Presented to the
LIBRARY of the
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
FRANCIS AND RIVY, AUGUST 1914.
THOMAS NELSON AND SONS, LTD.
LONDON, EDINBURGH, PARIS, AND NEW YORK
First Published October 1920
I SHOULD like to dedicate this little book to the
Twins' brothers and sisters : especially to their sister
Dolores, who was rarely absent from their thoughts
or they from hers. J. B.
Dtgno I che dov'l Vun I'atro ^induce
Si, che com' elli ad una militaro t
Cosi la gloria low insieme luca.
DANTE, Paradiso, xii., 34-36.
Ah, that Sir Humphry Gilbert should be dead :
Ah t that Sir Philip Sidney should be dead :
Ah, that Sir William Sackeuill should be dead :
Ah, that Sir Richard Grenuile should be dead :
Ah, that brave Walter Deuoreux should be dead :
Ah, that the Flowre of Knighthood should be dead,
Which, maugre deadlyest Deathes, and stonyest Stones,
That coouer worthiest worth, shall neuer dy.
GABRIEL HARVEY, 1592.
I. 1880-1889 . . * . ..?- i
II. 1900-1904 . . . . . 20
III. 1904-1905 . . 53
IV. 1906-1907 i, . t . 81
V. 1907-1909 * y * IO ^
VI. 1910-1914 . . . * . 153
VII. 1914 . + . . * . 186
VIII. 1914-1915 ^ ; ''.* >' f . 207
Francis and Rivy, August 1914 . Frontispiece
The Twins at the Age of Eight . . to face page 7
The Twins with the Eton Beagles . . 14
The Twins with Lord Grenfell at Malta,
April 1901 * . jfpl . '/. 24
The Twins after- the Kadir Cup . . ,, ,, 62
Francis at Polo . . . . v . ,, ,, 94
Rivy on " Cinderella " . , )9 104
Francis on " Michael " and Rivy on
" Cinderella " 161
BY FIELD-MARSHAL LORD GRENFELL, G.C.B., G.C.M.G.
THE Twins wrote to each other almost daily, and
when Francis went to the Boer War they settled
to keep each other's letters. A large collection
was found after their death, and when examined
it seemed to their family \vorthy of some form of
publication. Mr. John Buchan, who was one of
the Twins' greatest friends, most kindly undertook
to prepare a memoir. It is intended that any
profits derived from the sale of the book should
go to benefit the finances of the Invalid Children's
Aid Association, a branch of which was founded
in Islington by Rivy in 1912, and in which both
brothers were greatly interested.
On September 5, 1880, when quartered at
Shorncliffe, I received a telegram from my brother
announcing the birth of the Twins. Thus the
family of seven sons and four daughters had
increased to a total of thirteen. Of these, eight
went to Eton, four of them being in the Eleven ;
one entered the Royal Navy, and five of them
died in the service of their country Pascoe, the
eldest, killed in the Matabele rising ; Robert,
I2th Lancers, my A.D.C. in Cairo, in the charge
of the 2ist Lancers at Omdurman ; Reginald,
1 7th Lancers, of illness caused by service in
India ; Francis and Rivy in the Great War. All
the surviving brothers served in the war, one
as Brigadier-General, and three as Lieutenant-
My various military appointments and duties
kept me out of England most of the time the
Twins were children and boys at school ; but on
the death of their father, when they were sixteen,
I became their guardian, and our friendly rela-
tions of uncle and nephew became much more
intimate and more like those of father and son.
I was known to them as " The Uncle," and was
accustomed frequently to hear the phrase, " Go
I remember arriving on a visit to them at
Eton and finding their room strewn with answers
to their appeal for help to build new kennels
for the beagles, of which Francis was master.
They were then at the zenith of their popularity
and success : Francis in the Eleven and Master of
the Beagles, Rivy Whip, and both members of Pop ;
and I felt my position as Sirdar of the Egyptian
army to be a far inferior one to that of my
nephews at Eton.
Later, at a review of a large number of Public
School Cadets by the Queen, I, in my official
capacity, was standing close to Her Majesty to
announce the names of the various schools, when
the leading company of Eton Cadets marched
past, and I was alarmed to hear the usual signal
whistle of the Twins to me, with the exclamation
" Hullo, Uncle ! "
Francis was my godson, and began his military
career in my regiment. When staying with me
as extra A.D.C. at Malta he received his com-
mission in the King's Royal Rifles in 1901.
The visit of the Twins to Malta had a decided
effect on their future. They met interesting men
of the army and navy, and began to realize the
vast extent of the British Empire, and also their
own ignorance of its history and geography.
They had never even heard of Napoleon III. and
the last French Empire ! Our daily readings,
especially the History of Our Own Times, en-
larged their understandings and made them
eager for further instruction and more knowledge.
From that time dates the remarkable assiduity
with w r hich they pursued their studies, both in
languages and history, especially military history,
and laid themselves out to meet men of culture
and distinction, whose acquaintanceship they felt
would be useful in the future.
Each was invariably in the other's mind, and
they sometimes had premonitions of harm. When
Francis fell ill at Inverness w r ith what seemed
at first only a chill, Rivy, who was staying
with me, said he must go to Francis. Oddly
enough he was quite right, as when he arrived
in Scotland he found him very ill with typhoid
fever, no telegram or warning having arrived.
Rivy settled down to a financial career, and
when travelling in America he studied the man-
agement of railways and methods of business.
While there he astonished a friend of his father's
by asking him if, as a favour, he might work in his
office next to one of his clerks. " Why, certainly
you may," was Mr. Morton's answer. " I am
an old man, and have often been asked for a
holiday, but this is the first time any man enjoying
a holiday has asked me for leave to work."
While taking their occupations seriously, as
companions they were most cheerful and humor-
ous, original and quaint in their points of view,
and very amusing in the simplicity of their ob-
servations. Many were the instances of their
sympathy and kindness to others. Francis on
one occasion sat up all night with a porter at
the Bath Club who had smashed his hand in an
accident, and this was at a time when he was
preparing for an important examination. Happy
days were spent at Butler's Court, which was open
to them and their ponies whenever they cared to
stay, and I was much struck by the efficient
management of their stud. Their affection for
my children, shown in so many ways, was a
delight to me and to their mother, and the atten-
tion shown to the villagers and old employees of
Wilton Park made them very popular.
As children they had adopted Lord Burnham,
who lived close by at Hall Barn, as a most
intimate friend. He was much amused on one
occasion when they stayed with him during the
holidays for a ball, and appeared wearing large
pairs of white gloves borrowed from the footmen,
whose billycock hats they also wore in church
the next day. After Francis's death Lord Burn-
ham wrote a most beautiful and touching lead-
ing article in the Daily Telegraph. They were
devoted to him and his family, and their affection
The Twins sympathized with all in sickness
or sorrow ; and in the greatest affliction that can
happen to any man, they arrived to stay with
me and made themselves most useful and helpful.
In 1901 Francis began his military career in
the King's Royal Rifles. The strong wish to
join the cavalry, which I think had always been
in his mind (three of his brothers having been
in cavalry regiments and two in the yeomanry),
could not be carried out at that time for financial
reasons ; but this was an abiding desire, which
the attractions of so good a regiment as the King's
Royal Rifles did not quite eradicate. He did
well in the regiment, and on his death the colour-
sergeant of his company wrote to me to say
what an efficient company officer he had been,
and what care he had taken in the instruction ot
the men. One reason why he desired to transfer
from the infantry to the cavalry was that the effects
of enteric still clung to him, and he found the long
route marches of the infantry almost unbearable.
But he always acknowledged that his short service
in the King's Royal Rifles had greatly assisted him
in his career, and that he acquired there the
soldier-like qualities of training and discipline.
On his return to England in 1907 we saw a
good deal more of each other, and it was delightful
to see his happiness in the cavalry, and his deter-
mination to master all obstacles which would
prevent him from joining the Staff College. I had
the opportunity then of reading his criticisms and
notes on manoeuvres, which were excellent and
commended in the regiment. In my opinion he
would have eventually taken a high place in the
army as a cavalry leader. He loved his squadron
and his regiment, and he left no stone unturned
to fit himself for eventual promotion and command.
A course at the Cavalry School at Netheravon,
and several visits to his friend Colonel Felines
at the French Cavalry Establishment at Saumur,
together with his attendance both at French and
German manoeuvres, show by his voluminous
notebooks that he had taken the greatest trouble
thoroughly to study cavalry training, tactics, and
He possessed the highest ideals of discipline in
the conduct of war, tempered by a happy power
of commanding the affection and obedience of
men, especially of his own squadron. His desire
for knowledge was insatiable, and he used every
endeavour to achieve his objects. I remember,
quite in the early days, finding Rivy and Francis
in their small room at the Bath Club, notebooks
in hand, and Dr. Miller Maguire lecturing to
them on military history with all the care which
he would have bestowed on an audience in the
United Service Institution.
On the 30th August, after the first month of
war, I found Francis at No. 17 Belgrave Square,
the temporary and well-appointed hospital of
Mr. Pandeli Ralli, where I told him that he had
been recommended for the Victoria Cross. He
received my news with surprise and said, " r his
honour is not for me my squadron gained it " ;
but he was greatly pleased when Lord Roberts
and Lord Grey came to congratulate him.
When able to move he came down to me at
Overstone, and there I had the sad task of break-
ing to him the news of Rivy's death. His brother
Harold, whose brigade was being inspected by
the King that morning, was taken aside by his
Majesty and told that Rivy's name was mentioned
among the casualties, and he came right away to
Overstone to tell me. Francis received the news
quite calmly, but from that moment he was a
changed man in everything but his enthusiasm for
his regiment and his desire to get back to the
His Majesty showed gracious and kindly in-
terest in both, and gave Francis a special interview,
the account of which I quote from his diary :
" On Monday, February 22, 1915, I was
ordered to go to Buckingham Palace to receive
my Victoria Cross, driving there in khaki with
my sister. Was shown into Clive Wigram's room,
who told me of the heavy loss of the i6th Lancers.
A few minutes before eleven we went into the
equerry's room, and he took me upstairs to the
King's room, which I entered. He was alone in
the room, which looked like a study, with many
Indian ornaments about. The King came for-
ward and shook hands with me. As my right
hand was wounded, I was only able to use my
left. Both remained standing and talked for
some time about the war. He had heard of the
heavy loss of the i6th Lancers, and that we had
been sending out some 1 5-inch howitzer guns
which w r ould greatly strengthen us, and every
day we were getting stronger. I asked the King
if he had visited the prisoners who had come
from Germany. He said he had, and described
how badly some of them had been treated, and
spoke strongly against the Germans. He then
stepped back and took my Victoria Cross out of
a small box and pinned it on to me, congratulating
me on getting it. He said how sorry he was for
the loss of my twin brother. I said I had not
deserved the Victoria Cross, and hoped he would
allow me to convey to the men who really deserved
r it his kind congratulations and good wishes. I
said I hoped in the future the decoration would
urge me to go forward and do a great deal more for
him and for England, as the army thought only of
him and loved both. My interview then ended/'
Early in April, having recovered from his
second wound, he returned to France. The last
letter received from him was to his sister. It is
dated the i8th of May :
" On the I4th we remained in pouring rain
in trenches, bitterly cold, and then reached the
camp at 3 a.m. very tired, and my feet a little
frost-bitten. On the I5th and i6th we rested,
and are moving back again. I am writing to
you from a trench. We are up to our knees in
mud, and it has rained since yesterday when we
came here, but we are all hale and hearty. My
boots and puttees are soaked, but must remain
so for three more nights. I never felt fitter,
though tired of this sort of warfare. I hope I
never get shelled again like the other day. It is
a very high trial sitting still and enormous shells
bursting, blowing all the ground up, able to do
nothing, and just waiting for your turn."
His turn came the day after this letter was
received.. On the a8th of May I received a letter
from Lord Charles Beresford, who had just arrived
from France. He announced the death of Francis,
shot through the heart, dying in a quarter of an
hour. He had come over with an officer who had
attended his burial. It was better to have got the
news in a sympathetic letter from an old friend,
rather than a curt telegram from the War Office.
By his last letter to me, after the fifteen hours'
bombardment on the i3th, when the Ninth stuck it
out, I gathered that whatever happened he would
never retire, but meant to do or die. He had great
charm, good looks, strength and purpose in
important things ; was utterly careless in the con-
ventionalities of life, too much being crowded into
the same day ; but in greater questions he had a
strong will, great determination, and would not be
denied. No loss was more genuinely felt than
Francis's and Rivy's death.
I received a large number of letters and
" ROYAL PAVILION, ALDERSHOT.
"To FIELD-MARSHAL LORD GRENFELL,
" OVERSTONE PARK, NORTHAMPTON.
"The Queen and I are grieved beyond words that your
gallant nephew has fallen in battle. I was- proud to give him
his nobly-earned Victoria Cross, and trusted he might live to
wear it for many years. Our heartfelt sympathy with you.
" Deeply grieved by sad news. Please accept and convey
to his sisters my heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow.
"G.H.Q. May zSth.
"To FIELD-MARSHAL LORD GRENFELL,
" OVERSTONE PARK, NORTHAMPTON.
"Will you let me condole with you on the loss of your
gallant and distinguished nephew in the Qth Lancers after
having been twice wounded. His record of gallantry is
"FIELD-MARSHAL SIR JOHN FRENCH."
From COLONEL HON. C. WILLOUGHBY, gth
" Francis joined the Ninth just about the time I got com-
mand when we were stationed at Rawal Pindi. I was very
pleased to get him as a subaltern. He was one of the hardest
working officers I ever knew, always doing his best whether
at work or play, thereby setting a high example to others.
His good horsemanship and quick eye soon made him a very
valuable cavalry officer ; this combination also brought him
to the fore in the polo world, where he did such good work
for the regiment in after years. The Ninth have lost a good
officer, a high-principled gentleman, and a real good sportsman.
" As you probably know, Francis was a dear friend of ours ;
I was very, very fond of him."
From COLONEL DESMOND BEALE-BROWNE.
" Francis has left a memory and example that will never fail.
A braver soul never stepped. His high ideals, and boundless
enthusiasm for the regiment and the cause in which we are
fighting, was an example we shall never forget, and the regi-
ment is indeed proud to think that it had Francis Grenfell in
its ranks. I only so regret he did not live to hear the praise
bestowed on the regiment which he loved so dearly, and
whose honour he had done so much to maintain. "
From MAJOR-GENERAL VESEY DAWSON.
" I must send you a line of sympathy in your great sorrow.
I know how much you will feel the loss of your two nephews,
and I do indeed feel for you. I feel that the loss is really the
country's, for we do not produce too many gallant, brilliant
soldiers such as the one who is just gone. He would, I think,
have gone far in the profession if he had lived, and it seems
indeed sad that he should have been taken."
From MAJOR-GENERAL HON. JOHN LINDLEY.
"He was a right gallant soul, and the very embodiment
of all the manly virtues that go to make a cavalry leader,
and the cavalry have sustained a loss well-nigh irreparable.
Modest, bold, and as cool as a cucumber, it will be many a day
before the men of his squadron and the gth Lancers get
another leader like him.
" Well, he has gone to join his twin soul, and a more gallant
pair never entered this world together."
From LIEUT.-COLONEL EDGAR BRASSEY.
" I feel I must write to you to express my deepest sympathy
in the sad news about poor Francis. Whatever else this war
may bring about, the absence of the Twins can never fail to
be noticed and lamented. I have known them for over
twenty years, have played cricket with them, hunted with
them, and played polo with them ; and for myself, I can say
that there is nobody, even in the long list of friends who have
gone in this last nine months, who will be missed more than
Francis and Rivy. We may be sure that neither would have
wished to be separated or to die a more glorious death, and
the example of the Grenfell family, not forgetting poor Robert,
who was also a friend of mine, will stand for ever in the annals
of the British army/'
From MR. CHARLES MURRAY of Loch Carron.
" I must send one word to say with what sorrow I read of
dear Francis's death. He is almost the last of Alasdair's
close friends who has remained to us, and he always kept up
his friendship. Only the other day he came in to cheer me
up when I was ill in London, and, as with Rivy, it is a great
break with the past. I ever hoped that Francis and Rivy
would live to distinguish themselves, and that Francis, a keen
and good soldier, would follow in your footsteps and some day
lead British forces in the field. It could not be, and, with
others of the best, the boys have gone from us, and I know
how deeply you will feel the blow."
From WALDORF ASTOR.
"The deaths of Francis and Rivy mean an irreplaceable
loss to their friends, and bring grief to all who knew them
intimately. We are all forced to bear trouble, anxiety, and
bereavement, but apart from this there is perhaps the greatest
tragedy in the real loss inflicted on the country. Never will
two persons like them be found.
" Kipling asks in a poem, ' Who dies if England lives ? '
One feels inclined to say, ' How can England live as one has
known her if such as these die one after the other ? '
" None of the blows caused by the war have been so hard,
and have even by comparison tended to diminish this one, or
to lessen the grief I and many others feel."
From the DUKE OF TECK (MARQUESS OF
" I have just heard the sad news about the death of poor
Francis. I am so deeply sorry for you in the loss of your other
nephew. What a blank the death of the ' Grenfell Twins '
will cause to a good many people, my wife and I amongst
them ; but to you it means much more, and I ask you
to accept my deep and heartfelt sympathy in your great
From SIR HEREWARD WAKE, King's Royal
" I am so grieved about Francis. I would like to send you
a word of -sympathy. Francis compelled the love of every
one who knew him, and there are hundreds of people who will
mourn his death. I think there never was a more gallant pair
of soldiers or Englishmen than those two/'
From DR. MILLER MAGUIRE.
"I esteem it an honour to testify to the great merits of
your brave nephews, Francis and Rivy Grenfell. I had
intimate knowledge of their zeal for their noble profession,
and all connected with its study, almost to the date of their
death. They excelled in cavalry^ exercises and in the ardent
devotion to that particular branch.
" Francis was making himself well versed in European and
American campaigns, and no doubt would have been placed
high in any Staff College tests had he been spared ; but almost
from the desk of study
' He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.' "
It was on April 14, 1915, that I said good-
bye to Francis. He walked home with me round
Portman Square, after dining with his sister. He
was cheerful at the idea of rejoining his squadron,
but no doubt the knowledge that Rivy would not
be with him was in his mind. He spoke with
enthusiasm of his squadron and regiment, and the
chances of war, and was very hopeful as to the
future. He was happy in the belief that the most
distinguished regiment in the army was the Qth
Lancers, and that he commanded the best squadron
in the best regiment of the best fighting army in
the world. He mentioned that he had refused a
Staff appointment after being twice wounded, being
so greatly impressed by the unanimous response
which was made for his call for volunteers to
save the guns at Audregnies. This touched him
deeply, and he said that no offer of Staff service
would ever induce him to leave his squadron.
We said good-bye, and I think both felt that
we should not meet again. Of that, personally,
I had a strong presentiment.
The Twins, so happy in their generation, are
now together ; freed from the feverish anxieties
they suffered ere they went to war, they are
linked in a new and better life, surely for them
one full of activity and high service.
" Time takes them home that we loved, fair names and famous,
To the soft long sleep, to the broad sweet bosom of death ;
But the flower of their souls he shall not take away to shame
Nor the lips lack song for ever that now lack breath.
For with us shall the music and perfume that die not dwell,
Though the dead to our dead bid welcome, and we farewell."
CE when Rivy had had a bad smash at
olo he spent some time in hospital. " It
seems odd to say so/' he wrote to Francis, " but
I enjoyed it immensely. What lucky people we
are, taking an interest in so many things ! This
was another side that I had not yet seen." I set
down these words at the beginning of this short
record, for they sum up the attitude of the two
brothers to life. Few people can have had a larger
share of the happiness of youth, for not only had
they ample opportunity of action and experience,
but they bore within themselves the secret of
joy. They never ceased to wonder at the mag-
nificence of the world, and they carried a divine
innocence into soldiering and travel and sport
and business, and not least into the shadows of
2 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
the Great War. In the comfortable age before
1914 they were among the best known and most
popular young men of their day, and some picture
of their doings may be of interest as a memorial
of a vanished world. The coming of war upon
their eager life is a type of the experience of
all their countrymen, and a revelation of the
inner quality of that land which has so often
puzzled herself and her neighbours. But I write
especially, as the friend of Francis and Rivy,
for their many friends : who, before memory
dies, may wish some record of two of the most
endearing and generous spirits that ever " before
their time into the dust went down."
Francis Octavius Grenfell and Riversdale
Nonus Grenfell were born at Hatchlands, Guild-
ford, on September 4, 1880, the twin sons of
Pascoe Du Pre Grenfell and Sofia Grenfell his
wife. Family history would be out of place in
such a narrative as this, and I do not propose
to discuss the intricate question of the Grenfell
pedigree, and whether kin can be counted with
the great figures of Sir Richard Grenville of the
Revenge, or Sir Bevil, the Cavalier, of Lansdown
Heath. It is sufficient to say that they came of
A MEMOIR. 3
an old Cornish strain, which in their case was
double-distilled, for their parents were cousins.
A Grenfell fought at Waterloo and lost a leg ;
their mother's father, Admiral John Grenfell of
the Brazilian Navy, was Lord Cochrane's second
in command, and performed many famous ex-
ploits, notably the cutting out and destruction of
the Spanish flagship Esmeralda, in the midst of
an armed squadron. His brother, Sydney, w r as
a British admiral, distinguished in the China
War. Their father's brother is Field-Marshal
Lord Grenfell. Of their own brothers, Pascoe
served and died in the Matabele War ; Robert
fell gloriously in the charge of the aist Lancers
at Omdurman ; Harold did brilliantly as a column
commander in South Africa ; and Arthur won
the D.S.O. at the Battle of the Somme. A
cousin, Claude Grenfell, was killed at Spion Kop ;
and all the world knows of their other cousins,
Lord Desborough's sons, w r ho will live because
of Julian's poetry and their mother's exquisite
memoir in the literature as well as in the history
of England. There are many famous fighting
stocks among our people, but there can be few
with a more stirring record than this.
A word should be said of their uncle, their
mother's brother, because he was a hero of
romance to the boys in their youth, and they
4 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
loved to dwell upon his amazing doings. Francis
and Rivy were always gentle in their ways, and
for this very reason they had a weakness for a
stout swashbuckler. Admiral Sir Harry Grenfell
was a British sailor after the eighteenth-century
pattern. His gallantry was proverbial in the
navy of his day, and he had various medals for
saving life at sea. There must have been much
of Julian's spirit in him, for he had an insatiable
zest for adventure and fighting, and when he
could not get it in the way of duty he went out
to look for it. Among other things he was middle-
weight champion of the navy. There is a story
of him with which Rivy once delighted an Amer-
ican public dinner. He went ashore with some
brother officers at Constantinople, and drifted to
a music hall, where he found an immense Turk
offering fifty dollars to any one in the audience
who could knock him out in five rounds. Harry
Grenfell promptly accepted the challenge. He
put on the gloves wrongly, and stood awkwardly,
so that the challenger thought him a novice and
gave him some easy openings. Taking advantage
of one of them, he stretched his antagonist on
the floor. On recovering his senses, the Turk
advanced to the footlights and announced in the
pure accents of Limehouse, " GenTmen, the
hexibition is closed." Then, going over to Gren-
A MEMOIR. 5
fell's corner, he shook him warmly by the hand,
whispering, " You're no bloody lamb." There
is another tale which may be apocryphal, but
which the Twins cherished as an example of
how their uncle looked at things. Once Admiral
Grenfell was dispatched in his ship to some Pacific
isle to arrest and bring to Sydney a chief who had
eaten a missionary. The chief was duly arrested,
but during the long voyage back the British
admiral came to entertain the highest respect
for his qualities as a man. The upshot was that
he dumped him down on some desert island and
returned to report to his superiors that, having
gone most carefully into the case, he had come
to the conclusion that the missionary had been
entirely in the wrong.
The first seven years of their life were spent
at Hatchlands. As the youngest members of a
large family they were a perpetual delight to
their sisters, and their brothers vied with each
other in directing their small feet in the paths
of sport. They were solemn, self-possessed chil-
dren, quiet in their ways, and as inseparable as
the two sides of a coin. They would lurk peace-
fully for hours in corners, and once a short-
sighted visitor sat down on them on a drawing-
6 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
room sofa and nearly smothered them. As babies
they were not so much alike, but as they grew
older they became perfect doubles, puzzling every-
body, including their mother, who often gave
the wrong one medicine. At Hatchlands they
acquired two red fox-terriers, known as the
Gingers, who were as much alike as their masters.
Only the Twins knew the Gingers apart, and
only the Gingers could tell which twin was
which. They had an air of serious cheerfulness,
especially in their misdeeds, which was so en-
dearing that it disarmed wrath ; and they played
their confusing twinship for all it was worth.
Once, when they had been quarrelling for, in
the immortal phrase of the Irish R.M. y they
" fought bitter and regular, like man and wife "
their mother caught up one (she did not know
which), set him on her knee, and scolded him
heartily. When she stopped, the culprit said in
a calm, meditative voice, " You certainly do look
very jolly when you are angry, 'cos your eyes
shine so." They were very unpunctual, and
had always convincing excuses. " Why are you
late this time ? ' their father once asked de-
spairingly. " Well, it's all the fault of the house-
maid," was the answer. " She's so selfish. She
won't lend me her stud, and mine has gone down
a rabbit-hole " One of their traits was a genius
THE TWINS AT THE AGE OF EIGHT.
A MEMOIR. 7
for getting hold of the wrong word. They used
to give sixpence to the Christmas " waits, " till
their father reduced the bounty because of the
growing number of the applicants. " Only pen-
nies this year," the Twins announced to the
waiting mob, " 'cos there's a chrysalis in the
City." This habit long remained to them. At
school they invited their parents to come down
and see the new chapel "disinfected' by the
Having seven brothers adepts at every form
of sport, Francis and Rivy were early " entered "
to most games. They played a kind of polo,
mounted on walking-sticks, at the age of four.
They soon learned to ride, and when hounds
met anywhere in the neighbourhood they invari-
ably contrived to be run away with by their
ponies, and avoided lessons for that day. Their
first pony w T as a communal possession with the
name of Kitty, an aged family pet, which they
took charge of and groomed themselves. Pres-
ently Kitty grew so infirm that she had to dis-
appear from the world. They were told that
Kitty had gone to stay with her mother, and
complained that it was cool of her to go off with-
out consulting them. A little later the coachman,
in a moment of forgetfulness, presented them
with one of Kitty's hoofs. Said one twin to an-
8 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
other in bewilderment, " What an extraordinary
mother poor Kitty must have ! ' At that time
they took a very solemn and matter-of-fact view
of life. At their first pantomime they saw a
rustic ballet of beautiful " farm workers," and
for some time afterwards perplexed the occupants
of every farm they visited by asking where the
pretty girls lived. At their second pantomime
they were with their uncle in the stage-box, and
argued so vigorously with the clown that he
climbed up beside them, to their mingled joy
and embarrassment. Their engaging gravity had
no self-consciousness ; they talked to their elders
as they talked to each other. A relation who
pronounced certain words in a bygone fashion,
once at breakfast busied himself at the sideboard.
" Who says tui and who says corfee ? " he asked.
The serious voice of Rivy replied, " Personally
I always say coffee, but I'm too small to have
In 1887 the family moved to Wilton Park,
near Beaconsfield, where their father had spent
most of his childhood. It had belonged to Mr.
George Du Pre, his uncle, who for nearly forty
years had been M.P. for Bucks and a colleague
of Disraeli. There the Twins were in clover,
and could indulge to the full their love of games
and passion for animals. In the park they raced
A MEMOIR. 9
their ponies and hunted rabbits with the Gingers ;
they acquired several ferrets, and the favourite
home of the ferret bag was the best armchair in
the drawing-room. The worst poacher in the
village was their habitual ally, and became so
much attached to them and the family that he
had to be made under-keeper. They had a
cricket ground where they practised assiduously,
and were bowled to by the sons and grandsons of
the boys who had bowled to their father. They
organized boys' matches, arranging everything
themselves. Their mother once asked them to
let her know what they wanted for tea after the
match. " Don't trouble, mother," was the an-
swer. " We have ordered two hundred buns."
In 1887 they went to Mr. Edgar's school at
Temple Grove, East Sheen, where their seven
brothers had been before them. At that time
they were bent on learning every game, but had
no ambition to excel in lessons. They both
played cricket and football for the school, and
occasionally brought home a prize, the wrong
twin being invariably congratulated on the
achievement. In their schooldays their spelling
was original and ingenious. To one who was
io FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
about to become their brother-in-law they wrote :
" I can giatcherlate you, she is a niece girl."
Apropos of a wet day they achieved this memo-
rable sentence : "It pordanpord." The word
deserves admission to the weather vocabulary
of the English tongue.
In 1894 they went to Eton, where their grand-
father, father, six brothers, and many cousins
had been before them. They began in Mr.
Arthur Benson's house, but next year went to
that of Mr. Walter Durnford, who was one of
the chief family friends. Their name was suffi-
cient passport in that home of long traditions,
for three of their brothers had played in the
Eleven, and they rapidly became very popular
and dominant figures in the school. In 1898
Francis was Master of the Beagles, and Rivy
Whip. At the time the pack was most indif-
ferently housed, so the Twins raised a fund to
build, on the piece of land known as Agar's
Plough, the kennels which are now in use. They
wrote letters generally wrongly addressed to a
multitude of old Etonians, including the late Lord
Salisbury, and received subscriptions and letters
notably one from Lord Rosebery which they
cherished as heirlooms. " The Head Master,"
Mr. Durnford writes, " was never safe from
having his majestic progress through the playing
A MEMOIR. ii
fields arrested by one of the Twins conveying
some petition concerned with the great project,
and the Bursar not renowned for his acceptance
of new ideas capitulated before the unceasing
attack." In 1899 Francis was in the Eleven,
and in the match against Harrow at Lord's, at
a critical point in the game, he and Mr. H. K.
Longman, of Mr. Radcliffe's house, made 170
runs for no wickets. That year he established
a bold innovation. Formerly the two Elevens
kept apart at lunch ; Francis, though it was his
first appearance in the historic match, decreed
that they should sit together, and ever since this
excellent practice has been followed.
At Eton they showed little interest in books,
and later were wont to lament to each other
that they had left school wholly uneducated.
But they learned other things the gift of leader-
ship, for instance, and the power of getting along-
side all varieties of human nature. They dis-
covered, too, an uncommon knack of obtaining
what they wanted by their gentle persistence
and radiant charm of manner. They had a way
of taking things for granted, and giving large
orders which were generally fulfilled. Being de-
sirous to have flowers on their small window-sill,
they wrote to the gardener at Wilton to send them
some " rowderdendrons." It appeared afterwards
12 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
that they meant geraniums, but an under-gar-
dener was discovered faithfully digging up an
enormous bush, which would have filled their
little room, let alone the window. They always
worked in couples, and used their similarity in
looks shamelessly for various unconstitutional
purposes. During the winter one would answer
for both, so that the other could get off to hunt.
Once the trick was badly given away by the
huntsman appearing at supper with blood trick-
ling down his sleeve. Taken unawares, he ex-
plained that he had had a fall on a heap of stones.
Hunting had now become a passion with both,
and during one exeat they settled to go to Melton,
hired horses to meet them at a very early train,
and ordered a hansom to be at the door at 6 a.m.
The cab never appeared, and they missed the
train. They managed to get half-way to the meet
in a slow train, and then took a special and had a
first-class day. Coming back in the evening they
told Frankie Rhodes the trouble they had had,
and he insisted on paying for the special.
Both of them had an astonishing gift of getting
on friendly terms with every sort of dignitary.
The complete simplicity and candour of the two
slim, dark boys was not to be resisted. There is a
legend, probably untrue, that Francis once bor-
rowed a sovereign from the Head to tip a hunt-
A MEMOIR. 13
servant, and got it ! Another tale can be vouched
for. After one of the many consultations about
the new kennels, Dr. Warre walked down the
street with his arm in Francis's. He stopped to
speak to some one, and at the same moment
Francis met a friend, upon which the Head over-
heard the following conversation. Said the friend,
" Fancy you walking arm-in-arm with the Head !
Why, he terrifies me ! " Said Francis, " I don't
see why the poor man shouldn't have pals among
us. It's bad enough to be Head, without having
to go without pals." And here is an adventure
of Rivy's. He was asked by Miss Bulteel, who
was then in waiting on Princess Beatrice, to tea
at Windsor Castle. He marched in, and ascended
the first staircase he saw. There he found a
kind old lady, who asked him whom he wanted
to see, and on Rivy's explaining told him he had
come in by the wrong entrance. She sum-
moned a liveried giant, and bade him show
the way to Miss Bulteel 's room. The giant
bowed low to Rivy and walked backward before
him along several passages and up and down
staircases. Finally the crab-like progress halted
before a door, and with another low bow Rivy
was asked what name. When he gave it the giant
drew himself up, flushed and said, " Oh, is that
all ? You can go in." Afterwards Rivy found
14 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
out that he had wandered up the Queen's private
staircase, that the old lady was the Empress-
Dowager of Germany, and that the footman had
taken him for a foreign royalty. This was not the
last of Rivy's odd experiences in court circles.
Mr. Walter Durnford has been so kind as to
set down his recollections of the Twins.
" I have been asked to contribute to the memoir of Francis
and Riversdale Grenfell something bearing on their life as
boys at Eton. It is not a very easy task, for though their
memory is still fresh and strong in the mind of the writer, life
at school, with its regularity, its ordered course of work and
play, does not present, as a rule, startling features or occasions
which lend themselves to description. Month succeeds month,
and year follows year, with such quiet regularity that almost
before one realizes the change the small boy has grown into
the big boy, and the big boy is preparing to take his place
in the great world.
" The ' Twins ' for so we always called them, and it is
indeed impossible to dissociate them in our memory came to
Eton in 1894, and a year later entered my house, where their
brothers Harold, Arthur, and Robert had preceded them
a funny little pair, so like one another that they were the
despair of masters who only saw them occasionally ; and even
their tutor, who saw them perpetually, never really knew them
apart till the last year they were at Eton. Francis, writing
to him after Rivy's death, says : ' Rivy used to like you best,
I think, when some one gave him a yellow ticket and you
used, when you came round, to pretend to be furious and
curse me instead of him.'
" Like most brothers, they fought. In the same letter
Francis writes : ' You, who used with difficulty to part us
after fighting in old days, know what we were to each other ' ;
and, indeed, they had at bottom that love for each other which,
A MEMOIR. 15
it seems to me, only twin brothers have ; nor do I believe that
they were ever happy if for many hours they were separated.
" To say that they were diligent would be absurd. They
vexed the souls of masters in whose forms they found them-
selves, and on whom they sometimes played off their wonderful
likeness with diabolical ingenuity ; they vexed the soul of
their tutor, who had to see that, somehow or other, they scraped
through their tale of work. But it was impossible to be angry
with them for long, for their invincible cheerfulness blunted
the wrath of justly indignant teachers ; and all the time they
were learning, unconsciously perhaps, but still learning, the
lessons which were to make them so greatly beloved in after
life lessons of kindness, of thoughtfulness, of perseverance,
of straight and honourable conduct the fruit of which will
be seen in the later pages of this book. So the years slipped'
by happy years for both of them until they found themselves
in that position which is perhaps the most delightful that the
English boy can attain to ' swells/ with troops of admiring
friends, and a recognized position as people of mark in the
school. Such a position is not free from danger, and boys'
heads are easily turned by it ; but the Twins never lost the
simplicity which was one of their most engaging characteristics,
and they retained, as all boys do not, the heart of a boy to
the end of their schooldays."
Mr. Durnford notes how little they changed
during their school life. It is the testimony of
all their friends at all their stages. They possessed
a certain childlikeness, the ardour and innocence
and unworldliness of the dawn of life, the charm
of which was never rubbed off by experience.
The one change during the Eton years was that
Rivy began unconsciously to charge himself with
Francis's future. A list of their school friends
16 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
even of their intimate friends would be so large
as to be meaningless, but I fancy, looking back,
that their closest friendships were with Waldorf
Astor, Lord Esme Gordon-Lennox, Lord Francis
Scott, and Paul Phipps. From a letter of the
last-named I quote a sentence : " Even in those
days Rivy had begun to adopt the protecting,
almost paternal, interest in Francis's career which
he preserved all his life. In the summer in which
Francis got into the Eleven it was Rivy who took
out his twin and sternly made him practise field-
ing, just as in later life he would conscientiously
read some book which he had heard recommended,
not for his own instruction or amusement, but
in order that he might pass it on, if found suitable,
The summer of 1899 was their last term at
Eton. The time was coming very near when their
paths must diverge. Their father had died in
1896, and they lost their mother in 1898. Wilton
Park had been given up some time before, and the
family was scattering, their many brothers being
already settled in various professions. Their
uncle, Lord Grenfell, was their guardian, and few
guardians can ever have fulfilled more devotedly
and successfully their trust, as this narrative will
A MEMOIR. 17
bear witness. I quote from a letter written by
him in September 1898 from Cairo :
" MY DEAR TWINS, By the death of your mother I become
your guardian, and shall have to settle with Cecil as to your
future careers. . . . You may rely upon me to do all I can to
help you. But you are getting on now, and soon you will
have to depend on your ov/n energy for your success in life.
You will not be rich, and you will have to work for your living,
as your father and I have had to do before you. Though you
have both been good boys, and have all the feelings of gentle-
men, and have never caused your father or mother any anxiety,
you have neither of you (as far as I can learn) taken any great
interest in your studies. You must remember that in your
future life you will not be able to do nothing but amuse
yourselves, and I do trust that for this next year, whether
you remain at Eton or not, you will work hard and try to
learn all you can to improve your minds and fit yourselves
for the future.
" I always received so much kindness from your father
and mother when I was young, that you may depend on my
helping you as much as I can ; and when I am in England
my house will always produce a corner for you and a bottle
of the best. You have your brothers also to advise and help
you. But to be successful in life you must depend on your
own exertions, and therefore I hope you will work hard and
learn to be punctual and support your masters.
" Read your Bibles, and shoot well ahead of the cock
pheasants ; and if you are ever in any difficulty that your
brothers can't help you in, come to your very affectionate
" UNC-LE FRANCIS/'
" P-S. Since writing this, I have heard of dear Robert's
death.* He died a gallant death for his Queen and country.
. . Well ! he is with God and your mother and there
we can afford to leave him."
* At the Battle of Omdurman.
i8 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Both would fain have followed the main
Grenfell tradition and become soldiers, but their
means forbade. One of them must choose a
more lucrative calling, and the duty fell to Rivy,
as having entered the w r orld a few minutes later
than his Twin. In any case he would have given
first choice to Francis, to whom he had come to
regard himself as in loco parentis. In this assign-
ment Francis was the luckier, for he was born
for the army. Indeed, both w r ere, for it is hard
to believe that Rivy had any aptitude for high
finance, and he had beyond doubt the makings
of a fine soldier. There was a very real differ-
ence between their minds : for Rivy, as we shall
see, discovered later a restless interest in politics
and a good deal of ambition for that career, while
Francis never wavered in his devotion to his
profession ; but the aptitudes of both might well
have been satisfied by the multifarious require-
ments of modern soldiering.
When they left Eton the Twins seemed exact
replicas in tastes and interests, and they were as
like as two peas in person. That summer Francis
went to Inverness to join the Seaforth Militia,
with a view to a commission later in the 6oth.
He stayed at Loch Carron with his friend Alasdair
Murray, who a few months later was to fall with
the Grenadier Guards in South Africa. While he
A MEMOIR. 19
was out stalking one day, Rivy arrived, was shown
to his room, and changed into a suit of Francis's
country .clothes. When he rang the bell a foot-
man appeared, who looked once at him and fled.
" Something terrible has happened to Mr. Gren-
fell on the hill," he told his fellows in the servants'
hall. " His ghost is sitting in his room ! ' :
Francis caught typhoid that autumn in Inver-
ness, and for several months was seriously ill.
In December 1899 he was sent off to the Cape for
a sea voyage, and so began those wanderings
which were to fill the rest of his life. Meantime
Rivy had become a decorous clerk in the Bank of
England. The Twins had left boyhood behind
To pass from the proud position of a leader at
school or college to the blank insignificance of
the outer world is a trying experience for most
people, but the Twins were not conscious of any
difficulty. They were too utterly unsentimental
to moon over the past ; they had always been
very modest about themselves and their accom-
plishments, and they were profoundly excited
about the new life which lay before them. Rivy
was soon absorbed in the City (after making a
fruitless attempt to enlist when war broke out),
learning a strange jargon, puzzling over un-
familiar standards of value, and beginning to
lament a defective education. Francis had a
harder fate. Typhoid checked him on the
threshold of soldiering, and he had the unpleasant
duty of spending a year in trying to get well.
He sailed for South Africa in December 1899,
for the sake of the voyage, intending to return
by the next boat. At the Cape, however, he fell
A MEMOIR. 21
in with his brother John, who was acting as war
correspondent, and was fired with the wish to see
another brother, Harold, who was then in com-
mand of Brabant's Horse. During the voyage
out he had suffered much from what he thought
was lumbago, but which was really an affection
of the spine due to the fever, and his time in
South Africa was one long bout of pain. He
went by sea to East London, and then up country
to join Harold. He trekked for some days in a
springless wagon, which did his back no good,
and finally collapsed in a Dutch farm eighteen
miles from Cradock, and had to finish his journey
lying in a chair on a cart. After some days in
Cape Town he went to the baths at Caledon,
where his health improved ; but the return voy-
age in March 1900 knocked him out again, and
he came home worse than when he had started.
But an English summer and a Scots autumn
cured him. The Duke and Duchess of Somerset
took him yachting with them in the Hebrides,
and those windy seas restored him to health.
One of the party was the Gaekwar of Baroda, of
whom Francis reported : " I have made pals
with the Maharajah, and am going to dine with
him in London, and he is going to show me all
his jewels and Indian costumes. I believe his
pearls are like eggs. He asked me to stay with
22 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
him in India he has got over 300 horses, very
good tiger-shooting and pig-sticking. He said,
' Your visit won't be official, so you need bring
no suite.' He pronounced it like * suit,' so I said,
6 All right, only my old blue one.' Lady Anne
Murray allowed him to camp at Loch Carron,
where he killed his first stag and his first salmon.
Here is his record of two days, in a letter to Miss
Sybil Murray : "I left Loch Carron yesterday ;
beastly day pouring and blowing. However, I
fished hard at Balgey, got bored and soaked, and
at 4 just as Donald said it was hopeless whack !
a salmon. In the end we got five trout and one
salmon. This morning I got up at 6.30, went
on the hill, and after a good stalk got up to four
beasts. One rose, then another, and flukily and
luckily I got both one a fair beast, the other a
good one. By this time it was 12.30. I ran
home to Loch Carron, ordered a cart, had a glass
of the best port, and set out in torrents of rain
for Balgey. Met Donald, who said I was luny.
Fished in a fearful storm, and at 6.30, very dark,
misty, and wet, whack ! a salmon. Up at 6.30,
two stags ; four miles' run home, fourteen miles'
drive, salmon ; three miles on here not a bad
day ! If that is not sport, what is ? Did you
ever hear such luck as two salmon in two days to
a novice ? "
A MEMOIR. 23
In October he was back in London, where he
was passed fit by a medical board, and ordered
to Cairo to join the militia battalion of the Sea-
forth Highlanders. He had himself measured for
a kilt, which, as he says, made him very shy.
After some hunting with Rivy at Melton, and
various shooting parties at one of which he was
shot in the leg by a neighbouring gun on two
successive days ! he sailed in November for Egypt.
There he spent the better part of four months,
working for his army examination, playing a good
deal of polo, and occasionally riding steeple-
chases. He found the life boring, for he was
eager to get into regimental work, and Egypt,
while the war was going on in South Africa, was
too much of a backwater for a soldier. Lord
Cromer greatly impressed him, and he saw a
good deal of him as a friend of Windham Baring's.
: To hear him talk is worth hearing," he wrote
to Rivy, " as he is quite the biggest man we have
in fact, in his place, bigger than Chamberlain.
He has told me not to chuck polo, and that work
five hours a day is ample. " He got his commis-
sion in the 6oth in May 1901, when he was at
Malta, whither he had gone in the end of March.
There he acted as an extra A.D.C. to his uncle,
Lord Grenfell, who was then Governor, and
laboured to cope with the intricacies of Maltese
24 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
etiquette. On one occasion the Archbishop of
Malta attended a large reception at the Palace,
and his devout flock wished to kiss his hand as
soon as he appeared in the doorway. Francis
attempted to move him on, and was haughtily
told, " You do not know who I am. I am the
Archbishop." The extra A.D.C., knowing only
one brand of archbishop, sought another member
of the Staff in despair, saying, " The door is quite
blocked, because that old gentleman has gone
luny and thinks himself the Archbishop of Can-
terbury." At Malta Rivy joined him for a little,
and the Twins rode many races on their uncle's
ponies. There used to be an irritating bell rung
in a chapel close to the Palace, and one day to
the joy of the household it suddenly stopped.
Lord Grenfell, anxious to discover the reason,
found that the Twins had driven the bell-ringer
from his post by pelting him with coal !
On their way home it is recorded that in
Paris, in some cafe or other public place, they
forgathered with a French soldier. In their
zeal for information they asked him in their best
Ollendorff, " Qu'est-ce que vous pensez de 1'affaire
Dreyfus ? ' The question, delivered in a clear,
boyish voice at a moment when French feeling
on the matter was hectic, secured an embarrassing
attention for the travellers.
A MEMOIR. 25
In the autumn of 1901 Francis was with the
6oth at Cork, whence he sailed in December for
South Africa. He indited a farewell letter to
Rivy, " the final time I will write you about my
affairs before we meet again, you a wealthy City
man, and I a poor subaltern with a V.C." There
are some characteristic messages. " Send me
cuttings out of papers sometimes, such as very
good speeches, debates or leading articles in
the Times [he had always a craze for leading
articles]. You might send me a few big races
and some hunts, also any of our pals' weddings,
big cricket matches, or any divorce of some pal
of ours, or anything startling in the papers. . . .
Work hard at the City, keep fit, teetotal, and mind
the girls " [his sisters], A month later he was
planted on a hilltop near Harrismith.
The last months of the South African War
were not an enlivening moment to start on the
profession of arms. The great hours of the
campaign were over, and the war had become a
thing of barbed wire and blockhouses, varied by
more or less futile " drives " when the Boer
commandos evaded the snares ingeniously set
in their sight. Francis would have been very
happy in the " drives," and did his best to get
his old friend Harry Rawlinson * to take him
* Now General Lord Rawlinson.
26 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
with him ; but the discipline of the army confined
him to garrison work, and, instead of being with
the hunt, he had to content himself with the
duties of earth-stopper. His letters chiefly tell of
meetings with other bored friends, such as Francis
Scott, in casual blockhouses, and of the amassing
of live stock. " I have no right to any horses ;
however, I have two good riding ones, including
a polo pony and three cart ponies/' . ..." I
have bought a Cape cart of a Dutchman, newly
done up, for i o. I really gave him 10 as a tip,
and he went and stole the Cape cart." . ..." I
have now got four ponies, two good ones. Rather
an odd thing happened about one of the ponies we
commandeered. First time I used him was to
send him to get some milk. Funnily enough, it
seemed he belonged to the milkman." He started
polo under difficulties, and complained that no
shooting was possible at Harrismith, as " all the
buck lay the same way as the Boers." He dis-
covered that he had been meant by Providence
for cavalry rather than infantry a discovery
hastened by the arrival of the I4th Hussars.
" By Jove," he writes, " there is a difference
between cavalry and infantry. I mess with them.
At mess the sergeant-major says, * What will you
drink, sir ? I have only whisky, lime-juice, and
champagne.' " It is difficult to see how this re-
A MEMOIR. 27
sourcefulness in drinks can have mattered much
to Francis, who, like Rivy, was a consistent tee-
totaller ; but he liked a lordly way of doing
things. " The only way I can make you feel
what this life is," he wrote, " is to compare it
to your being asked to stay at Melton for five
or six months, being offered mounts every day,
hearing of the best of sport, and seeing every
one going out and not being allowed by your
taskmaster to go. That describes this job ex-
actly ; only with hunting, you know, you can
hunt next year or a year to come, but here I know
I shall never get another job of Boer pursuing."
He deeply sympathized with the view of an Eton
friend who turned up one day with the words,
" O Lord ! Twin, which is the way to England ?
I'll not be a soldier a week after I get home ! "
The tedium of those Harrismith days was not
improved by Rivy's letters for from now onward
the Twins maintained a methodical correspond-
ence. Rivy was enjoying that golden time which
comes only once in life a popular young man's
first entrance into the great world. He was by
way of learning the ropes in the City, and engaged
in small but complex transactions on Francis's
account, since he had the management of the
latter's slender patrimony. The letters are full
of City gossip, which greatly perplexed the lone
28 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
soldier at Harrismith. " Love to all, including
the Jew man who helped to make 27 for me.
Southern Pacifies sound good, and are in the
papers. I can't find Leopoldinas anywhere under
City, Stock Exchange, or Markets. What does
Yankees mean ? Yankee what ? I can't find that
In January 1902, Rivy was given a post in the
office of the Charter Trust, of which his brother
Arthur was a director and Lord Grey chairman.
But he had plenty of time to spare for amuse-
ments, and his letters were full of tantalizing
accounts of runs with the Quorn and the Belvoir
and the Windsor drag, dances, week-ends at
Cliveden, Ascot, and Westonbirt, parties in Lon-
don, endless bachelor dinners. Rivy was always
an excellent letter writer, and at, this stage had
not the acute educational interest which ap-
peared later, though I find him advising Francis
to learn the Times leaders by heart to improve
his style, " because they are very good English."
Usually his epistles are vivid diaries of his doings.
The record of old runs is apt to be " like mouldy
wedding cake," but here is a description of a
day with Waldorf Astor's drag.
" I rode Jim Mackenzie's runaway ; they put an india-
rubber bit in his mouth which was useless. We started over
the rails at Hall Barn, and then went right-handed up the
A MEMOIR. 29
hill to the farm at the top. Near the farm my quad took
charge, so I sat back and rode at one of those large white
gates, hit it very hard, pecked very badly, and was shot off.
I was soon up. We then checked in Slough road. We started
off again down that ride where I once fell over a hurdle with
the drag. The grey * ran away and took full charge ; first
down a steep hill over some rails ; then across the road into
a plough, where I got a little pull ; then over about four
fences, and then in jumping a small one he landed on his head
and lay there for about five minutes. I took the saddle off
and let him get his wind ; then I hacked to the check, which
was at the Gerrard's Cross gate of Wilton Park. We started
again up the park over the stile in the corner, then right-
handed over those two wire fences between the farm and
Pitland ; then bore a little to the left you know where I
mean through the fence between the larches and that steep
lane. I remembered there was a pit somewhere there, but
couldn't remember where. To my horror I found myself
unable to stop about five yards from it. So I sat like a mouse,
and the brute slithered half-way down, then jumped about
ten feet, and away again, as it was open at the bottom. Dal-
meny thought I was dead, when to his surprise he looked down
and saw me half-way across the next field."
Rivy's letters contain lists of the friends he
ran across, the ladies he danced with, and occa-
sional gobbets of political news like this : " Rose-
bery wrote to the Times yesterday to cut off all
relations with C.-Bannerman ; which has made
rather an excitement." Or bibliographic notes
such as : "I will send you out next mail a very
good book, Science and Education, by Professor
* It turned out afterwards that this grey had at some time or
other had its jaw broken on both sides, with the result that it got the
bit against the jaw bone and could not feel it.
30 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Huxley, which I have marked in several places
a sort of book you can read over again. I have
often noticed lately, in the leading articles in the
Times, ' as Professor Huxley says.' Printing-
house Square has rarely had a more faithful
adherent. But here is a record of a startling
" I got a wire from Horace Farquhar [Lord Farquhar]
asking me to go and dance at 10.30, so I dined at home and
went round. On taking off my coat I asked if there were
many people. ' Yes, my lord the King and Queen/ I
walked upstairs where a lot of people were standing, and I
ought to have stayed there. But like an ass I barged into
the drawing-room, where every one was standing at attention.
The King walked up and shook me warmly by the hand. I
didn't know whether to kiss it or kneel down or what, so I
just calmly said, ' How do you do, sir ? ' At that he started
off in the most fluent French. ' What, sir ? ' More fluent
French. ' I beg your pardon, sir ? ' I didn't understand one
word he said, so he repeated the French, in which I caught the
words ' tante ' and ' malade.' * I beg your pardon, sir ? ' I
said, standing on one leg. Then he said in English, ' And how
is your aunt ? ' ' Very well indeed, sir.' ' Oh no, the one who
has been so ill. I am so glad she is much better/ ' Thank
you, sir, she is very well/ I simply didn't know what to
do or say. ' Are you going to stay here long ? ' (I thought
he meant stay dancing.) ' No, sir ; I am going away early/
' I hope you will stay here some time, as you are such a great
traveller. How do you propose to go home ? ' (He meant
home to France.) ' I thought of going by the Underground,
sir/ That put an end to it. I gave a sort of bow, and went
over and shook hands with Lady Farquhar. I then sneaked
into the corridor, where we stood about for some time. After-
wards I saw Horace Farquhar, and he said the King had
A MEMOIR. 31
taken me for a Frenchman called Paul de Jaucourt, nephew
of Mrs. Hartmann, who has had bronchitis. Princess Pless
heard my conversation with the King, so I asked her if I had
made a blazing fool of myself. She said I had got out of it
very well, and never noticed anything except she could not
make out why he spoke French. After I had gone out he
asked, ' Who was that ? ' ' Grenfell ! ' * Good gracious, I
have been talking French to him and asking about his aunt !
Why didn't they tell me ? ' He was rather sick, I believe,
as he hates making mistakes. . . . Everybody has heard the
story, and roars with laughter/ 1
In March Francis was allowed to join his
brother Harold's column in the Western Trans-
vaal, and for the next three months had all the
movement he wanted. It was just after Lord
Methuen's contretemps, and the Boer general op-
posed to them was the redoubtable Delarey. He
found himself among old friends, such as Jack
Stuart-Wortley and Freddy Guest, and the details
of the life approximated to the cavalry standard.
"Old H. is splendid. Catch him roughing it!
He has got an Ai tent he bought at home with
every sort of thing inside. We halt, and in
about five minutes it looks as if we had been
there for ever. . . . On trek his bridles, buckles,
boots, breeches, etc., look as if he was at Melton
hunting, they are so clean. I have got three
niggers now, and hope to be the same/' On
ist April they just missed rounding up a Boer
convoy, and Francis was speedily disillusioned
32 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
as to what galloping meant in that kind of war.
" Your opinion is and mine used to be that
you saw Boers and galloped at the charge, same
speed as the Derby ; but it is very different.
Here you have a horse with a kettle hung on
him, coat, mackintosh, water bottle, cap, man,
200 rounds ammunition, and into the bargain a
great crock. You can imagine the pace we go."
He was pessimistic, too, about the war and its
progress. " How they can say we have conquered
this country Heaven knows. If you leave your
blockhouse you get sniped, and if you go out
with 500 men you get jolly well kicked back
into camp. The Boer roams about the whole
country as he likes, and yet it is ours." On the
nth, however, he obtained his desire, and was
for the first time in a serious action at Moedwil,
where his column had six killed and fifty-three
wounded. " Up to now I had no time to notice
wounded, or even to feel in a funk. But the
moment the show stopped I felt as if I had had
a good shaking and hated it." He was mentioned
in dispatches, to his intense annoyance. " Let
those that deserve it be mentioned. My job was
only a sort of head-waiter's."
On the 6th of June peace was signed. Harold
started for home, and Francis found himself in
Johannesburg. There, as the army broke up,
A MEMOIR. 33
he met a host of friends, and sampled also the
local society. He played polo, raced, sold horses,
speculated a little like every junior officer at the
time, and was lucky enough, through good advice,
to make in diamond mines a considerable sum
of money, which enabled him to think seriously
of going into the cavalry. Spurred on by Rivy's
entreaties, he did his best to learn something
about gold-mining, and became terribly confused
in his earnest study of the markets. He gives
amusing pictures of the queer, cosmopolitan life
of the place amusing because they are the work
of a shrewd and yet most ingenuous observer.
Every one who remembers those days on the
Rand will appreciate such a note as this : " Old
B. has made a lot of money here. The other day
he found in the card-room a Jew learning poker.
He gave 10 for another Jew's seat, and then
took 300 off the learning Jew. He wasn't born
Presently he returned to his regiment at Har-
rismith, and stayed with it till the end of the year.
He had outstayed his leave on the Rand, and when
he arrived at Harrismith was put under arrest.
The man who preceded him in his interview with
the commanding officer was overcome by the
heat, and was carried out in a dead faint. When
Francis was led into the presence he observed
34 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
cheerfully to the colonel, " I hope, sir, you are
not going to be so hard on me as you've been on
that poor chap/' Risu solvitur curia.
Sir Hereward Wake, who was with him during
those months, writes : "I played with Francis,
Geoffrey Shakerley, and Roddy Brownlow in
what was, I think, the first polo tournament
Francis played in. It was at Harrismith. There
were thirteen teams in, and we (i.e. the 6oth)
won. We used to have the most awful rags in
the mess in those days, and I will never forget
Francis. He was by far the worst of us, though
he was a teetotaller. " He made strenuous efforts
to get away from South Africa, and an A.D.C.-
ship to Lord Dudley in Ireland and the chance of
service in Somaliland were discussed in turn in
the brothers' letters. But nothing happened till
the battalion was ordered to India, and Francis
returned to England in February 1903.
At this period Rivy's letters are the better
reading. New horizons were opening up for him
everywhere, and he gave Francis the benefit of
his enlightenment. That summer and winter, in
the intervals of dancing, polo, and hunting, he
reflected profoundly, and his own and Francis's
careers were the object of his thoughts. He had
discovered that he was very badly educated, and
was determined to remedy the defect. " It don't
A MEMOIR. 35
matter a damn, I do believe, not having learned
at Eton as long as one does so now." So he set
to work at a queer assortment of books, and sent
the results of his cogitations to Francis. Here are
some extracts :
" Any one can improve his memory. The best way is
learning by heart, no matter what, and then, when you think
you know it, say it or write it. After two or three days you
are sure to forget it again, and then, instead of looking at
the book, strain your mind and try to remember it. Above
all things, always keep your mind employed. One great man
(I forget which) used to see a number on a door, say 69, and
try to remember what had happened in all the years ending
in 69. Or see a horse, and try to recall how many you have
seen that day. When riding or walking, try to recollect the
sayings or events in the last book you have read, or the daily
paper. Asquith always learns things by heart. He never
wastes a minute ; as soon as he has nothing to do he picks
up some book. He reads till 1.30 every night ; when driving
to the Temple next morning he thinks over what he has read.
Result : he has a marvellous memory, and knows every-
" I am reading Rose's Napoleon, and will send it to you.
What a wonder he was ! Never spent a moment of his life
without learning something. ... I went and saw the Corona-
tion from Montagu House. The usual show, but I had a good
yarn with Francis Scott.' 1
" I enclose a copy of an essay from Bacon's book. Learn
it by heart if you can. I have, and think it a clinker."
" Since ist June I've read Macaulay's essays on Chatham,
Clive, and Warren Hastings. Then an excellent book, Map
of Life, by Lecky ; Bacon's Essays ; Life of Napoleon, by
36 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Rose, and Last Phase, by Rosebery. I have also finished Life oj
Macaulay, most interesting. I've always wondered how our
great politicians and literary chaps lived. ... I also send
you a Shakespeare. I learned Antony's harangue to the
Romans after Caesar's death by heart. I am also trying to
learn a little about electricity and railroad organization, so
have my time filled up. I tried to buy Moltke's Life, but it
is 255. ! Pickwick Papers I also send you. I have always
avoided these sort of books, but Dickens's works are miles
funnier than the rotten novels one now sees. We shall have
to start a correspondence comparing the books we read.
Probably you will hate the ones I like, and vice versa, but I'm
sure you will love Give."
" I have learned one thing by my reading and conversation
with professors. You and I go at a subject all wrong. Don't
read Life of Wellington and the history of his wars, but take
a period and study it as a whole."
There are pages of explanation of City matters,
which Francis cannot have read unmoved, as
Rivy during the summer contrived by injudicious
investment to lose a considerable sum of money
for him. It is curious to find Rivy with his
ambitions herding among the rastaquouere crowd
of minor speculators, intent on little gambles in
matters where he had no serious knowledge.
Sometimes the wave made by some big vessel
carried forward his small cockle-shell, but more
often it submerged it, and there was a sad ex-
planatory letter to his partner at Harrismith.
About this time when such explanations were
over Rivy took to lecturing Francis on his duties,
A MEMOIR. 37
and tried to inspire him with his own aims.
" H. writes to Arthur that you have the wildest
ideas want to return at once, get into a cavalry
regiment and play polo and that the sooner you
chuck polo and look at the serious side of life
the better. I am awfully disappointed, as I
hoped to plug at the City and get to the top of
the tree, and you at the top of soldiering, instead
of a loafer who only plays polo. England would
have finished the war sooner if we had had more
Kitcheners and fewer polo pros." That was all
very well, but in nearly every letter of Rivy's
there were lyrical accounts of his own games at
Ranelagh and Roehampton, and a good deal
more about horse-coping and bachelor dinners
than about books. Francis, in his Harrismith
solitude, may well have considered that his phy-
sician himself needed a little healing. And when
at Christmas the same earnest apostle of self-
culture went to Paris on education intent, the
exile in South Africa may have reflected that he
too would be ready to follow a path of duty
which led through dinners at the Embassy, Les
Folies Dramatiques, Maxim's, and the Cafe de
One pleasant trait of Rivy's was that he felt
bound to pass on to Francis any good talk he
heard, and faithfully to describe his week-ends.
38 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
He was at Terling when the news came of the
signature of peace in South Africa.
"Lord Rayleigh is a very scientific fellow; in fact, he is
about a generation in front of his time. I don't think I have
ever enjoyed a Sunday so much. Lady Rayleigh is Arthur
Balfour's sister. The party included Arthur Balfour, Lord
and Lady Ribblesdale, Lord and Lady Cobham, Miss Lyttelton,
Lord and Lady Cranborne, and Mr. Haldane, K.C., who is
supposed to be the cleverest lawyer and philosopher. It was
ripping to hear those fellows talk.
" On Saturday Balfour got a cable from Kitchener to say
the voting was going very close, which sent me to bed with
rather a headache. However, they kept the telegraph office
open all night, and at ten o'clock Sunday morning he got a
telegram to say, ' Delegates have signed peace ; Secretary for
War is consulting Prime Minister about publishing news.' In
the afternoon he got another telegram to say that they would
publish the news at four o'clock. I was rather in hopes that
they would keep it till Parliament met on Monday, and then
one would have got it about five hours in front of everybody
else. After dinner on Saturday they discussed peace. Balfour
said he did not like the telegram at all, but what made him
hopeful was that the City was so confident. In all probability
the City knew more about it than he did, as he only heard
the news from Kitchener and Milner, against telegrams from
all over Africa. This came as rather an eye-opener to me
when one considered that fellows in the City were looking to
Arthur Balfour as knowing about ten thousand times more
than they did. . . .
" I had a good talk to Haldane late in the evening about
America, the Shipping Combine, etc. He said that the great
difference between the American and the Englishman was
that the American boy was always thinking how soon he
could get on in business, while the latter was always thinking
how long he could keep out of it. . . .
" Ribblesdale is the best fellow you ever met. For five
A MEMOIR. 39
minutes he talks about Shakespeare, and for ten minutes
It was on this visit that Rivy heard Mr. Balfour
and Lord Rayleigh praising Alice in Wonderland.
Deeply impressed, he bought the book as soon
as he returned to London and read it earnestly.
To his horror he saw no sense in it. Then it
struck him that it might be meant as nonsense,
and he had another try, when he concluded that
it was rather funny. But he remained disap-
pointed. He had hoped for something that would
afford political enlightenment.
In February 1903 Francis came home, under
orders for India. I think it was on this occasion
that Rivy met him at Southampton and found
that he had omitted to bring any money. Francis,
having spent all his during the voyage, was in the
same position. Both happened to be wearing
suits of an identical brown. Stewards and other
people expecting tips, pursuing Francis, were sud-
denly and awfully faced by the apparent duplica-
tion of their quarry. They gave up the quest and
retired to reflect on their sins.
The brothers were together for the better part
of seven months, so their faithful correspondence
ceased. They lived with their sister Dolores at 17
Hans Row, and had a pleasant summer of balls and
40 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
polo-playing. Their likeness was a great amuse-
ment to them, and often at dances they would
change partners, who were quite unconscious of the
difference. Rivy used to breakfast at eight and
leave for the City, while Francis got up at a more
leisurely hour, to the confusion of a new parlour-
maid. " This is a funny place, " she declared.
" One of the gentlemen has had two breakfasts, and
the other has disappeared without having any."
In September Rivy departed for America " to
learn business," taking with him a case of his
brother's champagne as provender for the road.
He visited many cities, both in the United States
and in Canada, acquired a mass of miscellaneous
information, and made the acquaintance of Mr.
Bonb right, in whose London house he afterwards
became a partner. The diary which he kept on
his tour showed that he would have made a
good commercial journalist, for he had the live-
liest interest in all new business organizations
and mechanical processes, and considerable power
of describing them. He met a variety of people,
from Mr. Chauncey Depevv and Mr. Hill, the
railway magnate, to some of the American polo
players whom he was afterwards to know better.
The trip was an admirable bit of education, for
it gave him a host of new friends, and the weeks
of solid work which he put in in a Trust office in
A MEMOIR. 41
New York were an excellent apprenticeship. The
diary is as serious as the works of Mr. Samuel
Smiles, but now and then he deals with other
things than business. In Denver he went to
" As I was approaching it a nice-looking man accosted
me. ' Guess we're late. My name is James ; what's yours ? '
' Grenfell,' says I, wondering what he wanted with me. As we
entered the church my new friend told me I might sit in his
pew. I never enjoyed a service so much. It was high church.
They had women in the choir and cheery hymns. Just
before the sermon the Rector, instead of announcing banns of
marriage as I expected, said, ' Friends, Christmas is nearing.
I'm going to have a rare old Christmas. These last three
years I've been starving myself, but I'm going to alter all
that. Everybody, I hope, will join in making Christmas
happy. Why, in old times they used to carry the parson
out on a stretcher.' I thought this the most outspoken, first-
class parson I had yet struck.' 1
To his delight he found Waldorf Astor in New
York, and the two returned home together in
Meantime Francis had left for India, and
early in November was with the 6oth at Rawal
Pindi. There his soul was at once torn with
longings. The sight of racing studs and much
polo inflamed his ambition, and the proximity
of the Qth Lancers awoke all his hankerings for
the cavalry. He had wanted to join the iyth
Lancers, but now transferred his affections to the
42 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Ninth, which contained many old friends. At
first he did his best to be patient, aided by a wise
letter from Harry Rawlinson and some trenchant
remarks from Rivy. But the longing could not be
repressed, and the cri de cceur breaks out in every
letter. " I dined with the Qth last week. By Jove,
Mate, a cavalry regiment is different . . . ten old
Etonians . . . nicest chaps on earth . . . Colonel
won the National ... a fizzer," and so on. His
chief argument was his great keenness on polo,
about which he could rouse little enthusiasm in
his own regiment. He argued thence to military
superiority. " David Campbell * is adjutant, and
fairly puts in ginger. You can imagine a show
run by David Campbell, who is very good at
polo, mad keen soldier, won the Grand National
and Grand Military." In December it was :
" By Jove, Mate, I do hate this walking. It
does make one's mouth water to see those chaps
riding." He did not much approve either of
the way the foot-slogging manoeuvres were con-
ducted. " The one idea of the umpire is to see
who has the most men. If you have a battalion
very strongly entrenched and are fought by one
and a half battalions, you are said to be beaten.
Yet in South Africa fifty Boers delayed and made
* Major-General Sir David Campbell, who commanded the 2ist
Division in the Great War.
A MEMOIR. 43
it dashed uncomfortable for Buller's whole army."
He finished off with the novel plea : " Infantry
soldiering is dashed rot and dashed expensive.
I have worn out all my walking boots, and now
my calf has grown so I cannot get on my polo
boots ! " In despair he besought Rivy to see if
the Daily Telegraph would send him as corre-
spondent with the Tibet Expedition.
So the first part of 1904 was passed by Francis
in a state -of considerable disgruntlement. Not
that he was unhappy. He had fallen in love with
India and the modest pleasures of a soldier's
life there ; but the vision of the joys of cavalry
was always at hand to tantalize him. The Qth
Lancers warmly urged him to transfer, and he
wanted it done at once, that he might have the
summer for polo practice and then, as he said,
" win everything next year/' But the War Office
does not move in such torrential fashion, and, more-
over, his uncle and his relations generally were
doubtful of the wisdom of the step ; so for months
there was a complicated correspondence in which
Francis filled the part of the moth desiring a
star. He did his best to work for his examination
in Hindustani, a language which he reprobated
on the ground that it was without " literature
and fairy tales." But he very often broke loose,
and went off to polo matches and steeplechases
44 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
up and down India, excusing himself to the cen-
sorious Rivy thus : " While working I thought
to myself, ' Why make life a burden, and chuck
everything, and then probably fail ? By not buying
ponies now I cannot get a chance for next year/
So I got leave and started off " The result
appeared in the next letter. " Yesterday I rode
in a steeplechase. Arrived on the course full of
dash and no end of a swell. Left it like the chap
who last fought Pedlar Palmer black eye, stupid,
hand like an apple, and lame ! " Then he would
return penitently to his books. " The munshi
says I haven't a chance of passing. By Jove,
Mate, I am beginning to feel the effects of never
learning Latin Prose at Eton."
About this time the correspondence between
the brothers was remarkably candid. Rivy had
a typist to dictate to, Francis scribed with his
own (usually damaged) hand ; so when Rivy's
epistles were scrappy Francis had something to
say. " I have a tremendous lot to tell you, but
I am so angry with your letter this mail that I
won't write more. It is too bad, Mate. I sweat
like blazes to write to you, and I receive a type-
written letter from you signed by an infernal
clerk." Each gives advice to the other with the
utmost frankness. For example, Francis : " Take
a tip from me, old boy : go gingerly with the
A MEMOIR. 45
reforms in your office. Don't rush in and say,
' This is dashed badly done. In America it is done
like this.' We are all so apt to do this, as our family
is enthusiastic and impatient. It only gets chaps'
backs up and makes everything more awkward."
And Rivy : " You say the races are awful rot.
Why the deuce do you attend them then ?
Oughtn't you to be spending your time much
better ? If you spent the time with a book in
your hand instead of at some silly race meeting,
where you loaf the whole day, it would do you
more good." And again on the cavalry question :
" I would like to see all your ponies break down
and draw your nose to the millstone [sic]. At
this moment you look on the Ninth as everything.
In a few years you will probably be looking on
them as the greatest rotters. Remember that
the majority of men who have become great
have done so through the necessity of having to
work to get their bread and butter." But Francis
occasionally got back on his mentor. " Yours
of zQth February to hand rather a rotter. It
does seem funny you starting polo again. Here
am I in the home of polo a ground half a mile
off and I haven't played at all, and don't seem
to want to. Your letter saying I was so out in
S. D. made me put up all my ponies for sale."
Francis had considerably outrun the constable
46 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
in his expenditure, and Rivy had taken him
gravely to task, adding morosely that things were
so bad in the City that stockbrokers were begin-
ning to pick up cigarette ends in the street.
His wrestlings with Hindustani had soured
Francis on the intellectual life, towards which
Rivy sought to goad him. His letters contain
some sensible remarks on the Tariff Reform
controversy then raging, but that is all, save for
the flickering interest in art revealed by one
postscript : " What is the name of the chap who
did the pictures of naked ladies at Hertford
House, and those things in the Duchess's room
at Blenheim ? Not Boucher, w r as it ? " Rivy, on
the other hand, was grappling manfully with his
education. In January he was reading Creevey,
and much struck by his resemblance to Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman. " It shows that the times
of Pitt, which I have always looked on as beyond
reproach, differed very little from our own." At
Terling he met Raymond Asquith " whom I
have always heard of as the cleverest person of
the day " and was much impressed by Raymond's
habits. " When I arrived at the Rayleighs' there
were a whole lot of fellows talking in the smoke-
room and blinking at the fire, except one. Of
course you can guess who it was Asquith reading
in a corner. In the train coming up, while I read
A MEMOIR. 47
four pages of my book he read twenty of his."
He was desperately afraid of getting the reputa-
tion of a flaneur. " Harry Longman said to me
quite seriously, ' I congratulate you, Rivy.' ' What
for ? ' says I. ' I hear you and Francis are mil-
lionaires.' . . . What a curse it is the way our
family, especially you and I, seem to get talked
about ! Serious people look on people who are
always talked about with suspicion. I hate being
a sort of Jubilee Juggins of the gossip world."
He procured a coach, with whom he read
history several hours in the week, and he strove
to move in intellectual society. " I had a topping
evening. I had written to ask two professor
chaps to dinner, one of them von Halle, head
professor in Berlin, the other Mackinder. You
would have laughed if you had seen them. They
came and dined at the Bath Club at 8.15. About
7.30 I got into such a funk at what the devil I
should say to them that I got Cecil to come as
well. However, as always happens with that
sort of chap, they were most easy to talk to and
most entertaining." He attended political meet-
ings, notably Mr. Chamberlain's in the City ;
he dined with Lord Rosebery the evening before
the opening of Parliament, and he treasured
every fragment of good talk he heard to send to
Francis. At Easter he went again to Paris, and
48 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
wrote an amusing account of a stag hunt at Fon-
tainebleau. What with one thing and another he
had a most varied spring and summer, and his
diary is filled with polo matches, City gossip,
and the record of dinner-table conversation in
about equal proportions. Here are some speci-
mens of the last :
" Met Jack Morgan,* who told me this anecdote. His
mother went to see an ostrich farm in California. The keeper,
pointing to two fine ostriches, said, ' Those are Lord and Lady
Bobs. Bobs is a very docile animal, and very nice to Lady
Bobs. Those two are Mr. and Mrs. Morgan. Old Morgan
is a crusty brute, and will have nothing to say to his wife.' '
" Met Harry Rawlinson in the Park. Talked of Stonewall
Jackson, his power as a leader of men and judge of character.
Lee was the thinker and Jackson the actor. Harry R. poked
my pony in the ribs and said, ' What sort of thing is that ? '
whereat my beast promptly landed his a kick in the stomach."
" After dinner went to an ' At Home ' of Mrs. Sidney Webb.
Met some rum-looking coves there. Had a talk with Mrs.
Webb about fiscal policy. A Free Trader joined in, and I
argued disgracefully, proved nothing, expressed myself badly,
and was rather trodden on by the Free Trader, who knew his
" Dined with Lady Salisbury in Arlington Street a jolly
party, composed of Lord Hugh Cecil, Winston Churchill,
Lady Mabel Palmer, Neil Primrose, Lady Crewe, Lady Aldra
Acheson, and Sir Edgar Vincent. Sat next and bucked to
Lady Aldra. W. Churchill held forth at dinner to the whole
* Mr. Pierpont Morgan, the younger.
A MEMOIR. 49
table, discussing invasion. Salisbury said he thought that
if one was going to make a speech one ought to do nothing
else the whole day."
" Dined with Lord Rosebery. Party included Dowager
Duchess of Manchester, Revelstoke, Crewe, Lady Sibyl Grant,
Dalmeny, Mr. and Lady E. Guinness, Brodrick, Haldane,
Lady Gerard, etc. After dinner Lord Rosebery and Brodrick
chaffed each other. Rosebery quoted some speech of Glad-
stone's. ' Yes,' says Brodrick, ' but he continued to say '
and quoted some more of the same speech. How on earth
do these chaps get their memories ? . . . Rosebery came and
talked to me. I do look up to that man. ... He told a
story of Lord Robert Cecil, who is noted, like all Cecils, for
his ignorance of horses. A case came up in the courts at
which reference was made to a horse's knees. ' Which knee
fore or hind ? ' asks Cecil."
During that summer Rivy had a somewhat
serious love affair. He was not what is commonly
called susceptible, and made ready friendships
with women as he made them with men. His
letters are full of the " jolly little ladies " and
* capital girls ' that he was always meeting.
But now he stumbled on something rather like a
' grand passion," and he sighed in vain. The
experience made him for the rest of his life curi-
ously tender and sympathetic towards others in a
like case. I never heard Rivy laugh at even the
crudest romance. For a little he was very miser-
able, and in the orthodox way he thought of
travel. There was another reason why he should
So FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
go abroad. The South African market was in a
bad state, and since his work on the Charter
Trust was concerned with South Africa, he thought
it right that he should go out there and judge
things for himself. At the back of his head was
a plan to join Francis in India. Sir Clinton
Dawkins encouraged the project, so on 23rd July
he sailed for the Cape.
Meantime in India the unwilling rifleman was
hovering about the candle of the Qth Lancers.
He applied for a transfer, and then, on the advice
of his relations, withdrew his application. He
was much encouraged by a letter from Sir Douglas
Haig, who was then Inspector-General of Cavalry
" DEAR FRANCIS GRENFELL, I shall be delighted to assist
you in any way I can. First, I think you wise to join the
Cavalry, because you will have greater opportunities of acting
on your own, and more independence than in the Infantry.
" Next, as to the regiment. You can't do better than join
" Lastly, as to working it. Don't fret about two or three
years' seniority. You must risk something, especially in the
Cavalry. Officers seem to play leap-frog over one another in
the most surprising manner nowadays. So my advice is to
take the first chance you can of joining the gth, either by
transfer or exchange. . . . Arrange to come and stay with
me here for two or three weeks, and we will do our best to
push the matter through."
For the rest Francis's letters are filled mainly
A MEMOIR. 51
with obscure details about a buggy to be bought
at home, notes about matches and race meetings,
and boisterous complaints about the aridness of
Rivy's epistles. " A very moderate letter from you.
. . . You say nothing of the National, nothing
of Cecil, Harold, Arthur, the girls or the uncle.
Buck up, old boy, and make that typewriter
move. Are you so busy you can only spare
time to write ' Yours, Rivy ' (badly written), and
even have to hand the envelope to be addressed
by a chap whose writing made me think it was a
bill ? " To which Rivy retorts : " The last two
pages of your letter are occupied with telling me
of a pony of yours that was gelded. Cannot you
find something more interesting and instructive
than this to tell me ? I don't care a blow whether
every pony in India is gelded to-morrow morning."
But the gelding, judging by his exploits, was
worthy of a letter. Says Francis later : " My
pony Snipe that was gelded has recovered wonder-
fully, and laid out two syces. One he kicked in
the kidneys. The next day he boxed the new
syce, got free, and caught him on the eye with
his hind-leg ; so he also lies for dead."
In spite of his anxieties about his future,
Francis had a pleasant year. He played in polo
teams which won the championships at Poona
and Umballa, and at the latter place he met
52 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Lord Kitchener, who, to his surprise, knew all
about his cavalry ambitions and approved them.
The news that Rivy was to visit him stirred him
to immense exertions, for he was determined
that the traveller should have the best that India
could offer. He was now genuinely in love with
" It is the best I've struck, once you've forgotten England.
It is not that it is so much cheaper (which it is), but the great
thing I find is that every one is so much poorer. No bachelor
seems to have more than about 600 a year, and many 100, and
the married about 2,000. I am looked on as a Hoggenheimer,
whereas in England you contrast with fellows like Harold
Brassey. I live like a king servants, carts, horses galore.
What more can one want except a wife but on that point
there's a famine in the land."
I AM inclined to take the autumn of 1904 as the
end of the first clearly marked stage in the Twins'
lives after leaving Eton. It was a transition period
in which both were trying to decide what they
wanted. Francis had not yet found the military
groove best suited to him, but he now knew what
it was, and he was on the eve of acquiring a true
scientific interest in his profession. Rivy, having
played about in the City for several years, had
acquired a good deal of miscellaneous knowledge,
which fell far short, unfortunately, of a rigorous
business training. But he had learned one thing
the value of education and he was very busy
making up leeway. Indeed, he was educating
himself apparently rather for Parliament than
for business, for all his models were orators and
statesmen. Both, too, after experimenting in many
sports, had reached the conclusion that polo was
the game for them, and were laboriously studying
54 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Francis in India was wildly excited at the
news of Rivy's visit, and sketched the most far-
reaching programme. The whole sporting and
educational wealth of Hindustan must be at his
brother's disposal. Rivy hoped to arrive before
Christmas and stay several months, and this was
Francis's scheme :
" Go to Calcutta. Stay with Curzon as Viceroy's guest.
Deuce of a dog ! Just like going to England and staying
with the King. In mornings see Calcutta trade. Afternoon,
racing ; see hundreds of pals. Get a little pig-sticking (too
early). Then go to Cawnpore biggest trade centre in India.
Then do Agra, Delhi, and on to Pindi ; see F. G. ; on to
Peshawur and Khyber Pass. Across to Quetta and see other
end of frontier. Back, play a little polo, perhaps Sialkote
tournament. Go to Lucknow; play in open tournament in
Civil Service Cup race week. Pig stick; arrange tiger shoot.
If possible (doubtful), you have time to go to Mysore for an
elephant. This tiger-shooting and pig-sticking will take you
into March. Come to Patiala. If I play for gth I shall be
there practising for Inter-Regimental. Come to Meerut
Inter-Regimental week. End of March, compete in Kadir
Cup pig-sticking, best sport in the world. If you only let
me know in time, can buy you three good horses. Train to
Bombay ; arrange to see trade and town. Tip F. G., get on
steamer, and leave about ist April, having had best time in
This delirious programme was not to be
fulfilled. Rivy travelled through Natal and the
Transvaal, disliked Johannesburg, visited his
brother John's copper mine at Messina, north
A MEMOIR. 55
of Pietersburg, and finally reached Rhodesia,
where he had a little shooting and began to enjoy
himself. " Its crab is that it is full of English
gentlemen instead of Jew boys ; consequently
everything is run very much a la amateur instead
of professional." But on 24th November he sat
down in Buluwayo to write Francis a melancholy
letter, which is worth quoting for the light it
casts on Rivy's mind.
" I have to write a very sad letter to tell you that I cannot
come to India after all. The cursed City seems to have turned
round, and a small boom to be in progress. The result is
that the Charter Trust want me home. ... I have thoroughly
thought the position over the last five days, and, greatly
against my will, decided to return.
" These are the arguments :
" In favour of staying my full time in Rhodesia and then
going to India :
" (i.) I am comfortably off, and at present don't want
more money. I am far more anxious to be a clever and common-
sense man with sufficient money than an ordinary rich ' City
man ' ; and so it is far better for me to travel and see the
world and return to England in four months, which, after
all, is not much time to lose, when one has the remainder of
one's life to spend in business.
" (2.) It is far easier when you are away from home to
stay away, than it is when you are at home to get leave to
" (3.) I went straight into the City from Eton, with the
intention of travelling when I was twenty-three or twenty-
" (4.) I urgently want to see you and talk with you, Mate.
" (5.) You have taken enormous trouble and expense on
56 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
my behalf, and bought ponies, and I have bought a dashed
rifle for 60 from John which I don't want.
" (6.) Clinton Dawkins has sent me letters which I sup-
pose would help me to go anywhere.
" Arguments in favour of curtailing my stay here and
abandoning India :
" (i.) I have worked hard for five years in the City with
the idea of making business my career ; and to miss ' good
times ' when you have been through the ' bad times ' and
learned fairly thoroughly your trade is the same thing as a
soldier studying soldiering during a long peace and then not
going to the war when the chance comes.
" (2.) The idea of my travelling in America and Africa
has been, besides getting a good education, to learn the oppor-
tunities that offer in the countries, to turn them to some good.
I have already lost a good chance by Americans having done
well (and especially the railways I saw) since I have been in
" (3.) It has been dashed good of the Charter Trust to
let me go away two years running (though without a salary)
and see the world.
" (4.) In India I should be enjoying myself, and should
learn nothing of business.
" (5.) There is a possibility of John and Arthur floating a
Copper Co. within the next six months. Having learned all
about the copper, I should look an uncommon fool if it was
brought out and everybody made money except you and me,
who were playing polo in India.
" With these opinions, I think it is my duty to chuck my
pleasure and great desire and return at once to business.
O my God, Mate, I am sick about it though, and fear you will
be greatly disappointed."
So by the end of the year Rivy was back in
London, full of large schemes of reading. In
South Africa he had ploughed his way through
A MEMOIR. 57
Lecky's History, and Morley's Burke had whetted
his interest in that great writer. So as soon as he
got home he purchased Burke in twelve volumes,
and Butler's Sermons, this latter on the ground
that it was a book " that Chatham, Pitt, and Glad-
stone studied. " He was very grateful for any
advice which gave him a clue to help him through
the labyrinth of his education. " Hugh Cecil
told some one that every day of his life he reads a
good speech and tries to reason out all the original
ideas which must have brought the thoughts into
the speaker's mind, and studies how they begin
and end their speeches." Lord Hugh was now by
way of becoming his exemplar in many things
" an absolute clinker and brilliant in every way ;
he makes one roar with laughter, quotes Shake-
speare, etc., and makes most clever jokes."
In January 1905 he stayed at Hatfield, and
wrote to Francis a long account of his visit. The
Lyttons, Lady Mabel Palmer (Countess Grey),
Miss Maud Lyttelton (Mrs. Hugh Wyndham),
the Harry Whites, Lady Edward Cecil, Lord
Hugh, and George Peel were there.
" After dinner acted charades. They chose most difficult
words in fact, names of people that my education had never
reached yet Hugh Cecil guessed every one. . . . They have
a most magnificent library, and a chapel bang in the centre
of the house ; indeed, to go from one end of the house to the
58 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
other you have to pass through the chapel, only the altar
being consecrated. ... In a quarter of an hour one learns
history by simply walking through these rooms. ... It
seems to me that people like the Cecils simply cannot help
being clever ; in each room are pictures of Prime Ministers,
etc. Four of their ancestors have been Prime Ministers ! . . .
They fairly do teach their children. The Salisbury boy, aged
eleven, has read nearly all the family papers. They have a
little boy three years old, and I assure you he knows far
more English poetry than me."
Francis, too, was not without his taste of
society. He went to Calcutta for the Viceroy's
Cup, saw the races from the Cooch Behar box,
and dined with Lord Kitchener. " Bachelor din-
ner," he wrote, " and played pool afterwards. Met
Hood,* who is in command of a battleship here.
He's a proper good chap. Didn't care a damn
for Lord K. ; bellowed at him as if he was Jones.
Such a change after frightened soldiers."
Rivy's devotion to duty was to be rewarded.
On his return to the City he found that he could
be spared for a couple of months, and on 3rd
February he was in the Dover train on his way
to India, " studying Burke on American Taxa-
Rivy's Indian trip was one of the most success-
ful expeditions that ever fell to a young man's
* Rear- Admiral Hon. H. L. A. Hood, who went down in the
Invincible at the Battle of Jutland.
A MEMOIR. 59
lot. Nothing happened to mar its perfection,
and he returned in three months, having had his
fill of every form of Indian sport, and having won
the blue ribbon of a game which he had never
tried before. He picked up Waldorf Astor at
Brindisi, and the two of them were deathly sea-
sick on the voyage to Port Said. " Went to
dinner, found the captain and one other out of
forty passengers, ate three courses, and was sick
between each/' is an entry in his diary. He
arrived at Bombay on i7th February, and on
the i gth found Francis at Bareilly. Francis had
grown a moustache, which just made the Twins
For the next month Rivy was the intelligent
tourist bent on seeing as many of the sights as
were consistent with polo, pig-sticking, and the
persevering study of Burke. He went first to
Agra ; then to Meerut, where he played a good
deal of polo and had his first experience of pig-
sticking, riding Francis's horse " Barmaid " ; then
to Umballa to stay with Eustace Crawley ; then
to Patiala, where the Settlement Commissioner,
Major Young, instructed him in Indian problems,
and he had a little pig-sticking ; then to Peshawur
by way of Umballa and Lahore. He was back
in Lucknow by iyth March, staying with Henry
Guest, and then on to Benares. At Bareilly he
60 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
went to a " pig-sticking week " with Francis,
Henry Guest, and Lord Charles Fitzmaurice, and
had four days of it. His diary records his dis-
appointment : " Most of us came to the con-
clusion that even if the pig were there it could
not be compared to fox-hunting. One wants to
find pig every fifteen minutes to make it really
amusing. Another drawback to my mind is that
when a party goes out, if one part enjoys it the
other members have probably had no rides, and
so been bored to death. Charlie Fitzmaurice was
very fed up." After that he returned to Agra
to see the Pearl Mosque again, and then to Delhi,
where he studied the battlefield of the Ridge.
On 26th March he and Francis started for the
ground of the Kadir Cup meeting, which that
year was held in the Sherpur country.
The Kadir Cup is the Derby of the sport of
pig-sticking, and is run off each spring in a selected
area of jungle. Rivy had been first introduced
to that noble game exactly twenty-three days
previously, so his boldness in competing may be
likened to that of a man who takes on the master-
ship of a famous pack of hounds after a few
weeks in the hunting field, or a novice who
leaves the jumps of a riding school to ride in
the Grand National. I quote the tale of his ex-
ploit exactly as he wrote it in his diary. The field
A MEMOIR. 61
was enormous, there being over a hundred com-
" 26th March, Sunday.
" Got to camp about 12.30. Most delightful situation.
Generals Mahon * and Douglas Haig there, and we made
many pals. At 5 p.m. F. G. and I went out riding and schooled
the horses, nearly slaying two wretched cattle in the attempt.
Found a sow and galloped after her. A jolly evening, and
to bed early.
" 2jth March, Monday.
" Breakfast at 6.45. The first round of the Kadir was run
off. I drew General Mahon and Douglas Haig, and rode
' Cocos ' first. We were in the third heat, and got away after
being one hour on the line. I was first on to the pig, being
some way in front ; but my horse slipped up on the flat, and
so General Haig got the spear. Francis made all the running
in his heat, and won. We then rode on an elephant and
watched the remaining heats.
" F. G. was beaten on position in his second heat by
Barrett. He was first on the pig, and did most of the riding;
but it jinked, and Barrett got the spear. I was on the line
for nearly three hours in my second heat. We had three
false starts, and lost our pig in some very heavy goul after a
short ride. At last we got away, with every one shouting
at different pig from the elephants. Haig (again drawing the
same heat) and I got on to a very fast sow, and had a heavy
gallop ; and I speared her, only to find we had gone after the
wrong one, and the heat was declared off !
" 2&th March, Tuesday.
" The line started at 8. Our heat was first run off. We
were slipped up to an old pig, and I, getting up to him first,
soon speared. Two hours after I had to run off the next
round, in rather a hot heat of Last and Kennard. We got a
good start to a fast pig. 'Barmaid' went like a gun, and
* General Mahon had won the Kadir Cup in 1888.
62 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
soon got a long lead, and I got first spear. F. G. drew White
and Learmouth. He rode ' Recluse ' and cut out most of the
work ; but the pig jinked right back, and let in White, who
got the spear.
" 2tyth March, Wednesday.
" A red-letter day for me. The line started at 8.30 for the
semi-finals. Three heats were left in two threes and a four.
I was in the four heat, composed of Barrett (i5th Hussars), Last,
Neilson (4th Hussars), and myself. We were quite two and a
half hours on the line, and had three false starts. At last we
got away to a jinking pig. Last, and I did most of the riding,
with Barrett some way behind. Last nearly got a spear once,
and we bumped unavoidably. The pig then jinked right
back to Barrett, who was about to spear him, when I came up
with a rush. The pig jinked across my front ; he speared him
very lightly behind, while I ran him through and broke my
spear. The umpire said he would give it to Barrett if he
could show blood, but luckily for me he couldn't. It would
have been bad luck for me if I had lost this spear, as I did
most of the riding. So I qualified for the final. ' Barmaid '
went wonderfully, but got rather beat, as it was a severe heat.
" On returning to the line I was met by F. G. and General
Mahon. F. G. then became stud groom. We took ' Barmaid '
and let her stand in the river, and then she had three good
rolls in the sand. After an hour's rest we started for the
final Prit chard (and Lancers) (on 'Toffee/ the horse which
F. G. tried to get me for 100, but Pritchard would only sell
'Barmaid' for 40), Ritchie of the I5th, and myself. We
soon got a good start on a pig, and I was on him first and
drew some way to the front, and just got a spear as he jumped
into a nullah. The mare jumped right over him and knocked
the spear, which was smashed, out of my hand. The pig
carried my spear some yards. It was a grand feeling as the
spear ran into him to think I'd won the Kadir. Pritchard
naturally appealed, as I'd dropped the spear, but the com-
mittee upheld the umpire's decision.
" In the afternoon the Hog-hunter's Cup, a point-to-point
A MEMOIR. 63
over three and a half miles, was run, and F. G. won easily on
' Cocos/ going a line of his own the whole way. This rather
made people stare, our carrying off the two chief events of
the day. F. G. and I then went out and found the pig killed
in the final which had been lost, and hacked thirteen miles to
Gujraula and caught the train for Calcutta. ... I went
round to the Viceregal Lodge, and found Nipper Poynter as
A.D.C. there. I shall never forget the look of astonishment
on his face when I told him I'd won the Kadir."
So much for the interloping Rivy's perform-
ance in a " game he did not understand." The
history of the Kadir Cup, and indeed of Indian
sport, hardly contains a parallel. It was the
first time that the Cup had left India. He spent
the next few weeks shooting at Cooch Behar
with the Maharajah and his sons, and had a
variety of sport tiger, rhino, and leopard. On
the whole he thought Indian shooting overrated.
:< It is too civilized. * To have been tiger-shoot-
ing ' always sounded in my ears the same as to
have gone through a battle and run great risks
of one's life. It is not so. The meanest, most
diminutive person might as easily shoot twenty
tigers as the boldest and the fittest. Yet it is worth
a very long journey to see the immense jungle,
the elephants, and all the wild and delightful
surroundings of the Indian forests." He also
reflected a good deal on the difficult question
,of the education of Indian princes in England,
64 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
and came to the conclusion that Lord Curzon's
policy of discouragement was right. On 22nd
April he bade a sad farewell to Francis at Bombay,
and on 5th May he was dining with Harry Raw-
linson, Lord Lovat, and his brother Arthur in
Rivy spent most of May in his annual training
with the Bucks Yeomanry. In that month of
gorgeous weather he greatly enjoyed himself, and
in his spare hours he started a polo club in the
regiment. For the rest his main interest that
summer was polo, and he and his brothers Cecil
and Arthur played steadily all the season at Hurl-
ingham and Roehampton. To tell the story of
those matches would weary the reader, for of all
games polo is the worst subject for the resurrec-
tionist. An arid chronicle of strokes and goals
achieved or missed cannot reproduce the glamour
of those delectable days. A young man living in
London and regularly playing polo recaptures the
delights of school time. He is in the pink of
bodily health, and, as a background to his work
in office or chambers or barracks, has that happy
world of greensward and glossy ponies, where of
an afternoon and a Saturday he pursues a sport
which combines the delicate expertness of the
tennis court and the swift excitement of the
A MEMOIR. 65
hunting field. Rivy had a most successful season.
" My record," he wrote in September, " is cer-
tainly not bad, considering I have only played
' for three years. I have won the Novice's Cup,
the Junior Championship (besides being in the
final twice), the Roehampton Cup twice, and the
Rugby Open Cup, besides most of the London
In May Francis attained the desire of his
heart and joined the Qth Lancers. Just before
leaving he had become very keen on his work
with the 6oth, and was busy lecturing to his
company. ' By Jove," he wrote, " soldiering
is interesting when you train the men yourself.
... I think I know Clive nearly by heart, and
if only I could get hold of a picture of him, I
could imagine him walking about. I lectured the
men on him, which they liked very much." At
last came the moment of parting.
" I left the regiment on Wednesday, and dined on Tuesday
as a guest at a small farewell dinner. I am bound to say when
the time came I was most awfully sorry to go. It seemed so
funny to think that with the morrow I would be no more a
Rifleman, and 1 fear for a while I became like Amelia and could
not restrain the bitter tear. I think they were all sorry I
left. It is a consolation to think I leave behind me no regrets,
as I have never had words with any one."
A few days later :
66 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
" Here I am, R. G., at last a cavalry soldier, and as happy
as any millionaire or cheery bankrupt (whichever of the two
is the happiest). I am already attaining the cavalry air
slap my leg, wear spurs with no end of a rattle, and discuss
the infantry rather like we Etonians used to talk of the boys
at Westminster ! ... Of course, R. G., I know that I join
on most favourable conditions, as all the men and N.C.O/s
have heard about the polo, and about the second day after
my arrival every London paper contained an enormous picture
of R. G. This has been a great topic here, as all the regiment
think it is me !
" To-day the farrier-corporal of my troop, who has been
shoeing my ponies, said they were the finest lot of cattle he
had seen. Then says he, ' You've got a terrible wonderful
name for polo in the regiment, sir/ So you see I have joined
with trumpets sounding and drums beating, and already I
find that my chief difficulty is not from want of feeling at
home, but from being too much at home to keep a back seat.
However, I mean to keep a back seat until I know my job
and have got the measure of all officers."
The Ninth at the time were commanded by
Claude Willoughby, who had married Francis's
old friend, Miss Sybil Murray of Loch Carron.
Francis's squadron leader was Lord Frederick
Blackwood. The change woke all his military
ambitions. " I am going to try, now I am settled
down, for two stages (i) to be adjutant of this
regiment ; (2) to go to the Staff College. . . . 11
find my four years with the 6oth have been an
invaluable experience, as I have that confidence
which all possess who think they have been
taught in a better school. Though I have been
A MEMOIR. 67
here only a fortnight, I find there are several,
who are supposed to be teaching me, that I
could teach. But I am doing my utmost to
keep my mouth shut and learn all I can. The
N.C.O.'s and men are first class a much better
class than the infantry. Of course I find the
riding chaps superior in the same way as we
fox-hunters think the huntsman superior to the
gamekeeper. If you can't grasp my meaning, it
would take me so much time to explain that you
would become weary, so I will leave you in dark-
ness. The difference between the cavalry and
the infantry soldier is the same as the difference
between Tom Firr or Thatcher and the leading
gamekeeper, or between the huntsman of the
O.B.H. and Tom Boon. Both, of course, do their
work equally well, but one is the nicer to deal
with." And at the end he becomes humbler.
' By Jove, R. G., I have never appreciated before
the good fortune and kindness we receive from
the Almighty. Here am I, a good rider and very
fond of it, yet I ride only the best horses. But
some of the men ! A man is given a horse known
to be next door to impossible. Some cannot ride,
and are frightened to death. Yet they must ride
over the jumps horses that cannot jump, pull and
probably run away."
Francis shared a house at Rawal Pindi with
68 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Lord F. Blackwood, and boasted of its comfort,
its quiet, and the opulence of its chintzes. He
compared it to its advantage with the Bath Club,
where Rivy had now gone to live. But in July
he found a crumpled leaf in his bed of roses.
" R. G., you made ' in theory ' to me, some years
ago, the observation that it was in the end better
to live by oneself and not share a house with a
pal. What you said in theory I have been through
in practice. Old Freddie has just returned. The
first thing I spied among his kit was a gramophone.
He turns it on morning, noon, and night. It is
quite comical. Old Freddie is one of the best,
but he sits, at the age of thirty, the whole day
listening to the same old tune, the same old story,
the same old * Bull and Bush.' ... I am trying
to work in spite of the heat, Freddie and his
He worked to some purpose. " I must say,"
he wrote in August, " I like working far more
than anything else when I am at it." He stuck
steadily to his books, and I find him offering to
send Rivy " a clinking book of notes on strategy
of Jap. War, stolen from Lord K." He was de-
voted to the Commander-in- Chief, from whom
he purloined books. Reggie Barnes * told him of
* Now Major-General Sir R. Barnes ; commanded the West Lanes
(Territorial) Division in France.
A MEMOIR. 69
Lord Kitchener's methods of work information
which he passed on to Rivy. " He is up at 6
every day, and writes till 8.30 ; then on after
breakfast till 2, and then two hours in afternoon.
All his correspondence is done by his A.D.C.'s,
who typewrite for him either Fitzgerald, Victor
(Brooke), or Reggie ; he never gives anything to
a clerk, so that nothing leaks out." In October
Lord Kitchener lunched with the Ninth. " I
think he likes us awfully. His first remark is
always, ' Hullo ! how are the Ninth ? Been
killing any more black men ? ' " In the Curzon-
Kitchener controversy Francis, of course, took
the soldier's side and upheld the military against
the civil arm ; but he had a great regard for the
new Viceroy, Lord Minto " a sporting fellow
who has ridden three times in the Grand
National, and one of the few living who has
broken his neck steeplechasing." At the end of
October he had the pleasure of informing Rivy
that he had come out top in the first part of
his examination, and had won a certificate of
Upon this Francis, who had suffered a good
deal from Rivy's scathing comments on his lec-
tures, especially the celebrated one on Clive,
thought it was time for him to adopt the role of
mentor. So he thus addresses his brother :
yo FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
" Now for business. What good are you doing in the
" I have been thinking about you and your future pros-
pects for some time, and I have quite come to the opinion
that you are wasted hunting for money. In England people
are very narrow-minded, and the ruling idea (especially in
our family) is that one must be rich.
" I am beginning to think otherwise. To be rich is very
nice, but you are no happier, and you do your country no
good. Both C. and A. have been successful, but beyond
buying extra hunters, deer forests, and houses, to me they
have not attained a very high position. I would rather you
chucked the City. I think you should enter Parliament and
work your way to the Cabinet ; I would far rather you suc-
ceeded in politics than in the City.
" You know Hugh Cecil, Milner, and Co. They should
all give you advice. I hope you will think this over, and that
your thoughts will be guided rather by the amount you will
help the nation than by the amount wjth which you will fill
" As we stand at present we have not done badly :
"The Uncle. . . . General
" Uncle Harry . . . Admiral.
" First Cousin Jack Maxwell General.
" Harold ..." . Colonel.
" R. G. . . . . . Winner of Kadir.
" F. G Championship.
"Cecil . . 2nd in National.
" It is about time the City chaps gingered up ! Chuck the
City and become Minister of War, and I will get on the Army
Council to help you/ 1
To this flattering injunction Rivy replied :
" You discuss in your letter my future. I, oddly enough,
A MEMOIR. 71
have been thinking this over for some months. In fact, ever
since I've travelled and read I have more and more seen that
money is not everything, and my feeling has been politics
and not business. But I am convinced of one thing that
the greatest mistake one can make is to go into politics without
being exceedingly well furnished, having determined absolutely
on your principles, and feeling that you are prepared to back
them up with all earnestness, and, so to speak, with your life.
Now, many people enter Parliament as Tories because their
fathers were Tories, and then find, after some years, that they
did not know what Tories and Liberals were, and that their
whole sentiments are really Liberal; just as you entered the
infantry because your uncle was there, and found later you
were born for cavalry.
" I really inwardly don't know whether I am Tory or
Liberal, Free Trader or Protectionist, and so I have decided
to stay on in the City and earn a good living, but -shall not
do more work than I find necessary there. I have been fear-
fully slack about business in the last six weeks, and read history
whenever I got a chance. In this way I hope in about five
years to have thoroughly mastered the various opinions and
principles of our political leaders, and traced through history
how those opinions came to be formed, and discovered whether
I agree with them. At the same time I shall have my busi-
ness, which will, therefore, make my reading a hobby, and I
shall be building up some capital, and shall, if I want to,
enter politics well furnished and keen and prepared to join
in the contest ; whereas so many people who start politics at
twenty-five are bored with them at thirty-three. Chamberlain
never entered till he was forty. ... I shall gradually try to get
to know fellows of the Hugh Cecil class, but I want them to see
me as an earnest, hard-working chap, not as a stupid stay-at-
country-houses-go-to-balls sort of idiot."
Rivy certainly read all that year with praise-
worthy persistence. He seems to have found
72 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
novels a toughish proposition, and generally notes
in his diary how he set his teeth and plugged
away till he finished one. For example : " I have
finished Vanity Fair. Read like a Trojan for four
days. It is a good book. I never thought Rebecca
would turn out such a hot 'un." Burke, on the
other hand, had power to make him forget time
and place, as witness this entry : " Wednesday I
was to have gone to a ball, but after dinner began
reading my Burke, and am ashamed to say that
I read till 245 a.m." In a letter to Francis, in
which he made hay of the prose style of that
laborious soldier, he bids him have recourse to
Burke, "who, though elaborate, is the finest
example of the English language." Rivy, indeed,
about this time had a curious passion for serious
writers, and does not seem to have needed the
work on " Concentration " with w r hich Mrs. Corn-
wallis-West presented him. At Eaton, " where
there is a fine but ugly library that no one uses
but me," he read Venus and Adonis, which he
considered " delightful, and fine English." He
studied the Iliad in Pope's translation, largely
during working hours in his City office. "It is
a first-class book, full of descriptions of battles,
great orations of generals, both before and dur-
ing a battle, and wonderful deeds of the heroes
interested, who slay everybody." He copied
A MEMOIR. 73
extracts from Bacon's Essays to send to Francis to
point his lectures to his troops. He considered
Morley's Life of Gladstone " a delightful book '
(an epithet almost as unexpected as Raymond
Asquith's answer to the stock question as to
whether he had read that formidable work ; his
reply was, "Often"). At the end of December
he mentions that in the previous three months
he had got through " history up to 1860 ; Vanity
Fair ; Homer's Iliad (five volumes) ; Grenville
Papers (three volumes) ; Life of Macaulay ; a
fair sprinkling of Burke's speeches and his Life
by Morley ; Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice
(twice) ; S.'s Julius Ccesar ; Europe and Asia, by
Townsend ; Oliver Twist ; a little of Childe
Harold ; a book on Napoleon's strategy."
In addition to this miscellaneous reading, he
discovered a restless interest in military history,
and worked as if he had had the Staff College in
prospect. All during the autumn and winter he
was coached by Dr. Miller Maguire in the strategy
and tactics of famous campaigns an arrangement
in which Francis joined later, and which continued
right up to the outbreak of the Great War.
But the " earnest, hard-working chap " was not
averse to the country-house visits and balls from
which we have seen that he desired his name to
be dissociated. On yth June he writes :
74 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
" Went to a first-class show at Londonderry House. Talk
about the Patiala jewels ! One would not have noticed them.
The King and Queen and King Alfonso of Spain were there.
I got hold of Sybil Grey, who is just back from Canada, and
we pushed our way through the people ; stared at kings and
queens, elbowed princes, jostled dukes, stepped on mar-
quises, ignored earls and generals, and as for commoners we
treated them like dirt. It really was capital fun. I found
innumerable pals, and had a lot of chaff. The King amused
me very much. He is a grand old John Bull, and had a
broad grin on his face from beginning to end. The King of
Spain is a nice-looking young man of nineteen. I met Miss
Whitelaw Reid. Her father has just come over as American
Ambassador. He has taken Dorchester House, and I fancy
pays about 8,000 a year for it. She said, ' I have not yet
explored the whole house, but I guess you could just slide
grandly down those stairs on a tea-tray/ '
On Qth June :
" I met Harry Dalmeny, who amused me very much.
What an extraordinary chap he is ! Everybody who plays
county cricket sweats blood and goes to bed about 10. Not
so Harry. He went to a ball on Friday night and stayed till
3 in the morning. Next day he played against Essex,
and knocked up sixty-five runs in about an hour."
On 1 5th July he was staying at Buckhurst
with the Robin Bensons.
" We had a jolly party Sybil Grey, Miss Brodrick,
Paul Phipps, Geoffrey Howard, Douglas Loch and his new
wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Asquith, the latter a most charming
lady. I asked her how Asquith spent his time, to which she
replied by going into the minutest details. She told me he
earned 5,000 a year at the Bar (I always thought he earned
A MEMOIR. 75
about 14,000), but he is prohibited by his Parliamentary
duties from undertaking certain cases. She told me he lived
entirely by rules. He gets up at 8.45, and is at his chambers
or in the Courts by 10.30, and works there till 5. He then
goes to the House of Commons and stays till 8, when he
returns for dinner ; he then goes back to the House till 12.
After that, regularly for every day of his life, he reads for two
hours. Supposing he goes to a party and does not return till
2, he still sits up and reads for two hours, either his briefs
or some serious book, and finishes up with a novel in bed. In
discussing certain people she told me that Arthur Balfour
was not very well educated in the ordinary sense. I wonder
what she would say about you and me, F. G. She would
probably compare our brains with an Irishman's whisky
bottle empty. ' '
In August he went to the Westminsters at
Eaton for a polo week. The house he thought
" the most enormous place I was ever in, but
dreadfully ugly, just like the Natural History
Museum with two wings added to it." " G.
Wyndham (War Minister) came over every day
and brought Hugh Cecil. The latter was much
interested, and said he 'admired the bravery of
the players, while he sat like a miserable weed in
a tent.' ' In the beginning of September he was
in Ireland, staying with Lord Grenfell at the Royal
Hospital, and playing a good deal of polo. After
that he went to Ashby St. Ledgers to stay with
Ivor Guest, where the conversation must have
been curious. " Ivor started an argument after
dinner which continued for about three and a half
76 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
hours on : * Granted that one's time is limited, is
it better to read all the masterpieces once and
then read them through again, rather than read
the masterpieces and then the sidelights referring
to them ? ' Ivor argued that a man would do
best to read the masterpieces only, whereas
Winston and Lytton said it was better to read
other books as well, so as to check the master-
pieces, for many people learned far more from
outside books than from the very highest au-
thorities." There is also this note : " Winston
Churchill is undoubtedly exceedingly able, but
if you mention a subject to him he instantly must
go into an oration. We talked of the Curzon-
Kitchener methods. He went into an oration
about the Commander-in-Chief being an autocrat,
and its danger, etc. By-and-by I discovered that
neither Winston nor Ivor had read a word of any
of the Blue Books on the subject." From Ashby
St. Ledgers he went to Polesden Lacey to stay
with Sir Clinton Dawkins, and there he met Lord
Milner, who was gradually taking place along with
Lord Hugh Cecil as the chief object of his ad-
miration in public life.
In pursuance of the political training which
he had laid down for himself, Rivy began that
autumn to practise speaking. There was then a
great revival of interest in politics in England.
A MEMOIR. 77
Mr. Balfour's Government was known to be on
the eve of resignation, and everywhere caucuses
were girding their loins and getting ready for a
general election. In spite of his cross-bench
professions, Rivy found himself ranging with the
Unionists. Most of his friends were of that
persuasion ; he was an ardent Imperialist ; he
seems to have been a convinced, though imper-
fectly informed, Tariff Reformer ; and he had
strong views on that question of Chinese Labour
in South Africa which was to play so sinister a
part at the polls. His first adventure in oratory
was not very successful. On i8th October he
writes in his diary : " Went to a debate at the
London School of Economics, and spoke for ten
minutes on ' Unpopularity of Railways ' ; was
called to order for straying from the subject ; had
to read most of my speech/' His next attempt
was more fortunate. " Attended meeting at Brix-
ton, and spoke for thirty-five minutes on Imperial
Responsibilities in South Africa. Biggest attempt
I have yet made. Knew the speech so well I
hardly had to look at my notes. George Bowles
in the chair. Capital fun. A band, and a very
jolly evening." He also lectured somewhere on
Conscription, and sent his MS. to Francis, who
replied thus : "I have read your lecture. What
must have struck all who heard it, and what
7 8 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
struck me most when I read it, was, how you
could have said so much and touched so little
on the real subject."
On 5th December, during that uneasy time
when Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was form-
ing his new Ministry, Rivy went to stay at Hat-
field. His account of his visit deserves quotation.
" A large party, including Asquith and Mrs., Mrs. Laurence
Drummond, Etty Grenfell [Lady Desborough], Revelstoke,
Lord and Lady Kenmare and Lady Dorothy Browne, General
Broadwood, Arthur Strutt, Lady Airlie and Lady Kitty
Ogilvie, Dick Cavendish and Lady Moira, Miss Claire Stop-
ford, Edward Packe, Micky Hicks-Beach, Hugh Cecil, and a
very nice Miss Asquith. After dinner the older ones played
bridge, and we played stupid games like ' snap.' My God !
Hugh Cecil did make me laugh ; he is the most amusing fellow
you ever saw.
" Most of the party went up to London, except four of us
who shot partridges. I should have done better if I had
thrown my gun at the birds instead of shooting at them. At
dinner I took in Miss Asquith. Afterwards I had a long yarn
with Hugh Cecil about politics. We discussed elections and
arguing with the working man. He told me that what gen-
erally happened was that you visited the working man and
employed the finest arguments for about half an hour, and
the only reply you got was, ' Oh yes, I quite understand.
You have been very well educated, and I don't believe a
word you say.' After dinner we did a sort of dumb crambo
acting, and I talked politics with Miss Asquith, who is ex-
tremely clever and, of course, full of politics.
" In the smoking-room Asquith and H. Cecil discussed
the various bishops !
A MEMOIR. 79
" We went pheasant-shooting. I shot very badly. There
were a lot of birds ; we got 300. After tea I played
bridge against the future Chancellor of the Exchequer. We
dressed up for dinner in fancy dress, and had a cotillon after-
wards. I went as a toreador.
" I made great pals with Mrs. Asquith. I do not know
if you know her, but she is an absolute clinker. She dressed
up as a Spanish dancer, and did a pas seul before us all. What
will people say in about twenty years when they hear this !
The leading lady of the Government dancing a pas seul, while
the Chancellor of the Exchequer looked on ! Hugh Cecil
said he thought he had dislocated the inner organs of his
body from laughter.
" And now for secrets. . . . [Here follow certain matters
which have long ago been made public.] Read to-day's
Times, F. G. There is about half a column on the political
situation, which gives you much of what I have written
above. Asquith was fearfully perturbed about how they
got hold of it, for only six people knew the situation himself,
Grey, Haldane, C.-B., Morley, Tweedmouth, and (proclaim
it to your ancestors !) R. G.
" Mrs. Asquith told me that Asquith had had a terrible
two days. The Liberals, having been out for ten years, of
course owe honours to a great number of people. Innumer-
able people had called on him and implored him to give them
something men whose whole lives have been given up to
working for the party, and now there is nothing for them.
This to some of them meant a career finished. So you see
that even being Chancellor of the Exchequer and having the
making of a Government isn't altogether honey.
" Here is an amusing story of Lady Curzon. The day
after Curzon arrived there was a bad accident at Charing
Cross. Half the roof fell in, owing to a girder snapping. Lady
Curzon said wittily that ' Brodrick must have cut that girder
on purpose, but so like him was a day late ! '
" Had there not been this crisis, the party at Hatfield was
8o FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
to have included Austen Chamberlain and Balfour ; but they
had to stay in London to pack up their belongings. We had
great chaff, as Austen C. was packing up to let the Asquiths
in. They told me an amusing story that happened last
summer. Hugh Cecil and Austen Chamberlain had a race
on trays along a gallery. Cecil slipped off his tray and won
without it. The judge at the end of the room said, ' The Free
Trader has won/ ' Yes/ says Cecil, ' but he has lost his seat
in doing it ! ' "
In the same letter Rivy gives Francis a piece
of advice most characteristic of the attitude of
both the Twins to life. They were devotees of
the " grand manner," which appears to do things
easily and without effort, however much laborious
spade-work may be done in secret. Francis is
adjured to study the hill tribes against a possible
frontier campaign in the next two years. " Do
not tell anybody what you are about. For some
reason or other people are always inclined to
think a person who does anything from instinct
more wonderful than if he has practised at it
first ; just as you hear, * Isn't it wonderful how
So-and-so plays polo so well, and never practises
at all ? ' whereas, as a matter of fact, the said
person has been years practising. Demosthenes
was renowned for his impromptu speeches. In
reality, he had an underground chamber full of
looking-glasses, where he used to rehearse every
single speech that he made for weeks, and some-
To Rivy, as to most people in England, the ab-
sorbing question in the first months of 1906 was
politics. Seeing a fight approaching, he conceived
it his duty to hurl himself into the thick of it.
He had lessons in elocution, and discovered
that he breathed badly ; so he promptly had his
adenoids removed, and, a little later, a broken
bone taken from his nose. When convalescent
he went to stay at Eaton with the Duke of West-
minster, who had returned that morning from
South Africa. There he found a large party, and
had some good shooting and hunting. " Imagine
the change of times. The meet was twenty-six
miles away, and formerly they had to catch the
8.50 train, and did not get back until 9 at night.
Yesterday Bend Or and I and John Fowler, with
Bend Or driving, went in a new motor car he had
just bought of 100 horse-power that could go
ninety miles an hour. It certainly frightened the
life out of me. We were supposed to start at
82 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
10, but started at 10.25, and arrived first at the
meet at 10.55. . . . Wilfred Ricardo was in fine
form. He made me roar at breakfast one morning,
when, owing to his not having a horse, he was
going out snipe-shooting. ' To think ah that
I ah am forty years old and have never shot a
snipe ! I feel the same sort of sensation that
these big-game shooters must know when they
are approaching the tracks of a rhino.' "
After that, in Rivy's phrase, " everything was
" I thought it a rare chance, so have been hard at it. On
Monday I went to a meeting of 1,500 beyond King's Cross.
The Conservative candidate spoke, but they booed and
shouted and yelled to such an extent that he had to give it
up, and I did not speak. Five were chucked out. Such
remarks as these : ' Hold your jaw ! ' ' Shut your mouth ! '
' Chuck him out ! ' ' Where's Joey ? ' ' Pigtails ! ' amused
me much. Tuesday another meeting at Bow, in the East
End. Much more quiet. The candidate spoke so long and
was asked so many questions that I only spoke about six
minutes. Wednesday went down to Enfield, in Essex, and
found a huge meeting of 2,000. Felt in the deuce of a funk
for a minute. There was a perpetual uproar of ' No Chinese ! '
' Pigtail ! ' etc. The candidate spoke for three-quarters of an
hour, and then they howled him down. Then R. G. spoke
for twenty minutes amid a continual roar. I had to wait
half this time while they yelled at me. Rare good fun. On
such occasions one is not a bit nervous, only pining for them to
stop and then give them hell. The speaker after me began :
' Ladies and gentlemen ' (roars) ' Gentlemen' (roars) 'Gentle-
men and others ' (laughter and uproar). After interruption
A MEMOIR. 83
' One thing is very sure : if they tax brains you'll get rich/
Thursday evening went down to Aylesbury, and motored
seven miles from there to a village and spoke on Chinese
Labour for thirty-five minutes. They were perfectly quiet ;
only two interruptions, both of which I sat on."
The next week he went to Woolwich, where he
had a rough time with Chinese Labour. " They
kept interrupting me and yelling that they con-
sidered the black man to be every bit as good as
the white man. To which I replied : ' Would
you allow your daughters to marry black men ? '
' Of course we would/ they all shouted. That
pretty well knocked me out." Two days later he
went to Loughton, in Essex, where he had a real
success. " Just as the meeting began they gave
me a few points that had been raised, and asked
me to deal with them. I got in the deuce of a
funk and thought I was certain to make a mess
of it. Luckily, the points that were raised were
such as I knew pretty well and could fit into my
speech without very much altering the trend of
my arguments. I spoke for three-quarters of an
hour without faltering, and was never interrupted.
Afterwards there were some Radicals there who
asked me questions, and I had to answer them on
the spur of the moment. Luckily again, I knew
their points, and was able to score off them,
which made things even better." The result of
84 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
the elections Rivy took in a philosophical spirit.
His chief grievance was that so many of his " pals
have been chucked ; on the other hand, Helms-
ley, Dalmeny, and Thomas Robartes got in."
Meantime Francis was happy and busy in his
new regiment. He changed to David Camp-
bell's squadron, and was hoping soon to be pro-
moted Captain. His letters show that he was
very satisfied with life his friends, his work,
his house, and his prospects. It was the time of
the Prince of Wales's tour, and at Christmas he
was engaged in the special manoeuvres arranged
in honour of the visit, his division being com-
manded by Douglas Haig. There he met in-
numerable old friends, and his letters home are
chiefly lists of names. He kept open house at
Rawal Pindi, and entertained the officers of the
6oth and various German attaches, besides an
occasional English lady. He described the ma-
noeuvres in a long letter to his uncle, Lord
Grenfell, which Rivy was good enough to admit
was written in better English than usual.
" To all soldiers the organization was wonderful. Lord K.
refused any rehearsal of any sort. On Wednesday night the
Northern Army was thirty-five miles away marching and
fighting from 8 p.m. to 2.30 a.m. On Thursday at 10, 60,000
troops were fighting hard twenty-three miles from Pindi.
At 7 on Friday morning the whole, having slept in their
various camps round Pindi, and having cast their khaki, were
A MEMOIR. 85
paraded in tunics, with spotless clothes and with shining
buttons. By 3.30 p.m. on that day the great review was over
without a hitch of any sort or kind. And yet they say the
British officer is a fool and knows nothing ! One squadron
only of the 3rd Hussars appeared in khaki, some of their
transport having been delayed. This, to my mind, is wonder-
ful, and no one who has seen the transport out here, with
the thousands of camels, mules, carts, ponies that 60,000
troops require, can but be amazed. It must be remembered
that individually not one native servant or driver knows who
he is or where he is going, and yet 60,000 troops were concen-
trated that night without difficulty/ 1
Francis gave up his r61e of host with regret.
" I quite miss them/' he wrote. " The chances
a soldier gets of living under the same roof as a
woman are few and far between in this country.
I felt quite homely with ladies under my roof and
larky maids picketed in the garden."
When it was all over he went off to Calcutta
to a polo tournament, where Francis Scott, who
was on the Viceroy's staff, introduced him to the
Mintos. There he met Harry Rawlinson and
consulted him about his next step. He had been
offered a post on Lord Kitchener's staff, and was
for some days in a state of indecision. Finally
he refused it. " It is a question of chucking the
regiment now and going on the staff, or becoming
an adjutant and then going to the Staff College.
The latter is far soundest." He, however, settled
with Victor Brooke that if serious war broke out
86 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
on the frontier he would be allowed to go there,
and he arranged with Lord Burnham that if the
affair were only a small campaign he would go
as Daily Telegraph correspondent. In the inter-
vals between polo and discussions about his
career he found time to go over a jute mill and
send Rivy a lengthy description of the process ;
to pump a German officer, Count Krage of the
Headquarters Staff, on the German Army system ;
and to take his full share in the gaieties of Cal-
cutta. " In the evening I went to a State ball,
and enjoyed it very much indeed. Danced in
a circle set apart for P. Wales, and so found no
crush! What a nice girl Harry Crichton's is!
By Jove ! R. G., these ladies do look different
to the old trouts out here. We had quite a
family supper party Francis Scott, Lady Eileen
[Elliot], Harry and his lady, and Mrs. Derek
At the end of January he was back at Rawal
Pindi, where he became the hero of a celebrated
adventure. I quote his laconic narrative.
" I went to a domino dance. Douglas Compton, Freddie
[Blackwood], and I dined alone with a bottle of pop. I went
dressed up by Lady Blood as a woman. Capital fun, especially
as Freddie defied me to go into the ladies' dressing-room.
When the ' Take off masks ' sounded, with about sixty women
I went into the dressing-room, where they were all powdering
their noses. All went well until the time arrived when I was
A MEMOIR. 87
the only one left masked. Some girl came up and said, ' Who
is it ? I believe it's a man.' She then started out to find
her mamma, and I started out to find the door. For days
afterwards all Pindi rang with this scandal. A man in the
ladies' dressing-room ! The story I heard, as told in our mess,
was this : ' A man went into the ladies' dressing-room, and
found all the ladies undressing. One lady saw it was a man,
gave a yell, and fainted. All the ladies then dashed at the
man to tear his clothes off ; he, however, flew for the door,
pursued by furious women, and just escaped. All the hus-
bands are now looking for the man, and everybody is saying
what they would do with him if they caught him.' I agreed
with everybody that it was dashed bad form, and could not
think who it could be."
But he was busy with other things than such
escapades. He employed a coach to come to him
twice a week for military history, and he enter-
tained a German cavalry officer, Count Konigs-
marck, from whom he learned much that was
faithfully recorded in his diary. He was also
working hard at Hindustani for his examination.
In March his polo team won the Inter-Regi-
mental Cup in the Subalterns' Tournament, and
in April he went on leave on a trip to the frontier.
' A capital chap, Howell of the Intelligence, is
arranging my show," he told Rivy. " Remember
HowelFs name. One day you will see him Gen-
eral, Sir or Lord a mighty clever varmint." *
* Brigadier-General Philip Howell was killed in Aveluy Wood
during the Battle of the Somme.
88 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
I have before me Francis's journal of his fron-
tier tour. He started from Peshawur on the nth
of April, and travelled by Kohat and Bannu,
followed the Afghan border line, and penetrated
some distance into Waziristan. The diary is a
vigorous narrative, but most of the reflections on
frontier policy are now out of date. The writer
was especially uneasy about Russia, and has much
to say about the Muscovite strategic railways.
After his fashion he intersperses many good
stories. One is of a certain border chief who
possessed a small ' cannon and only one bullet.
Whenever he saw his enemy from the top of a
tower he used to let the cannon go. The enemy,
having to pass the tower most days to go to
work, used to pick up the bullet, and every now
and then an intermediary was sent to buy it back
for two shillings ! The document was sent to
Rivy, who remonstrated on Francis's carelessness.
" You must really send your letters in stronger
envelopes. You say, ' Treat these papers as most
confidential,' and yet they appear to have come
to pieces and to have been put into an envelope
by the Post Office."
In May Francis was back at Murree, very
anxious about his English leave, since the Qth
Lancers were under orders for South Africa. He
hoped to get it in October before sailing, and
A MEMOIR. 89
be in England for the winter. At home he pro-
posed to do three things to learn German and
study Germany, to go over the Franco-German
battle-fields, and to do a course of topography at
Chatham. A long letter from Harry Rawlinson
in June advised France instead of Germany, and
comforted Francis on the sore subject of the
transfer to South Africa on the ground that the
dangerous state of affairs among the Natal natives
would probably soon lead to a native rebellion.
A letter from Francis to Rivy about this time is
typical of the writer, who was passionately gener-
ous provided his virtues could escape notice. ' I
am so grateful to you for making me some cash,
and I have been able to put it to good use. Our
riding master, K. such a good chap could not
afford to bring his wife and two children to the
hills for the summer, so I have taken a house
for him. It cost about 50, but it was well
worth it. You have no idea how awful it is for
women, and especially children, in Pindi in the
hot weather. Please treat this as entre nous and
tell no one else. K.'s letter of gratitude is really
due to you, for if it was not for you I would be
begging my self. "
In June Francis went in for his examination
in Hindustani, which he passed with honour,
and then departed for a short trip in Kashmir.
9 o FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
The rest of the summer was rather poisoned for
him by a row which he had in July with a native
pleader, who ventured to race him on a dusty
road in a tonga, and was summarily called over
the coals for his pains. The pleader brought
an action against Francis for assault, and was
emboldened by the behaviour of the military
authorities, who foolishly tried to persuade him
to keep it out of court. For a few weeks Francis
was a prominent figure in the native press
" this brutal lieutenant, who is a son of a lord
and a friend of the King's," etc. The situation
was a delicate one, for the Qth Lancers had once
before got into similar trouble. Francis, know-
ing that Lord Kitchener wished the thing not
to come to trial, and desirous to obey his chief,
w r as yet most unwilling to climb down when
he believed he had a good case, and in the end
managed to effect a satisfactory settlement to
the credit of both parties. This gave him an
occasion to expound to Rivy his philosophy of
life. " I have been guided by a few principles :
(i.) Form your own opinions and never mind
other people's. (2.) Keep to the truth and have
it out. It has always beaten lies and liars. (3.)
What is done is done, and no amount of regrets
and groanings can undo it ; so make the best of a
bad job. (4.) Make sound dispositions, and leave
A MEMOIR. 91
the rest to fortune. (5.) Deal with natives by
deeds rather than by entreaties."
Rivy, when his electioneering was over, went
to hospital for a slight operation, and two days
later rose from his couch to go to the House of
Lords to hear Lord Milner on Chinese Labour.
He was busy with discursive reading, princi-
pally Pope's Odyssey and Disraeli's Lord George
Bentinck " also a topping book entitled The
Education of an Orator, by Quintilian, which is
a translation. It discusses the whole of one's
education from the age of about four, and tells
you the best books to read, how to learn to
discuss and argue, etc. What made me get it
was that in Gladstone's Life I found continual
allusions to it, and also in Macaulay." A little
later we find that earnest politician in the
House of Commons under the Gallery. " In
the evening Joe and Balfour had a rare crack
at the Government. A fellow called Smith *
made what is said to be one of the best maiden
speeches for the past twenty years. He spoke
for an hour, and kept the whole place in roars
of laughter. Even in the report in the Times
it appears amusing. You must imagine a very
sarcastic voice, and each time the Ministers
cheered he gave them a whack in the mouth
* Now Lord Birkenhead, Lord Chancellor of England.
92 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
with some snub. I never enjoyed anything
Rivy felt the shades of the prison house
beginning to close about him. A proof was that
he was more amused by politics than by racing.
Here is his reflection upon the Grand Military :
" I can remember thinking the fellows who rode
at Sandown most wonderful heroes, whereas on
Saturday it struck me that there were some rather
moderate jockeys flogging round on very moderate
horses." But youth revived in May when, after
doing a Yeomanry course at Netheravon under
Reggie Barnes, he began his polo season. He
generally played with his brother Cecil, and the
combination was highly successful. This kind of
sentence occurs constantly in his letters : " R. G.
has never been in such form since he played polo.
He got five goals two runs down half the length
of the field and one down the whole length, and a
goal at the end of each." But his letters did not
please the exile in India. " You never mention
the family doings," Francis expostulated, " or the
gossip or scandal of the town. I see in a paper
Lady Warwick is a Socialist. You never told
me. Write news, R. G. not Times articles, as
I take in the Mail. I always understood the
advantage of a shorthand typist was the amount
they could write and their powers against fatigue.
A MEMOIR. 93
I recommend the sack of yours, as he seems to
own neither of these qualities."
In June Rivy changed his business. He had
met Mr. Bonbright in America, and he now went
into partnership in an English branch of his
house, of which the directors were Lord Fairfax,
Mr. Fisher, and himself. His agreement entitled
him to twenty-five per cent, of the profits, and at
the moment the prospects seemed rosy. Francis
received the news gravely. " Well done, R. G.
It does seem funny : you a ^4,ooo-a-year Johnnie
and F. G. a 4OO-a-year-in-debt chap. You de-
serve all you have got. But don't become a
miser, or selfish, and think it necessary that you
should spend it all on yourself. You can help
our pals royally."
The letters of the brothers that summer are
amusing reading. Francis, busy with work for
examinations and doleful about his leave, took up
a critical attitude to life. He saw faults in his
colleagues which he had not noticed before ; one
he described with startling insight as " the sort of
chap who gets up things on board ship." But
he was also slightly critical of Rivy. " Thanks
awfully for the evening waistcoats," he wrote.
* Did you see them before they started ? I
asked you for the latest fashion ! The ones you
have sent I know when I left England were begin-
94 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
ning to get out of date in Putney ! " Rivy, indeed,
that summer was in a somewhat schoolmasterly
mood. Francis, a little bored with slogging at
Hindustani, asked for an occasional novel some-
thing that would be " a relief at night and would
ginger one up for the history books." He mildly
suggested some book like Mademoiselle de Maupin.
Rivy replied by sending him that gloomy work, The
Jungle, and advising him if he wanted anything
more to read Pickwick again. " Windham Baring
told me his father [Lord Cromer] always rereads
these old books, and so what you hear him quote
is only some joke he has read a hundred times."
He added the recommendation that Boswell's
Johnson and Macaulay's Life were books that
Francis should always be reading in his spare
moments. A week later he gave him his philos-
ophy of reading.
" Do please give up reading rubbishy novels. There are
books that have survived the critieism of centuries ; surely
these must be more worth reading than worthless stuff that
lasts about three weeks. Such books as Walpole's Letters,
Shakespeare's Plays, Boswell's Johnson, Macaulay's Life,
Lecky's History, Morley's Miscellanies, and even Morley's
Gladstone are all things that are easy to read and will profit
you ten thousand times more than what you call ' light read-
ing.' I advise you to send a telegram to Calcutta and ask
them to send you a cheap copy of Shakespeare or Walpole's
Memoirs, and read them. If on the receipt of this you wish
me to pick out ten or twelve books of the above sort, well
A MEMOIR. 95
bound, and send them out, let me have a cable reading ' Good
books.' Or if you still want me to send rubbishy novels,
send a cable reading ' Novels/ "
As Rivy then proceeded to give a long account
of a dinner with Leonard Brassey, a ball at the
Ritz, and the final of the Handicap Tournament
at Hurlingham, Francis may have felt that his
mentor scarcely did justice to his innocent desire
for a little variety in life. " I am honestly
played out in this country," he wrote, " and now
hate everything. We are existing, not living. I
long for a dart in England or France. . . . You
see, R. G., out here one is rather run down and
sometimes depressed. The hot weather and all
its discomforts are raging. Last year I slept in
the day, but this year I am fighting it. One can
read a stiff book for a certain time every day, but
a punkah swinging backwards and forwards and
creaking and squeaking, together with a tempera-
ture of over 100 degrees, drives one either to
sleeping or to an exciting book in an armchair."
And he went on to explain that he was satiated
with the History of Cavalry by Denison, and
wanted " such books as the Life of Madame de
Pompadour, or Napoleon as a man, naming the
women as well as the countries he captured."
With his departure in prospect he wished to
give presents to his friends, and especially to the
96 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Bloods. For Sir Bindon he suggested a good
sporting book with pictures of " lions seizing
goats, lions springing on donkeys, etc." But
Rivy would have none of it. He was deter-
mined that Sir Bindon should have a " really
well- written book," and suggested " The Life of
Chatham, Walpole's Letters, or, still better, Plato's
Republic." Small wonder that Francis began to
fear that his brother's culture was becoming too
much for him.
In September everything changed. Francis
Scott invited him to Simla to stay with the Mintos,
and life was once again rosy. " By Jove, R. G.,
this is a holiday. Here I am in a house with
stairs, and built like an English country house.
I could only gasp for two days. One is simply
taken aback by the niceness of these people.
Lord Minto is the best, after the Uncle, I ever met.
He is full of stories, and loves talking of racing
and forgetting he is Viceroy. The other day he
said, ' I always wish I had been a trainer/ Can
you picture any other Viceroy saying that ? . . .
It is a great business getting the Ameer to come
here. Formerly he had always flatly refused.
But the Viceroy wrote him such a kind, friendly
letter that he said he felt it his duty to please so
great a gentleman."
He spent a happy week at Simla in the com-
A MEMOIR. 97
pany of the Viceroy and Lady Minto and the
daughters, who were reverentially known through-
out India as " the Destroying Angels." " After
tea we all rode His Ex., Lady M., Francis, and I.
The two girls, Lady Ruby and Lady Violet, ride
astride. We galloped like blazes down the roads.
The girls made me, as they go like hello. I went
for a long ride with Lady Violet. She is a master
on her horse ; drives a coach, etc. ; at the same
time loves music, art, etc., and hates men. There
is a cup here for gymkhanas, held weekly, for the
lady who wins most events. She was second ;
Lady Eileen third. She said, ' Father was simply
beaming all over last night after you talked to him ;
he came home and said, " I must put our boy in
that regiment.'* . . . His Ex. told us stories
of Indians, his trips in the wilds, cock-fighting,
prize-fighting, etc. how he took Jem Mace to
Harrow and backed him against * Bottles.' Lady
M. begged me to try and find her some chaps for
their staff. It is a pretty difficult job, for every
one falls in love with the girls. ... I rode home
with Francis, and we bucked of old days. We are
determined to have you out, and your books in the
fire. I hear you have become a sort of heavy-
handed old man. You had better drop that when
I return. Well go back three years then, give
the books a holiday, and enjoy life." That visit
98 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
to Simla was the beginning for Francis of a close
friendship with Lady Minto, who had given him
a new insight into the problems of British rule
in India. He continued to correspond with her
and to expound his views on administration. " I
have just written a long letter to Lady Minto,
begging her not to worry what India thought of
their rule, for it was so difficult to judge a ruler.
Time always alters opinions." And he gave as
an example the somewhat disparate cases of
Warren Hastings, the Duke of Wellington, and
Mrs. Fitzherbert ! The life of the last-named lady
was one of the few lighter books which Rivy had
Francis arrived in South Africa towards the
end of October, and was presently settled with the
regiment at Potchefstroom. The immediate result
was a fit of profound depression. Potchefstroom
is a pleasant little town in a green, well- watered
valley, but after India it appeared comfortless and
the life dull. South Africa seemed the home of
senseless extravagance. As he wrote to Lord Grey :
" You cannot realize the terrible expenses incurred
here for merely living. We spend four times what
we spent in India, and get no return whatever."
The country, too, at the moment was suffering
from severe financial depression, which intensi-
fied the gloom. There were other drawbacks.
A MEMOIR. 99
" We have been given some terrible horses for
this regiment," Francis wrote. " They hardly
represent what the richest nation should give its
best regiment. We are quite ashamed, as we own
all sorts except cavalry horses." On the last day
of the year, in a letter to Rivy, he summarized his
annual record with some melancholy. " I fear I
have done little to advance myself and improve my
brain powers. A visit to the frontier, a language,
one big polo tournament, a first-class row, and the
departure from India are the main things I have
done." He cheered up a little after beating the
4th Hussars at polo by six goals to two when the
Ninth had only nine ponies and their six best
polo players on leave. But the bright spot on
his horizon was his leave, which was due in the
beginning of the new year.
Meantime Rivy had been living a strenuous
life. He rushed out to South Africa in August
for a short visit, and was back again in October.
In November he was at Hatfield, learning wisdom
from Hugh Cecil, which he duly recorded for his
brother's advantage, and making a speech at the
United Service Institution which earned him a letter
of thanks from Sir Robert Baden-Powell. On the
1 6th of that month he started with his brother
Arthur for Mexico, the party including Arthur's
wife, Lady Victoria, and his sister, Mrs. Bulteel.
ioo FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
An assiduous study of Prescott's Conquest of
Mexico on the voyage was his preparation for the
country, and in the few weeks there he certainly
managed to achieve a considerable variety of
experiences. His cousin, Mr. Max-Muller, was
at the Embassy, and through his agency the
party had an interview with President Diaz. His
reading during his stay is characteristic in its
catholicity " Kim, the Travels of St. Paul in the
Bible, and some of Paradise Lost." Early in Jan-
uary the party were with the Greys at Government
House, Ottawa, where Lady Victoria was sud-
denly taken ill with typhoid, contracted in Mexico.
Rivy was eager to be home to meet Francis on his
arrival in England, but felt bound to stay in
Ottawa. " Without me old Arthur is practically
alone. Besides this, the Greys have no relations
here except strange A.D.C.'s, and it is a relief, I
think, to them to feel they have some one on
Arthur's side to keep him company and cheer
him up. Mate, I would give a thousand pounds
to have met you on your arrival and gone with
you and shown you all the changes since you left.
I feel fearfully sick at the idea of any one meeting
you before me. ... Ernest is to be your valet
until we get another good one ; I can get the
Bath Club valet to look after me when you take
him anywhere. I have told him to get your room
A MEMOIR. 101
ready and put flowers there and make it comfort-
able. Tell him to put some of my pictures there
also, and to get my sitting-room straight for you.
Remember it is to be your home. . . . Don't
go and see my office or partners till I get back.
In fact, F. G., I feel terribly sick at your seeing
any one or being told anything about the family
doings except by R. G."
Francis arrived on February 9, 1907, but Rivy
was not there to meet him. Arthur's young wife
did not rally from her fever, and died on 3rd
February. It was the first time for long that
death had entered the family, and it was a sober
and saddened Rivy that returned to rejoin his
brother in that communal London life to which
they had so joyfully looked forward.
THE Twins were now twenty-six years old, and, as
they had grown more easily distinguishable in
person, so they had developed idiosyncrasies in
character. Francis remained of the two the
younger in mind. He took his soldiering very
seriously, but for him the Service was a kind of
enlarged Eton a thing with its own standards
and taboos, offering certain definite ambitions in
work and sport, which enabled him to lead a full
and satisfying life without questionings. He was
never in doubt about the values of things he
took them for granted ; whereas Rivy was for
ever at the business of stock-taking. Francis had
sometimes an uncanny power of going to the heart
of a matter, but usually he accepted life as it
came. Rivy was a more perplexed soul. His
vision was wider than his brother's, but more
often confused. Both had immense high spirits,
but Rivy had moments of real bewilderment and
depression. He was apt to feel himself on the
A MEMOIR. 103
fringes of life when he longed to be at the centre,
and since his thirst was habitually deeper than
his brother's, it was less readily quenched.
On another side the two were like the scrip-
tural Martha and Mary. Long ago Rivy had
made up his mind that he was Francis's protector
and guardian, and he laboured to make money,
not for himself, but that his brother might never
be stinted. That brother, as careless of cash as
the lilies in the field, went whistling on his cavalier
course, while Rivy knit his brows and laboured to
increase their joint resources. In every circum-
stance he thought first of Francis his comfort,
his education, his career ; and, without a touch of
priggishness, subordinated every plan to this end.
He never dreamed that he was doing anything
unusual, so great was his fraternal pride. He had
chosen for himself what seemed to him the natural
and inevitable r6le of the prosaic brother of a
phoenix. He was teaching himself, a civilian in a
sedentary business, the first lesson of the soldier
subordination ; and he learned it, I think, more
perfectly than Francis. The difference appeared
in their polo. Rivy was one of the steadiest
players in England, never working for individual
show but only for the game a sober exponent
of team-work. Francis was always incalculable,
and sometimes fantastically bad ; but on his day
104 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
he could be marvellous a thunderbolt, a tornado,
a darting flame.
The year 1907 is a lean one for the Twins'
biographer. They were both at home, and so
free from the necessity of correspondence. Rivy
came back from Canada on i6th February to find
Francis in London, and the two set themselves to
console their brother Arthur in his bereavement.
They collected an excellent lot of ponies, and
the whole summer was devoted to polo, except
for a course which Francis went through at the
Cavalry School at Netheravon, where he began to
work seriously for the Staff College. Rivy took
enormous pains with his grooms and stablemen.
He got beds from Heal for them to sleep in, and
used to provide sumptuous teas for them after a
The brothers got together a polo team known
as the Freebooters, in which Rivy was No. 2,
Francis No. 3, and the Duke of Roxburghe back.
Originally Cecil Grenfell was No. i, but his place
was afterwards taken by Captain Jenner, the
joint polo manager at Ranelagh. This team won
the Hurlingham Championship Cup, beating Roe-
hampton (a team mainly composed of the brothers
Nickalls) by four goals to two. That season estab-
lished the fame of the Grenfell family on the polo
field. I do not propose to describe the details of
RIVY ON "CINDERELLA."
A MEMOIR. 105
those old contests, but room must be found for a
letter of Rivy's telling of the greatest match of the
season, England against Ireland, played at Dublin
in Phoenix Park. The Irish team was : Major
Rotherham, the Hon. Aubrey Hastings, Captain
Hardress Lloyd, and Mr, P. P. O'Reilly.. For
England there played Rivy, Captain H. Wilson,
Mr. Pat Nickalls, and Captain Matthew-Lannowe.
England won by six goals to five, and Rivy had the
satisfaction of hitting the winning goal. Here is
his account :
" There was a strong wind blowing down the ground which
I think much spoilt the game. At times it was very slow and
sticky I think partly from the polo being so high class and
each fellow stopping the other one hitting out. The ball con-
tinually hit a pony in the hock and bounded out, and we were
several times stopped for accidents.
" I rode ' Cinderella ' the first ten, and the dodger ' Despair '
the second. Got away on the latter about mid-field, and, evading
all opposition, got the first goal on the near side amid applause
from the Saxons. Shortly afterwards Rotherham did a char-
acteristic run down and scored amid yells from the Irish. The
third ten I rode Roxburghe's pony, which played fairly well,
though he wants to be taught to jump off quicker. The fourth
ten ' Cinderella/ who played magnificently : I got another goal
on her at a difficult angle, and made two or three good runs.
Pat (Nickalls) got two goals, and gave us a lead of four to two.
Hardress then got a very good goal ; the Irish threw their hats
in the air all round the ground. Rotherham then got away
and got another goal ; you never heard such cheering in your
life ! In the fifth ten I got away on ' Despair ' and went all down
the ground, but somehow missed an absolute sitter. I think
the wind affected the flight of the ball, as it only missed by
io6 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
inches. We then got a fifth and sixth : the latter was not
allowed, as Bertie Wilson fell as the ball was hit and hurt his
knee. The other side then got a fifth, and three minutes
before time in the last chukker, in which I rode ' Cinderella/
I got a sixth, and so won the match. It was a pretty uncom-
fortable moment. Bertie Wilson cantered into the middle of
the ground ; ' Cinderella ' turned like lightning, and I found my-
self forty yards in front of everybody. If I hit the goal, there
was no glory ; if I missed it, probably fearful abuse. Luckily
I just snicked it through. I enjoyed the match very much
indeed ; it was such fun hearing those Irish chaps yelling the
In August and September Arthur was at
Howick with his children, and the Twins stayed
there. Lord Hugh Cecil was among the visitors,
and Rivy had the felicity of bringing Francis to
sit at his feet. The City that year can have seen
little of Rivy, and politics knew him not ; indeed,
I gravely doubt whether his books left their
shelves. He had his brother beside him, and was
bent on enjoying life. As soon as the season
began they hunted together, and early in December
Francis had a smash and broke his collar bone.
The two went to the Duke of Westminster at
Eaton for Christmas, and while there took part
in an escapade which enjoyed for a day or two
a wide notoriety. One evening after dinner
the Duke suggested motoring, as the weather
was clear and cold, and proposed going over to
Cholmondeley Castle, where there had been some
A MEMOIR. 107
talk of a dance. Arrived at the Castle, they could
get no reply to their ringing of the bell. The
place stood silent and apparently untenanted,
except that on the ground floor a window had
been left open through which came the reflection
of a bright fire. It was like a scene in a play, and
the spirit of melodrama entered into the party.
They crawled through the window, groped their
way down a passage, and found themselves in
the dining-room. It was empty, but all the
lights were still burning, the sideboards gleamed
with plate, and in the centre of the table stood
a massive race cup which Lord Cholmondeley had
won and which he valued highly. As they had
come a long way to find no dancing or any other
entertainment, the devil of mischief possessed
them, and they resolved to carry off the cup as
a token of the visit, and return it next day. So
they put a bit of coal in the cup's place, and de-
parted as silently as they had come. In leaving
the lodge gates the car swerved against a pillar,
thereby leaving a clue to the fugitives.
There had been many burglaries about that
time, and when the owner discovered that the
cup had gone he was naturally excited, and tele-
phoned at once to Scotland Yard. As bad luck
would have it, the party turned up late next
morning at the meet, and the Duke did not get
io8 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
an opportunity of speaking to Lord Cholmondeley.
But from the rest of the field they heard high-
coloured accounts of the outrage how Scotland
Yard was hot on the trail of the motor-car gang,
who had fortunately damaged their car on the
Castle gate-post. Somewhat later in the day the
Duke found a chance of explaining the thing
to Lord Cholmondeley, who took it in excellent
part and was much relieved to know that the
cup was safe. But the wheels of the law, once
set in motion, could not easily be stayed. For
days detectives were scouring Cheshire, examining
every garage for traces of a maimed car, and
the popular press in startling headlines told the
tale of the great burglary. It was a sad blow
to lovers of sensation when the matter was sud-
denly dropped and only a scanty explanation was
In April 1908 Francis returned to South Africa
after winning the United Hunts Point-to-Point
Race at Melton. He took with him a French
tutor to assist him in acquiring the French tongue,
for he was by way of working steadily for the
Staff College. To show his linguistic progress
he occasionally sent Rivy letters written in a very
tolerable imitation of the language of Moliere.
The year in England had enormously refreshed
A MEMOIR. 109
him and prepared him to make the best of South
Africa, and his first letters from Potchefstroom
were very contented.
" Everything here has improved beyond recognition. I
never saw a place so much improved in a year. Every one
seems pleased to see me again. In fact, R. G., the regiment is
AT, not a single stiff here at present. I quite forgot how happy
I am with the regiment. I have so many interests, I love the
soldiering, like polo, and love my books. I never knew I had
so many I have had to have two new bookcases made."
His first trouble on his return was with a batch
of ponies which Rivy had bought in Canada the
previous year, and which by some blunder had
been sent straight to South Africa instead of to
England, where the Twins could have seen them
and judged them. They proved perfectly useless,
and most of them were sent home for Rivy to
sell. Francis resumed his polo with great energy,
and complained to his brother that he was an in-
different member of a very fine team. He found
it hard to work with his tutor, however, princi-
pally from lack of time. " Some days I do five
hours and the next one. To-day, for instance, 7 to
12 at the range in the hot sun ; 12 to 1.30 in
stables. I tried to do one hour with him after
lunch, but felt so knocked out I had to stop."
Both brothers had compiled elaborate note-books
of polo tips in England ; both had irretrievably
no FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
lost them, and each accused the other. Francis
records an Eton dinner on the 5th June with Lord
Methuen in the chair, after a football match in
which Mr. D. O. Malcolm, Lord Selborne's
private secretary, distinguished himself. He was
shown by his colonel his confidential report,
which he paraphrased as follows : " This officer
is fit to be an adjutant. He is a very hard-working
officer and has very great application. He is
anxious to work for the Staff College, for which
he is well suited. He is not fit at present, as he
has been away from his regiment at Netheravon
for about a year. He is not brilliant, but very
ambitious. He has tact and a Good Temper.
(What Ho !) He lacks ballast at present, but this
will come, and then I expect great things of him."
At the end of June he went to Bloemfontein
for a polo tournament, and the Qth Lancers, who
for the last six years had either won or been in
the final of every tournament they played in, were
soundly beaten by the 4th Dragoon Guards. The
disaster sent Francis with renewed zest to his
books. " I have been working like an absolute
tiger this week. It is wonderful the amount one
can do when one can live for it and has got
nothing else to think of. I cannot stop thinking
about what I have been reading. The result is
that it affects my sleep a good deal, and I take a
A MEMOIR. in
long time to go to sleep. I am certain if I worked
like this for six months I should either get into
Hanwell or into the Staff College, and not merely
qualify. I sometimes feel worn out and long to
chuck it, but in my heart of hearts I really love
it." About this time, too, he began to acquire
a restless interest in Germany. He was always
asking his twin about German finances, and
whether she could afford the expense of a big war.
Meantime Rivy had been the target of fortune.
His disasters began almost as soon as Francis left.
On i6th April, while cantering his pony " Despair,"
she suddenly reared and fell back on him, and
the pommel of the saddle caught him in the pelvis.
He was taken to St. Thomas's Hospital, where
his pelvis proved to be intact, but a muscle was
badly lacerated. In the hospital he seems to have
" On Sunday morning we have Communion at 6.45 a.m.
I could not help being vastly amused. The old chaplain read
the prayers very quietly so as not to be too noisy, whereas in
every cubicle were fellows, some with no insides, some with
insides that had just been sewn up, and about five groaning and
gasping for breath. Throughout the service the parson walked
from bed to bed on tiptoe ; quite unnecessary, considering the
noise the patients were making. . . . There were about ten
dashed pretty nurses, who told me about the patients they had
had in the theatre. One of them told me that they had abso-
lute proof that three hours' sleep before midnight was worth
four after. The man who goes to bed at 9 and gets up at 4.30
ii2 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
can work tremendously hard without any ill effects for years,
whereas late-hour workers must knock off after a while. She
gave as an example Society people, who always have to go to
watering-places after the season, also M.P/s ; whereas nurses,
surgeons, and lawyers can go plodding on. 1 shall try to go
to bed early before big polo matches/'
He also made friends with an eminent Lam-
beth burglar who had two broken legs from
having been pitched out of a house by an athletic
curate. As Rivy felt almost a professional after
his experience at Cholmondeley Castle, the two
became confidential and exchanged reminiscences.
The next piece of bad luck was the sale of
Francis's ponies at Tattersall's, which fetched very
poor prices. For several weeks Rivy's thigh was
weak, and the appalling weather in early May
made polo nearly impossible. He then went for
his Yeomanry training at Stowe Park. He found
great difficulties in getting together a good polo
team that summer, and was persistently unlucky
with his horse-coping. On the last Saturday in
May he was playing in the match of the Roe-
hampton team against the Rest of England, when
he had a really bad accident.
" In the fourth ten I got clean away, but did not get my drive
quite straight. I therefore had to make a hook drive, which
went straight in front of goal. Lloyd and I were each going at
somewhat of an angle. In stretching out to make a near-side
stroke I think he just tipped my pony's quarters ; anyhow I
A MEMOIR. 113
lost my balance and fell in front of ' Sweetbriar/ who seemed
to peck over. She also seemed to have eight legs, and all legs
struck various parts of my body, two of them on the head.
I am not sure whether she stepped on my ankle or twisted the
spur. Anyhow, it at once hurt like blazes."
At first the accident was diagnosed as merely
a sprained and bruised ankle, and treated with
massage. Rivy was well enough to dine out.
" In the evening I dined with Mrs. Ivor Guest a tremendous
dinner party of about fifty people. I hobbled in on crutches.
The party was composed chiefly of pals of ours. I sat next to
Lady Castlereagh and Walter' Guinness. After dinner there
was a small dance, which, of course, I could not take part in.
However, I had a good yarn with Mrs. Asquith, who is a capital
lady and always most interesting. 1 wish very much you had
met her when you were here. I told her that I intended going
to see her with you, and she told me she had been ill for the
last ten months. She got on to the Education question, which
was rather Greek to me, and I could only reply ' Yes ' and
' No.' "
The ankle did not get better in spite of the
most drastic massage, and when Rivy got on a
pony he found that he could put no weight at all
on his left stirrup. It kept him awake at night,
and since his doctor told him to jump on it and
use it as much as possible, he suffered a good deal
of agony during the day. Nevertheless he went
down to Hatfield for Whitsuntide, going up to
London daily for treatment. On the Tuesday
(2,187) o J
ii4 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
after Whitsuntide he came up to play in the
Champion Cup at Hurlingham.
" I was unable to put a boot on, and so played in a large
shooting boot and puttee. 1 also had my stirrup all padded
up. In the first five minutes Ted Miller caught me an awful
bump on the ankle, soon followed by another from George
Miller. However, I stood it all right that ten, and played pretty
well, considering that I could not hit the ball at all on the near
side. I got one fairly good goal, having gone half-way down
the ground. I thought that my leg would get better as I
warmed up. However, this was not the case. The second ten
I again played pretty well, but found it difficult to stop the
ponies, as my grip was getting weaker. The third ten the pain
began to be awful, and every bump that I got seemed to be on
my bad ankle. By the fourth ten it felt rather like pulp, and
to keep on at all I had to catch hold of the breastplate. We
were having a tremendous match. At half-time the scores
were 3 2. Gill, Jenner, and Roxburghe were playing like
trumps. The Millers were a little off, and kept giving us open-
ings ; but I felt myself getting weaker and weaker, and could
never turn my ponies in time to make use of them. The
fourth ten we bombarded their goal, but in the fifth and sixth
ten I was an absolute passenger and did not hit the ball at
all. My ankle hurt fearfully. ... I never was so glad of any-
thing as when that game ended, and limped back very sore
to the pavilion, where I had a very hot bath."
He went down to Hatfield that evening and
got no sleep. Two days later he returned to
London to have his ankle X-rayed. " Now comes
the Waterloo part, for I found that instead of a
sprained ankle I had a sprain on the outside and
had broken the ankle bone on the inside. No
wonder that I went through such pain. I went
A MEMOIR. 115
straight to Fripp, who told me that all the previous
treatment had been entirely wrong. The worst
thing I could do, of course, was twisting the ankle
round, as the two bones were grating against
each other. It seems a dream to me that I could
have played in the Champion Cup with a broken
ankle. Every time that any one bumped me in the
polo match they were pushing these broken bones
apart. No wonder towards the end of the match I
squirmed when I saw anybody about to bump me."
That was the end of the polo season for Rivy,
and there was nothing for it but to sell his ponies.*
The episode was properly commented on by
Francis. " It sounds a terrible experience, but
I am glad you have been through it, as it shows
we are made of the right stuff, though Heaven
forbid me skipping on a bust ankle ! '
All that summer Francis was hard at work, for
he proposed to take the qualifying examination
for the Staff College, in order to gain experience.
He was constantly deploring that he was so thick-
headed about matters of military science, al-
though his whole heart was in soldiering. On
26th July he writes :
" Our drill this week has been the greatest fun in the world.
Last Monday I commanded the scjuadron on a regimental
* He sold them most profitably. Mr. August Belmont, for example,
bought " Cinderella " for
n6 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
parade the first time in my life. It was rather a high trial,
as, though we had been drilling slowly up to the present, the
Colonel sounded the gallop at the start and drilled at the gallop
for the rest of the day. I got on first-class. It is grand fun,
as you are moving too quick to think, and if you make a mis-
take you cannot alter it. I was pleased, as I thought I knew
no drill, but find I know a good deal more than many who
have had a squadron some time."
He meditated much about the art of war in
those days, and confided the results to Rivy, and
he was perpetually harassed by the conviction
that a fight with Germany was imminent. He
used to plague his brother with questions about
German politics and finance, and got but scrappy
answers. One of his conclusions was that polo
was an essential part of a soldier's education.
" I cannot understand why the infantry generals should be
anxious to abolish polo unless it be through ignorance. Has
polo stopped John Vaughan, De Lisle, Haig, Hubert Gough,
or any keen soldier ? "
Rivy had told him that Hugh Cecil's view was
that it was more important for a country to have
a good financial position than to have a good army
when war broke out. This view Francis elab-
orately controverted, and was rather nonplussed
to find that his uncle shared it.
He took the Staff College qualifying examina-
tion in the first week of August, and was very
pleased with himself. The papers were far easier
A MEMOIR. 117
than he expected, and he thought hopefully of his
future chances. As it turned out, it would have
been impossible for, him to qualify unless he
bettered his languages, and it was this fact which
made him so eager to spend his next leave in
Germany. Immediately afterwards he started for
manoeuvres in the country north of Pretoria, along
the Pietersburg line. He enjoyed himself im-
mensely, and was especially proud of his hard
" I find I stick hardships and discomforts far better than
most. I have found my way about in this country by day
and by night no easy matter. I can outstay most of the
others as regards fatigue. I seem to have got great confi-
dence far more than before and I look on myself as as good
a player as anybody else. Several chaps whom I used to look
on as good I now look on as very bad/'
His keenness was so great that in every letter he
enlarged upon the danger from Germany.
" I think every serious person out here is awakened by
Herr Dernburg's visit to this country. He is the Joe Cham-
berlain of Germany. I believe that the Dutch luckily hate
the Germans, and will always support us against them."
Early in October Francis thought that he
deserved a rest, and went on a short visit to
" I wrote and asked a charming French chanteuse to come
to lunch. She is the leading lady at the ' Empire/ at 200 a
n8 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
month. They are extraordinary, those French women. We
were, besides her, five men, two of whom could not understand
a word of French. She kept the whole table in fits of laughter,
talking French all the time. I never met any one who said
such things as she did. She fairly cleared the Carlton. Luck-
ily, no one knew us. . . .In the evening we went to a dance at
the County Club. You never saw such people the elite of
Jo 'burg. The French lady turned up, much to the disgust of
the Jo'burg society. She arrived very late, and only stayed
half an hour. In that time she cleared out the room all
The autumn witnessed the annexation of Bosnia
and Herzegovina by Austria, and Francis thought
he saw a chance of a European war. He cabled
to Rivy begging him to arrange with Harry Lawson
to have him sent to Bulgaria as the correspondent
of the Daily Telegraph. His brother John arrived
in South Africa early in October, and Francis ac-
companied him on a visit to the Messina Mine.
Most of his letters at this period are filled with
uncommon good sense on the subject of the mine.
He was convinced of its value, and anxious that
his brother should give up all his time to it instead
of going home to hunt. " Up here John seems
to be lord of all he surveys, and yet he won't
The visit to Messina thoroughly unsettled him,
and he found it hard to return to his books. " I
am afraid you and I are very stupid," he wrote to
Rivy. " I do not seem to get on at all like others
A MEMOIR. 119
seem to at these books, and I work three times as
hard." He was inclined to be captious about his
brother's attainments. " Not a very good letter
from you this time. You are relapsing into your
old tricks. I don't know how you discuss good
and bad French when you don't know French
at all. I am not quite clear what you are learning.
Is it the French language or French literature ?
The language, of course, is most useful, but I
honestly think French literature is a waste of
time to you. You know very little history, no
geography both subjects which arouse interests,
form characters, and are essential for everyday
life in London, and also for politics." Early in
November he wrote : " I am determined, R. G., to
take my work a little easier in future, and then
work like fury for the 1910 August examination,
and then take a year's holiday. Go a real bust
buy the best horse available, so as to win the
National and Grand Military. Play polo seriously
in 1911, and then go up for the exam, again the
following year. So make a bit of cash, R. G., as
my National horse will cost 2,000." But R. G.
did not make a bit of cash that year. He lost the
better part of 5,000 on their joint account,
though he got most of it back later.
Francis paid a short visit in the early winter
to the Duke of Westminster's estate in the Orange
120 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
River Colony, and then was seriously occupied
with polo at Potchefstroom. At Christmas he
had his usual solemn thoughts, which in this case
dealt with love and the conduct of life.
" I think in marriage no half-way contracts ever are success-
ful. You should either be damnably in love, so that there can
be no doubt, or not propose at all. I expect our name is
down against some lady whom we are to marry. . . . Some
are married with the same speed that John tried to rush the
Government out here. They then spend their lives wishing
they had been refused. Every one wants a pal. I strongly
recommend you to make greater pals with the Uncle. Try to
live with him ; his company will improve your character, if
you try to copy him, in every way. No man has more suc-
cessfully worked in with other people, or gained more, by his
generosity and bonhomie. Don't bury yourself with a book,
or you become inhuman, despondent, and narrow. Mix your
books with the Uncle and become a cheery, cultivated English
But Rivy scarcely needed the advice, for he had
not been troubling his books very much that year.
He records that he tried in vain to read David
Copper field, always getting drowsy over it, so that
he did not know whether it put him to sleep or
he read it in his sleep. After his accident he
became more or less of a butterfly, and his letters
deal chiefly with country-house parties.
" Monday night I dined with Lady Alice Shaw-Stewart a
capital dinner party. I sat next to Lady Manners, and on her
other side was Lord Cromer, and he talked most of the time
A MEMOIR. i2i
to Lady Manners and me. He seemed a dear old boy. He
has just gone on the committee of the Vivisection and Re-
search League, and showed us a letter he had received from
some woman, which abused him for about two pages and ended
up, ' I had always looked on you as one of our greatest dic-
tators, but now I see you are nothing but an inhuman brute/
Lady Manners asked him if he received many letters of this
sort, and he said that in Egypt he got letters all the time
saying that he was to be murdered next morning ; and then
he added in a kind of undertone, ' Such damned rot, isn't it ? '
Last week he went down to stay near Winchester. The party
consisted of Lord and Lady Cromer, Lord Elcho, and Lord
Curzon. They went over to see Winchester on Sunday, when
Lord Cromer overheard this from a Winchester boy, pointing
at his party : ' There are some regular 'Arries and 'Arriets
come nosing round here on a Sunday/ ... I told him the
story about Windham when Teddy Wood did his Latin prose
and he failed. It made Lord Cromer roar with laughter.
Lady Manners asked him if Windham was very clever. ' Well/
said he, 'he throws an extremely good salmon fly ' which
I thought was rather characteristic."
Rivy's letters were full, too, of politics. He dis-
cussed France with Miss Muriel White, and learned
to his horror that that country was " honeycombed
with republicanism." Apparently he was not
aware of the nature of the French constitution.
He met the McKennas at Nuneham, and con-
sidered the then First Lord of the Admiralty a
' capital chap of the hail and hearty sort." He
had frequent talks with Mrs. Asquith " a mag-
nificent lady, as you never have to say a word."
From Mr. Asquith he heard something which
122 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
confirmed his growing unfavourable opinion of
the City. " He told me that in talking with
financiers and asking their opinion he always
found that they based their argument on no
foundation in fact, had no logic. I think this is
very true. There is a famous Jew who, when
asked about his partner's capacity for making
money, said he had a wonderful nose for it. I
think that is the only way to put it." He spent a
week with Lord Ridley at Blagdon, Northumber-
land, assisting him to defend a case in the police
courts, where he was accused of furious driving.
" Mat is a landlord of the right old English sort
works very hard, and has the right notion of
helping everybody." On that occasion he was
taken to see the Roman Wall, of which he then
heard for the first time.
In August he went with a company of the .
Scots Greys on manoeuvres, and had the time of
his life. They were very celebrated manoeuvres,
and led to furious disputes in military circles.
Rivy was present at all the pow-wows, and re-
corded them with such gusto for the benefit of
Francis that that exile was moved to remark, " It
is an extraordinary thing, but the only two chaps
who seem to enjoy manoeuvres are F. G. and R. G.
the banker." But the manoeuvre letters contain
other things than the tactics of General Scobell.
A MEMOIR. 123
" On Thursday I dined with Cis Bingham at
the Brigade Headquarters. Molly Crichton and
Muriel Herbert came over from Wilton ; the
Duchess of Westminster, who was staying in a
village two miles off, was to have come but didn't.
We had some capital chaff. Afterwards Hugh
Grosvenor and I mounted horses and went across
the Plain to draw the Duchess. We nearly got
lost, but ultimately found her house. She had
gone to bed (Lady Shaftesbury was staying there
also), so we yelled at her window till finally the
owner of the house, an old farmer, let us in. We
soon had her down in a glorious silk dressing-
gown, and made her dig out some supper for us.
I did not get back until about i a.m. ... On
Friday afternoon I hacked over to tea with Malise
Graham, and dined with the ist Life Guards.
After dinner we suddenly heard a band approach-
ing could not think what it was, so went outside,
when it sounded ' Charge,' and about sixty fellows
from the ist Brigade fell on the old Households,
and we had a desperate conflict. I kept out as
much as I could. Brother John was dining with
the 2 ist, so he accompanied them. Suddenly
some one called out, * It's that Rivy ! ' and fell
on him, at which about four fellows sat on his
head. I returned to my camp about n, to
find Allenby's Brigade were attacking Fanshawe's.
124 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
They broke everything in the Greys' and Bays'
tents. It amused me awfully ; but how young
those fellows are to like a sort of ' rouge scrim-
mage ' still ! "
In the autumn Rivy's mind turned to more
serious matters, and he took to himself a French
tutor. Francis had advised him to spend his
week-ends in Oxford and study there ; but he
found that impossible. Rivy's letters about this
time are little more than a medley of City gossip,
mingled with notes of his engagements. On the
Eton Memorial he wrote : "I do not think it
necessary for us to spend more money on this. I
sent this summer six boys and two girls from the
Eton Mission to Juanita's cottage for a fortnight
each. I think this is a much better way of spend-
ing one's money than by subscribing to bricks and
mortar for rich Eton boys not to go into." He
went to Hatfield, where he made friends with
Lord Althorp (now Lord Spencer) ; to the play
with David Beatty, and discussed war in the East ;
to a dinner where Sir Hugh Bell instructed him
in economics ; and occasionally to the House of
Commons. He went shooting with Mr. Pierpont
Morgan. " Jack made me laugh very much.
The Old Berkeley comes to his place twice a year.
He made a remark to me which I thought w r ould
amuse you : ' I do not mind boarding two or
A MEMOIR. 125
three foxes for them, but ten's too many.' In
December at North Mimms he met Mr. Spender
of the Westminster Gazette and Lord Harcourt,
and heard much political talk. " X. was sure
that Lloyd George was a Protectionist and would
one day be found on the Protectionist side. If
the Liberal Government were defeated at the
next election, the Tories would bring in Tariff
Reform at once ; this would split both parties,
and new parties would be formed. Probably
Lloyd George, and possibly Winston, would take
the attitude that they had fought for Free Trade,
but that, now the country had accepted Protection,
unwillingly they must follow and form a Protection
Radical Party. The Government most certainly
would not go out this winter, but might after the
Budget." So much for the prophets !
The year 1909 was for Francis a period of
intense activity, both of body and mind. He was
in exuberant health, and something in the diamond
air of South Africa so enlarged his vitality that
in everything he undertook he rejoiced " as a
young man about to run a race." He began on the
first day of the new year by winning the lemon-
cutting prize at the South African Military Tourna-
ment. ' Every one was very surprised, as hon-
estly I had never tried it before. I never dreamed
126 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
I could cut a lemon, but I proved to be the only
one who could cut both twice. " He nearly won
the tent-pegging too, and got into the final of the
jumping. " I wish," he laments, " Staff College
work came as easy as sports." That week he
made the acquaintance of Lady Selborne. " I
never liked a lady more. She is Linkie [Lord
Hugh Cecil] in a comic mood in petticoats." He
returned to Potchefstroom, but found his study
much interfered with by the conditions of life
there, so at the end of January he went back
to Johannesburg, hired a room, and sat down to
his books. " Here I have read from 6 to 8.30
geography ; 10 to i, the Times and organization ;
2.45 to 4.15 I have done French lessons ; 4.30 to 7,
mathematics ; dinner 7.15 ; then I read till about
10. You cannot imagine what a difference it
makes to my work to work undisturbed. At
Potch. I never sit down without being inter-
rupted." In February he was back at Potchef-
stroom, where he now took a room in the town.
This was his programme : " About 10.30 I drive
at full speed to my room and work till 2.15. I
gallop back to a late lunch at 2.30 ; then practise
or play polo. Commence work again at 5 in the
town, and do not move till 9 ; then home, small
supper, read a little, and go to bed. I thus, in
addition to polo and three hours riding, do eight
A MEMOIR. 127
hours' work. Every one thinks I am mad, but I
know I am all right. Four hours at a sitting make
the whole difference."
Francis's letters are full of the results of his
new studiousness. For one thing he had come
round to a belief in novels as an adjunct to the
study of history.
" Few stolid history books tell you where Napoleon was
wounded, or how Lannes died, or how Napoleon gained in-
formation of the Austrian position. Nor do they tell you that
one of the chief causes of the failure of Massena in Spain
was because he had Mile. X. with him. He failed to pursue
Wellington because Mile. X. was tired. Ney refused to obey
his orders since they had quarrelled because Ney found him-
self sitting next Mile. X. at dinner. Junot quarrelled with
Massena because his wife, a princess, refused to speak to
Mile. X. or to stay under the same roof. Such information
is gained from novels in conjunction with history/'
Sometimes there is military criticism :
" I am thinking of writing to Colonel Repington to wake
up our army about the use of machine guns. The nation
which first studies them and employs them scientifically in
the next war will gain an immense advantage over a nation
which neglects their use'. At present, I fear, we will be in
the same position as the Austrians in 1866."
From March onward, plans for 1910 and 1911
began to be Francis's chief solace in his arduous
labours. He implored Rivy not to sell his ponies,
for in 1911 he meant to play polo hard, as well as
128 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
ride in the Grand National. In March he was
again in Johannesburg, recovering from a slight
attack of fever, where he solaced his convalescence
with Queen Victoria's Letters, dined with the
Selbornes, and had lengthy talks with Mr. Walter
Long about army reform. " I prayed him never
to forget that an army without discipline was worth
nothing. The American army had drilled in
drill halls, wore fine uniforms, could shoulder a
musket ; they also knew all the theory of marching.
In practice they failed to march five miles, because
streams, blackberry bushes, and tight boots took
more hold of them than discipline and instinctive
obedience, which is not obtained in a few hours'
training." He was enthusiastic about the Union
of South Africa, then in process of formation.
" 1 am bound to say, R. G., that though we damned
the Radicals for giving back this country, it seems
to have been most beneficial. Of course things
have turned out far better than they had any right
to expect, but the result is the great thing."
For the next month his letters are more full
of polo than of his studies. " I school my ponies
every afternoon myself. It has made a surprising
difference. My thoroughbred Argentine is very
handy, kind, and speedy. Two months ago she
was unmanageable, so I have ridden her two
hours in the ranks every morning when there was
A MEMOIR. 129
no parade. She does two hours' steady trotting
early, and at n she goes to the riding school
for one hour. Every afternoon I school her or
play her. The great mass of work at first had
no effect, but by continuing it I wore her down,
and now she is like a dog, so quiet and so kind."
His future plans were sorting themselves out. He
saw r before him a chance of qualifying for the
Staff College, but he was aware that he could not
enter it until he improved in his languages ; so a
long spell on the Continent in 1911 or 1912 was
decided upon. But before that there was to be
a sporting annus mirabilis. " You will be kept
pretty busy when F. G. comes home. I intend
having the best stud of ponies ; six hunters
at Melton ; the smartest charger that will win
at Olympia, and a GRAND NATIONAL WINNER
and a TUTOR. We will kick off in September
In April the gth Lancers won the South African
Polo Championship, beating the 3rd Hussars by
eighteen goals to nil (of which eighteen Francis
scored twelve), and the 4th Hussars by nine
goals to three. To celebrate the result Francis
took a few days off in Johannesburg, staying with
Hugh Wyndham. In April he had a fortnight's
machine-gun course at Bloemfontein, and w r as
suddenly struck with the diversity of his accom-
130 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
plishments. " It often amuses me when I sum
up the number of things an officer is supposed
to know. Yet every civilian says he does nothing.
Here am I working at ten subjects for Staff Col-
lege, and supposed to be (and believe I am) an
expert at riding. I am qualified for the Intelli-
gence Department, having done a month's course ;
know my regimental duties ; and am now going
very technically into machine guns ; in addition
to being a qualified veterinary and engineering
instructor. Yet this is only about a quarter of
what most chaps can do."
In May he suddenly grew sleepless, and for a
week or two was worried about his health. He
finally cured himself by drinking hot milk before
going to bed. Towards the end of the month he
was busy with squadron training, and was in-
spected by Lord Methuen. " Providence smiled
on us, and everything went off so well that the
General almost fell off his horse with joy. His
address at the end was as follows : ' I congratulate
the squadron leader on the way you have drilled
and fought to-day. I think it is the best squadron
I have ever seen in my life/ I never saw a chap
so pleased." He proposed to take his examination
in August, and then in September either to go on
a big-game expedition or to visit Madagascar to
learn French. The second alternative was soon
A MEMOIR. 131
dismissed, for he discovered that it would take
as long to get to Madagascar as to get to England ;
but he did his best to persuade Rivy to join him
in the big-game hunt. In June he was elected
Secretary of the South African Polo Association,
and at a polo dinner made one of his infrequent
public speeches. " Every one said it was good.
It was certainly a great deal the longest." He
was very pleased, too, with the result of the Brigade
parades, where he was congratulated by the in-
specting General. " The Colonel showed me my
confidential report. It seemed rather flattering:
' This officer is a candidate for the Staff College,
and should make an excellent Staff officer (What
Ho !). His most notable qualities are his ex-
cessive keenness and capacity for working ; a very
good officer, a fine horseman, and a most thorough
sportsman ' (! !)."
There was certainly no doubt about the ex-
cessive keenness of this very good officer. In the
same letter he informed Rivy that in 1911 he
intended to compete in the following events :
1. Army Point-to-Point.
2. Grand Military.
3. Grand National.
4. Champion Polo Cup.
5. Inter-Regimental Cup.
6. Staff College.
132 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
" It would, of course, be a record to win the lot,"
he adds modestly ; " still, I hope to. I have
written to Marcus Beresford (talk to him at the
Turf, if you see him) and asked him for the best
trainer." A little later he sketches the following
brilliant programme :
11 1911. F. G. winning Grand Military, Grand National,
High Jump at Olympia, Champion Cup, Inter- Regimental,
Army P.-to-P., Staff Nomination for having beaten all previous
records ! Cheers from R. G. in the stands ! Cheers from
Bonbright, who seizes the stakes !
" I mean to have the best polo team and to improve polo,
and if possible play for England and challenge the Yanks. I
mean to have two shots at the Grand National and Gold
Cup. I mean to get into the Staff College. I mean to wake
myself up and remember Sir Richard Grenville's dying words
when his one ship took on fifty-four Spaniards, ' Fight on
fight on ! ' '
These ambitions did not interfere with his
laborious habits. On ist August he notes that he
had done over ten hours a day for six weeks !
Then came the examination. " The flag dropped
on Wednesday," he wrote to Rivy, " since when
I have been up and over. I think I am still
going round, lying about third. We have a big,
broad fence on strategy, six hours' writing, and
then a nasty strong one in geography and French."
On the 1 6th he wrote : "It has been a great ex-
perience to me. It is a hard examination, and
A MEMOIR. 133
requires numerous qualities to be successful. I
got a little stale about the middle. I jumped some
fences too big, others too low, and consequently
pecked a good deal. I never came right off, and
finished the course anxious to start again." The
result was that in his papers Francis did well
enough to qualify for the Staff College. It was
a remarkable performance, for he did it entirely
to gain experience, since he was not actually
competing that year ; and to undergo so drastic a
discipline merely for training argued a real power
For Rivy the first half of 1909 was clouded by
misfortunes. His Christmas visit to Eaton had
fallen through, and he spent the last week of 1908
alone in London, reading Queen Victoria's Letters
and Gladstone's Life. He was glad of the soli-
tude, for he had been rather depressed of late,
reflecting upon the number of ragged ends in
his life. " Still, I think if one plugs" so he con-
soled himself, " the horizon suddenly clears and
you find you have ' arrived ' quite unconsciously.
It is like polo : one plays (one thinks) badly
against Buckmaster, but then go against a weaker
team and you find you are in a class by yourself.
When you feel downhearted, think of Lord
Beaconsfield. He stood for Wycombe four times
between the ages of twenty-eight and thirty-four,
i 3 4 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
and was beaten each time by an enormous majority.
At last he got in somewhere ; then made his first
speech in the House, and every one roared at him,
he made such a mess of it. But he didn't care
The depression was presently explained. Early
in January he was threatened with appendicitis,
but seemed to recover. He went down to stay
with his uncle, Lord Grenfell, at Butler's Court,
where his reading combined the Life of Jack
Sheppard with the Life of Queen Victoria. " He
was a notorious criminal of the eighteenth century,
who did about twenty-four murders, and escaped
from the condemned cell on four occasions. I
described some of the details to Aline [Lady
Grenfell] , who hates horrors ; so the Uncle goes
into the next room and takes out an old scrap-
book in which there was a picture of him in 1876
superintending the execution of three niggers in
Kaffirland, which nearly made Aline sick." Next
week-end he went to Lillieshall, to the Duchess of
Sutherland, where there was a cheerful party,
and on the following Monday met Lord Haldane
at dinner and discussed with him the Battle of
Jena and the character of the Kaiser. " Haldane
seems to me a wonderful cove." On the Wed-
nesday, while at dinner, he suddenly got ill ;
the doctors pronounced it acute appendicitis, and
A MEMOIR. 135
he was carried off to a nursing home. He was
operated on at nine in the morning of 6th Feb-
ruary by Sir Alfred Fripp. Not having acquired
the operations habit, he took the matter very
seriously, made a new will leaving everything to
Francis, and composed a letter to his brother,
only to be sent if he should not recover. In
that letter he wrote :
" I do not mind the idea of the thing at all. I feel that
even if it goes wrong it cannot be helped. I have had a mighty
good life, and have left nothing behind to be ashamed of, and
can face the next world with a clear conscience, . , . Work
hard at your books. You have a good reputation in the army,
and only books and seeing plenty of the world can get you on ;
so whenever you feel lazy think that R. G. would like you to
be working. Best love, F. G. You have been a good friend
The operation was successful, and Rivy, though
he had an uncomfortable fortnight, was intensely
interested in his sensations.
" I can remember talking a great deal of rot for the next
hour, and having a long discussion with the nurse as to what
sort of cable should be sent you. She was awfully amused.
I knew I was talking rot, and yet I could not help it. I said
such things as this : ' Please cable to my brother at once that
I have done the operation, and that I found it rather difficult
to jab the appendix out, but that it was all done successfully/
I said I particularly wanted to see Angus McDonnell, but that
if he came up they must show him on to the roof. This went
on till about one, when I got more sane and more uncomfort-
able. ... I have been very surprised at the way they feed
136 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
you up. I have something every two hours, and since Tuesday
have been on solid food and having brandy three times a day.
It is on occasions like this that being a teetotaller pays. I am
quite sure the brandy benefits me three times as much as it
would the ordinary invalid."
Rivy's convalescence was slow, and horses were
out of the question for a month or two. He spent
a good deal of his time at Cliveden with Waldorf
Astor, and at the end of March was back at
business. About this time he wrote to Francis :
' You say you are getting unsociable. I don't think this
matters a hang. In fact, it is a good thing to want to be alone
it shows you have other interests ; but then you must counter-
act this by making yourself pleasant when you happen to be
with your brother officers, and live up or down to the person
you happen to be with. You used to curse me for liking to be
alone ; yet I never seem to be alone. How much better it is
to be talking to Rose or Marbot about Napoleon than to X.
about a girl in Jo'burg. You and I always tend to be too
much in Society. In fact, we are thick-headed because we
never have been alone, and so never read the ordinary books
that most boys know by heart."
By a diligent regime and much dumb-bell
exercise Rivy hoped to be able to play polo in
May. Meantime he was much perturbed by
Francis's wild schemes for 1911, for Francis, in
almost every letter, urged the wholesale purchase
of ponies. " You forget that to have fifty ponies
you will want 20,000 a year. Unfortunately,
some of us have a way of spending about three
A MEMOIR. 137
times as much as we have, and so it becomes
necessary now and again to sell a pony. You
write very foolish remarks about * you City chaps
always wanting to sell ponies.' If a mug happens
to bid me 300 for ' Sweetbriar ' I shall certainly
sell her." Early in April he had a touch of influ-
enza, and his letters show it. " I have bought you
the Empire typewriter that you asked for. Miss
Friston says that it will take you some time prob-
ably to learn how to work it at any speed, but I
say it will take you an eternity. I would suggest
your writing some of your letters to your friends
(except me) by it. I cannot think what you have
bought it for, as the time you will be spending
learning this you might have spent in learning
how to outwit Wilhelm in the next Anglo- German
war." Again : " You always laugh at me over
money, but it is time you realized that I only
save because I know far more about it than you. . . .
You have about 16,000 in the world, and get on
it about 1,000 a year. How can you buy Na-
tional horses, hunters, and the best polo ponies
on that ? You will, by spending more capital on
horses, have less to invest, and so will have far
less income. The only soldiers who ride steeple-
chases now are people like McCalmont, who has
about a million, and George Paynter, who has
10,000 a year. These are facts, and cannot be
138 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
got away from ; so be content to be the best polo
player in the best regiment, not a sort of mug
steeplechase rider whom no one hears of, and who
goes bust/' In letter after letter Rivy laboured
to win Francis from his grandiose schemes and
confine his ambitions to polo. He wanted to
make up a first-class team in which he should
play No. i and Francis No. 2 ; but Francis was
obdurate. "I am going for the National, " he
wrote, "the Grand Military, the Army P.-to-P.,
and our own Regimental cups. I will not hunt."
In May came the famous 1909 Budget, on
which Rivy's comments show commendable mod-
eration. " They have hit the rich from every
corner, and so every one is crying out. Personally
I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of
these socialistic Budgets. Old Rothschild will not
eat any less foie gras because he has to pay a little
more for his motor cars," But books and politics
and everything else were presently submerged by
the challenge of the American team. For the
rest of the summer Rivy's letters contained little
besides polo, and even the student at Potchef-
stroom was stirred to enthusiasm. Rivy was tried
for the English team, but did not ultimately get
a place in it, for the committee thought that his
operation had left him too weak. He accepted
the decision loyally, and constituted himself the
A MEMOIR. 139
whole-hearted champion of the team ultimately
chosen. The Americans greatly impressed him.
" They have taken the place by storm. Money is
absolutely no object at all. They have twenty-
five ponies all English except one, and all costing
about 500 each. Instead of being bad players,
as everybody expected, they are remarkably good,
and their ponies are really wonderful. They not
only have their own, but all the ponies that other
millionaires have been buying during the last three
In May he went for a week to Holland with
Lord Grenfell and his sister-in-law. " He and I
went out one morning early, and were looking at
some rather nice biblical pictures in a shop whir
dow when we suddenly heard a terrific squealing.
* By Jove/ said the Uncle, ' they are killing a pig.'
So off we went at top speed, to find some wretched
pigs not being killed, as he had hoped, but being
dragged from a high cart and being weighed for
market. ' Most instructive,' said the Uncle. ' I
should never have know r n how to catch a pig.'
We went also to a diamond-cutting place, and saw
where the Cullinan diamond was cut. It was
difficult to get into, so I made the Uncle tell the
Jew boy at the door that he was ' Gold Stick in
Waiting ' to the King. You never saw such a
wonderful effect as it had on the nosy brigade.
140 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
They showed us a cup given by the King, on
which were inscribed the words : ' To Benjamin,
Joseph, and Moses Asscher, for services to the
King of England ' which amused us very much
After that there is nothing but polo. Rivy
records how at one match he heard a lady in a
stand saying, " Why do we not breed such ponies
as that in this country ? The Americans under-
stand everything so much better than we do."
" Whose was the pony ? None but the famous
' Cinderella/ sold by R. G. to the Americans at
the end of last year. There is a good deal of rot
like this being talked." Rivy played very well
in some of the trial matches, and for long it was
a nice question whether he would not be chosen
for England. He watched the performances of his
old "Cinderella" with intense interest. " They
play her in plain double bridle, but she does not
seem quite so handy as when I had her. She has
her near fore all wrapped up in cotton wool. I
would laugh if she broke down, for, as a Jew once
said, ' Ze Christians have ze shares and ve ze
cash ' the Yankees have the pony and I the cash,
with which I bought two others."
His letters about this time are so technical
that they scarcely bear reprinting, but they seem
to me to contain the complete philosophy of polo,
A MEMOIR. 141
and I have no doubt that Francis greatly benefited
by them. Rivy had made up his mind that if
the cup were lost he and Francis would make up
a team which would recover it, and he studied
every detail of every game, and especially the
American method of pony management, with an
acumen which might have made his fortune on
the Stock Exchange. When the disastrous final
match was played and the cup was lost, Francis
" A very good letter from you full of how we are going to
beat the Yanks, but a telegram has appeared announcing
England's defeat by 18 to 7. ... I await your explanations.
We must now put our backs to it and go to America and get the
cup back. It will give us a dashed good goal to work up for,
and all England will give us a cheer. We must lie doggo for
two or three years and practise, practise, practise. Will you
take it on ? I have never really laid myself out for polo as
I am going to do now. Every yokel here is discussing our
defeat. I don't suppose in any colony there is a European
who has not heard of it. So up, ye men, and at 'em ! "
Rivy's comments on the final match seem to
me very sound. " The American ponies are un-
doubtedly better than ours : they jump off quicker
and go in quicker. As for the striking of the
Americans, they hit the polo ball as if it were a
racquet ball. They are truly wonderful. When-
ever they get away they get a goal. This, as you
know, is exceedingly rare on English ground.
142 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Freake and Pat Nickalls, whom I have always
admired as fine hitters, are children compared
with the Yankees. The extraordinary part is
that ' Cinderella ' has proved by far the best pony
on the American side. I do not know what they
have done with her, or whether the English ponies
are worse than they were last year, but on all sides
yesterday I kept hearing, * What a wonderful pony
that is that Grenfell sold ! ' All the papers seem
to rub it in, and it seems funny to think that this
pony was hawking round London last year for
six weeks and advertised in the papers before the
Yankees bought it. I am now perpetually asked,
' Why on earth did you sell her ? ' My only
answer is, ' Why on earth did I break my leg ? * '
He was very rightly furious at the attacks in the
papers on the English team, especially before the
final " I thought it very unsportsmanlike of a
decent paper to cut off the heads of the English
players before they had gone on the field," and he
wrote an excellent letter in the Times on this point.
He summed up the situation thus to Francis :
" Whitney determined to try to win this cup four years
ago. For four years he has been collecting all the ponies he
could, and all his team has been trained to play together.
The Waterburys are two magnificent players. Larry is the
champion racquet player of America. They have played polo
since they were ten,, and always together. To get the cup
back we must do likewise/'
A MEMOIR. 143
Among the many entertainments given to the
American team was a luncheon at the Pilgrims'
Club, with Lord Grenfell in the chair. In the
course of his speech he expounded the habits of
his nephews. " I do not know if there is anybody
present who is an uncle. If so I hope he has not
been blessed with such nephews as the two that
I have. One of them sits there ; the other, thank
Heaven, is engaged in South Africa. I have a
small estate in the country where I hoped to
feed and fatten some cattle and sheep. On my
return from abroad I found some very thin cattle,
some thinner sheep, and some extremely fat polo
ponies. On making inquiries, my bailiff told me
that he had received instructions that these ponies
(sent down without my permission) were to be
kept ' in the field where the Uncle grows his hay.'
The result was that I had no grass ; all the bark
was torn from my trees ; there was an enormous
hole in my hayrick which I think ' Cinderella' used
as a bedroom ; and in addition one day ' Cinderella '
got loose and made a fine meal off my geraniums."
I think it may fairly be said that of all polo
players in England Rivy was the first to divine
the secret of the American success, and to begin,
laboriously and scientifically, to lay plans to win
back the cup. He was very clear that it was no
use attempting the thing in 1910, and that England
144 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
must lie low until she had trained a team adequate
for the purpose. His own dream was 'that that
team should consist of himself as No. i, Francis
No. 2, Hardress Lloyd back, and either Bertie
Wilson or Noel Edwards as No. 3. He estimated
that it would take 15,000 to collect ponies. " If
you and I practise hard together," he wrote to
Francis, " and discuss the thing every evening, we
could, I am sure, become as good as the Water-
burys. The whole American combination was
due to them. They used to work out problems
on the polo ground and then practise them.
... It would be a big thing to do, and one
worth concentrating on ; but if you are going
to work for the Staff College and play this sort
of polo, you must chuck all your other foolish
ideas of steeplechasing."
On 28th July he went to America for his firm,
and stayed on his arrival with Mr. Devereux
Milburn. With his host and the Waterburys he
went down to Newport to see a match for the
American Champion Cup. He was much struck by
the hardness and fastness of the grounds, which
reminded him more of India than of England.
His conclusion was that the average American
player was not good, and that the Meadowbrook
team who had won the cup in England were in
a class by themselves. He spent some pleasant
A MEMOIR. 145
weeks in America, busy in his American office and
occasionally spending a Sunday with Jack Morgan.
On their joint birthday he wrote to Francis : " I
hope this is the last birthday for some years that
we shall be separated. Twenty-nine seems dashed
old to me ; twenty-seven and twenty-eight always
sounded young, but at twenty-nine we should
start and be up and doing. I am getting on very
well in my firm, and have really a great chance in
the future. I made 1,500 this year, but, like an
idiot, speculated last Christmas and lost some
money and also spent about 2,000. Why do we
spend such an infernal amount ? ' He varied
his business with reading a good deal of Shake-
speare, and Bryce's American Commonwealth. One
day he met an old Eton friend. " He amused
me enormously, for he had, of course, got in-
terested in a wonderful invention. Most people
here are interested in large development schemes,
but, just like a thin-headed Englishman, he has
got a patent for closing whisky bottles. I did
not like to suggest to him that the majority of
people I met were searching for patents to open
About the middle of September he came back
to England to dispose of a new business which
his firm had acquired, where he found his groom
in despair over Francis's African ponies, which
146 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
had just arrived. " He wants to know what
language they understand, as they don't seem to
answer to English." At home he got the news of
Francis's success in his examination. " I never
was so surprised in my life as to find that you had
qualified in everything. You must have become
a sort of encyclopaedia, for there was not one
word in any paper that I could have answered.
It seems astounding what one can learn by hard
work, for I have always felt that you would never
pass anything except possibly the entry exam,
into Eton ! "
On 1 6th October he left again for America,
and in the first week of November attended a
dinner given to the American polo team. There
he made a speech which was a huge success.
" These fellows have a pleasant way of suddenly calling
upon you for a speech ; so, as I was anxious to do it properly,
I worked hard, not only at the words but at the delivery. At
the dinner there were two hundred people collected from all
parts of the U.S.A. army officers from Wyoming, Canadian
officers, Mr. Root (a member of the Cabinet), Mr. Bacon (Sec-
retary of State), Mr. Milburn (head of the Bar), etc. I was not
down to speak, and luckily the speeches were all very bad,
with no jokes. I sat on the dais and was several times referred
to, so that I felt I ought to say something. At the beginning
of dinner I had told the chap next to me that Englishmen were
very poor speakers. He said that it came quite natural to
most Americans ; so I said that nothing in the world scared me
so much, and that I could not do it. Just before the end of
the last speech I told him I felt I ought to say something, but
A MEMOIR. 147
did not know what to say. He thought it a capital joke, and
sent a message to Whitney to call on me. I got up and, funnily
enough, did not feel a bit nervous. It is an extraordinary
feeling when you get hold of an audience. They roared at my
jokes, much appreciated my references to Whitney and the
way we admired him, and finally, when I sat down after fifteen
minutes without a check, they all stood up and sang, ' For he's a
jolly good fellow.' Mr. Root congratulated me, and Mr. Bacon
said he had rarely heard a speech better delivered. I had to
shake hands with everybody there. The Canadians were de-
lighted that a Britisher should make a far better speech than any
Yankee. My pal who sat next me told every one I had said
I could not speak at all, and that I was quite unprepared. He
thought me a sort of Demosthenes. Wasn't it luck ? Francis
Fitzgibbon was told on the Cotton Exchange next day ' that an
Englishman had made the best speech that was ever heard of.' "
Altogether Rivy had a very pleasant time in
America, getting through a great deal of business
and making innumerable friends. Among his
recreations he rated high the privilege of roaming
through Mr. Pierpont Morgan's private library.
" Some of the things simply took one's breath
away, and I am surprised that the British Museum
allowed them to get out of the country. He has
all Macaulay's original letters and manuscripts,
also Walpole's, Thackeray's, and Dickens's, etc.,
with scratchings out and alterations made with
their own pens. Mr. Morgan, senior, is a jolly
old boy with a very determined look. He has
told me to go and see his library whenever I like."
Meantime Francis, having finished his labours,
148 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
thought of relaxation. He departed in the end
of August for Barotseland in company with M.
Chevally, the French Consul at Johannesburg.
When they got into the lion country on the Kafue
his companion grew restless. " I sleep in his
tent. He got up three times in one night and
asked my hunter if that was a lion, as he thought
he heard a moan. Last night I said, ' It is so hot ;
let us have the tent open/ ' All right/ he said,
but the moment he thought I was asleep he got
up and laced the tent down." M. Chevally, who
had not come out to hunt, presently returned home,
and Francis went northward into the thick bush
of the Kafue region. His letters to Rivy are filled
with the usual details of African hunting, and in
deference to his brother's profession he intercalates
observations on trade. " The few traders I have
seen are remarkable for their lack of organization.
I have met four. All are broke, and yet at times
make 5,000 a year." He greatly admired his
hunter, " an old filibuster who used to trade in
poached ivory. He has had over 30,000 to his
credit, but is now, like most, broke. He is a sort
of Starlight in Robbery under Arms, and has twice
been tried for murder. He began, as in novels,
by being shipwrecked off Quilimane in 1869 or
thereabouts, the Portuguese being then at war
with the natives. A Jew in Quilimane supplied
A MEMOIR. 149
the natives with powder, which my chap carried
through to them and was paid 1,000."
After leaving the Kafue Flats he rejoined the
railway and went on to Broken Hill, whence he
intended to trek towards Lake Nyassa. So far
he had done fairly well with buck, having got
eland, lechwe, roan, reedbuck, oribi, and wilde-
beest. At Broken Hill he was entertained by
Charles Grey,* and had much trouble with his
hunter, who was drunk for two days. " I have
been in the most awful places after him. He
broke into my chest and got rid of four bottles of
In the beginning of October he was on the
Loangwa River. " Charming country, big rivers,
high hills, good trees ; but Providence (Whose
doings we cannot understand) has provided a
Tsetse Fly that worries you all day." There he
got a charging rhino at about twenty yards, and
had a stiff hunt after that most dangerous of
quarries, the African buffalo. " I led the attack,
cleared for action, with a nigger behind me to
keep me on the spoor. We went through very
high thick grass, like that stuff we got tiger out of
in India. The niggers at first refused to go in.
After seven hours' pursuit we passed a tree up
which, luckily, we put a nigger, and so spied the
* Younger brother of Lord Grey of Fallodon.
ISO FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
buffalo lying down fifty yards ahead. I climbed
the tree like a monkey and killed him. The whole
hunt lasted eight hours : we started just before
daylight on the spoor, and killed the buffalo at
1.30 walking all the time in the middle of a
Central African summer." A little later he tried
for an elephant, but had no luck, though he
had four separate hunts, each taking about four
days' hard walking. Presently he came to the
conclusion that he had had enough of it. "It
made my mouth water," wrote Rivy, " to hear
that you were surrounded by about 6,000 big
game, while I am surrounded by about 6,000 big
noses of the Jewish fraternity." But hunting, as
Francis found it, was too monotonous a pursuit to
satisfy him indefinitely. " It is extraordinary what
regular walking does. I look on fifteen miles as
nothing. Last week I did twenty miles and shot a
hippo after it before sundown. That means a walk
from Wilton Park to Ascot." This is the young
gentleman who in India had decided that Provi-
dence did not mean him to use his legs otherwise
than on horseback ! On his journey down country
he did 150 miles on foot in six and a half days. On
the 8th of November he was back in Potchefstroom.
" I am exceedingly glad I have done the trip, but
somehow I do not feel very anxious to do it again.
But it has been a most thorough mental rest."
A MEMOIR. 151
The effects of the mental rest and the hard
training which Francis had enjoyed were speedily
apparent in his letters home. He discovered in
himself a strong disinclination to turn his attention
to books. His thoughts were all now on physical
culture, on polo, and on his approaching return
to England. He pled with Rivy to buy ponies,
all of the best and as many as possible. " If you
will not spend the money yourself, for Heaven's
sake spend mine." He repudiated with scorn the
suggestion that he should write of his Central
African experiences in a magazine. " Don't you
become a Jew boy," he told his brother, " because
you live among them. I will never, never write
to a magazine. Nothing does a soldier more
harm. Every person has his own job, and the
successful man is he who knows what is his and
sticks to it. Literature and money-making are
not mine, and I intend to interfere in neither. I
think you are very ill-advised to be always looking
for cheap advertisement." The great sporting
events for which he intended to enter monopolized
his mind. At a boxing match, observing that one
of the combatants sipped champagne between
rounds, he came to the conclusion that even a
teetotaller like himself might benefit by a little
dope before a big match, so he implored Rivy to
get the best medical opinion on the subject. He
152 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
was not prepared to abate one jot of his ambitions.
" You will be miserable," he wrote in his Christ-
mas letter, " to hear that I have definitely decided
to try to win the National in 1911 and 1912. So
my next few years will be busy to become (i) best
polo player at No. 2 ; (2) to win the National ;
(3) to become a p.s.c. Best love, old boy ; don't
become too studious, or you will become too old
too soon. . . . Please stop going to theatres until
I arrive, as it is miserable to come home full of
cheer to find a blase brother whose method of
entertainment is to give you a dinner at the Bath
Club ! We are going to have none of that. We
will kick off at the Ritz, and laugh at the Gaiety."
In this mood of vaulting ambition and ecstatic
vitality Francis's period of soldiering abroad
reached its close.
THE next four years saw the Twins together in
England Francis with his regiment at various
stations, and Rivy immersed in City business, yet
not so immersed that he could not spare time
for partnership in many sports. It was a happy
period, for neither had ever been quite at ease out
of the other's sight. They had now passed their
thirtieth year, and, so far as Providence would
permit, had grown up. This maturity was not
marked by any decline of the high spirits of youth,
but by a growth in placidity and a modest con-
tentment with life. Rivy, in especial, was now
less of an anxious pilgrim, less habitually tor-
mented by a desire for the moon. He seemed to
be on the road to great business prosperity, for in
January 1910 he joined his brother Arthur's firm,
then at the height of its success ; his reputation
in ^port was solidly established, and he was in-
clined to acquiesce in that shrinking of horizons
which is the tragedy of the transition from youth.
154 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Francis, in whom ambition woke more spasmod-
ically, had his hands full with his Staff College
and regimental work, and his mind preoccupied
with the endless interests of the returned traveller.
Merely to be at home again w r as to him a perpetual
wonder and delight.
I had known the Twins off and on for some
years, but at this period we became intimate
friends. London is a place of many casual ac-
quaintances, much blurred in the memory, but I
think that no one who was brought into contact
with Francis and Rivy was likely to forget them.
They had that complete detachment from the
atmosphere which we call distinction. If it was
not always easy to tell one from the other, it was
impossible to confuse them with anybody else.
Just over six feet in height, beautifully propor-
tioned, and always in hard training, they were
most satisfactory to behold. Once Rivy, hasten-
ing away from a ball, asked what he took to be the
butler to call him a hansom. " Indeed, I call
you handsome, my boy," said the " butler," who
w r as Mr. Choate. Their clear, pale complexions,
derived from a Spanish strain, their dark hair and
eyes, and something soft and gracious in their
manner gave them a slightly foreign air ; but
their deep explosive voices were very English.
Both had a trick of finishing a sentence with a
A MEMOIR. 155
kind of gust of deep-breathed emphasis. The
predominant impression, I think, that they made
on the world was of a great gentleness and an
inexhaustible vitality. Neither could be angry
for long, and neither was capable of harshness
or rancour. Their endearing grace of manner
made a pleasant warmth in any society which they
entered ; and since this gentleness was joined to
a perpetual glow of enthusiasm the effect was
triumphant. One's recollection was of something
lithe, alert, eager, like a finely-bred greyhound.
Most people are apt to be two-dimensional in
the remembrance even of their friends, like the
flat figures in a tapestry ; but Francis and Rivy
stood out with a startling vividness. Even death
has not made them sink into the background of
memory. When I think of either it is as of youth
incarnate, with all the colour and speed of life,
like some Greek runner straining at the start of
Francis arrived in January 1910, and was at
once laid hold of by politics. The Twins hunted
in couples through that unsavoury Budget election
when the spirit of Limehouse was abroad, and
spoke at many meetings, chiefly of railwaymen
and workmen. It is not recorded what Francis
said, though he can have known as much about
Eriglish politics as about the Ptolemaic system ; but
156 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
he was reputed an effective canvasser, and it is
on record that on one occasion he looked after a
labourer's baby while the father went to vote, and
afterwards had supper with the family. He went
to the depot at Woolwich for some weeks, and
then joined his regiment at Canterbury. He took
great pains with his lectures to his men, and such
specimens as I have read are admirable, both for
their clear statement and for the enthusiasm with
which he managed to invest his treatment. He
was a slow worker, and took a long time to under-
stand a thing, but once he had grasped it he
could impart it vigorously to others. He laboured
always to inspire in his hearers a passion for the
9th Lancers, dwelling on the great episodes of
their past, and usually at the end compelling his
audience to stand up and cheer for the regiment.
That summer was devoted to polo, and for the
moment Francis's steeplechasing ambitions seem
to have been at rest. The Old Etonian team
in which the Twins played carried everything
before it, and was invited by the Hurlingham
Committee to go to America to try for the cup.
They decided to be entirely independent of the
America Cup Recovery Fund, which was to
remain intact and provide the sinews of war for
the great effort of the following year. That
summer, I think, may be taken as the height of
A MEMOIR. 157
the Twins' fame in the polo world. It may not
be out of place to quote some notes written by
Lieutenant-Colonel E. D. Miller after their death.
r * The polo world mourns many fine players and good
sportsmen killed in the war, but for none is more sorrow and
regret expressed than for the gallant Twins. I knew Rivy
intimately for a considerable time before I met Francis. I
think it was in 1902 that his older brother Cecil asked me to
take him to Spring Hill and teach him the rudiments of polo.
He came and spent a happy month, working like a stable lad
and putting his whole heart and soul into his work.
" My first meeting with Francis was at Tattersall's a year
or two later, when, mistaking him for Rivy, I warned him not
to buy a good-looking pony that he was inspecting. It was
typical of the Twins' liking to be mistaken for one another
that he merely thanked me for my information, and did not
divulge the fact that he was not Rivy, although he spent some
time in my company looking at other ponies in the yard.
Rivy was undoubtedly the better and stronger player of the
pair, but when they were playing together it was extraordinarily
difficult to tell them apart, their horsemanship and style being
very similar. They were both brilliant players, and were much
better when playing together than separately. They studied
every detail of the game and took the most enormous trouble
in the purchase and training of their ponies. They were great
advocates for speed, and were the only players I knew who
kept a trial pony and raced him against anything they were
likely to purchase. They were as hard as iron, and always
kept themselves very fit, and were (especially Rivy) very fine
horsemen. Rivy used to ride the stronger and more difficult
ponies. His pluck was phenomenal.
" Rivy played No. i with Francis No. 2, and their combina-
tion and tactics were more perfect and highly developed than
any pair in England. Had they been spared they would
probably now be chosen to represent their country in the next
158 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
International match. They modelled their play on that of
the Waterbury brothers, and though they were not quite as
brilliant performers as the Americans, their tactics and under-
standing were just as perfect. The Twins, as at everything
else in life, played polo with one mind. Francis held a record
in that he played in the winning team of the Champion Cup in
England, India, Africa, and America. No one else has done this.
" Good players and fine sportsmen as they were in first-
class polo, where they will be most missed will be on the social
side, for they were always the life and soul of country-house
polo tournaments. As a polo manager no one knew better
than I did what a wonderful help they were in making a
success of the kind of tournament that used to take place at
Eaton and Madrid. They would always pull out and play
on any side with any one, in order to make a success of the
entertainment from the host's point of view, and neither of
them cared two farthings if they won or lost so long as they
could help the show and make every one happy. . . . The
Twins have left behind them a reputation quite unsurpassed
for pluck, clean living, unselfishness, and charm."
The Old Etonian team as originally fixed was
made up of Francis and Rivy, Lord Rocksavage
and Lord Wodehouse. Lord Wodehouse found
himself unable to go, so on 6th August Francis
and Rivy started with Lord Hugh Grosvenor
Lord Rocksavage and Mr. F. A. Gill being already
in America. The Twins took for their reading
the following odd assortment : A Constitutional
History of the United States, Life of Stonewall
Jackson, Vanity Fair, Jorrocks, Pickwick Papers,
Les Miserables, a primer of geography, The Life
of Nelson, and The Confessions of a Princess.
A MEMOIR. 159
Francis had a bad arm when they left, and when
they reached America it was found that he could
not play. The side accordingly called itself Ran-
elagh, and was made up of Rivy, Mr. F. A. Gill,
Lord Rocksavage, and Lord Hugh Grosvenor.
Later Francis resumed his place, and they be-
came once again the Old Etonians. The team
had a brilliant career at Narragansett and in
Canada, winning nearly every match they played,
though, as they were not official challengers, they
could not compete for the cup. It was essentially
a trial trip, and the players learned a vast deal
which was of value to later challengers. I find
a paper of Rivy's in which he summarized the
result of his experience, expounding in the most
minute detail what he had learned in America on
the transport and training of ponies. He went
into everything, including the price of oats, but the
most valuable lesson is contained in this passage :
" In America the game, owing to the better grounds and
the ' no off-side ' rule, is very much faster than it is in England,
and the pony requires to have his lungs quite clear. The player
gets away much more often than at home. The game is not
nearly such a rough-and-tumble one, and so players do not
require such staying power as in England. What they re-
quire is to be able to go with these tremendous bursts. A pony
should be trained to play its utmost speed. A point that we
learned, which improved our play enormously in this somewhat
scrambling game, was that instead of stopping a pony on its
hocks after a run, it is far quicker to turn it on a circle. This
160 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
does not tire the pony nearly so much, nor the rider, and by
being able to pass the ball forward the player can often, even
if unable to hold his pony properly, do a lot of work. At
Newport my grey pony, owing to its being wrongly bitted,
was quite out of hand ; but by turning it on a circle and the
others passing the ball to me, I played very well, and no one
noticed that I did not have proper control." *
While Rivy was busy with polo Francis thought
that he might employ his leisure in visiting the
battlefields of Virginia. He went first to Bull
Run and Manassas Junction. At Winchester he
met Dr. Graham, a Presbyterian minister who
had known Stonewall Jackson, and who told
Francis many details of his hero. He then visited
Kernstown, and at Richmond met Dr. Jeremy
Smith, who had been Jackson's A.D.C. after
Second Manassas, from whom he picked up
much information about his singular kinsman,
Colonel St. Leger Grenfell, who had served on
the Confederate side in the war. He spent much
time studying the field of Gaines Mill, and met
the eponymous Mr. Gaines, who had been absent
through a fever from the fight. He returned to
Newport with a Confederate flag as a relic, and a
* England challenged America the following year (1911), when the
team consisted of Hardress Lloyd, Noel Edwards, Bertie Wilson, and
Leslie Cheape, the last three of whom fell in the Great War. It
failed, after a most brilliant effort, to defeat the American team,
which was composed of the Waterburys, Mr. Whitney, and Mr.
Milburn. In 1914 a team organized by Lord Wimborne, composed of
F. W. Barrett, Leslie Cheape, Vivian Lockett, and H. A. Tomkinson,
recovered the cup for England.
FRANCIS ON "MICHAEL" AND RIVY ON "CINDERELLA."
A MEMOIR. 161
new appreciation of the great campaign and the
great leader, who for years had filled the first
place in his affections.
There is little to record for the rest of 1910.
At Christmas the Twins went with a tutor to
Brussels and made an elaborate study of the field
of Waterloo. Throughout the early months of
1911 Francis was busy with his work for the
Staff College, and embarked on authorship with
a letter in the Times on the Sydney Street affair, in
which he stoutly defended Mr. Churchill's action
in employing soldiers and machine guns.
In April, on the invitation of King Alfonso,
the two brothers went to Madrid to play polo.
On their way they paid a visit to their favourite
statue, that of Hercules and the Wild Boar in the
Louvre, which Rivy had had copied as a memento
of his Kadir Cup victory. They arrived at Madrid
on gth April, and stayed with the Duke of Alba,
where Francis was so much impressed with the
pictures and tapestry that his diary reads like an
auction catalogue. Next day they left for Moratalla,
the Marquis of Viana's house, where the polo
party was assembled, which included the King,
the Duke and Duchess of Santonia, the Marquis
Villarieja, and the two Millers. That fortnight in
Spain was one of the best holidays in the Twins'
162 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
experience. Francis records at length his con-
versations with the King, which covered every
subject from polo to high politics. " He told me
that one of the ambitions of his life was to play
with his regiment, the i6th Lancers, in the Inter-
Regimental. He would undertake to provide them
with the best ponies. He understood they were
going to India for eight years. By that time he
would be thirty-two and at his prime, and hoped
by then to be good enough. He had great diffi-
culty in playing polo in England, as King Edward
said it was too dangerous ; so he thought it best
to ask nobody's advice, and just went and played
at Rugby. He could not understand why a king
should be brought up like a hothouse plant.
The only occasions on which he had been nearly
killed were (i) when he was driving in a carriage
where the horses were led by men on foot, and
(2) when driving very slowly in Paris. X. re-
marked that he had had a letter from the Crown
Prince of Germany to say he wanted to play polo
when he came over this summer. c Good/ said
the King ; ' then that will make it easier for me
when I go over/ We suggested a match against
the Crown Prince ; at which he said, * Ah yes, I
think I will win. The Germans are very slow.' "
The polo consisted of matches between the
King's side and Alba's side, Rivy playing with
A MEMOIR. 163
the first and Francis with the second. The
weather was abominable, and the Twins seem to
have had more walking about in wet gardens than
polo. On i3th April the party returned to Madrid,
where Francis and Rivy stayed again with Alba,
and found there the Duchess of Westminster and
Lady Helen Grosvenor. That day being Maundy
Thursday, they went to the Palace to see the
function of the Lavatorio, when the King and
Queen wash the feet of twelve beggars. Francis's
diary contains a spirited description of this curious
function, and pages and pages about the pictures
in the Prado Museum, which impressed him more
than anything else in Spain. In Madrid they
played polo on the King's private ground, but
the weather was unpropitious and the games poor.
The King gave instructions that Francis should
be shown all over the cavalry and infantry bar-
racks, and when he expressed a desire to see the
tapestries, ordered every one in the Palace to be
specially hung up for him. Various bull fights
and a short visit to Seville, where they saw part
of the Easter Feria, brought to an end a trip which
both regarded as one of the most crowded and
delightful experiences of their lives.
In June Rivy attended the Coronation with his
uncle's children, who were much excited to see
the Field-Marshal in the procession. He wrote
164 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
an account of it to Lady Grenfell, and, knowing
her dislike of horrors, wickedly described at some
length an hour he passed in the Scotland Yard
Museum. " I wish you had been with us. I
am sure you would have loved seeing the finger
of a burglar that was pulled off as he tried to get
over a gate and was caught up. It is preserved
in spirits of wine." In July the King of Spain
came to England and lunched at their brother
Arthur'^ house at Roehampton, going with the
Twins afterwards to a polo match.
That summer saw the Agadir crisis, and Francis
naturally decided to be present at the French
manoeuvres. It does not appear that he ever
received the permission of the French Staff, but
a small thing of that kind was not likely to stop
him. He attended the manoeuvres of the VI.
Corps in the Verdun area during September,
living with the 6th Cuirassiers, and sent an ex-
cellent report to the War Office. He was much
struck by the horses of the cavalry. " They are
bought from three and a half years old and sent
to the Remounts until four and a half. They
are,, then sent to a regiment and trained for two
years before being put into the ranks. This
system of teaching the horse to carry the man is
a great improvement on ours of teaching the man
to ride a partly-trained horse. " He thought that
A MEMOIR. 165
the cavalry did not realize the value of the rifle and
had no notion of mounted infantry work. This
was not unnatural in the case of the Cuirassiers,
who, owing to their cuirasses, could not, of
course, aim with a carbine. " I put on a cuirass
myself and made certain of this," adds Francis.
He was not greatly impressed by the system
of reconnaissance. " The men returning from
patrols deliver their messages very clearly, but
invariably get the names of the villages mixed up,
and it seems to me that by far the best, simplest,
and quickest method of sending in reports is for
each man to have a map and to mark on it all he
sees." The French horsemastership he thought
poor. ! The saddles, weighing when loaded up
about eight or nine stone, are never taken off.
They are put on sometimes an hour before start-
ing, and often left on an hour or so after the troops
have got in. One night the cavalry division I
was with marched at 10 p.m., halted from 2 a.m.
to 6.30 a.m., during which time the horses were
not fed or the girths even loosened, and the horses
received no food or water until 3 o'clock the follow-
ing afternoon." He thought, however, highly of
the French infantry, and loved their habit of
singing on the march. He was impressed by the
mechanical-transport arrangements, and most pro-
foundly by the use of airplanes. He went up
166 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
his first attempt of the kind in a Farman bi-
plane, and became a whole-hearted convert to
the value of air reconnaissance. Most of the
officers he thought too old for their jobs. " Regi-
mental commanders vary from fifty-five to sixty,
squadron leaders from forty to fifty, and brigadiers
from sixty onward."
These are quotations from his official report.
His diary contains more interesting matter. He
found that the French Army expected war, and
awaited it with calm and confidence. Even if it
did not come that year, they considered that it
was certain to come within three years. He gives
amusing descriptions of cavalry charging cavalry
and pulling up facing each other. " Imagine two
divisions charging in England, stopping head to
head and no accident." He declares that he
never saw a single horse out of hand. On the
other hand, the cavalry seemed to him to have a
passion for charging and little else to know
nothing about reconnaissance or dismounted
action. " I spoke to a Staff officer, who said that
the French would lose heavily in war. He gave as
an instance a cavalry division passing in front
of an infantry battalion in column of route, when
it ought to have dismounted two squadrons and
made a detour." Francis's general comments are,
as usual, very shrewd. He saw that the danger of
A MEMOIR. 167
the French Army was its passion for persistent
and often unconsidered offensives, and that it had
no adequate training in defensive warfare. An
almost mystical belief in the attack at all times
and in all circumstances was being preached in
the schools of war and practised on manoeuvres.
For the rest, he received great kindness and made
many friends. Among these was General Joffre,
and on one occasion, being stranded far from his
quarters, he cadged a lift in a car from a gentle-
man who turned out to be M. Humbert.
In October we hear of Rivy staying at Glamis
Castle, where he laboured earnestly to discover
the celebrated mystery. " Old Beardy has so far
eluded us, but we are on his track. I found that
my room was next door to the Hangman's room,
where no one has slept for fifty years. Last night
when all was quiet, with the assistance of my next-
door neighbour, I moved my mattress and blankets
into the Hangman's, and slept there happily on
the floor till 6 a.m., when I woke up and found
my door ajar, though it was shut last night. We
may not have banged it enough, so we are going
to experiment again to-night. It is great fun
here ; all the ladies and some of the men are in
a blue funk." This is not quite the whole of
that story. Rivy woke at midnight to find the
door open, and to his consternation it refused to
168 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
close. He prepared his soul for horrors, when
he discovered that the reason of the door's refrac-
toriness was the presence of one of his slippers.
After that he fell asleep, and awoke, as he says, at
6 a.m. to find the door again open.
Some time that year he became interested in
the Invalid Children's Aid Association, and the
following year became Treasurer and Chairman.
He enabled Islington, St. Pancras, and Holloway
to become a separate branch by guaranteeing
expenses. Early in the morning before going to
the City, or after a long day full of engagements,
he would go and see some of the " cases " in their
homes. Both the Twins kept up this interest to
the end ; the Islington branch now bears their
name ; and it is in aid of a memorial fund to
carry on their work that this little memoir has
After returning from the French manoeuvres
Francis went through a musketry course at Hythe,
and presently took up racing on a modest scale.
A bad fall in November in a steeplechase at
Sandown gave him concussion, the effects of
which lasted for nearly six months. At Christmas
he was in bed, and early in the New Year he went
to Dr. Crouch's open-air cure. Meantime, at the
end of January, Rivy departed for Mexico on
business. The great event of his trip was that
A MEMOIR. 169
he got mixed up in a battle about sixty miles from
Mexico City, where the Zapatistas were giving
trouble. It was a small affair, but it was his first
experience under fire, and he wrote a lengthy
account to Francis. The Twins liked to have all
their experiences in common, and it had always
been a regret to Rivy that Francis had been in
action and he had not. " Everybody in this
country appears to have a predisposition to let
the enemy know their exact movements. The
operations of the following day were discussed all
Sunday in Cuernavaca, and I suppose the Zapa-
tistas were told exactly what our general proposed
to do with the result that we went to the battle
and the Zapatistas didn't/'
Francis was far from well all summer, still
suffering from the effects of his accident ; so he
went to Berlin in June, partly for the change and
partly to learn the German language, without
which he could not hope to qualify for the Staff
College. He stayed with a retired German officer
called Hamann, a friend of Mr. Austen Chamber-
lain, and a godson of Professor Max-Muller, who
had married a Grenfell cousin. His first letter
to Rivy is worthy of full quotation, for it shows
the eagerness with which he plunged into a
iyo FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
" I have fallen on my feet better than any cat, however low
you dropped him. I went to stay with the Plesses, who are
most kind. Princess Daisy has gone to London to Sunderland
House, and you must go and see her. I said you would go and
see her and help in anything she wanted. She is full of foreign
politics, Anglo-German feeling, etc., and she is going to enter-
tain and help Baron Marschall. She is a sort of Mrs. Astor
over here, and makes me roar the way she gingers up the
Deutschers. I stayed several days at Fiirstenstein, a fine schloss
with few valuable things in it, but an enormous place with
lovely scenery. They are very rich, and everything is done
in great style outriders, postillions, etc. They have fifty
carriage horses, sixty riding horses, forty mares, three stallions,
a lot of yearlings at Fiirstenstein, and another stud at Pless.
" Unfortunately I did not see very much of Princess Daisy,
as some Germans were there the Governor of Silesia, a
future Chancellor, they say. He talked French to me, and
neither his French nor his looks impressed me very much. Then
we all came back to Berlin to the Esplanade Hotel, where I
have become a great swell through being of the Pless party.
Here I have met two or three princes, the Foreign Minister
under Bethmann-Hollweg, and many others.
" Pless, who ranks here as a sort of Duke of Devonshire,
put me up at this Club [the Union], which is the best in Berlin.
It is exactly like the Turf, except that every one talks to you,
and at dinner every one dines at one table and there is a
general conversation, all in German. To-night I sat next to
Count von Billow, the general in command of the Guard
Cuirassiers. He asked me to go and see his cavalry brigade,
and said he would show me everything. ' Such a pity I did
not meet you yesterday, as my brigade was inspected, and
you would have seen a good show/ The servants, food, and
customs are the same as at the Turf, except that all the Eng-
lish papers are on the table, though I am the only English-
" From the above you will think I am living only in high
life, but I am not. I found that the best university in Ger-
A MEMOIR. 171
many is here, so, though it was not allowed, I plunged into
it. I do everything by myself, and have some amusing expe-
riences through going to the wrong place at the wrong time.
I found there were lectures on every subject in the world,
and determined to attend. There are 5,000 undergraduates.
First I attended a lecture on the Saxon Invasion ol England.
I heard a lot of German, but did not understand anything.
I then thought to myself, ' Well, as I do not understand a
word, it doesn't much matter what the subject is ; so, instead
of taking much trouble to find certain lecture rooms, I will go
into the first I come to.' 1 then followed about fifty students
into a room. The lecturer seemed to talk a bit different, and
on looking over the notes of the fellow next to me I found he
was talking Modern Greek ! To-day I went to a geography
lecture, arrived very late, plunged in and found a dead silence
and every one drawing. A professor came and spoke to me,
but neither could understand a word the other said. I went
to another lecture, but could not find out what it was about
from any source. In one hour I only caught the meaning of
one word, ' Pope Innocent/ Yesterday I stopped a student
in the passage and asked him to lunch with me, and begged
him to spout German, which he did. I said, ' I would like
to lunch where you usually go/ I found he was a vegetarian,
and we could only get carrots, etc. My bill, which I am going
to frame, was :
Soup . . . .id.
Carrots and green peas 3d.
Sour Bulgarian milk . 2d.
Soda water d.
I could not eat half the amount of carrots I was offered for 3d.
Students don't look half as smart as Porter [his servant], so I
now take him with me to the lectures. . . .
" Unfortunately I fall a little between two stools here, as
(i) if I am to learn the language, I must talk German ; if I talk
172 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
German, 1 can neither make myself understood nor understand
anything the people say. (2) I can learn a good deal about
Germany and go everywhere by talking English, as every one
speaks English, and the few that don't, speak French. I
cannot, therefore, learn the language and learn about Germany
at the same time, so I am going to work hard at the language
(I have every incentive to, as it is maddening not to understand
a single word) and then go out again and mix in society, of
which T am beginning to know the ropes. Every one has been
extraordinarily kind and nice. The students, to whom I am
an absolute stranger, go out of their way to show me what to
do and where to go, and they do not even know my name."
From later letters I take some comments on
German life and character.
" The opinion one gets of the Germans in England is a
very wrong one. I expected to see a nation of magnificent
physique, the Army superbly turned out, big soldiers and
mighty clever men. The opposite is the case. These people
are very ordinary, very much like us in character, with a
great many good qualities and a large proportion of bad. The
Guards I see are neither as smart nor as well turned out, nor
to be compared physically with our Guards. Forty-five per
cent, of the nation are rejected as soldiers through being too
narrow or too blind. The shops give no credit to any one.
They are unmethodically run, and are open for six and a
half days without doing as much business as we do in five.
The upper classes are narrow-minded and despotic ; the lower
inclined to be boorish. They are by nature a rather sus-
picious people, but awful rot is talked about them in England.
You travel just as easily as you do at home, and can see any-
thing except inside a fort. They seem to be exactly opposed
to the French, who appear excited but act coolly. These
people appear very stolid, but get desperately excited the
moment anything occurs. A row in the street and ten police
A MEMOIR. 173
will yell without any leadership ; a row in a train and every
one starts screaming. . . .
" I am living fairly comfortably here, but getting rather
sick of cold pork and sausage. The table-cloth, too, is becom-
ing a very intimate friend it turns up so often. . . .
" I am not going to form any opinion until October, when
I will have had time for reflection. The Germans certainly
beat us, even our private soldiers, at drinking beer. I sat
next to a gentleman yesterday who drank five pints before I
drank one glass of water. He would have had a sixth, but
when the sixth was brought his wife took the glass and downed
it before him. The result is that a great many men and most
women are as fat as cattle. . . .
" I am enjoying every minute, as I rarely waste one. I
talk with tramcar drivers and conductors, taxi men, officers,
tennis pros, students, demi-mondaines, Berlitz teachers and
professors. Of course I lose a lot of what is said, but I have
picked up a good deal, and have as yet never received any-
thing but the utmost courtesy and hospitality. I find I get
most out of taxi-drivers. They are either old soldiers, sailors,
invalids, or Socialists. I met one who had been in the German
South- West African war. He told me 400 men died in his
regiment, and the loss in the army was terrific through bad
water arrangements. Another was in the navy. He told me
many of the men are not half trained ; they bring men from
Wiirtemberg as conscripts who have never heard of or seen
the sea, and have in three years to be taught everything. I
personally cannot see how three years' service can make sol-
diers or sailors. . . .
' These people are very methodical but terribly slow.
They take ten hours to do what we do in six. I have not yet
seen much of the wonderful education of which we hear, and
have met a good many thick heads. Several officers have told
me they have not read a book for ten years. Germany, to
my mind, is not half what we think it is in England. Some
things are done very well, but I have seen a great many done
far better, and I am not half as impressed as I was with
174 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
America. Nevertheless, I like these people. The women
Heaven save us from ever copying them ! They are not
beautiful. . . .
" Berlin is one mass of demi-mondaines, cafes, restaurants
one mass. The great entertainment place is the Palais de
Dance. It is most luxurious, and you might, if you did not
look at the women, think you were at a London ball. The
women are most respectable-looking, but you can see that if
you want to dance you will get plenty of exercise, as once
round any of the dancers is equal to about twice round
Germany revived Francis's interest in politics
and soldiering. In July he wrote a long letter to
Mr. Churchill congratulating him on a speech
he had made.
" All the people I have seen appreciated very much its
straightforwardness. The German character seems both to
understand and prefer plain speech to diplomacy. They are
a very suspicious people. They openly say that though they
understand that you spoke earnestly, they think you are un-
friendly. They want to be very friendly, but on equal and
not on inferior terms as at present. They openly talk of
going to war in the near future with France, partly from arro-
gance and partly from a craze so to weaken France that they
can diminish their military forces and increase their naval.
It does not look as if they would take on both France and
England together, and therein lies the hope of peace. They
want to crush France on land and to be strong enough on the
sea to detain or delay a British army from landing on the Con-
tinent, so as to discourage British participation in a war be-
tween France and Germany. My opinion of the Germans has
greatly declined since I came out here. They are not as good
in quantity or quality as they represent themselves. Their
character is to shake hands warmly and openly, but to keep
A MEMOIR. 175
the other fist doubled in their pocket. ... I am as certain
that the Germans are riding for a fall as I am that you are
riding to win."
In September came the Imperial manoeuvres,
that year held in Saxony, and Francis was deter-
mined to be present. The English representa-
tives had already been appointed, so he was unable
to go officially. Accordingly he hired a motor car
and went as a spectator, giving a lift to a journalistic
friend. When he arrived at the Bellevue Hotel
in Dresden, he had a bad sick headache and went
straight to bed ; so his friend filled up the police
paper in which Francis's name was entered without
his military rank. Unaware of this Francis sent
a note to the cavalry barracks, saying he had a car
and asking if any officer would like to go with
him. This discovered to the police the fact that
he was an English officer, and they promptly
decided that he was a spy. The result was that
a few days later, when he came back from watching
the manoeuvres, he found a police inspector in
his room, who presented him with a letter saying
that he must leave Dresden in twelve hours and
Saxony in twenty-four. Francis was in a sad
quandary, and, as was his practice on such occa-
sions, he appealed straight to Caesar. He re-
membered that he and Rivy the year before in
London had shown some kindness to a son of
176 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
the Saxon Chancellor, Baron Metzsch. Off went
Francis to the Chancellor's house. The great
man was not at home, but the Baroness received
him warmly and asked him to breakfast the next
morning. The matter was immediately straight-
ened out. The police authorities laughed and
shook hands, and Francis roamed throughout the
rest of the manoeuvres at his own sweet will.
In October he returned to England and put
the result of his German experiences into a little
pamphlet, which he printed privately and circu-
lated to a number of friends. He returned to
Germany for a short visit in December, and real-
ized that his pamphlet, if it got about, might do
him serious harm. On Mr. Churchill's advice he
accordingly recalled all the copies. Its contents
were simply an elaboration of what he had written
in his letters. As it turned out, he had rightly
diagnosed the trend of German feeling. " They
are conscious of having attained such a position
in the world that they resent being second to any,
and they feel that the English block their way ;
consequently they are not only jealous at heart,
but can scarcely conceal their jealousy. No
amount of pacific and philanthropic talk either
in England or in Germany will prevent the latter
from trying to get stronger and stronger, with a
hope of some day being the foremost Power of
A MEMOIR. 177
the world. Even the Socialists would favour a
war against France, because once France is
crushed there is a chance of military service being
less rigorous in Germany. . . . Careful observa-
tions convince me that if we wish to preserve
peace it is necessary for us to be so strong that
it will be impossible for the Germans to make
war, as they would jump at any opportunity
should they find us weak and isolated."
While Francis was in Berlin Rivy had been
deep in polo, and had got badly bitten with
ballooning. The year before he had made an
airplane reconnaissance with Loraine during his
yeomanry training, and in June Captain Mait-
land* took him up at Hurlingham in one of the
new military balloons. They passed over Middle-
sex, Hertfordshire, Huntingdon, and Lincoln-
shire, and made an exciting landing six miles
from Hull at 11.35 that night. A little later I
find him writing to Francis suggesting that they
should enter with Maitland for the long-distance
ballooning record, at that moment held by the
French. The year before Maitland had travelled
1,1 1 8 miles into the middle of Russia, and he
now wanted to break the French record of 1,200
miles, starting in November when the westerly
gales began. Nothing came of the scheme.
* Now Brig.-General Maitland, C.M.G., D.S.O.
178 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Business took Rivy to Canada with his brother
Arthur on i6th August. They travelled in a
large party, and made a stately progress through
the Dominion. I can only find one letter from
Rivy during the tour, describing Sir Arthur
Lawley's speech. " Joe Lawley made a speech
on the responsibilities of Canada at Ottawa
which brought tears to people's eyes, and made a
very great impression. I will bring back a copy
of it. It was by far the best speech that any of
us had ever heard in our lives. I never realized
he could do such a thing, and it made us very
proud to think that we had an Englishman who
could make such a speech, especially after Sir
Wilfrid Laurier's very moderate effort. "
In December of 1912 Arthur Grenfell had a
bad horse accident, and Rivy found himself in
consequence more closely tied to his office. In
January 1913 the 9th Lancers went to Tidworth
on Salisbury Plain, and in order that the brothers
might spend their week-ends together, Rivy took
the Red House in the neighbourhood, where he
marked out a training ground for his polo ponies.
In September 1912 Francis had been gazetted
captain, and a little later was appointed adjutant.
In the summer of 1913 he was working for the
Staff College examination, and finally entered for
it in great pain from a sprained ankle, which,
A MEMOIR. 179
taken in conjunction with the variety of his
recent pursuits, made his success in qualifying the
more remarkable. I find Francis writing to the
King of Spain in January begging him to visit
the Qth Lancers at Tidworth, and in any case
to let his Military Attache come and stay with
them. " I can always give him horses or ponies
to ride and introduce him to other officers of the
garrison, including general officers, of which there
are almost as many here as private soldiers. . . .
Should you manage to come over to England for
Cowes, my regiment is stationed only about forty
miles from Southampton, and we could give you
a good game of polo every day. You could motor
over quietly and privately, and no one need know
anything about it. Please keep this in mind, as
a match between the i6th Lancers, with your
Majesty playing, and the Qth Lancers, would
make a fine combat. We have read with great
interest about the reforms you have introduced
in Spain, and the courage you have shown. It
might well be said of Spain what Frederick the
Great once said of England about Pitt, * England^
at any rate, has now a man at the head of affairs.'
I am afraid it will not be possible for me to come
over to Spain in the spring and enjoy the good
sport we had two years ago. I am now adjutant,
and find it hard to get away. We are very busy
180 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
in case of a war, which we are quite ready for
and looking forward to. If we go to war, as
many Spanish officers as want to see it should
join the Qth Lancers, for our one hope is to be
in the advanced guard."
The year 1913 was passed pleasantly by both
Twins in London and Tidworth, with such breaks
as a trip to Paris with the Duke of Westminster
at Christmas. Their real home was at Roe-
hampton with their brother Arthur, for whom
they had a deep affection. There among his
children they seemed to be children themselves
again. It was a period of that close companion-
ship which for both was the main secret of hap-
piness. I have never seen anything like their
fidelity to each other. They had their own
secret whistles and calls, and if either heard the
other's summons it was his duty at once to leave
whatever he was doing and obey it. In ordinary
company they were just like two dogs. Francis
would rise and leave the room, and Rivy would be
apparently unconscious for some minutes of his
departure. Then he would grow restless, and
presently get up and saunter out to find his twin.
At this time they were most conspicuous
figures in English society. They knew every one
and went everywhere ; and I fear that Rivy's
devotion to letters must have declined, for with
A MEMOIR. 181
his quicksilver brother at home he had small
opportunity for the studious life. But he did a
remarkable thing, which I think must be almost
unprecedented. To help Francis in his Staff
College work he took many of his classes with
him, read the same text-books, and went through
the same coaching. This must have been a real
effort, since at the time he was deeply engaged in
his brother Arthur's business and carrying many
new responsibilities. For the rest, both led the
varied and comfortable life which used to be the
perquisite of well-credentialled, reasonably rich,
and socially agreeable young men in England.
Each had the gift of oxygenating the atmosphere
in which he moved and waking a sense of life
in the flattest place. This was partly due, I
think, to the curious charm of their appearance :
they seemed always to be moving, or poised for
movement ; the ardour in their eyes was an anti-
dote for ennui; they gave the impression of
never in their lives having been bored or idle.
Partly it sprang from their real ingenuousness.
They were acutely interested in everything in
the world, and refused to hide their interest after
the conventional English fashion. Often the
results were comic. They had vast stores of
ignorance, and would ask questions of an un-
believable naivete. But comic or not it was a
i8a FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
most endearing trait, for it was perfectly natural,
without pose or premeditation. It was this habit
that especially attracted older men. Francis and
Rivy were at their best with their seniors. Al-
ways respectful, they yet managed to treat an
elder as if he were only a much wiser contempo-
rary one in whom the fires of youth were by no
means dead. Their attitude was deferential in that
it recognized superior wisdom, familiar since it
assumed a comradeship in everything else. Also
they revelled in " shop," and welcomed anybody
who would tell them anything new. I have seen
Rivy, with bright eyes, hanging on the words of
an aged general, or banker, or professor, or
quondam master of hounds, cross-examining him
in an earnest quest for knowledge ; and the
flattered face of the examinee showed how he
relished the compliment.
To most of us the dividing line between the
old and the new world was drawn in the first
week of August 1914. But for the Twins it
came earlier. Three months before the cataclysm
of the nations they felt their own foundations
crumbling. . . . Their brother Arthur's firm,
in which Rivy was a partner, had had a career of
meteoric brilliance, and had naturally aroused
much jealousy among others who had entered for
A MEMOIR. 183
the same stakes. From 1912 onward it had been
riding high speculative tides, where the hand of a
skilled helmsman was badly needed. But Arthur's
accident in the winter of that year kept him away
from business for a considerable time, and when
he returned it seemed to many of his friends that
he was not the man he had been. Rivy had to
deal on his own initiative with intricate matters
which he probably never understood, for his
business training had always been sketchy and
inadequate. The affairs of the firm grew more
and more involved, with the result that in the
early months of 1914 a crash was imminent. In
May the blow fell. The downfall of their brother's
business involved every penny of the Twins'
This was the true tragedy of their lives, for
the war brought no such bitterness. It meant
that Rivy was a broken man in his profession,
and that Francis must give up most of his am-
bitions. It made one's heart ache to see
them, stunned, puzzled, yet struggling to keep
a brave front, and clamouring to take other
people's loads on their backs. Uncomplainingly
they played what they decided was their last
game of polo, and sold their ponies. Rivy was
like one in a dream, trying to make out landmarks
in an unfamiliar universe. Some terrible thing
184 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
had happened, and by his fault for his quixotic
loyalty made him ready to shoulder all the blame
but he could not understand how or why.
He was full of schemes to restore their fortunes,
and I have rarely known anything so tragic as
to listen to his schemes and endeavour to ex-
plain their bottomless futility. ... It was a time
when a man's friends are tested, and nobly
most of their friends stood the trial. But there
were others who, in the noonday of prosperity,
had been ready to lick their boots, and who now
invented slanders and gloated over the downfall.
In my haste I considered that a public thrash-
ing would have best met such cases ; but the
brothers seemed to be incapable of anger. It was
their gentleness that was so difficult to watch
unmoved. They neither broke nor bent under
calamity, but simply stood still and wondered.
All that for fourteen years they had planned to-
gether had gone by the board, but they grieved
about everybody's loss more than their own. It
was the same with both : in that bad time they
spoke and felt and thought with one spirit.
In the late summer of 1914 those of us who
were trying against heavy odds to reach a settle-
ment of the brothers' affairs were aware of a
mysterious current moving throughout the world's
A MEMOIR. 185
finance, which thwarted all our efforts. Though
we did not know it at the time, it was the first
muttering of the great storm. By the middle of
July it was clear that nothing could be done, and
then suddenly that happened which submerged
all personal disasters in a universal downfall. On
Tuesday, 4th August, Britain sent an ultimatum
to Germany, and at midnight entered upon war.
What to most people was like the drawing in of
a dark curtain was to the Twins an opening of
barred doors into the daylight. For Francis the
career which seemed at an end was to be resumed
upon an august stage, and for Rivy the chance
had come to redeem private failure in public
IN 1909, when Francis went hunting north of
the Zambezi, he travelled to the Victoria Falls
with Colonel Marling, V.C., then Brigadier-Gen-
eral commanding the Potchefstroom district. He
used to stare across the veld for hours at a time
out of the window of the observation car, and
once Colonel Marling asked what he was think-
ing about. " I was thinking how beautiful all
this is," was the answer. " It makes me long to
do something great/' What makes the hero ?
Emerson asks, and replies,
" He must be musical,
I never heard that Francis was musical, and he was
about as tremulous as a brick wall. But he was
always most sensitive to impressions, and in both
the Twins a vein lay hidden of unspoken poetry.
They now entered upon the struggle with a kind
of awed and hushed expectation. It had long been
at the back of their minds, and consciously and
A MEMOIR. 187
unconsciously they Tiad been preparing for it.
This little book is not a war memoir, for only a
fraction of the Twins' lives fell under the great
shadow for Rivy about five weeks, and for
Francis less than ten months. But, looking back,
the war seems to have been always a part of their
outlook. Both had the standpoint of the regular
soldier ; neither suffered the hesitations and
divided impulses of the less fortunate civilian.
But their outlook in one sense was not the common
professional one of the man who looks forward
to the practice of an art in which he has been
trained. Coming, as it did, to relieve them from
their perplexities, the crisis seemed to them to
carry with it a solemn trust, which they undertook
with willingness, indeed, but with something of
the gravity of those who feel themselves in the
hands of destiny.
The declaration of war found them together
at Tidworth. Rivy was determined to go out
with Francis, so he managed to get himself trans-
ferred from his proper unit, the Bucks Hussars,
as a reserve officer of the Qth Lancers. Every
moment of his time was devoted to sitting at
his brother's feet and learning what he could
teach him of the art of war, and to buying his
equipment with feverish haste. The Twins de-
cided to take six horses between them, and they
i88 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
borrowed an additional groom from the Duke of
Westminster. "I am to take command of a
squadron," wrote Francis in glee to Lord Grenfell.
" My regiment was never better or more prepared
in its history. . . . My dear old Uncle, you
have been so kind to us that words to thank you
fail me. If we survive you, we will look after
your children and see that they get jolly well
swished at Eton." On Thursday, I3th August,
I find this note in his diary :
" The Colonel [David Campbell] had dismounted parade
at two o'clock. He made a splendid speech in which he
recalled all the great deeds of the past which had been per-
formed by the gth : how in the Mutiny the regiment had
carried out its duties and several officers obtained V.C.'s,
with such distinction that when it left India the Viceroy gave
orders that it should be saluted by forty-one guns. This
had never been done before, and has never been done since.
In Afghanistan it had been greatly praised by Lord Roberts ;
in South Africa it fought for two years with the greatest
distinction, and received the highest compliments from all its
commanders. He also reminded us that Lieutenant Mac-
donald had on one occasion fought till every man and himself
had been killed. He told us that we were going forth to the
war with the greatest traditions to uphold. Nothing could be
finer than his speech, or could possibly have appealed more
to the officers and men."
The regiment embarked on the i5th. That
morning Francis wrote to Lord Grenfell :
" You will receive this when we have gone forth to war.
We entrain to-day at i p.m., and hope to reach France to-
A MEMOIR. 189
night. We leave very quietly as if marching to manoeuvres,
but a more magnificent regiment never moved out of barracks
for war. Every one is full of enthusiasm. Rivy goes with
me, and it is a great thing having him. Good-bye, my dear
Uncle. You have all my affection, and no one has ever been
kinder than you have been to me during my lifetime. So far
I have been the luckiest man alive. I have had the happiest
possible life, and have always been working for war, and have
now got into the biggest in the prime of life for a soldier.
We will tell you some fine tales when we return with a bottle
of the best from the Rhine/'
That same day Rivy wrote to me the last
letter I had from him. " I cannot leave the
country without writing to thank you, my dear
John, for all you have done for me in our troubles.
. . . Thank God, we are off in an hour. Such
a magnificent regiment ! Such men, such horses !
Within ten days I hope Francis and I will be
riding side by side straight at the Germans. We
will think of you, old boy."
They got to Boulogne late on the evening of
the 1 6th, and, passing through Amiens and Mau-
beuge, detrained at Jeunot in the afternoon of the
i yth. The letters home from both during those
days were very scrappy, consisting chiefly of
references to the hard game of polo which they
expected to play at any moment, and the close
touch which they had established with the other
players. Francis, however, kept a careful diary,
190 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
and it is curious, considering what was to happen,
that his main object seems to have been to record
every moment which he spent with Rivy, and all
that Rivy said or did. He was in command of
" B " Squadron, and was determined to keep it up
to the mark. Take, for example, this entry on
1 8th August : " I had reason to find fault with
the turn-out of the men, boots and spurs having
been allowed to get rusty ; so I formed up the
squadron and told them I insisted on the turn-out
being good throughout the campaign, as it was
proverbial that the best turned-out troop was
nine times out of ten the best fighting one. I
said that because the men were on active service
there was no reason why they should imagine
that they had ceased to be the Ninth and become
colonials. I ordered the few men whose turn-out
was very bad to march two miles on foot on the
way home, and I told them in future that any
man who was reported to me badly turned out
would have his horse taken away from him and
be made to tramp. I am certain that this had a
great effect on the squadron."
From Jeunot the Ninth moved to Obrechies.
" B >: Squadron was the first cavalry unit to
arrive, and naturally had a great reception from
both French and Belgians. On the igth and 2oth
it did a reconnaissance into Belgian territory.
A MEMOIR. 191
and on Friday the 2ist marched to Harmignies.
There Sir John French, it will be remembered,
was taking up position in advance of the left flank
of the French Fifth Army, preparatory to a move
against the German flank in Belgium. The pres-
ence of von Billow's Second Army was fairly well
known, but there was more or less a mystery
about the whereabouts of von Kluck. He was
believed to be somewhere in the neighbourhood
of Waterloo, but neither the French nor the British
Staff had any guess at the strength of his forces,
or the great wheel which he was to undertake.
That Friday night the Twins were billeted in
Harmignies, and on Saturday the 22nd they
remained there till the evening, when the Ninth
were sent out to Thulin, where they arrived early
in the morning 0f the 23rd. They were now
behind the left flank of the British 3rd Division.
Francis and Rivy were much perplexed by
this strange kind of battlefield. As cavalrymen
they had hoped for the wide rolling downs which
had been predicted as the terrain of any con-
tinental war. Instead they found themselves in
a land full of little smoky villages, coal mines,
railway embankments, endless wire, and a popu-
lation that seemed a$ dense as that of a London
suburb. They were puzzled to know how cavalry
could operate, and they were still more puzzled
192 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
to understand what was the plan of campaign
an uncertainty they shared with a million or so
other soldiers. On that hot Sunday morning
firing began early to the north-east and grew
heavier as the day advanced. In the afternoon
the Colonel sent for the squadron leaders and
told them that six German cavalry and three
infantry divisions were advancing, and that their
business was to retire slowly, fighting a rearguard
action. The rest of the day was spent in deep
mystification, with no knowledge of the fall of
Namur, or of Lanrezac's defeat at Charleroi, or
the other calamities which were to compel Sir
John French to retreat. But at 1 1 .30 came definite
orders. They were instructed to entrench at the
railway station south of Thulin for an attack at
dawn. Spades were procured with difficulty, and
they were about to begin when another order
came not to entrench but to barricade, and to
hold Thulin station and the road to the south of
it. This was done, and the position was occupied
during the darkness, while the wretched inhabit-
ants straggled down the south road, and the guns
in the north grew steadily nearer.
Monday the 24th saw the beginning of the
retreat from Mons. This is not the place to
repeat an oft-told tale. Our concern is only with
one cavalry unit engaged in acting as a rear-
A MEMOIR. 193
guard. At four o'clock that morning Francis,
who had retired from Thulin at 10.30 the night
before, was ordered to reconnoitre the town at
dawn. He had gone only a little way through its
streets when he came under heavy fire at short
range, and in withdrawing had his horse " Ginger "
shot down. Presently from his position at the
railway station he saw a mass of German troops
advancing. A sharp fight ensued of which he
records, " Rivy and I found ourselves for the
first time standing together under fire, and not
much disconcerted." He had a bullet through
his boot, and as the enemy was advancing in
considerable numbers and outflanking the little
post, " B " Squadron fell back upon the regiment,
and was sent into reserve. The Qth Lancers
then retired to a ridge more to the south, where
they came under a heavy shell-fire.
It was now about midday. The 2nd Cavalry
Brigade was south of Audregnies, with the excep-
tion of the 1 8th Hussars holding the high ground
north of that village. The 5th Division was mov-
ing along the Eloges- Audregnies road. General
De Lisle ordered the Qth Lancers to a position
on the north-west of Audregnies, in order to
support the i8th Hussars. There they assembled
on a low hill where some shelter was obtained
from buildings. The men were dismounted, and
194 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
firing at i ,200 yards against the German infantry,
who were advancing deployed. Presently the
retiring 5th Division, which had now been in
action for some twenty-four hours, was threatened
with an enemy envelopment, and Sir Charles
Fergusson asked for protection from the cavalry
for his western flank. De Lisle decided to charge
the flank of the advancing masses, the 4th Dragoon
Guards on the left and the Qth Lancers on the
That charge was as futile and as gallant as
any other like attempt in history on unbroken
infantry and guns in position. But it proved to
the world that the spirit which inspired the Light
Brigade at Balaclava and von Bredow's Todtenritt
at Mars-la-Tour was still alive in the cavalry of
to-day. . . . Francis formed his squadron in
line of troops column, and they galloped into a
tornado of rifle and machine-gun fire and the
artillery fire of at least three batteries. No ob-
jective could be discerned, for the Germans at
once took cover among the corn stooks. The
ground had not been reconnoitred, and long
before they came near the enemy the Lancers
found themselves brought up by double lines
of wire. In that nightmare place Francis's first
job was to get his squadron in hand. He could
not find his trumpeter, so he blew his whistle
A MEMOIR. 195
and cursed with vehemence anybody he found
out of place. The charge had swung somewhat to
the right. Captain Lucas-Tooth, commanding
" A " Squadron, reached a high mound of cinders,
and behind it and in a donga running eastward
found shelter, and was presently joined by some
of the 4th Dragoon Guards. Meantime Francis
found a certain amount of cover behind a house.
" We had simply galloped about like rabbits in
front of a line of guns," he wrote, " men and
horses falling in all directions. Most of one's
time was spent in dodging the horses."
Very soon the house was blown to pieces, so
the squadron moved off to the shelter of a railway
embankment. Francis remembered that on one
occasion the regiment had been ordered to trot
in South Africa under a heavy fire, and he now
adopted this method of keeping his men together.
Under the embankment he collected the remnant.
He found a number of odd Qth Lancers besides
his own squadron, and as senior officer he took
command and attempted to sort the troops out.
South of the embankment was the iiQth
Battery, R.F.A., under Major G. H. Alexander,
who for this day's work was to receive the Vic-
toria Cross. It was under a desperate fire from
three of the enemy's batteries, one of which
completely enfiladed it, and most of its gunners
196 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
had been killed. Seeing the position, Francis
offered his services. At that moment he was hit
by shrapnel. " It felt as if a whip had hit me in
the leg and hand. I think an artery was affected,
as the blood spurted out, and my observer, Stead-
man, and young Whitehead very kindly bound me
up. We also had to put on a tourniquet, and
referred to the Field Service Regulations to find
out how it had to be put on. This would have
amused you. Of course, we found out how to
stop blood in every other part of one's body except
one's hand, but eventually came upon this useful
information. Things began to go round and
round, and I luckily remembered that in the wallets
of the horse I had borrowed I had noticed a
flask. This proved to contain a bottle of the best
old brandy, and my observer and I at once drank
the lot. I now felt like Jack Johnson, instead of
an old cripple."
Major Alexander asked Francis to find if
there was an exit for his guns. The diary con-
tinues the story.
" It was not a very nice job, I am bound to say, and I was
relieved when it was finished. It meant leaving my regiment
under the embankment and riding out alone through the guns,
which were now out of action and being heavily shelled all
the time, to some distance behind, where I found myself out
of range of the shells. It was necessary to go back through
the inferno as slowly as possible, so as to pretend to the men
A MEMOIR. 197
that there was no danger and that the shells were more noisy
than effective. I reported to the Battery Commander that
there was an exit ; he then told me that the only way to save
his guns was to man-handle them out to some cover. My
experience a few minutes before filled me with confidence,
so I ordered the regiment to dismount in front of their horses,
and then called for volunteers. I reminded them that the
9th Lancers had saved the guns at Maiwand, and had gained
the eternal friendship of the gunners by always standing by
the guns in South Africa; and that we had great traditions
to live up to, as the Colonel had reminded us before we started.
Every single man and officer declared they were ready to go
to what looked like certain destruction. We ran forward and
started pushing the guns out. Providence intervened, for
although this was carried out under a very heavy fire and the
guns had to be slowly turned round before we could guide
them, we accomplished our task. We pushed out one over
dead gunners. I do not think we lost more than three or
four men, though it required more than one journey to get
everything out. It is on occasions like this that good dis-
cipline tells. The men were so wonderful and so steady that
words fail me to say what I think of them, and how much is
due to my Colonel for the high standard to which he had raised
this magnificent regiment."
According to Major Alexander, the enemy
infantry were within 500 yards before the last
gun was got out of shell range. Meantime Cap-
tain Lucas-Tooth had arrived, and being the
senior officer took command of the regiment.
" B " Squadron waited till all the battery had
gone, and then, wrote Francis, " wandered about
for some time looking for some one to give us
orders. " Eventually they halted by a main road
198 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
along which an infantry column was marching.
Here Francis was overcome by his wounds, and
was forced to leave the squadron. It was now
about seven o'clock. " The N.C.O.'s and the
men came and shook me by the hand and gave
me water from their water-bottles. I cannot tell
you how much this day has increased the feeling
of confidence and comradeship between me and
my squadron. My fingers were nastily gashed,
but the bone was not damaged ; a bit of shrapnel
had taken a piece out of my thigh ; I had a bullet
through my boot and another through my sleeve,
and had been knocked down by a shell ; my horse
had also been shot, so no one can say I had an
Room could not be found in any ambulance,
so he was left by the roadside. Luckily a French
Staff officer came by in a motor car and took him
to Bavai. There he fell in with the Duke of
Westminster, who took charge of him ; and he
also found Rivy, who had been doing galloper to
De Lisle. I quote again from the diary.
" They took me to a French convent, which was under the
Red Cross and was full of wounded. A civilian doctor and
six nurses attended me, each lady trying to outdo the others
in kindness, which was rather alarming. There was a chorus
of ' Pauvre garcon ! Comme il est brave ! Comme il est beau ! '
The difficulty arose as to how my leg should be treated. I
suggested my breeches should be taken off, but the senior
A MEMOIR. 199
Red Cross lady said that that was impossible ' Car il y a trop
de jeunes filles.' So my breeches were cut down the leg. The
doctor took me to his house and put me to bed. I am bound
to say I felt rather done. I got into bed at ten o'clock. At
midnight Rivy told me to get up, as the town was to be evacu-
ated. The doctor gave me some raw eggs and coffee, and I
left Bavai at 1.15 a.m. in Bend Or's motor. I cannot say how
nice it was to find such a friend at such a time. It is wonderful
what Bend Or has done for Rivy and me. He took me to Le
Cateau, which we reached about four in the morning, where
I slept that day heavily in his bed. Next morning I heard of
the arrival of the 4th Division, and I also met Hugh Dawnay.
I left Le Cateau at 9 a.m. on the 26th in a cattle truck with
five other wounded. A very amusing thing happened in the
railway station. About 500 refugees were there, all in a great
state of distress and alarm, and a few gendarmes and soldiers.
Suddenly a German aeroplane came over. You would have
roared with laughter as all the refugees started yelling and
rushing about the station. Every gendarme or stray soldier
who possessed any sort of firearm loosed it off into the air,
which made the women yell all the more. A very fat officer
seized a rifle and rushed forward to shoot the aeroplane, which
was about five miles away. The bolt jammed, so he put it on
the ground, gave it a kick, and it went off through the roof."
He reached Amiens safely that day, whence
he was transferred by way of Rouen to hospital
in England. He arrived very chastely dressed
in his regimental tunic and a pair of pyjamas,
his breeches having been sacrificed to the modesty
of the French nuns. I well remember how, out
of the confused gossip of those first weeks of war,
the exploit of the gth Lancers emerged as a clear
achievement on which the mind of the nation
200 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
could seize and so comfort itself. For his work
on that grim day Francis was recommended by
Sir Charles Fergusson, the General commanding
the 5th Division, for the Victoria Cross. The
award was gazetted early in November, and so
to Francis fell the distinction of being the first
man in the campaign to win the highest honour
which can fall to a subject of the King.
He was taken to Sister Agnes's hospital, and
then to Mr. Pandeli Ralli's house in Belgrave
Square. There he stayed a week, and after-
wards went down to Lord Grenfell at Overstone.
On 8th September he wrote to Rivy that he
hoped to start back in a week for the front,
though the doctors pretended that it might be a
fortnight. He was desperately restless. " I am
wondering what has happened to you in the mean-
while, and also to my squadron, as I am afraid
you will have been having incessant fighting ever
since I departed, and the strain must be very
great. Even the little I went through practically
knocked me up, and I have been in bed ever since."
He was greatly embarrassed by his sudden fame,
and he could not believe that he had done any-
thing worth speaking about. " What a muddle
it all was ! How I should have liked to see some-
body who knew what was going on ! I have not
yet discovered what we charged. All I saw was
A MEMOIR. 201
some infantry nearly a mile off." He had for the
moment no pride in his exploit, only vexation at
the fuss made about it. " Some infernal corre-
spondents from France have written a lot of rot
which makes me feel very uncomfortable. I have
been bombarded with letters and telegrams from
all over the place, and every sort of person has
called to see me in hospital. I never felt such a
fool in my life. After all, I only did w r hat every
other man and officer did who was with me. . . .
The King came to see me in hospital, and was
extraordinarily nice ; also Prince Arthur, who
stayed an hour with me. Lord Roberts came and
asked rather direct questions as to why we charged
and whom we charged, and who gave the order
to charge. . . . Mrs. Asquith came too, and
asked after you. There is every sort of wild
story about us, and a poem was even written in
the Times on how we captured the guns. . . . Tell
the officers to write on receipt of this, and I will
bring out anything they want to them. Cable if
you are all right."
That brief meeting in Bavai was the last time
Francis saw his brother. During the afternoon
of 24th August, when Francis and his squadron
were charging the remote German infantry, Rivy
had been acting as galloper for De Lisle. " A
202 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
rather heavy job on a weary horse/' he wrote.
" He sent me to find General Gough, which I
did ; and the latter told me he had received no
orders, and could not find Allenby, but since he
had heard heavy guns in the direction of Eloges
he intended to stay where he w r as. . . . We
found Allenby about 11.30. He told De Lisle
to go back and take the ridge from which we had
been firing in the morning, but not to get too
heavily engaged. De Lisle took his brigade back
and sent the i8th Hussars about a mile north to
a sugar factory, and followed himself, with me.
Then I was sent to tell the Qth to wait north of
Audregnies. As I gave the message an awful fire
burst out from Quiveran. The Colonel told
Abadie to hold the ridge. I had to gallop back
across the line of fire to De Lisle, but when I had
got there he had gone. The guns took up a
hurried position behind the railway, but as they
galloped to position a very heavy enemy fire was
opened on them, the Germans soon finding the
range. I went to the railway to look for De Lisle,
and on approaching the ridge saw four artillerymen
destroyed by shell. I then went round by the
south bridge to find the Qth ; but they, I was
informed, had just charged. Meanwhile riderless
and wounded horses were galloping everywhere,
and bullets and shells were falling like hailstones.
A MEMOIR. 203
... At last I found Colonel Campbell looking
for the Brigadier to try and get some reinforce-
ments. We found the Brigadier, but he had no
troops with him. Colonel Campbell told me to
stay with him. He had been ordered to charge
towards Quiveran. Why, he did not know, as
there was an open space for about a mile, and
he had lost nearly all his regiment. ... I was
told to rally what force I could at Wiheries. I
found some 4th Dragoon Guards, and then retired
towards Athis with the Colonel. Afterwards we
fell back, a very dejected force, to Bavai. I
wondered how the devil I could get news of
Rivy's day's work, though he was the last man
to admit it, was a very remarkable and courageous
performance. Francis used to say that that soli-
tary bit of reconnaissance, all alone, was braver
than anything he ever did a raw civilian riding
for hours under heavy fire on a tired horse on
missions of vital importance. That day estab-
lished Rivy's reputation with the regiment. For
the next ten days he was busy with the great
retreat, and had very little time for letter- writing.
On 29th August there was a short note to Francis
telling him that both had lost all their belongings
and begging him to bring out a new outfit. " An
infernal trooper has bagged my horse with all my
204 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
kit on it, and has got lost himself." There was
a letter to one of his sisters, dated 2nd September,
and a postcard to Francis the next day, and after
that the next news was his death. In that feverish
fortnight David Campbell wrote : " Rivy was with
me as galloper and general utility officer up to the
time I left. He was of the very greatest help, and
carried out a very good reconnaissance with two
scouts the day before I was hit. He was always
splendid, and I shall miss him fearfully." On
5th September came the turn of the tide on the
Marne, and the Cavalry Corps moved northward
again. On the yth the 2nd Brigade was acting
as flank guard to the division, with the gth
Lancers as the advance guard ; and at Moncel
the Ninth, a troop and a half strong, led by David
Campbell himself, brilliantly charged with the
lance and dispersed a German squadron.
On nth September the 2nd Brigade was on
the left bank of the Vesle river, and on the i3th
began the crossing of the Aisne by the British
infantry. The Qth Lancers, with the 4th Dragoon
Guards and the i8th Hussars, crossed the river
in advance near Bourg, and pushed up the heights
towards Vendresse. There they were relieved by
a battalion of the infantry advance guard, the
6oth Rifles, and retired for the night to Pargnan.
On the morning of the I4th the Ninth again
A MEMOIR. 205
formed the advance guard, and leaving at 3 a.m.
marched north by Vendresse and Troy on. They
had been given an objective which turned out to
be about a mile behind the German trenches.
Pushing fast through the dark up a winding road
towards the Chemin des Dames, they passed the
pickets of the 6oth, and presently ran into a
German picket. The regiment dismounted, while
Rivy, with a section, dashed forward to a position
near a haystack. He engaged the enemy picket,
and enabled the regiment to regain its direction.
He seems to have been in wild spirits, and to
have encouraged his little band with jokes, and
with that peculiarly cheery hallo of which he had
the secret. But, in his anxiety to see the effects
of the shots, he exposed himself, and a German
bullet cut his revolver in two and passed through
the roof of his mouth. He died instantaneously.
The last words which his men remember were
his shout, " Steady your firing, boys. We have
got them beaten."
The Ninth fell back, leaving his body in the
enemy hands, but that afternoon the 6oth ad-
vanced and recovered it. Rivy had been in the
field twenty-five days days of such crowded
endeavour and endurance as few campaigns in
history can show. From the first hour he had
been supremely happy, for he had found his
206 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
true calling. He had seen his brother safe out
of danger and covered with glory, and with the
removal of any anxiety about Francis had gone
the one thing which could dim his cheerfulness.
From what I have been told by his men and his
brother officers, I am certain that that last fort-
night of his life had washed clean from his mind
all the weary sense of reproach and futility which
had been clouding it, and that he went to death
as one who " finds again his twentieth year/'
" Tarry, dear cousin Suffolk !
My soul shall thine keep company to heaven ;
Tarry, sweet soul, for mine, then fly abreast,
As in this glorious and well-foughten field
We kept together in our chivalry ! "
IT took Francis a long time to realize that Rivy
was dead. He was about to return to the battle
line ; death was everywhere ; already many of
his friends had fallen ; he himself might follow at
any moment ; his mind was a little dulled to the
meaning of mortality. He did not think of the
blankness of his future without Rivy, for there
was no reason to expect that it would be long.
His predominant thought was how splendid his
brother had been in life and how glorious in
death, and he wanted every one to realize this.
But the acute personal loss had not yet come home
to him. Of the many letters which he received,
I think he was most touched by that of the King
of Spain :
2o8 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
" DEAR FRANCIS, I never knew that Rivy had joined the
Ninth. I thought he belonged to the Yeomanry. You can-
not imagine what a blow it has been to me, and I can guess
what you must feel. We followed all the fine work you did,
and Bend Or's coming to your rescue, and I was sure that I
would be able to drink with you both on your V.C. I never
would have believed that Rivy would have died before me,
and he a civilian. Do write when you can, old man, and
tell me everything. Please give your brothers and sisters
all my sympathies. I have lost a friend, and I can only
tell you that he has found the finest of deaths : he died for
his country on the battlefield. You are a soldier, and know
what I mean. You know that I am no good at making
phrases, so good-bye, old man. I hope you will recover soon.
Believe me always your devoted friend, ALFONSO."
To Lord Grey Francis wrote :
" I wired to you on Saturday when I heard the news, for
you were one of his best friends. Rivy died for old England,
and no Englishman could do more. We won the Champion
Cup together, and I bought him the horse on which he won
the Kadir, and we have been through good times and bad,
and on the 24th of August we went into action together and
faced the bullets side by side. We have worked, played,
and fought together, and always shared everything. After
thirty-four years of inseparableness it was on the battlefield
that we parted, and only death the most glorious death of
all has now compelled us to separate for ever, at any rate
in this world.
" My dear Lord Grey, you were a very, very good friend
to Rivy, and you and your family have done all you could to
enrich and ennoble his life. He dearly loved you all, and
valued nothing more in the world than your friendship, and
admired nothing more than your character. I hope that since
we can no more talk of the ' Twins ' you will always remember
Rivy and accept the gratitude of your broken-hearted friend/'
A MEMOIR. 209
And to me :
" Rivy's death will hit you as hard as it has hit me. He
was so very fond of you. You were his most loyal friend, my
dear John, and I hope you will accept the great gratitude of
his twin, and whenever you think of Rivy I hope you will say
to yourself, * He knew I always stood by him through thick
and thin.' '
Rivy for him was still a living personality, sepa-
rated only by the exigencies of warfare ; and he
wanted all their friends to think of him and talk
about him, and not merely hold him in pious
memory, as if by some such affectionate concen-
tration of thought he could be recaptured from
the pale shades.
Meantime he was on tenterhooks to be back
at the front, and on the evening of 8th October
he left England to rejoin his regiment. At the
moment the British army was moving to the
extreme left of the Allied line, in the hope of
turning the German northern flank. He travelled
with his Colonel, David Campbell, who had now
recovered from his wound got on the Marne.
On the 1 2th he found the regiment at Strazeele,
and to his delight discovered that it was on the
verge of going into action. To be among his old
friends again both soothed and cheered him.
' Several still call me Rivy," he wrote to his
uncle. " I am so glad it goes on."
2io FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
The ist Cavalry Division, now under De
Lisle, to which the 2nd Brigade belonged, was
engaged in reconnoitring the ground in front of
General- Pulteney's 3rd Corps. Pulteney's busi-
ness was to get east of Armentieres, astride the
Lys, and to link up Smith-Dorrien at La Bassee
and Haig at Ypres. The enemy was in Merris
and Meteren, and the Qth Lancers were drawn
up at Strazeele, while the 4th and 6th Infantry
Divisions attacked. It was a day of heavy rain
and thick steamy fog, the fields were water-
logged, aircraft were useless, and the countryside
was too much enclosed for cavalry. The infantry
succeeded in their task, and by the morning of
the 1 4th Pulteney held the line Bailleul-St. Jans
Cappelle. Francis notes in his diary : "I could
not help observing on my return that the war was
affecting the spirits of all a little : there was much
more seriousness than when I left."
The stage was now set for that First Battle of
Ypres which was to last for three weeks between
Dixmude and La Bassee, which will live in his-
tory as one of the greatest military achievements
of Britain, and which was at once the end and
the apotheosis of the old British regular army.
On the 1 5th Francis took over " B " Squadron
again, and told the men how glad he was to get
back to them, and how proud he was to hear of
A MEMOIR. 211
the way in which they had behaved since he last
saw them. He told them that the war would be
long, and that this was not the time for any man
to count his losses. That day he marched through
a steady rain to Locre. The next day, starting
very early, he marched through Ploegsteert village
and Ploegsteert Wood ; and at Le Gheir was in-
structed to attack and carry the Lys crossing at the
bend of Pont Rouge. The squadron took the vil-
lage, but found the bridge strongly barricaded, and
the enemy entrenched on the far side of the stream.
Francis asked permission to swim the river, and
when this was refused he begged for reinforce-
ments so as to carry the barricade. To his dis-
gust, however, he received orders to retire. " Be-
fore leaving we buried Private Lake at a farm 800
yards south of the Pont Rouge. Owing to our
nearness to the enemy we had to carry on the
burial service in the dark, which was not nice.
At the service I said, ' Here lies a brave British
soldier who has died for England and the Qth
Lancers, and no man could do more.' Then I
said the Lord's Prayer, and afterwards thought
of the poem to Sir John Moore/'
Next day " B " Squadron was in reserve, and
was consistently shelled all day ; very disquieting
for cavalry, who had to think of their horses.
On the 1 8th Francis was at Le Gheir again,
2i2 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
and " B " Squadron was once more instructed
to attack Pont Rouge with infantry support.
The aim was to clear the right bank of the Lys,
for Pulteney was still doubtful about the strength
of the enemy, and had some ground for assum-
ing that the only Germans there were the mixed
cavalry and infantry he had been pressing back
for a week. As a matter of fact the 3rd Corps
was now approaching the main German position,
and in spite of the brilliant work of the cavalry
could not win the right bank of the river. Pul-
teney was firmly held at all points from Le Gheir
to Radinghem, and his position on the night of the
1 8th represented the furthest line held during the
battle by this section of our front. Francis's fight
on the 1 8th was much the same as that on the
1 6th. " B " Squadron could not get near its
objective because of the machine-gun fire, and
was only extricated by the aid of two companies
of Inniskilling Fusiliers.
It was now necessary to connect Pulteney with
the infantry further north, and a link was provided
by the whole Cavalry Corps under Allenby. On
the night of the iQth Allenby was generally east
of Messines on a line drawn from Le Gheir to
Hollebeke. On the aoth Francis found himself
on the Messines Ridge supporting the 4th
Dragoon Guards, who were holding St. Ives.
A MEMOIR. 213
Here they had another ugly scrap, and late in the
evening had to support the Household Cavalry
at Warneton. The day before he had written
to his uncle : " This war is damnable. We have
such nasty jobs to do, and are always under fire ;
but the spirit of the men is splendid. Our in-
fantry and cavalry outclass the German, but their
artillery is excellent. Our present job is pretty
disheartening. We go forward and capture posi-
tions for the infantry, who are entrenched four
miles behind and move terribly slow. We are
then withdrawn, and have again to recapture the
same position next day. Eventually the infantry
come up and take the place, assisted by divisional
artillery the same place we took three days before
with a squadron."
The Qth Lancers were gradually being trans-
formed from cavalry to infantry, and a passage in
Francis's diary shows how severe were the duties.
' We have started the same old game as at the
Aisne, and we have had five of the hardest days
of the war in trenches repelling German attacks.
It has become such a recognized idea to use us
for this work as soon as we get in touch with the
enemy that I am afraid all the cavalry traditions
are for ever ended, and we have become mounted
infantry pure and simple, with very little of the
mounted about it. Our men look funny sights
214 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
trudging along with spades and things on their
backs, and when they are mounted they look
funnier still : if you see a man carrying lance,
sword, rifle, spade and pick, he looks just like a
hedgehog. But it is a jolly hard life for them to
have to fight their way up to the line, then make
the line, then hold it, and all the time cleaning
and trying to look after their horses." " Do you
know any one who would send me an armoured
motor car with a Maxim ? " he wrote to his uncle.
" I have written to Winston that the thing would
be invaluable now."
On the 2ist and 22nd the regiment was en-
gaged on the Messines Ridge in support of the
5th Cavalry Brigade. On the 23rd they were
actually at Messines, then still the semblance of
a village, with its church still a church and not
yet a ragged tooth of masonry. The cavalry
were holding a trench line to the east of the place,
where they were most completely and continu-
ously shelled. On the 26th they were sent south
to support Smith-Dorrien's 2nd Corps in the
fighting around Neuve Chapelle. It was a critical
moment, for the yth Infantry Brigade, which had
been in action for eighteen days, had been forced
back west of Neuve Chapelle and had almost
ceased to exist as a fighting force. That day an
attempt was made to recapture the village. The
A MEMOIR. 215
attack was too weak to succeed, and the most that
could be done with the assistance of the cavalry
was to take up a good defensive position on the
west. On the 29th the Qth Lancers were back
at Neuve Eglise, behind the Messines position.
That experience gave Francis his first notion of
the real seriousness of the German attack. Before,
he had been confident, and had credited every
optimistic rumour ; now he saw that the enemy
was indeed flinging the dice for victory, and that
the scanty British forces were faced with pre-
On 2Qth October, as we know, began the criti-
cal stage of the First Battle of Ypres. The chief
danger points were at the apex of the salient
around Gheluvelt and on its southern flank about
Zillebeke. But there was also an attack at the
southern re-entrant, and heavy fighting along the
whole Messines Ridge. On the 3<Dth the ist
Cavalry Brigade was holding the line before
Messines, and the Qth Lancers were sent up in
support. Francis's squadron, however, was de-
tached to assist the 4th Cavalry Brigade at Wyt-
schaete. Allenby, it must be remembered, at the
time was holding the whole line from Klein Zille-
beke to the south of Messines, and he had no rein-
forcements except two much-exhausted battalions
of an Indian brigade from the 2nd Corps. The
2i6 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
British public, who compared a cavalry regiment
to an infantry battalion and a cavalry squadron
to an infantry company, forgot the disparity in
numbers. A cavalry regiment was only 300 strong
as against 1,000 men of an infantry battalion, and
a squadron only 46 as against 200 of an infantry
That day Francis's work lay in entrenching a
position in the Wytschaete neighbourhood. In
the evening he was sent for to report to his Colonel
at Messines. He arrived there to find the situation
growing desperate. The front north of the vil-
lage was becoming untenable. He took his squad-
ron to the old trenches east of Messines which it
had occupied two days before. It was now only
40 men strong far too few to hold the ground.
All the night of the 3Oth he was heavily fired on,
and the enemy could be seen moving about on his
left flank. He found his Colonel, and showed him
the danger of the position. The most that could
be done, however, was to throw back a trench on
the left at a sharp angle to prevent outflanking.
Saturday, 3ist October, was the crisis of the
battle. It saw the menace to the Salient itself
repelled by one of the most heroic exploits in our
record, but it also saw the end of Messines. The
events of that day are best told in an extract from
A MEMOIR. 217
" After an anxious night, in which I did not sleep at all, we
stood to arms, and were ready for the attack which came in
due course at daybreak. At about five a.m., quite close to us,
I heard horns blowing and German words of command and
cheering, and I knew that the Germans had attacked the
Indians on our right. Basil Blackwood came and told me
the Colonel wished me to send two troops to support the right
at once, and I sent Mather Jackson and Sergeant Davids. The
latter I consider to be one of the bravest men in the British
army, and regarded him as the backbone of my squadron. I
regret to say that was the last time I saw him, as during the
attack he was badly wounded and captured by the Germans.
During the night, when I felt anxious, he was so calm that I
went and consoled myself by a talk with him. We discussed
the principles of fighting, and he said that the principles on
which he acted were that if you were killed by a shell it was
just bad luck, but that in an attack he considered himself
as good as any German, and it was only a question who got
the first shot in. He was very quiet throughout the night
in fact at one moment I had to do a lot of kicking at him to
wake him when I thought the position serious.
" I was now left with two very weak troops that is, from 15
to 20 men and a machine gun. Suddenly, about twenty yards
to our rear at daybreak there was a rush of men from some
houses. To my utter astonishment they appeared to be
Germans. Apparently the enemy had done what we thought
he would do during the night : he had got round my extreme
left, and unfortunately, instead of attacking me he had attacked
the troops on my left, who had given way. The Germans
were therefore round us at a distance of 100 yards. They took
a house, ran up to the top storeys and fired straight into my
trench. Poor Payne-Gallwey, who had only joined two nights
before and was in action for the first time, was shot in the head
from behind and killed. Reynolds was shot through the head,
and several more Vere wounded. I was on the extreme right
of the trench when this was reported to me. I had decided
to hang on when I became aware that ' C ' Squadron, who were
2i 8 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
in front and could protect my front, had received orders to
withdraw. At this moment heavy fire was directed on our
trench, not only from the rear but also from the left flank,
where the Germans had brought up a machine gun. Luckily
the bullets went a bit high. I ordered the men to retire from
the right and crawl out of the trench to the houses that were
on their right in the brickfield. When I got there I met Major
Abadie, who said to me, ' Well, Francis, what do you think of
the situation ? ' I cannot remember exactly what I said, but
I think I told him that I thought the Germans were attacking
from front and left, and that I had no trench facing that way
to meet the attack, the troops on my left having gone away.
This was the last I saw of him. He looked exactly the same
as usual and was in the same cheery mood, taking everything
light-heartedly, as was his custom.
" I now waited in a ruined house in the rear of the first
barricade, and am bound to say I felt in a quandary as to
what to do. I felt very guilty at leaving my trench, but at
the same time I felt it was useless to hold it. ... Suddenly
I heard a machine gun still firing at the extreme end of our
old trench. It had been left behind, so I left the squadron
at the house and went back along the trench until I reached
the gun, where I found Corporal Seaton with another man in
action, the Germans being from 20 to 40 yards off. I told
him I thought he had better retire, and that I would help
him out with his gun ; but he said that as the man with
him was wounded, and something had gone wrong with the
gun, he thought it best to leave it behind and completely
disable it. He retired along the trench. I remained there
awhile, firing at Germans with my revolver. My firing was
not very steady, and although I could see Germans lying down
quite close I could not take careful aim, as I was being shot
at from front, flank, and rear. I picked up one or two rifles
to fire with, but they jammed. I then realized that this was
no place for the squadron leader, so crawled along the trench
and rejoined my squadron near the ruined house.
" Here I received orders to hang on, and was told that
A MEMOIR. 219
' C ' Squadron, under Major Abadie, had been ordered to
attack the house in our rear with the bayonet. I was again
in a dilemma what to do, but pulled myself together, hoping
I should be inspired to do the right thing. The only inspira-
tion I got was a sort of feeling within me to go back and hold
my trench, so I assembled the squadron and told Mather
Jackson and Frank Crossley that I proposed to reoccupy the
trench. They thought this might be difficult, as the Germans
seemed to have got into the end of it. However, feeling that
it was the right thing to do, and confident that we should get
from traverse to traverse as quickly as the Germans, and that
I could fire in front quicker with my revolver than they could
with their rifles, we went back to the trench and reached the
extreme end of it. After being there a few moments the
officers reported that we were being shot at from front and
rear. I ordered them to tell the odd numbers to fire to the
front and the even numbers to fire to the rear and to hang on.
I went to the extreme left of the trench, where I could see the
left flank. There I could see some Germans running back,
but about a thousand yards off one or two German companies
advancing, covered by skirmishers in excellent order. We
picked up at least six rifles to fire at them, but they all
" I again felt uncertain what to do. Our position seemed
really ridiculous most of our rifles having jammed, and the
Germans all round. I sent word back to ' C ' Squadron to
advance as quickly as they could against the house, saying
we should cover their advance from where I was ; but they
replied that it was impossible for them to move. As the only
use I could be at this time in my trench was to cover the
advance of ' C ' Squadron, I decided to leave it again, and
assembled the squadron under heavy artillery and machine-
gun fire near the ruined house. I found the Colonel, and told
him the situation. He told me we were to hold on at all
costs. He said that infantry were advancing to support us,
but could not be up for some time I think he said two
o'clock. He told me to hold the small ridge facing north,
220 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
and reinforced me with two troops of the 5th Dragoon Guards.
I went back, and on the way spoke to Lennie Harvey, who
was standing with his troop in the road. I also passed Ray-
mond Greene. I told Lennie Harvey I had had orders to
hold the ridge, which I pointed out to him, and told him to
hold the ridge on my left. This, I believe, is the last that was
seen of that officer. . . . We were now being very heavily
shelled by coal-boxes, and it really seemed as hot as any one
could wish for. There seemed to be nothing in the air but
shells, and the bursting of the coal-boxes made a most terrific
noise. Personally, I had the feeling which I have had before,
the same as one gets at the start of a steeplechase, when the
starter says ' Off/
" At this moment a shell pitched right into the middle of
my squadron and blew it to the winds. Several of the men
were very badly wounded especially Corporal Newman, to
whom I gave some morphia. I myself was hit through the leg,
and felt I could not move. Luckily for me Mather Jackson
and another man took hold of me and carried me back. On
the way we passed Beale Brown and told him what had hap-
pened that the front of the town was untenable owing to
the shells, and that all that could be done was to attack the
Germans on our left. I was then carried back to the second
barricade, where I met Charles Mulholland and also General
Briggs, to whom I explained the situation. Mulholland took
me to a house where the nth Hussars' doctor was, and I was
taken down to the cellar, where there were a lot of wounded.
After I had had some rum and my wound dressed I was
sent through the town to an ambulance, which took me to
" On arrival at Bailleul a terrible fire suddenly opened in
the streets, which was very alarming to us caged in the ambu-
lance.- Luckily it proved only to be firing at an aeroplane.
We were taken to a convent, and my stretcher was put down,
curiously enough, alongside Basil Blackwood and Jack Wode-
house. Basil Blackwood and I, I have since heard, were the
only two to escape that day from Messines."
A MEMOIR. 221
Francis's second wound was a serious one in
the thigh. He was sent to Dublin, and complained
that after a journey of two nights he was farther
from England than when he started. " I am in a
home," he told his uncle ; " very comfortable,
indeed, in a room with two others. The nurses
are quite splendid. The surgeon has done our
dressings much better than anything before and
made us all comfortable. In addition to this
every one in Ireland has been to see us. Our
room is so thick with flowers it is hard to
breathe. Ivor Wimborne has fitted us all out
with glorious pillows, razors, brushes, etc. I could
not possibly be more comfortable or in better
On the i yth he read in the Gazette the news
of his Victoria Cross. " I have been through so
much since June," he wrote to his uncle, " that
what would and should have made me yell with
joy nearly causes tears. It gave me no great
feeling of having achieved anything. I feel that
I know so many who have done and are doing
so much more than I have been able to do for
England. I also feel very strongly that any
honour belongs to my regiment and not to me.
They have paid the toll, and will go on paying
until the road is clear. . . . My dear uncle,
without the help of Providence how futile our
222 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
efforts are ; but with it even humbugs like myself
can masquerade as brave. It will be a lifelong
pleasure and honour to your nephew to know that
you, one of the greatest soldiers of our time, who
have done so much for our name and have been
so kind to Rivy and me, should have lived to see
this day. Indeed, the greatest joy of all is that
it will please you."
For five months he remained in England, and
the first three were, I think, the hardest trial of
his life. He was slow to get well, and limped
about London with a thin face and haggard eyes,
looking like a man searching for something which
he could not find. Now he realized what his
brother's death meant to him. The alliance of
thirty years was broken for ever, and he had lost
half of himself. His looks at that time used to
frighten me : he had the air which in Scotland
we call " fey/' as if the " waft of death " had gone
out against him. He forced himself to be cheer-
ful, but his gaiety was feverish and his old alacrity
had died. I remember that he tried to interest
himself in the general conduct of the war and
would argue eagerly for a little and then sud-
denly fall silent. For things more poignant than
tactics and strategy crowded his mind. He never
doubted our ultimate victory, but meantime Rivy
was dead and every day his friends were dying,
A MEMOIR. 223
and it seemed as if the price of victory would be
the loss of all that he had loved.
He was miserable, too, at being away from his
regiment and his squadron. No man who has
not served in a unit in the field can understand
the intimate ties which bind together its members.
It is so small and so forlorn a little clan islanded
amid great seas of pain and death. The regi-
mental tradition becomes a living thing like a
personal memory. Old comradeships in sport
and play and the easy friendliness of peace-time
are transformed into something closer even than
friendship. Every communal success becomes an
individual triumph, every loss an individual sor-
row. More than most regular officers Francis had
this aching affection for his regiment the devo-
tion of " a lover or a child/' At Christmas he
sent this message to his squadron :
" I wish you all the very best of luck and good wishes for
Christmas and the New Year. I am always thinking of you,
and hope very soon to return. Sir John French said the
regiment had exceeded the greatest traditions of the army,
and in this ' B ' Squadron has played the leading part. You
were the first squadron of the regiment in action at the begin-
ning on 24th August, and have since always given the lead.
Remember the brave that have fallen, and be determined to
serve England as faithfully as they.
' You have all my very, very best wishes and thoughts. God
bless you and keep you, and help you to remain the finest
squadron in the world the only squadron that has got for
224 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
itself already a D.C.M., a Legion d'Honneur, a commission,
and a V.C., for what is won by the leaders belongs to the men.
God bless you all.'*
Slowly, very slowly, his wound mended, and
he began to look more steadily upon the world.
Old friends, such as Mrs. Asquith and Lord Hugh
Cecil, did much to restore his balance ; and when
he went to spend Christmas with his brother
Arthur, who was training with the Bucks Yeo-
manry in Norfolk, he was beginning to be himself
again. In January 1915 he took up shooting,
for which he had never greatly cared, and dis-
covered that on occasion he could be a brilliant
shot. Then he advanced to hunting at Oakham
on Harry Whitney's horses, and in March he
reported to his uncle that he was " a fighting
man once more." " It is glorious to feel strong
and well, but I am bound to say the stronger
and better I get the more I seem to realize what
it means to have lost Rivy." And he adds a
characteristic note : "I am glad to say my nerve
has gone in the right direction. Fences are
not as frightening as bullets. It is a joke to be
afraid of things that are there to shelter cattle
and not to kill you." He had been suffering
from too clear a perspective, seeing human effort
too constantly against the cold background of
eternity. Now he could look upon life in parti-
A MEMOIR. 225
tions, and accept the kindly conventions which
humanity has devised to shelter it from the outer
winds. Therefore, as he put it, he became
" keen " again ; for keenness means that the mind
is fixed on the various stadia of the game of life,
and not on the horizon.
When he was passed fit for foreign service he
made a new will, appointing the late Lord Grey
and myself his executors and trustees. His affairs
were very complicated, and it was by no means
certain that he had much or anything to leave ;
but with characteristic optimism he made elaborate
dispositions among various members of his family.
He left his medals to his regiment, " to whom the
honour of my gaining the Victoria Cross was en-
tirely due, thanks to its splendid discipline and
traditions." I quote the last two clauses.
" I wish to express my regret that my financial position
does not permit me to leave anything to the children of my
uncle, Francis, Lord Grenfell, as I had hoped to do, but I
should like to express to him my deep gratitude for his kindness
to me during my lifetime. Ever since the day when he decided
that I should go into the army at his expense I have endeav-
oured to base my career on his example. He has, since the
death of my father, done everything that a father could do
for me. I should also like to thank all my brothers and sisters
for their kindness, generosity, and hospitality to me. No
junior member of a family could have been blessed with more
" I should like everything possible done at all times for mine
and Rivy's friends, notably the Hon. Mrs. Arthur Crichton,
226 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Mrs. Duggan, the Countess of Erne, the Countess of Dudley,
Lord Francis Scott, Lord Grey, the Hon. Angus McDonnell,
Mr. and Mrs. Waldorf Astor, Mrs. Brooks, the officers of my
regiment, including Brig.-General Campbell (who has stood
by me in peace and war on every single occasion), Mr. and
Mrs. Strawbridge, Captain Clowes, the Earl of Rocksavage,
and the many others who have on all occasions stood by me
and to whom I am deeply grateful. My special thanks are
due to the Duke of Westminster for his great generosity and
kindness to me on many occasions. No man ever had a
better friend. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my servants,
who have served both my brother and myself most loyally
for a long time. Without making any legal obligations, I
would like my family to do what they can to assist the Invalid
Children's Aid Association, as my brother Rivy asked me."
On 7th April he gave a farewell dinner at
Claridge's. It is an occasion I can never forget,
for it was the last time I saw him, and it seemed to
me that he had recovered and more than recovered
all his old ardour and youthfulness. The party
were his brother Arthur, Lord Grenfell, Reggie
Barnes, Mr. Arthur Balfour, Mr. Winston
Churchill, Mr. Andrew Weir (now Lord Inver-
forth), and myself. It was on that occasion, I
remember, that Mr. Churchill first expounded
his views about those instruments of war which
were to develop into the Tanks. The discussion
roamed over the whole field of military and naval
policy, and I have rarely heard better talk. Some
of the best of it came from Francis, and I realized
how immensely his mind had ripened and broad-
A MEMOIR. 227
ened in the past months. I began to think that
if he were spared he would be not merely a gallant
leader of troops but a great soldier.
Francis rejoined his regiment on Wednesday,
2ist April. He found the Qth Lancers in billets
at Meteren, where they had been training on and
off for several months. " I must say," he wrote,
" I am mighty glad to get back here, for this life
is made for me. ... I find pals everywhere. I
somehow never seem to go anywhere out here
without finding friends." Next evening orders
suddenly came to saddle up and support the
French north-east of Ypres. In the April twi-
light a strange green vapour had appeared, mov-
ing over the French trenches. It was the first
German gas attack, and with it the Second Battle
of Ypres began.
The ist Cavalry Division marched through
Poperinghe to the canal, and for two days sup-
ported the French on the extreme left of the
battlefield. The Ninth were lucky enough to
have no casualties, and on the Sunday they re-
turned to their quarters at Meteren. A week
later, on 2nd May, when the second great German
attack was delivered, they were moved into reserve
behind the Salient. On the 6th they were in
Ypres itself, and on the yth they were back in
228 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
Meteren, under the impression that their share
in the fight was over.
Those who remember the Salient only in the
last years of the campaign, when it had become
a sodden and corrugated brickyard, can scarcely
conceive what the place was like during the throes
of the Second Battle. The city of Ypres was
dying, but not yet dead, and its solemn towers
still stood, mute protestants against the outrage
of war. To the east of it the meadows were still
lush and green, and every hedgerow and garden
bright with lilac, laburnum, and guelder-rose. It
was a place of terror, but also a place of blossom.
The sickly smell of gas struggled with the scent of
hawthorn; great riven limbs of flowering chest-
nuts lay athwart the roads ; the cuckoo called
continually from the thickets. The horror of war
seemed increased a thousandfold when shells
burst among flowers, and men died in torture
amid the sounds and odours of spring.
On 3rd May the British line had been short-
ened, and on the iath it was possible to relieve
the 28 th Division, which had been fighting con-
tinuously for twenty days. Its place was taken
by a cavalry detachment the ist and 3rd Cavalry
Divisions under De Lisle. Their front ran from
the Frezenberg ridge southward across the Roulers
railway to the Bellewaarde Lake north of Hooge.
A MEMOIR. 229
Francis, who had been uneasy waiting behind
the line, welcomed the change. " Here we are,"
he had written, " sitting peacefully behind like
the next man to go in to a fast bowler. You don't
want to go in, and yet you would like to be knock-
ing about the bowling." His brigade took up
position in the front line late on the evening of
the 1 2th. The trenches had been much damaged,
and it was necessary to reconstruct the parapets
Thursday, i3th May, a day of biting north
winds and drenching rains, saw one of the severest
actions of the battle. The German bombardment
began at three a.m., and in half an hour parapets
were blown to pieces, and the whole front was a
morass of blood and mire. The heaviest blow
fell on the 3rd Cavalry Division south of the
Roulers railway, but the ist Division did not
escape. Its two brigades in line, the ist and 2nd,
were able to maintain their ground, but it was by
the skin of their teeth. The Qth Lancers' front
was held by " C ' Squadron, under Captain
Graham, on the left, and " B " Squadron, under
Francis, on the right. On the left were the i8th
Hussars, whose trenches were utterly blown to
pieces. A gap presently appeared there, but the
advancing enemy was stopped by machine-gun
fire from a fortified post which Captain Graham
230 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
managed to create in the nick of time. All day
the battle lasted, and by the evening the right
of the cavalry front towards the Bellewaarde
Lake sagged backward. During the early night
the bombardment revived, and it was the turn
of " B " squadron to have their right flank exposed.
The situation, however, was saved by the oppor-
tune arrival of the nth Hussars. At one a.m.
on the morning of the i4th the Ninth were relieved,
and went back to water-logged trenches in front
of Ypres, whence late that evening they were
withdrawn to Vlamertinghe. They had lost 17
killed and 65 wounded, and " B " Squadron 16
killed and 30 wounded, including all troop leaders
Francis's part in the great fight is only hinted
at in his diary. " The most fearful bombardment
lasted for fifteen hours. It is wonderful how one
escapes. These cursed coal-boxes burst all down
the trench, but often missed us, often only by two
or three yards, but that makes all the difference.
Whatever is in store for the future, I shall never
be nearer death than I was on the I3th. The
spirit of the men was simply splendid. No one
dreamed of retiring, and when some Huns began
advancing there was a cheer of * Hurrah ! at last we
shall get our own back ! ' Unfortunately one of
our own shells pitched near them, and they ran like
A MEMOIR. 231
hares. Oh, dear ! What a lot of friends I have
lost." He mentions casually that during the whole
battle he " felt keen and never lost confidence."
Indeed he seems to have behaved throughout as
if he were having a good day in the Shires. Francis
in war had much of Lord Falkland's quality, as
recorded by Clarendon. " He had a courage of the
most cleere and keene temper, and soe farre from feare
that he was not without appetite of daunger, and
therfore upon any occasyon of action he alwayess en-
gaged his person in those troopes which he thought
by the forwardnesse of the Commanders to be most
like to be farthest engaged, and in all such encounters
he had aboute him a strange cheerefulnesse and com-
paniablenesse" These last words are most apt
to his case. During the I3th, when generals and
staffs were in utter perplexity as to where the
line stood, and were receiving scarcely varying
messages of disaster, the report which Francis
sent back to General Greenly was a welcome
relief. He concluded thus : " What a bloody
day ! Hounds are fairly running ! "
On the 1 6th General De Lisle addressed
the regiment. " I have to congratulate your
squadron as usual," he told Francis. " I hope
you will tell the men how very grateful and
proud I am of the way they helped me to hold
the line." The Ninth were given two days' rest,
232 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
and on i8th May moved again into the Salient.
There they remained in support till the night of
Sunday the 23rd, when they took over the front
line from the i5th and iQth Hussars at Hooge.
Colonel Beale-Browne had under his command,
in addition to the Ninth, 400 of the Yorkshire
Regiment and 120 of the Durham Light Infantry.
His front was divided into two sections the right
being held by " A " Squadron under Captain
Noel Edwards, with 120 Yorkshires and 120
Durhams ; the left by " B ' Squadron under
Francis, with the two regimental machine guns
and about 200 Yorkshires. " C " Squadron, under
Rex Benson, was in support. Raymond Greene,
acting as second-in-command, was in general
charge of the left section.
On the morning of Sunday the 23rd Francis,
along with his Colonel, attended early Communion.
I have said little of that religion which was so
strong a feature of his character, for it was of the
simple and vital type which is revealed more in
deeds than in phrases. He was never at ease in
Sion, and shunned the professions of facile piety.
But he did not lose his childlike trust in God, and
drew strong and abiding comfort from a creed
which was as forthright and unquestioning as a
mediaeval crusader's. He and Rivy during their
brief campaign together read the I2ist Psalm
A MEMOIR. 233
every morning. Francis never went into a match,
much less a battle, without prayer. For men like
Bishop Furse he had a profound regard, and
whenever he got the chance would bring him to
talk to his squadron. His Colonel, who knew
him in those last hours when men's hearts are
bared, has borne witness how much his religion
meant to him.
The dawn of Monday, 24th May, promised a
perfect summer day with cloudless skies and a
light north-easterly breeze. About three a.m.
the cavalry in the trenches saw a thick yellow
haze, thirty feet high, rolling down from the
ridge a hundred yards before them, and the air
was filled with a curious pungent smell. They
had had no previous experience of gas, and in
twenty seconds the cloud was upon them. Then
came the German guns, making a barrage behind
to keep back reinforcements. Though our res-
pirators at the time were elementary the cavalry
managed to weather the gas, and held their
ground through the seventeen long hours of
daylight that followed. It was the last phase of
the battle, and the German assault broke for
good on that splendid steadfastness.
But a high price was paid for victory. In the
small hours of the 25th a little party of some forty
men stumbled in the half light along the Menin
234 FRANCIS AND RIVERSDALE GRENFELL.
road, through the crumbling streets of Ypres,
and out into the open country towards Vlamer-
tinghe. Those who passed them saw figures like
spectres, clothes caked with dirt, faces yellow
from the poison gas. They were all that re-
mained of the Qth Lancers. Their Brigadier,
General Mullens, met them on the road, but
dared not trust himself to speak to them. " Tell
them," he told the Colonel, " that no words of
mine can express my reverence for the Ninth."
Next day General Byng, who commanded the
Cavalry Corps, visited the remnant. " Put any-
thing in orders you like," he said. " Nothing
you can say will be adequate to my feelings for
the old Ninth. Of course I knew you would
stick it, but that doesn't lessen my unbounded
admiration of you all."
With them they brought the body of Francis
Grenfell. When the attack opened and the in-
fantry on the left fell back, he was busy converting
a communication trench into a fire trench, and
shouting out in his old cheery way, " Who's
afraid of a few dashed Huns ? ' He stood on
rising ground behind the trench when he was
shot through the back. He managed to send a
message to his squadron, the true testament of
the regimental officer : " Tell them I died happy,
loving them all." Then he who had once lived
A MEMOIR. 235
cheerfully in the sun, but for months had been
among the fogs and shadows, went back to the
He was buried in the churchyard of Vlamer-
tinghe, and beside him was laid Sergeant Hussey,
one of the most gallant N.C.O.'s in the Ninth.
Some one said at the graveside, " How happy
old Hussey would have been to know he died
I have quoted already from Clarendon's char-
acter of Falkland, and if it be permitted to construe
knowledge in terms not of academic learning but
of self-understanding and self-mastery, the closing
words of the tribute to the young Marcellus of the
Civil War may be Francis's epitaph : " Thus fell
that incomparable younge man in the fowre-and-
thirtieth yeere of his Age, havinge so much dispatched
the businesse of life that the oldest rarely attayne to
that immense knowledge, and the youngest enter not
into the world with more innocence. Whosoever
leads such a life neede not care upon how shorte a
warninge it be taken from him"
ABADIE, Major, 218, 219.
Alba, Duke of, 161, 162, 163.
Alexander, Major G. H., 195, 196,
Alfonso, His Majesty King, xix, 74,
161, 162, 163, 164, 179, 208.
Allenby, General Lord, 202, 212,
American Polo Team, The, 138,
Ashby St. Ledgers, 75.
Asquith, Mr. H. H., 35, 74, 78-79,
121 ; Mrs., 74, 78-79, 113, 121,
201, 224 ; Miss Violet (Lady
Bonham-Carter), 78 ; Ray-
mond, 46, 73.
Astor, Waldorf (Lord Astor), 16,
28, 41, 58, 136, 226.
Audregnies, 193, 202.
BADEN-POWELL, Sir Robert, 99.
Balfour, Mr. Arthur, 38, 39, 75,
Baring, Hon. Windham, 23, 121.
Barnes, Major-General Sir Regi-
nald, 68, 69, 92, 226.
Beale-Browne, Colonel, xx, 232.
Beatty, Admiral Lord, 124.
Bell, Sir Hugh, 124.
Benson, Mr. Arthur, 10.
Benson, Captain Rex, 232.
Beresford, Lord Marcus, 132.
Bingham, Major-General Hon. Sir
Birkenhead, Lord. See Smith, F.E.
Blackwood, Lord Basil, 217, 220 ;
Lord Frederick (Marquis of
Dufferin), 66, 69, 86.
Blood, General Sir Bindon, 96 ;
Bonbright, Mr., 40, 93, 132.
Books read by the Twins : Hux-
ley's Science and Education,
29 ; Rose's Napoleon, 35 ;
Macaulay's Essays, 35, Life,
36, 73, 94 ; Lecky's Map of
Life, 35, History, 57 ; Bacon's
Essays, 35, 73 ; Rosebery's
The Last Phase, 36; Shakes-
peare's Plays, 36, 73, 96,
Venus and Adonis, 72; Moltke's
Life, 36 ; Pickwick Papers,
36, 94, 158 ; Oliver Twist, 73 ;
David Copper field, 120 ; Alice
in Wonderland, 39 ; Creevey
Papers, 46 ; Burke, 72 ; Mor-
ley's Burke, 57, 73, Life of
Gladstone, 73, 91, 133 ; Butler's
Sermons, 57 ; Vanity Fair,
72, 73, 158 ; Pope's Iliad, 72,
73, Odyssey, 91 ; Grenville
Papers, 73 ; Townsend's Eu-
rope and Asia, 73 ; Childe
Harold, 73 ; Disraeli's Lord
George Bentinck, 91 ; Quin-
tilian's Education of an Orator,
91 ; Mile, de Maupin, 94 ;
The Jungle, 94 ; Boswell's
Life of Johnson, 94 ; Walpole's
Letters, 94, 96 ; Plato's Re-
public, 96 ; Denison's History
of Cavalry, 95 ; Prescott's
Conquest of Mexico, 100 ; Kim,
100 ; Paradise Lost, 100 ;
Queen Victoria's Letters, 133,
134 ; Jack Sheppard, 134 ;
Bryce's American Common-
wealth, 145; Henderson's Stone-
wall Jackson, 158 ; Jorrocks,
158 ; Les Miserables, 158 ;
Life of Nelson, 158.
Brassey, Leonard, 95.
Broken Hill, 149.
Brooke, Victor, 69, 85.
Bucks Hussars, The, 64, 187,
Biilow, Count von, 170.
Bulteel, Miss, 13 ; Mrs. Lionel,
see Grenfell, Juanita.
Burnham, Lord, xiii, 86.
Butler's Court, 134. .
Byng, General Lord, 234.
Campbell, Major-General Sir Da-
vid, 42, 84, 202, 203, 204, 209,
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry,
Cecil, Lord Hugh, 48, 57, 70, 71,
75, 76, 78, 79, 80, 99, 106, 126,
224 ; Lord Robert, 49.
Chamberlain, Mr. Austen, 80, 169;
Joseph, 23, 47, 71.
Charter Trust, The, 28, 55, 56.
Cholmondeley, Lord, 107, 108.
Churchill, Mr. Winston, 48, 76,
161, 174, 176, 214, 226.
Cliveden, 28, 136.
Compton, Lord Douglas, 86.
Cooch Behar, 58, 63.
Crawley, Eustace, 59.
Cromer, Lord, 23, 120, 121.
Curzon, Lord, 54, 69, 121.
DALMENY, Lord, 29, 49, 74, 84.
Davids, Sergeant, 217.
Dawnay, Hugh, 199.
Dawkins, Sir Clinton, 50, 56, 76.
De Lisle, Lieutenant-General Sir
B., 116, 194, 198, 201, 202,
210, 228, 231.
Desborough, Lord, 3.
Disraeli, 8, 133.
Dragoon Guards, The 4th, no,
J 94, 195, 204, 212.
Dudley, Lord, 34 ; Lady, 226.
Dufferin, Lord. See Blackwood,
Du Pre, George, 8.
Durnford, Mr. Walter, 10, 14, 15.
EATON HALL, 72, 75, 81, 106, 133.
Edward VII., His Majesty King,
Edwards, Noel, 144, 232.
Elliot, Lady Eileen (Lady Francis
Scott), 86, 97 ; Lady Ruby
(Lady Cromer), 97 ; Lady
Violet (Lady V. Astor), 97.
Eton, x-xi, 10-16, 18, 35, 44, 53,
55, 66, 102, 145 ; Eton Beagles,
10 ; Eton Eleven, n.
FARQUHAR, Lord, 30.
Fergusson, Lieutenant-General Sir
Charles, 194, 200.
Fitzmaurice, Lord Charles, 60.
Fripp, Sir Alfred, 115, 135.
Furse, Bishop, 233.
GAEKWAR OF BARODA, The, 21
George V., His Majesty King, xiv-
xvii, xix, 201.
Germany, in, 116, 117, 169-177;
the Crown Prince of, 162 ; the
Empress-Dowager of, 14.
Glamis Castle, 167-168.
Gordon-Lennox, Lord Esme, 16.
Gough, General Sir Hubert, 116,
Graham, Captain, 229 ; Lord
Grand Military, The, 42, 92, 119,
131, 132, 138.
Grand National, The, 42, 51, 60,
119, 128, 129, 131, 132, 138, 152.
Greene, Lieutenant-Colonel Ray-
mond, 220, 232.
Greenly, Major-General W. H., 231.
Grenfell, Aline, Lady, 134, 164 ;
Arthur, 3, 14, 28, 37, 51, 56,
64, 99, 100, 101, 104, 106, 153,
164, 178, 180, 181, 182, 224,
226 ; Cecil, 17, 51, 70, 92, 104,
157 ; Claude, 3 ; Dolores, 39.
Field-Marshal Francis, Lord,
3, 16, 17, 23, 24, 70, 75, 84,
120, 134, 139, 143, 188, 200,
221, 225, 226.
Grenfell, Francis Octavius, birth,
2 ; childhood, 5-9 ; at Temple
Grove School, 910 ; at Eton,
10-16 ; Master of Beagles, 10 ;
Eton Eleven, n ; joins Sea-
forth Militia, 18 ; in Cape
Colony, 20-21 ; at Loch Car-
ron, 22 ; in Egypt, 23 ; joins
6oth Rifles, 23 ; with Lord
Grenfell at Malta, 23-24 ; at
Harrismith, 25-28, 33, 34 ;
with column in W. Transvaal,
31-32 ; with 6oth in India,
41-46, 50-52, 58-65 ; wins
Hog-hunter's Cup, 63 ; joins
9th Lancers, 65 ; at special
manoeuvres, 84-85 ; visit to
frontier, 87-88 ; in Kashmir,
89 ; stays with the Mintos,
96-98 ; goes to Potchefstroom,
98 ; return to England, 101 ;
at Cavalry School, Netheravon,
104 ; life in South Africa, 108-
iii, 115-120, 105-133 ; big-
game hunting, 148-150 ; in
America, 158-161 ; visit to
King Alfonso, 161-163 ; at
French manoeuvres, 164167 ;
in Germany, 169-177 ; at Ger-
man manoeuvres, 175-176 ;
goes to Tidworth, 178 ; to the
front with 9th Lancers, 189 ;
wins V.C., 194-198 ; return to
Flanders, 209 ; in action at
Messines, 215-220 ; invalided
home, 223-225 ; his will, 225-
226 ; his farewell dinner, 236 ;
return to front, 227 ; his part
in Second Battle of Ypres,
229-234 ; his death, 234-235.
Harold, 3, 14, 21, 31, 32, 51,
70 ; Admiral Sir Harry, 4, 5 ;
Admiral John, 3 ; John, 21,
56, 118, 120 ; Julian, 3, 4 ;
Juanita (Mrs. Lionel Bulteel),
99, 124 ; Pascoe, x, 3 ; Pascoe
Du Pre, 2, 3, 4, 5, 16, 17.
Riversdale Nonus, birth, 2 ;
childhood, 5-9 ; at Temple
Grove, 9-10 ; Eton, 10-16 ;
whip of Eton Beagles, 10 ;
clerk in Bank of England, 19 ;
at Malta, 24 ; in Charter
Trust, 28 ; at Terling, 38 ; in
America, 40-41 ; in South
Africa, 54-56 ; at Hatfield,
57-58 ; visit to India, 59-64 ;
wins Kadir Cup, 6163 ; first
attempt at public speaking,
77 ; visit to Hatfield, 78-80 ;
in 1906 election, 82-84 ; joins
Bonbrights, 93 ; in South
Africa, 99 ; in Mexico and
Canada, 99-101 ; character
compared with Francis, 102-
103 ; plays polo for England
against Ireland, 105-106; bad
accident, 111-115 > a ^ 1908
manoeuvres, 122-124 ; oper-
ated on for appendicitis, 134-
136; in Holland, 139140;
visit of American polo team,
140-144 ; in America, 144-
147 ; joins his brother Arthur's
firm, 153 ; with Old Etonian
team in America, 158-160 ;
visit to King Alfonso, 161-
163 ; at Glamis, 167-168 ;
ballooning, 177 ; in Canada,
178 ; goes to front with 9th
Lancers, 187 ; last sight of
Francis, 198 ; galloper for De
Lisle, 201-203 ; in retreat from
Mons, 203-204 ; at First Battle
of the Aisne, 204-205 ; his
Grenfell, Robert, x, 3, 14, 17 ;
Admiral Sidney, 3 ; Sofia, 2,
6, 9, 1 6, 17 ; Lady Victoria,
99, 100, 101.
Grenville, Sir Richard, 2, 132.
Grey, Lord (Albert), 28, 98, 100,
208, 225 ; Charles, 149 ; Lady
Grosvenor, Lady Helen (Lady
Helen Seymour), 163 ; Lord
Hugh, 123, 158, 159.
Guest, Hon. Frederick, 31 ; Henry,
59, 60 ; Ivor, see Wimborne,
HAIG, Field-Marshal Lord, 50, 61,
Haldane, Lord, 38, 79, 134.
Halle, Professor von, 47.
Harrismith, 25, 26, 27, 33, 34, 36.
Hatchlands, 2, 5, 6.
Hatfield, 57, 78-79, 99, H3, "4,
Hog-hunter's Cup, The, 62-63.
Hood, Rear-Admiral H. L. A.,
Howell, Brigadier-General Philip,
Howick, 1 06.
Humbert, M., 167.
Hurlingham, 64, 95, 104, 114, 177.
Hussars, The 4th, 99; the nth,
230 ; the i4th, 26 ; the i5th,
232 ; the i8th, 193, 202, 204,
229 ; the igth, 232.
Hussey, Sergeant, 235.
Hythe Musketry School, 235.
INVALID CHILDREN'S AID ASSO-
CIATION, The, 1 68, 226.
JOFFRE, Marshal, 167.
Johannesburg, 32, 117, 118.
KADIR CUP, The, 60-63, 161, 208.
Kafue Flats, The, 148, 149.
Kitchener, Lord, 37, 38, 52, 58,
68, 69, 84, 85, 90.
LANCERS, The 9th, 43, 45, 50, 65,
69, 88, 90, 99, 156, 179, 180,
187, 188, 190-198, 199, 204,
205, 209220, 223, 227, 228
235 ; the i6th, 162, 179 ; the
1 7th, 41.
Lawley, Hon. Sir Arthur, 178.
Lloyd, Brigadier-General Har-
dress, 144, 160.
Loangwa River, The, 149.
Loch Carron, 18, 22, 66.
Long, Mr. Walter, 128.
Longman, Lieutenant-Colonel H.
K, n, 47.
Lucas-Tooth, Captain, 195, 197.
MCDONNELL, Hon. Angus, 135,
McKenna, Mr. Reginald, 121.
Mackinder, Sir H. J., 47.
Maguire, Dr. Miller, 73.
Mahon, Lieutenant-General Sir B.,
Maitland, Brigadier-General, 177.
Malcolm, Mr. D. O., no.
Manoeuvres, British, 122 ; French,
164-167 ; German, 175-176.
Marling, Colonel P. S., 186.
Maxwell, General Sir John, 70.
Melton, 12, 23, 24, 27, 31.
Messina, 54, 118.
Methuen, Field-Marshal Lord, 31,
Metzsch, Baron, 176.
Mexico, 99, 100, 168-169.
Midleton, Lord (Mr. St. John
Brodrick), 49, 79.
Milburn, Mr. Devereux, 144, 160 n.
Miller, Lieutenant-Colonel E. D.,
"4 I 57-
Milner, Lord, 38, 70, 76, 91.
Minto, Lord, 69, 85, 96, 97 ; Lady,
Morgan, Mr. J. Pierpont (senior),
147 ; (junior), 48, 124, 145.
Mullens, Major-General R. L., 234.
Murray, of Loch Carron, Alasdair,
1 8 ; Mr. Charles, xxi ; Lady
Anne, 22 ; Miss Sybil (Hon.
Mrs. C. Willoughby), 22, 26.
NETHERAVON, 92, 104.
North Mimms, 125.
Overstone, 200. *
PALMER, Lady Mabel (Lady Grey),
Paris, 37, 47.
Phipps, Mr. Paul, 16, 74.
Pless, Princess, 31, 170.
Polesden Lacey, 76.
Politics, The Twins in, 71, 76-77,
81, 82-84, 115, 138, 155-156.
Polo matches, 65, 92, 104-106,
112, 114, 156-159, 162-163.
Ponies: " Kitty," 7, 8; "Snipe,"
51 ; " Barmaid," 59, 61, 62 ;
" Cocos," 61, 63 ; " Recluse,"
62 ;" Despair," in ; " Sweet-
briar," 113, 137 ; " Cinder-
ella," 115, 140, 142, 143.
RANELAGH, 37, 104, 105.
Rawlinson, General Lord, 25, 42,
48, 64, 85, 89.
Rayleigh, Lord, 38, 39.
Repington, Colonel, 127.
Rhodes, Colonel Frank, 12.
Ribblesdale, Lord, 38.
Ricardo, Wilfred, 82.
Ridley, Lord, 122.
Roberts, Lord, 201.
Rocksavage, Lord, 158, 159, 226.
Roehampton, 37, 64, 104, 164,
Rosebery, Lord, 29, 47, 49.
Roxburghe, Duke of, 104, 114.
SALISBURY, Lord, 48, 49, 58.
Santonia, Duke of, 161.
Scots Greys, The, 122.
Scott, Lord Francis, 16, 26, 35,
85, 86, 96, 97, 226.
Seaforth Militia, The, 18, 23.
Seaton, Corporal, 218.
Selborne, Lord, no, 128 ; Lady,
Smith, Mr. F. E. (Lord Birken-
Somerset, Duke of, 21.
Spencer, Lord, 124.
Stonewall Jackson, 48, 160.
Stuart- Wortley, Jack, 31.
Sutherland, Millicent, Duchess of,
TEMPLE GROVE, 9.
Terling, 38, 46.
Thulin, 192, 193.
Tibet Expedition, The, 43.
Tidworth, 178, 179, 180, 187.
VIANA, Marquis of, 161.
WAKE, Sir Hereward, 34.
Warre, Dr., 13.
Webb, Mrs. Sidney, 48.
Weir, Mr. Andrew (Lord Inver-
West, Mrs. Cornwallis, 72.
Westminster, Duke of (" Bend
Or"), 75, 81, 106, 107, 108,
119, 180, 188, 198, 199, 226;
Duchess of, 123, 163.
White, Miss Muriel, 121.
Whitelaw Reid, Miss (Hon. Mrs.
John Ward), 74.
Whitney, Mr. Harry, 147, 160 n.,
Hon. Claude, xx, 66.
Wilson, Captain H., 105, 106, 144,
Wilton Park, 8, u, 29.
Wimborne, Lord (Ivor Guest), 75,
76, 160 n., 221 ; Lady, 113.
Wodehouse, Lord, 158, 220.
Wyndham, George, 75 ; Hon.
Hugh, 129 ; Mrs. (Miss Maud
Lyttelton), 38, 57.
YPRES, First Battle of, 210-220 ;
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN AT
THE PRESS OF THE PUBLISHERS.
University of Toronto
COREY H. COATES
The path of the king.
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Sir Waiter Raleigh
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The English historical
novel? Walter Scott to Virginia
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Francis and Riversdale Grenfell :a