THE MILITARY TOURNAMENT
1N a restless world of change and Stadiums, the con- sistent versatility of Olympia remains a solid and comforting fact. Nothing comes amiss to it. Motor- cars, Ideal Homes, Ideal Foods, Tournaments, Boxing Displays, Lord Lonsdale's Cigars—with each of these incidents in London's social life it deals faithfully year by year. Odd juxtapositions, indeed, but no odder than the paradox that, temperamentally, the world's least military nation annually provides a remarkable military display that no other nation can rival or even equal. Just before the War, at the height of Germany's military pomp and power, I remember witnessing some military exercises on a plain near Hanover. Awed, I doubt not, by the Imperial presence, no less than three Imperial troopers of a crack cavalry regiment rolled off their horses during the march past of the cavalry division. At Olympia, where much more dangerous things are done, this simply could not happen. If there is any falling to be done, it is either made a science or a game to amuse the children.
This year's Military Tournament is worthy of its predecessors. In one respect it is even more ambitious. The Royal Artillery Pageant " Ubique," with which the Tournament concludes, is a magnificent spectacle, of great historical interest to those who make a study of military uniforms. The elephant who is introduced (I was not clear why) into this episode behaved admirably when I visited him behind the scenes. I think he must have had a Woolwich training. He certainly had the deep-throated voice of a sergeant-major. The drill display by the Royal Air Force must have convinced any officers of His Majesty's Guards who were present that they have some formidable rivals in the matter of precision. The musical ride by the Life Guards was executed as beautifully as it always is. One wonders who chooses the music for horses, and why. The Life Guards trotted and cantered past to tunes so diverse as a seventeenth-century drinking song, an air from The Beggar's Opera, two Sullivan choruses and various modern dances. In a sense, this variety in- creases the brilliance of their achievement.
Every item of the programme is so admirable that it is perhaps invidious to praise one more than another, but I, cannot refrain from commenting on the mounted display by the staff of the Equitation School, Weedon, _ .
Fltieh will surely he- the most popular. item. in this .year's show, and deservedly. It is a wonderful feat of training, both of horses (for these are not seasoned old " troopers " like the Life Guards, but young " remounts ") and of men. Pulling off and putting on tunics during the course of a round of jumps taken without stirrups or reins is the best thing of its kind I have ever seen. Why do we import Cossacks into our circuses when we have men like these ready at hand ? All those concerned with the administration of this Equitation School at Weedon deserve the greatest possible credit for providing a display which will whet even London's jaded appetite. How easy it looks to ride like this, and how difficult it is ! And is not one of the highest functions of all art to make things look easy ?
A word is due to those 'responsible for the stage management of the. Tournament. Some of our theatres would benefit by the assistance of a few " fatigue " parties !
I passed out of Olympia into the inevitable rain, thinking how much more useful all these horses were than poor Ptolemy II., blockaded at Epsom by his squadron of detectives. Horses hate to be made fools of, but I believe they enjoy the Tournament as much