in honour of the Greys, and is entitled the "Battle of Fontenoy," which was fought on the 11th May 174"). aud which Higlilanders will remember as affording the "Black Watch," as well as the Greys, an opportunity of displaying the most distinguished heroism. The following extract from Stewart's "Sketches " will sufficiently explain the subject of the song:—" Sir William Erskine entered the Scots Greys in 1743. He was a cornet at the Battle of Fontenoy, and carried a standard; his father, Colonel Erskine, commanding the regiment. On the morning of the battle, Colonel Eiskine tied the standard to his son's leg, and told him, 'Go, and take good care of your charge; let me not see you separate; if you return alive from the field, you must produce the standard.' After the battle, the young comet rode up to his father, and showed him the standard as tight and fast as in the morning." The second song refers to the recruiting of the 92d Gordon Highlanders, when the bonnie Duchess of Gordon rode to fairs and weddings, clad in scarlet doublet, a bonnet and feathers, and a skirt of her clan tartan, and gave a hearty smack to every lad who 'listed for the regiment; a kiss from her ruddy red mouth proving far more attractive to the Highland bumpkin, than the prosaic shilling of King George. But without more ado, here are the songs that you may judge for yourselves :—
THE BATTLE OF FONTENOY.
Our trumpets sang the morning call,
His ready saddled steed.
Our leader gaily cried,
"My Greys, my Greys, my gallant Greys!"
Oh, cheerily he cried,
Our standard gave he to his son,
The youngest rider there,
Than did his clustering hair;
His crimson sash unwound,
The banner staff he bound.
"My Greys, your dearest pledge and mine,
United thus you see,
This banner's place must l>e;
Thus fast together bound,
Upon the battle ground."
As billow breaks upon the strand,
When storm is on the main,
We burst upon the plain.
Where blades the reddest grew,
Like sea-bird over billow's crest
At evening call it fluttered free,
Though battle-Btained and torn,
It pridefully was borne.
His crimson sash unwound,
And "Oh, my Greys, my gallant Greys!"
With quivering lip, he cried,
THE GORDON HIGHLANDERS.
Air—"woo'd And Married And A'."
The French upon Holland are marching,
Marching wi' sword and wi' flame; "Now, wha," cries King Geordie, "will aid me,
In driving thae saucy loons hame 1"
Bonnet and feather sae braw,
A banner o' silk she has broidered,
Wi' her ain fair lily-white hands, And wi' its folds waving aboon her,
She rides through the Gordon's broad lands; And bunches of ribbons she carries,
Of colours the Gordons aye wore; While stepping in time to the pibroch,
The pipers gae sounding before.
Wearing the tartan plaid, &c
A lad frae the hills cries, "I'm ready
To gang whaur your Grace may command,"
A shilling she slips in his hand;
She presses her rosy wee mou'
Oh! fast come the Hielandmen now.
Wearing the tartan plaid, &c.
They come from the braes of Lochaber,
From Badenoch's passes they come; The deer in the forest of Athol
Unscared and unhunted may roam; They come from the craigs of Kinrara,
They come from the links of the Spey, They come from the banks of the Garry,
The Tummel, the Tilt, and the Tay.
Wearing the tartan plaid, &c.
Then up spoke the Duchess of Gordon—
And the din of the gath'ring was still,
When gloaming lies hushed on the hill—
The leaves were a' green on the tree,
A thousand brave clansmen I see."
Wearing the tartan plaid, &c
"Now take you the banner, Lord Huntly,
Of me no mother shall say,
While her's I am wiling away;
And fronting the foemen ye be,
And think of Auld Scotland and me."
Then, hey I for the tartan plaid, &c.
An' gin the fair Duchess could see us,
Assembled together te-night,
Wi' auld recollections sae bright,
And she'd say in her accents sae smoo',
Then, hey! for the Gordon plaid,
The bonnet and feather sae braw,
WheD songs such as these pall—when they fall stale and flat—when they lose the smack and flavour of the bivouac, the clang of the charge, the smell of smoke and brimstone, the ping of the bullet, the clash of the sabre, and the roai of the cannon—then—and not till then—will Scotland have sent forth her last son to the field of battle.
A HIGHLAND OFFICER.
GAELIC SOCIETY OF INVERNESS—TENTH ANNUAL ASSEMBLY.
This popular meeting was held this year as usual, on the Thursday of the Inverness Wool Market—14th of July. Donald Cameron, Esq. of Lochiel, M.P., occupied the chair, and was accompanied to the platform by Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, LordLieutenant of the County of Ross ; the Rev. Alexander Macgrcgor, M.A., Inverness; the Rev. Lachlan Maclachlan, Tain; Mrs Mary Mackollar, bard to the Society; Captain MacRa Chisholm, Glassbum; Captain Scobie; Alastair Macdonald Maclellan of Portree Estate, Ceylon; William Matheson, Chief of the Celtic Society of Hebburn-on-Tyne; James Fraser, Mauld; Colin Chisholm, Inverness; Dean of Guild Mackenzie, editor of the Celtic Magazine; Councillor Charles Mackay; Charles Innes, solicitor; and William Mackenzie, Secretary of the Society.
Apologies were received from C. Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P.; Professor Blackie; George G. Campbell; John Mackay, Hereford; Mackintosh of Mackintosh; Duncan Forbes of Culloden; Major Grant, Drumbuie; Dr Charles Mackay; Lachlan Macdonald of Skaebost ; Angus Mackintosh of Hnline; D. Davidson of Drummond Park; N. B. Mackenzie, Fort-William; D. Mackenzie, Newport, Mon.; Rev. A. C. Sutherland, B.D., Strathbraan (by telegram) ; and John Mackenzie, Auchenstewart.
Mr C. Fraser-Mackintosh wrote as follows:—