16 AUGUST 1935, Page 28


By Lt..-Col. A. H. Burne, D.S.O.

This is not only a much more amusing book (Portsmouth Barren, 2s. Gd.) than most of its kind, but far more interesting to the outsider, sheep, thanks to a, goad deal of research, it is to a certain' degree a sociological study. Manners and ways of living change, even fre the army ; how is made clear, say, by the wine-bills or the victory of- the smokers. The Royal Artillery Mess, moreover, is an institution, sharing the life of institutions, and, as' Colonel Burne regretfully admits, the heyday of this one is over,. But reigning monarchs are still entertained ; the chandelier , from Carlton House still illumines the proceedings, helped by the candelabra presented by William IV; the Abyssinian Cross yet stands upon the mantelpiece; leaving been banished from the dinner table by an indignant chaplain. The library has been absorbed, but some -precious relics ',remain; Such • as 'a first' edition Eihon Basilike, and the 1016 The Gunners' Glasse ; the 'cello in the band—the first orchestra, by the way, to give symphony concerts in London on a Sunday—is still the one the Prince Regent used to while away the hours with. Colonel Burne has worked patiently through a deal of ,material to get at the relevant facts, the facts which will interest the historian of society, curious of the way men shift to live tdgether ; and though there are many amusing anecdotes and stories, some based on documents, these never obtrude. It is a pity that the photographs are not better reproduced.