Three hundred years have come and gone since the Virgin Monarch sat upon England's throne. But the forces of jealousy are ever latent. And e'en in its ashes live its wonted fires.
The "buried Majesty" of this Kingdom might well have remained at peace. She declines to do so, and just as we are on the point of celebrating Victoria's famous era we are apprised of a fact which not only shatters the nerves, but casts a grave aspersion upon the vaunted prowess of our English arms.
We have hitherto supposed that English soldiers and sailors were equal to any emergency, and that, though the hearts of foreigners might quail at the approach of danger, the hearts of our own men were ever in the right state. Let us believe it no longer. Abroad, and in the field, our Tommy Atkinses may be valorous enough. At home they are veritable cravens, and we would earnestly entreat her Majesty's Government to set aside a day of national humiliation, in order that the truth may be fairly "rubbed into" the public.
For what do we find? What are the tidings of dire portent which must bring sorrow to every ear? Listen and tr-r-emble ! The ghost of Queen Elizabeth walks on the ramparts of Windsor Castle every night ! It has become excited and vexed because we are about to enjoy ourselves, and it is fired by a spirit of emulation of the nocturnal exploits of the ghost of Hamlet's father. As Marcelus and Bernardo were stricken to the "act of fear" by the uncanny apparition on the battlements of Elsinore, so do her Majesty's Guards, on nightly duty, quake in their shoes at the prospect of seeing the shade of dear departed "Liz."
"Recruiting for the night guard has become a great difficulty. The terrified English refuse the service, and the authorities are obliged to have recourse to the Irish, who are less timid."
The Bristol Times & Mirror, Monday, February 8th, 1897
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