Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

YHE Elliots of Minto are known far beyond be mentioned that the Earl treasures in Minto

the Borderland to which they belong. In House a painting of the animal he rode in the

the realm of literature or arts, poetry Grand National Steeplechase at Paris in 1874. or song, statesmanship or military affairs, we The picture was painted by Baron Finot and frequently find a representative of the House of presented to his lordship. Minto to the fore. The family is descended From this point, Lord Minto has hadan interestfrom Gilbert Elliot whose great grandson, Sir ing military career. It was in 1874 that he was Gilbert, was created Baron Minto of Minto in asked to go out, as correspondent for the Morning 1797. Gilbert John Elliot, the gentleman who Post, with the Carlist army in Navarre and so worthily bears the title at the present time, is Biscay in the north of Spain. Although there the fourth Earl of Minto. He was born in was no fighting, the expedition was a most London on the 9th July, 1845. Educated at interesting one. It somewhat resembled the '45 Eton and Cambridge, he took his degree at the rebellion in our own country. All the villages latter place. During these early years he showed rose up in arms, and there was tremendous considerable powers as an athlete, and in Minto enthusiasm. In 1876 he had a nasty fall while House there are to be seen several trophies riding, and this laid him up for a time ; but in of his skill in rowing, sculling and running. In the spring of 1877, chiefly through Colonel military affairs, the Earl has had great experi- Hume, who was at the head of the Intelligence ence and frequently has he seen active service. Department, he went out to Turkey. There he Having finished his education, he, then Lord was attached by the ambassador to the Turkish Melgund, joined the Scots Guards in 1867, army, and became assistant attache under Colonel leaving that body after three years' service. In Lennox. Of the details of the Russo-Turkish the following year, 1871, he was for a short campaign it is unnecessary to write. They are while in Paris, with his two brothers, during the well enough known to the student of history; Commune. He describes the terrible fires, the but so far as the subject of our sketch is conburning of the Rue de Rivoli, and other places, cerned it may be mentioned that he played a as an awful sight. With a great deal of diffi- conspicuous part in the operations. He was culty he got out of the city, passed through the present at Nikopolis when the Russians bomGerman lines and got clear. At this time he barded the place, and also at the crossing of the was riding a good deal and was an accomplished Danube. When his lordship got down, steeplechase rider ; and in this connection it may the Turks were retreating, and he joined

them at Bjela on the river Jantra. At this time he was attacked with fever and went to the Black Sea to recruit. When he returned he heard that the Russians were advancing on the Balkans. He crossed the day after the Russians, and joined the Turkish forces again on the south side with Reouf Pasha. His Lordship telegraphed to England that the Russians had crossed, and this was the first announcement received of that incident. All the fighting took place on the Schipka ; but as Lord Melgund was completely knocked up he was obliged to return home. A rather curious incident which happened at Rustchuk on the Danube is worthy of note. After the Russians had crossed the

house, they proceeded thither. Here his lordship discovered a Turkish officer who assisted him over the wall into the back of the house, and he got in by a back window. A first search produced none of the letters, but after a great deal more rummaging about he came across a wooden meat safe. Into this, as a sort of forlorn hope, he looked and drew forth from behind a heap of dirty dishes the letters that the Colonel was so anxious to obtain ! The odd part of the affair, as the Earl remarks, was that a long official letter was torn open as if with a knife, and written along it in pencil by the Consul a statement that it had been torn open by a Russian shell.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Danube, the people of that place were in In 1878 his lordship went out to India with great excitement. For several mails Colonel letters to several people there. He went straight Lennox had received no official letters, and to the front in Afghanistan, joined Lord could not make out where they had gone. Roberts, and was with him all the time in the The Colonel requested the Earl and another Kurram valley, but there was no real fighting. officer to try to recover the documents in It is of interest to note that he then marched the town, and accordingly they rode in. They with the 92nd, and this was the last time he did found the place had been much knocked about. so until the other week when they were in the The Town Hall had been used as an hospital, Border district competing for the Minto Cup. and sixteen shell holes were counted on that The sergeant of the company on that occasion building. They went to the Consul's house, was one Macdonald, now Colonel Macdonald, and discovered that like all the others the who has been commanding the advance brigade Consul had fled, and the house was locked up in the Soudan. They endeavoured to effect an entrance without Following on this, the subject of our sketch avail, but discovering a lane running behind the had a very narrow escape. When peace was concluded he proceeded to Simla, and when on little Arab horses-until they were disbanded there, was asked to accompany Cavagnari's at Cairo. Most of the officers were either killed, mission to Cabul, and to carry a despatch from wounded, or invalided. One of the surviving that place across the Afghan frontier to General officers, Major Bartelot was killed during the Kauffman who was then commanding the Stanley Expedition. Russian advanced post at Samarcand. The In 1883 his lordship went out to Canada as idea was, however, given up owing to Cavagnari's military secretary to the Marquis of Lansdowne, opinion that the whole mission would become Governor-General. When there, telegrams ar. state prisoners at Cabul, and that it would be rived asking him to raise 300 Canadian boatmen impossible to proceed farther with despatches. and take them out to Egypt in command. There Shortly after, he heard of the massacre at Cabul. were various reasons why he could not go, and Cavagnari, and the whole of his escort, with the he was then asked to organise the whole body, exception of one man, were killed.

which he did and saw them away. It was in the

[graphic]

MINTO HOUSE FROM THE LAKE.

From Photo by When General Colley was killed at Majuba Hill early in 1881, Lord Roberts was asked to take his place. The latter invited Lord Minto to go out with him on his staff, and he went as his private secretary. Official despatches, however, were received at the Cape to the effect that peace had been agreed to, and they came straight back. In 1882 he went out to Egypt as captain in the Mounted Infantry. In the first action he was wounded. A few weeks after, however, he rejoined the corps, and subsequently commanded the Mounted Infantry-picked shots from all the different regiments, and mounted

E. D. Murray, Hawick. spring of 1885 that the North-West Rebellion broke out under Riel. This was something similar to Lord Wolsley's Red River expedition in 1870. General Middleton was sent up with a Canadian force of volunteers to quell the outbreak, and Lord Melgund was appointed chief of the staff. There was a lot of fighting there, by far the worst his lordship has ever seen. The biggest fight they had was at Fish Creek, his lordship being in the thick of the fight. On that occasion a bullet was sent through General Middleton's fur cap; the Earl's Orderly's horse was killed, and several shots

were fired at the Earl, but luckily they missed every time.

This closed the Earl's career in active service, but he yet takes a deep and hearty interest in military movements. He was to the front in starting the Border Mounted Rifles (disbanded in 1888); and when the Scottish Border Brigade was formed in July 1888, his lordship was appointed Brigadier General. He at once set about a thorough organisation of the Brigade, so as to fit it for active service, and the Brigadier's experience of military affairs soon convinced him that in the regiments forming the Brigade he had admirable stuff to work upon. But to make them self-supporting in the day of need, much remained to be done. The efficiency of the Brigade is seen in the mancuvres carried through at the camps, which are held every second year at Minto. The Brigadier takes a great interest in seeing to the efficiency of each of the regiments under his command, and the marked improvement in the fire, discipline, and general soldierly bearing, is due in no small degree to his exertions. His Brigade this year won the Lucas Cup at Bisley, and took the first four places in the competition for the Minto Cup in which the regulars and militia were competing, the conditions being sixteen rounds volley firing at distances between 550 and 250 yards, after marching eleven miles in full marching order within three hours.

But Lord Minto is not a military man only. There are other sides to his life, and there are many affairs in which he takes a deep interest. He is a strong supporter of the Border Agricultural Societies, and by offering valuable prizes and otherwise, he has done, and continues to do, much to improve the breed of stock in the district. He has now the Kaims and Home farms in his own hands, and is a regular and successful exhibitor at shows. In athletics he takes considerable interest, lending a helping hand to such bodies; and the Countess and he are frequently to be seen at Border athletic gatherings. They have both caught the cycling fever, and are experts at wheeling. The Earl and Countess are also very often to the front in helping on charitable institutions.

The present Earl succeeded to the title in 1891, and has shown himself capable of main taining the honourable traditions of the past. In 1883, just before going to Canada, he married Mary Caroline Grey, daughter of General the Hon. Charles Grey, who was private secretary to the Queen. The charming Countess is as popular in the Border district as the Earl ; and no more happy gathering could be seen than the Earl and Countess with their three lovely

daughters and two promising sons. The demesne of Minto, where they reside for the greater part of the year—with its palatial mansion, its flower gardens and lakes, trickling burns, and ferny banks and dense woods-is charmingly situated not far from the silvery Teviot, about six miles from Hawick. From the adjacent Minto hills, or the storied Minto crags, one commands a glorious view of characteristic Border scenery. His lordship has also property in Fifeshire, including the whole of the village of Lochgelly: This was brought into the family by the marriage of a forebear, and through this it may be noted that when the Earl signs a legal document he has to extend his name with “Murray Kynyndmond."

In the mansion at Minto there are numerous relics and trophies of the Earl's exploits in other lands, as well as relics of a most interesting nature, which have been handed down from his forefathers. The space at our disposal, however, precludes us dealing with these. In a word it may be mentioned that Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Campbell were among the visitors to Minto House in days gone by, and it was here that the latter wrote “Lochiel's Warning,” the piece being revised by Sir Gilbert Elliot. The house still includes among its visitors some of the most prominent names in art and science, in literature, poetry and politics. Like their predecessors, the Earl and Countess are delightfully entertaining, and are well-known and highly appreciated in the best circles of Society.

The waving Lantern.
NCE when travelling in India I happened

to ask Colonel Grey if he had ever been

in the Borderland of Scotland. “Only once," he replied, “but that once was enough, I have never forgotten the occasion, and, what is more, I never shall."

Asked to relate the circumstances, Colonel Grey told me the following story, which may, perhaps, interest the readers of The Border Magacine.

When I was a young lad attending the Uni. versity of Edinburgh, uncertain as yet whether to join the army or the church, my mother, on one occasion, suggested that I should spend my summer holidays in visiting my uncle and aunt in the Border country. I had, however, previously arranged to go north to Inverness shire with a college companion, lut I broke my holiday in two and started for the Border about the middle of September.

Dr. Brown, my uncle, was the parish minister of —-, and my aunt was my mother's only

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »