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I An Open Letter to the I…


I A Royal - Funeral.i


I A Royal Funeral. -0-- We have been favoured by Mr Fred Harries (Loughor), with the following letter, which he received from his his brother in London at the time of the burial of her late Majesty Queen Victoria. Believing our readers will be interested in reading the same on the eve of the burial of her son our late beloved King, we have much pleasure in inserting it in this issue, and at the same time we desire to thank Mr. Harries for his kindness in allowing us the privilege to do so.—EDITOR.  Priory Road, Kew, 59, Priory Road, Kew, My dear Fred,Feb. 4, 1901.  For days past you in Loughor, like others U- l Aberdeen in Montreal, in Buenos Ayres, in Sydney, in Bombay, in Central Africa, in China, in San Francisco, and everywhere else have been discussing the universal topic of the death-the magnificent death-of Queen Victoria; but it is only natural that London, the pulse of the universe should throb more intently, more acutely, than any other place on the face of the earth. Evidently, from 1 11 ? I your letter 01 last week, you intended to make Saturday memorable in local annals by joining in the world-wide tribute to departed glory, the like of which has never before been witnessed in our history, nor in that of any other nation. When has the death of any monarch, however distinguished for his or her virtues, been signalised in alien coun- tries by the close of business houses and theatres, as was the case on Saturday in P, r-once and elsewhere ? It really makes one believe that, after all, there is something in human nature which, quite apart from the narrow-minded, multifarious forms of reli- gion, appreciates at its true worth the endea- vour to mind one's own business, and to do what is right between man and man. Queen Victoria held "aloof from all religious dis- putes, worshipped in her own way, and atten- ded to her duties; and now she has gone, High Church and Low Church, Nonconformity and Roman Catholicism, Jews and Gentiles, Buddhists and Mahommedans, pagans and ,cannibals unite in one mighty pean of adula- tion But London on Saturday! All! well, as you were not here in person you cannot by any stretch of imagination realise what it all meant or signified. We were fortunate in securing a window in Buckingham Palace Road, from which to view the last progress of the remains of the great and beloved Monarch, and no one could possibly have had a better view. Many, anxious to secure points of vantage, had been sleeping in the on air all night, padded with hot water arrangements to protect them against the cold, frosty air. To get to our seats we had to¡ be up long before daylight, to find the rojite already thronged with vast multitudes of. human beings, all as silent as the grave, but, with that marvellous instinct of a Lon- don crowd, making way for anyone making for a definite destination. We were in our places before 8 a.m., with more than 31 hours to wait before the funeral was to pass; but it was time well spent, for there was an endless panorama passing two and fro of great offi- cers of State, naval and military celebrities, foreign visitors—kings, princes, and nobles ol every nation and every clime, the naval and military attaches of the various embassies in their gorgeous uniforms, and, not less re- markable, the subdued multitude of sight- seers clad in black. About 11.30 the signalling flags waved the announcement that the whole procession of about a mile in length was to start at the solemn, slow march—soldiers and sailors re- versed arms, ;the magnificent, bands struck up the weird yet beautiful strains of Chopin's "Marche Fun-ebre," and slowly the cortege advanced. Sad! very sad! you will say; but, really, there was something exquisitely beautiful about the whole thing. None of your horrid black funeral ear, drawn by jet black horses, with waving black plumes and rdontonously bliaek trapping, hammer-cloths, and what not; but eight cream-coloured splendid specimens of horses, richly capa- risoned in scarlet and gold, drawing a khaki- coloured gun carriage, with its gun in posi- tion, but surmounted by the coffin, which was not covered with a hideous black velvet pall, but by a lovely white or cream silk one, the crown, s'eeptre, and orb and other insignia resting on the pall, and glittering in the sun- light which graced the procession. I repeat, it was an altogether exquisitely beautiful sight, which positively robbed the King of Terrors of his popular attributes of hideous- ness and cruelty. King Edward, supported by the Kaiser on his right, and the Duke of Cambridge on his left, rode next to the coffin, followed by a crowd of the mighty ones of other countries, all on horse-back and in military uniforms. Then Queen Alexandria, her daughter, and various high-born relatives and attendants passed in royal carriages, each drawn by four beautiful liorses-no black ones in any case (the Kaiser's horse was white)—and the procession closed with an escort of a cloud of Life Guards in waving white plumes, each Guardsman with his drawn sword, as against all who preceded them with swords carried the wrong way, or reversed, stuck poitif backwards under their arms, as if useless. One must see all these things to realise their significance. What, however, struck me as one of the most remarkable features of the day was the majestic stillness of enormous London. Noisy, bustling, hurrying and scurrying on I other days, it was absolutely silent for hours on Saturday. I have known the streets of London through every one of the 24 hours of the day in the past thirty years, but there has been nothing approaching in the smallest degree the impressive stillness of Saturday. Away from the route of the great procession the streets were absolutely deserted, and one could fancy that plague, pestilence, and famine had swept everybody off the face of the earth—shops, public-houses, restaurants, itinerant vendors of all sorts had suspended work; even the dogs and cats seemed to be chained up for the day; not a soul was to be seen, one's footfall had a gliostly echo, and the blinds were closely drawn on millions of windows. It was a sight never to be forgot- ten by those who witnessed it, and yet there was in its solemnity nothing depressing, no- thing terrifying, but, on the contrary, it was, strange as it may appear, elevating and soul- inspiring that we as a nation could in one common sorrow forget for once all about money-grabbing and the thousand jealousies of commercial existence to place such a superb tribute of silence by the bier of the greatest monarch the world has ever known. No. doubt you can say with truth that Lon- don did no, more than was done in your own quiet, country village; • but in these tilings it is the immensity of the Metropolis that, ar" pals one: whether in joy or in sorrow, it is 1 the miles of humanity and not the individual that strikes the onlooker with an overwhelm- ing sense. Just as the multitude made them- selves by their unrestrained orgies on Mafe, king and C.I.V. days, so they have amply re- deemed their character by conducting them- selves in a most becoming manner when the occasion demanded it. I am not, I hope, given to regarding the hard facts of life from a sentimental point of view; indeed, I fear there is very little sentiment in my c-onsitu- tion: so you may take it that I, at least, view the ,events of the past fortnight as instinct with hope for the nation's future. It is now for the rising generation to take advantage of a glorious past to render the future still more glorious. Hoping you are both keeping well, .Believe me, very sincerely yours. HENRY HARRIES.

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