Page images


Fleet-street, passed under a canopy of standards, banners, streamers, and strings of flowers stretched across from house to house. regular order along the street stood light Venetian masts, from whose summits countless pennons floated in the breeze, which bore in their centres either trophies of colours or miniature shields. On every side floral decorations, mottoes, and expressions of loyalty were in abundance.

The streets were kept by a strong force of police and military, the traffic of carriages being stopped, and the roadway being cleared also of foot-passengers not furnished with tickets of permission. Bands of school-children sang hymns as the procession went by. The people everywhere hailed the approach of the royal party with hearty and enthusiastic cheering. All eyes were bent on the last carriage to see the Queen, the Prince, and the Princess of Wales. Her Majesty looked in good health, and she looked happy. So did the Princess. As for the Prince, he looked pale, but not thin, after his illness; he seemed, however, to be in good spirits, and kept taking off his hat to bow to the people who cheered him.

At Temple Bar the Queen was met by the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs, and a deputation from the Aldermen and Common Council of the City of London, all in their robes, mounted on horseback. They all alighted, and the Lord Mayor delivered to and received back from her Majesty the City sword, according to the usual custom. But, contrary to general expectation, the gates of Temple Bar were not closed against the Queen, so that it was unnecessary to present her with the keys, and the heralds omitted to sound a flourish. The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and deputation again mounted their white horses, and preceded her Majesty on horseback to St. Paul's, and on arriving there proceeded to take the several places reserved for them in the cathedral. The Lord Chancellor and the Speaker likewise, on arriving at the west entrance, proceeded to their seats.

It was precisely at one o'clock that her Majesty, having passed up Ludgate-hill, arrived at the great west entrance of St. Paul's, and entered the cathedral through the pavilion, designed for use as a vestibule, erected upon the steps. The approach was by a covered way, the exterior being of crimson cloth, ornamented with such devices as the royal arms and those of the Prince of Wales. Above was the inscription, "I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the Lord." At the top of the steps, which were covered with crimson carpet that contrasted very well with the internal drapery of the vestibule-magenta, relieved with vertical bands of white-the porch of the cathedral had been turned into retiring-rooms for the use of her Majesty and the Prince and Princess of Wales. That set apart for the Queen, on the right or south side, was lined with pink, over which fine muslin was disposed in a variety of patterns. The companion apartment was adorned with a rich blue wall decoration; and in both rooms were beautiful gilt furniture covered with crimson damask. Skylights in the roof of the retiring-rooms beyond the line of the porch threw a flood of

light upon these charming apartments. Other rooms had been provided for the great officers of state, the Bishops, and the cathedral and civic authorities. The Queen was received at the cathedral by the Bishop of London and the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and by the officers of her Majesty's household, who were in waiting at St. Paul's, having come before her in the procession.

The vast interior of the grand cathedral church had been arranged to accommodate a congregation of 13,000 persons. The central space under the dome was allotted to those of highest rank, the Queen, with the royal family, the House of Lords, the House of Commons, the Corps Diplomatique and distinguished foreigners, the Judges and dignitaries of the law, the Lords Lieutenant and Sheriffs of counties, and the representatives of the Universities and other learned bodies. The choir was reserved for the clergy, the screen between the choir and the dome being taken away, so that the congregation under the dome and in the nave could see as well as hear all the service in the choir. The place assigned to her Majesty and their Royal Highnesses was a sort of pew, covered with crimson and inclosed with a brass railing. It was raised two or three steps above a low platform which stood directly across the end of the nave opening into the central space under the dome, immediately fronting the choir. There was a passage left to the right and left of the royal pew, from the nave to the dome. In one corner of the central space, to the Queen's right hand, towards the south transept, were the seats of the Indian and foreign Princes, the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh and the Maharanee, the Japanese and the Egyptian Prince. In the corresponding angle, to the Queen's left, towards the north transept, were the foreign Ambassadors. The main floor of the dome space, reserving a broad open passage in front of the Queen to the choir, was divided between the two Houses of Parliament, the Lords to the right, the Commons to the left. The Lord Chancellor and the Speaker, in their robes, sat with the two Houses. Of the two farther corners, the one, or that towards the south transept, was occupied by the Judges, the other by the Lords Lieutenant and Sheriffs. The Lord Mayor and Corporation of London and the Metropolitan Board of Works had the north transept for themselves and their friends. The south transept was partitioned between the Universities and scientific bodies, the persons belonging to India and the colonies, and Nonconformist ministers. In the nave, behind the Queen's pew, were the officers of the army, on the right-hand side of the long middle passage, and officers of the navy on the left hand, with two compartments for the mayors of provincial towns, near the west door. But against the walls, and between the pillars along the nave, and overhead, for a large space within the west door, rose tier above tier of wooden galleries, to which the general public were admitted by tickets. The seats and the fronts of the galleries were covered with crimson serge. The seats in the nave and under the dome were plain rush-bottomed chairs; but those for persons of superior dis

tinction were gilt chairs, or cushioned with fine cloth or satin People had begun to assemble there between eight and nine o'clock in the morning. The brilliant show of military and official uniforms, quaint Beefeaters' attire, rich and grave robes of state, gorgeous Eastern costumes, and ladies' dresses, with the black gowns or white surplices and academical scarfs of the clergy, who moved freely to and fro in the choir or under the dome, made a beautiful spectacle, the effect of which was enhanced by frequent gleams of bright sunshine through the southern windows, lighting up the whole medley of fine colours with admirable effect.

The Queen, with the Prince of Wales on her right and the Princess of Wales on her left hand, but taking the Prince's arm, walked up the nave, from the reception-rooms at the west door to the royal pew, in a procession marshalled by the Lancaster and Somerset heralds, who led the way. It comprised the officers of the Lord Chamberlain's department, the equerries in attendance, the great officers of the royal household, and those of the Prince's household, the Captains of the Royal Guard and Gentlemen-atArms, Garter King-at-Arms, and the other heralds, the Gold Stick and Silver Stick, the Master of the Horse, Lord Steward, Lord Chamberlain, and Vice-Chamberlain, who walked before the Queen. Behind her Majesty came the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice, with the two boys, Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales. Prince Arthur and Prince Leopold followed; then the Duke of Cambridge. The Mistress of the Robes, the Duchess of Sutherland, the Ladies of the Bedchamber, and the Chamberlain of her Royal Highness, brought up the rear of the procession.

The service began with the "Te Deum," composed expressly for the occasion by Mr. Goss, and sung by a choir of 250 voices, selected from the best cathedral and chapel choirs in England. The special form of thanksgiving was read as follows:

"O Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, we thank Thee that Thou hast heard the prayers of this nation in the day of our trial: We praise and magnify Thy glorious name for that Thou hast raised Thy servant Albert Edward Prince of Wales from the bed of sickness: Thou castest down and Thou liftest up, and health and strength are Thy gifts: We pray Thee to perfect the recovery of Thy servant, and to crown him day by day with more abundant blessings both for body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, having ascended the pulpit at the south-east angle of the central space under the dome, at the entrance to the choir, pronounced a benediction; and, after an anthem had been sung, delivered his sermon. The text was from St. Paul's letter to the Romans, " Members one of another." The congregation was dismissed a few minutes before two o'clock.

The procession of Court officials was again formed, to conduct her Majesty and their Royal Highnesses down the nave to the door by which they had entered. Having rested a few minutes in the

retiring-rooms of the pavilion, they returned to their carriages, the street procession of which was similar to that for the journey to the cathedral. Here was a guard of honour of the Scots Fusilier Guards. The guns of the Tower fired a salute, answered by those in St. James's Park. The homeward route from St. Paul's to Buckingham Palace was by the Old Bailey, over the Holborn Viaduct, along Holborn and Oxford-street, to the Marble Arch, by the east side of Hyde Park to Piccadilly, thence down Constitution-hill. The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen went with the procession to the boundary of the City. The streets and house-fronts were as much crowded along this route as those in the Strand, Fleet-street, and Ludgate-hill; the decorations were as numerous, as tasteful and elaborate, in Holborn and Oxford-street, more especially near the Circus at the upper end of Regent-street, where a light and graceful triumphal arch was erected. The stands or galleries for spectators in the Old Bailey, on the Holborn Viaduct, and in Holborn-circus, accommodated their thousands; but a greater thing of this kind was the stand put up by the Metropolitan Board of Works in Hyde Park. The Queen and the Prince and Princess were heartily cheered, and did not seem too much fatigued. They arrived at twenty-five minutes to four o'clock. After entering Buckingham Palace, in front of which there was a great crowd, her Majesty, with the Prince and Princess of Wales, kindly showed herself a moment on the balcony, where they graciously bowed to the people in acknowledgment of the enthusiastic greeting they had received from the Londoners that day.

The illuminations at night were the object of admiration which kept hundreds of thousands of quiet folk out in the street to a very late hour. The centres of attraction were the dome and west front of St. Paul's, the Mansion House, the triumphal arch at the crossing of Farringdon-street, between Ludgate-hill and Fleet-street, and the triumphal arch at Regent-circus, Oxford-street. The dome of St. Paul's was shown by three rings of coloured lamps, at different elevations. The shops of many of the West-end tradesmen and others were decorated with a profusion of ingenious devices. The triumphal arch at the end of Farringdon-street, above mentioned, was illuminated with gas jets, displaying the gas jets, displaying the mottoes, "God Bless the Prince of Wales," "Thanks be to God," and "God save the Queen and the Prince."

An absurd outrage on the Queen's person which was perpetrated on the day after the great festival by a half-witted Irish lad, and which till its real proportions became known caused great and general excitement, served to confirm and as it were complete the national exhibition of loyalty to the reigning house; and the following letter from the Queen, published in the London Gazette, formed the closing event in an interesting and exciting chapter of her history. “Buckingham Palace, February 29, 1872. "The Queen is anxious, as on a previous occasion, to express publicly her own personal very deep sense of the reception she and her

dear children met with on Tuesday, February 27, from millions of her subjects, on her way to and from St. Paul's.

"Words are too weak for the Queen to say how very deeply touched and gratified she has been by the immense enthusiasm and affection exhibited towards her dear son and herself, from the highest down to the lowest, on the long progress through the capital, and she would earnestly wish to convey her warmest and most heartfelt thanks to the whole nation for this great demonstration of loyalty.

"The Queen, as well as her son and her dear daughter-in-law, felt that the whole nation joined with them in thanking God for sparing the beloved Prince of Wales' life.

"The remembrance of this day, and of the remarkable order maintained throughout, will for ever be affectionately remembered by the Queen and her family."

The business prospects of the year seemed favourable enough. A contemporary report says,

"The pocket' barometer at the beginning of 1872 stands at 'set fair' with a rising tendency; the monetary prospect seldom more satisfactory, according to the reading of all the sensitive City indicators. Everything is upward, and honestly, not fictitiously, upward. Of course we do not know what sudden storm may come and depress everything, but there are no signs anywhere just at present of any such storm. The average rise, at least 30 per cent. in railway stocks during the past year, owing, not to the speculation of the railway king, but to a genuine increase of railway traffic, tells in itself an astonishing tale of commercial activity. Money is easy, with the bank rate at 3 per cent.; business active, and new speculations not of any magnitude to create misgiving in any quarter. In fact, what people say of the year 1872 in this respect is very similar to what they said of 1871 at its opening. The prospect is most promising."

Great promise in the stock-markets, a general advance in prices, foreign stocks rising considerably, and a large amount of business done in all classes of securities-such were the announcements of the opening year, indicative of that national prosperity which often falls so hardly upon individuals, and which as the year advanced was to be shown more and more in the increased difficulty of living, the alarming rise of prices in the most common commodities of life, and the unequal struggles of the salaried middle-classes to keep abreast of the wave of wealth which threatened to sink them while the battle raged between capital and labour: the claims of the latter being emphasized by the rapid and dangerous growth of strikes, which was to attain before the close of the year the most threatening proportions, though far indeed from what we can venture to hope will prove to be their climax. But these and other troubles showed little on the surface when the year began. Except in the elements, there was a remarkable absence of animation-political, social, or religious. Whatever signs there

« PreviousContinue »