Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament. Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.
This excerpt covers his time onboard The Galatea.
Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.
Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1868 – Riding Tandem
We returned to Australia on our homeward voyage, but for the sake of convenience I may here deal with the two visits as one. At Sydney, I purchased a pair of horses. They were reputed to be runaways, and I bought them for £9 a pair, and I drove them tandem with ring snaffle bits. They never ran away with me – except once. When they came into my possession, I found that their mouths were sore, and I did what I could to cure them. Many a drive I had, and all went well. Then one day we all drove to a picnic. The Duke, who was very fond of coaching, drove a coach. I drove my tandem, taking with me the commander, Adeane. On the way home, the road was down a steep hill. We were beginning to descend, when one of the Duke’s mounted orderlies mixed himself up with the traces between the leader and the wheeler. The leader, taking fright, bolted, and the sudden tightening of the traces jerked the orderly head over heels into the bush. Away we went down the hill as hard as the horses could gallop. The next thing I saw was a train of carts laden with mineral waters coming up the hill and blocking the whole road. The only way to avoid disaster was to steer between a telegraph pole and the wall. It was a near thing, but we did it. I gave the reins of one horse to the commander and held on to the reins of the other.
Then I was aware, in that furious rush, of a melancholy voice, speaking close beside me. It was the voice of the commander, speaking, unknown to himself, the thoughts of his heart, reckoning the chances of mishap and how long they would take to repair. It said:
“An arm, an arm, an arm – a month. A leg, a leg, a leg – six weeks. A neck, a neck, a neck – O! my God!”
And so on, over and over, saying the same words. Thus did Jerry Adeane, the commander, think aloud according to his habit. He continued his refrain until we pulled up on the next rise.
“Thank God, that’s over,” said Jerry Adeane.
Before leaving Australia, I sold my pair of horses for more than I gave for them.
Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.
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