Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

19 articles on this Page

A SKETCH AT Tli>J OPENING…

News
Cite
Share

A SKETCH AT Tli>J OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. (By one of our London Cvrrapondtnts.) On Tuesday, February 6, In the year of prac one thou- sand eig^t hundred and sixty-seven, e 1 T; ■ a m c ced and often prorogued opening of Parliament took place. Being resolved to have a good place I adopted the expedient of pin all boys going to see a pantomime, and started at least four hours before the advertised time for beginning. Turning my face westward, and passing through Temple Bar, the first thing which attracted my attention and showed that some- thing unusual was on foot was the immense drove of boys and men who were shouting In all voices, from t shrillest treble to the deepest bass, in the vain endeavour to sell "the royal procession for a penny Here and there, too, an alderman's or a sheriff's aarriage was In waiting t ome corner to convey these lofty municipal dignitaries to dance attendance upon their Queen. Farther west, at Charing Cross, a considerable number of stragglers had congregated and were passiDg the tedious hours of waiting by studying and discussing the lions which were placed last week at the base of the Nelson Monument In Trafalgar Square—and a most noble piece of workmanship they are. We have waited a long while fortham it is true, but everybody says "they are worth waiting for." The four lions are all alike, and represent the forest king in the attitude of watching. His limbs are at rest, and his fore-paws thrown forward, but his head is erect, his eye eager, and his tongue slightly protrudes from the open mouth. And not only Is the modelling exauitlte but the execution of the work lamost magnificent. The bronze is stern and rugged about the great head, smooth and boldly lined down the back and hind quarters, ana bristling away into nothingness where the sea oi subsides into the thinly fringed belly. work seems almost perfect, but when time tne weather have done their work ^effect will]be bettor still, for the light yellow ^i4„f*pPear upr n the exposed parts, and cast the darker spots into deep shadow. But while we have been standing criticising Landseer's great work the rain has begun to fill heavily, and dozens seek the shelter of ihe immense bronzed masses as a protection from the weather. But these are only the weaker and more timorous portion of the spectators. Already, although It is not yet noon, and there Is no chance of the Queen appearing beiore two o'clock, prudent people have taken their stand in what they consider "good places" for sight-seeing, and stick to them in spite ot the rain. There is a fringe of spectators round the little statue of King Charles, at Charing Cross, and every door step on the road to Old Palace Yard has its full quota of sight-seers. At the Old Chapel Royal, Whitehall, was the first of the extemporised stands situated. Inside the railings was a hastily got-up erection, principally composed of de- cayed Joiners' benches and ooarse planking, for ad- mission to which, the modest sum of one shilling was charged. The only way to reach It after paying the desired coin, was by climbing a pair of kitchen steps which were leaned up against the sharply-spiked railing. Numbers of ladles, old and young, determined to see the Queen at all bszirds, paid their money cheerfully, and by the help of their comrades in misfortune, avoiding impaling upon the sharp iron, sat and looked down with complacency upon the crowd which seethed and surged below, and upon the detachment of Dragoons which was drawn up opposite the Horse Guards. Some of the young ladies however had an eye above the common soldiers, and considering that scarlet with gold epaulettes was better than plain scarlet, cast longing glances at an upper window at which sat two subalterns of dragoons, who returned their scrutiny with interest, and seemed to think that they had the best share of the show. Every moment the crowd thickened, and as all were pouring in one direction it was evident that socner or later there must be a block. To Sir Richard Mayne's credit be it spoken, that he did his best to prevent crushing and confusion. Large bodies of his men were posted along the sides of Parliament street, and at every side street a posse of policemen guarded the crossing, and ordered and implored the crowd to "pass away." Sir Richard himself was also there riding hither and thither, anxious that every man who was present should do his duty. And very well their work seemed to be done ladeed, but as a bottle cannot hold any more when it is full, 10 neither can people pasa away" when there Ia no place to which to pass, and consequently in a very short time the pavements became absolutely impassable, and once wedged in it was worse than useless to strive to get out of the crowd. In Parliament-street, the extemporized stands beo9me more frequent, and although the rain now poured down in torrents, the demand for places on them was greater than ever. Shop windows were also erowded—parliamentary statlomrs and photograph-mongers considering that It W81 more profitable to exhibit pretty girls than blue books, and real faces than sun pictures. Wherever a house was provided with a balcony it was hung with crimson or green cloth, and filled with ladies who seemed to enjoy the scene below. Thus far all was expectancy, and although the streets were full, and every window was crowded with heads, nothing more exciting was to be seen than a couple of guards occasionally patrolling the street. As the minute hand of the ciock In the Palace Tower was drawing near the hour, and ]«st before one o'clock struck, a sound of music was hearo k> the distance, and a whisper passed tkrough the crowd, She's torn tag Ot course she was not •enstng, as those better acquainted with the ceremony knew very well, but a ba: d of horsemen advanced slowly down Parliament-sbraet, playing as they went. This was the royal band. Have you any idea what a royal band is like. It seems to me to resemble a company of fox-hunters more than any thing else. First cf all, the members of it are all mounted upon grey horses, and then they wear black velvet hunting-caps. Ot course th"re is this difference, that a huntsman is dressed in a scarlet coat and carries a heavy whip, while a royal bands- man is clothed in cloth of gold, and blows into a trom- bone; but at a distance the effect of the two il precisely the same. After the royal band had passed, there came a company of mounted Guards, clothed In red, with shining hejmsts and cuirasses, and following them an individual dressed In dark blue, and also on horseback, who bore a very seedy-looking battle-axe. After him there marched three or four hundred men of the Grenadier Guards; and all these pasted away down into Old Palace Yard. Hitherto my point of observation had been the corner of Bridge-street and New Palace Yard, where I had contrived to wedge myself into tne front rank of spectators, and was very comfortable indeed except for an occasional nudging with the hind quarters of a guardsman's horse. Tbtt position I had taken up in the vain hope of seeing the leaders of the House of Commons pass by. Bui the weather was so inclement that nobody walked. and it was impossible to say who was who in a close mud-bespattered brougham or hansom, so finding thttt my vantage post was practically useless, I gave it up, and resolved to seek a place near to the Peers' entrance tn 011 Palace Yard. Passing innumerable umbrellas and rain- sodden spectators. I at length reached my ultimate destina- tion. Here the scene was a repetition of that which I had Just lefr—people everywhere. People crowded in a dense mass on the footpath, people clinging to the railings, people peering from the windows, and people even upon the house- tops And all these were loyal subjects, and had come there to see their Queen, and to give her one great cheer. And very queer subjects some of them were-some roughs who required to be kept in order and subjection Dy the better diepeBed majority, and some were wo k gmen out of work some were business men who had taken an hour's relief to come and see their Sovereign; and some were wealthy men from the country who were glad to see the Quten once in thetr Uves. And very happy they made themselves during their waiting. They chaffed each other, thfY chaffed the policemen, and they chaffed the soldiers ar, d through all the heavy rain they waited patiently. There was nothing to relieve the monotony of the scene except the driving past an occasional cab, or a carriage with a coronet like the crown of a hat upon the panels. And said one to theother, as the rain poured down,—"I'm precious glad I. h'sint got no gun to clean to-night," and, replied his neigh- bour, Yes, but these poor beggars in the helmets are worse, for they have their horses to clean as well as themselves." And so when they had nothing else to do they pitied the soldiers. And the popular idea seemed at last to strike their commanding officer, for he ordered them to fall out and pile arms, and in an instant the square was filled with red coats strolling about. At last the carriages of the Peers ceased to come, and a small band_of halbardiers slowly wound round the corner of the Abn<ry, and crept into the Peers' entrance. Then there was another pause, and the household trumpeters marched into the square, and took up their places. And in a little while after them, a band of horsemen was descried in the dis- tance. Thece cantered up to the entrance, followed by a car- riage drawn by a pair of bays. The moment this was observed the soldiers seized thetr arms and saluted, and the band struck up the National Anthem. The Duke of Cambridge had arrived. Then there was another pause, after which an eicort of the Life Guards dashed into the square followed by another royal carriage in which was the Prince of Wales. As he alighted, and also when other members of the Royal famiiy arrived, there was more playing of the Queen's Authem. After this, there was a very long time of waiting and xpectancy; soldiers got off their horses and strolled about, in their red cloaks and black capes, like old women who had come out without their crinolines-fiunkeys moved up and down under the awning which had been provided for them, and by the exceeding shininess and stillness of their apparel excited the remarks of innumerable urchins, and the crowd of on-Iookers amused themselves by tearing down the umbrellas of those who were sufficiently fool- hardy to put them up, and by knocking off the hats of those who were foolish enomgh to come out in them. At last, at nearly half-past two o'clock, there was another nodding of horse-hair plumes in the distance, ana about fifty dragoons galloped into the square. Once more the bands struck up "God save the Queen "and continued to play it, and the people knew that the Queen had come. First, one royal carriage, drawn by six bays, slowly rolled into the square. In this were the gentlemen ushers. Then followed another. In it was the groom- in-waltlng and the pages of honour. After it came a third, containing Lard Maidstone, Silver Stick; Colonel Hepburn and Colonel deR>>s In the fourth were Viscount Royston, treasurer; Earl Cadogan, Captain of the Yeomen, and Lord rorrlngton, lord in waiting. In the fifth were Dowager Lady Water park, the Duke of Marlborough, and Lord Lucan. In the sixth the Duchess of Wellington and the Dake of Beaufort. And last of all came the royal carriage drawn by elcrht cream-coloured horses, and bearing the Queen, Prince Arthur, and Princess Beatrice. Alter the car- riage, followed a detachment of household troops. The Queen Wore a Mary Queen of Scots widow's cap orna- mented with diamonds, and looked unusually well. As she passed along she bowed, and the people gave a great shout. "How easy it would be to shoot her from here," said one man. "Aye, but, thank God," said his re'ghbour, "nobody wants to shoot her, for everybody loves her." And so it is. Scarcely a single member ef the vast assemblage moved from his place during the time she remained in the House. Irerybody waited to give her one more eheer; and it was only when the neddtag plmmes of the horsemen disappeared up Parliament-street, that the great ecowd dissolved itself, and each went to his own home.

SAD SCENES OF DISTRESS IN…

"PLUG MUSSF

A TRAGIC OCCURRENCE AT INGLETON.

THE GAY COMPANY IN PARIS.

AN ENEMY UNCONQUERED!

ADVICE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RUINED…

A RUNAWAY TRAIN.

THE REPRESENTATION of COUNTIES.

AN EXTRAORDINARY STORY.

THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY'S…

UL SHIPWRECK AND SUFFERINGS…

THE NEWLY-ARRIVED JAPANESE.

CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

ASTONISHING _ADVERTISEMENTS!

A NEWSPAPER COMPANY.

scellaneous Intelligent^

E PITOME~OF^ NE W S.

THE MARKETS.