The Battle of Dorking
by George Chesney
You ask me to tell you, my grandchildren, something about my own share in the great events that happened fifty years ago. 'Tis sad work turning back to that bitter page in our history, but you may perhaps take profit in your new homes from the lesson it teaches. For us in England it came too late. And yet we had plenty of warnings, if we had only made use of them. The danger did not come on us unawares. It burst on us suddenly, 'tis true; but its coming was foreshadowed plainly enough to open our eyes, if we had not been willfully blind. We English have only ourselves to blame for the humiliation which has been brought on the land. Venerable old age! Dishonorable old age, I say, when it follows a manhood dishonored as ours has been. I declare, even now, though fifty years have passed, I can hardly look a young man in the face when I think I am one of those in whose youth happened this degradation of Old England---one of those who betrayed the trust handed down to us unstained by our forefathers.