A Beautiful Spin – 1865

Isle of Wight Observer May 13, 1865

For some time past the sporting fraternity of this celebrated watering place have been deeply interested in a talked-of running match between a tall well-known runner of considerable pretensions and a little kettle-drummer of the Ryde Volunteer battalion band. Monday last was fixed for the contending parties to test their respective abilities, when both lads came to scratch in a condition that reflected the highest credit on their trainers. As they made their preliminary arrangements, never was a greater physical disparity exhibited between two contending parties; but “Little Billy” looked up at his wiry, gigantic antagonist, nothing daunted at his defiant attitude. According to agreement, the professional allowed two yards start, and each youth toed his scratch with the utmost confidence in his flying powers; the backers of both lads betting level. A capital start was effected, the long and rapid strides of the Big-un being the admiration of all who had the pleasure of witnessing such a race; but the “Little Wonder” seemed to possess the advantage of flying in the air and gradually drawing away from his opponent, he came in an easy winner by 4 yards – congratulating his father, who had won a “bob” over the morning’s transaction. The arrangements on the ground were most exemplary – fair play being the order of the day.

SPRIGHTLY SPRING – Our town and environs are now decked in Nature’s choicest costume; perfumed with the balmiest scents; and charmed with the song of the mellifluous nightingale and the quaint cuckoo, and the choruses of lesser birds. The foliage of trees and hedgerows is shaded with every imaginable tint of green; the chestnut, the lilac, and the laburnam, vie with the May Queen in scenting the air; so that all is more lovely now than at any other time of year.

STORM – After sunset on Monday night electric clouds began to gather in this locality, and about 10 o’clock flashes of lightning were seen. These flashes gradually increased in intensity, until about 2 o’clock on Tuesday morning, when the storm culminated, and for two hours the Island was wrapped in electric flames; the thunder resembled peals of artillery – sounds to which we are accustomed in Ryde – and seemed to shake the heaven and the earth, and most certainly did shake the nerves of both the strong and the weak; at the same time the windows of heaven seemed opened again for a second deluge. As the quarry of Fanaticism has been rather heavily worked in Ryde lately, and the town placarded with bills announcing “the second coming of Jesus”, many deluded folk fell a-praying, and rushed into the streets for help. However, He who rules the storm for the wise purposes of Nature heeded not such exhibitions, but went on with His glorious work – purifying the air, revivifying the earth, and filling the natural reservoirs with the health-giving spring. When will vain and puny man consider himself a link, not the chain?

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