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Page) and animated assemblies. The Usher of the Black Rod, Sir
Augustus Clifford, enters, and then there is another pause, that is quickly
broken by a loud hum of admiration in the nave, which the more stately and
select gathering in the choir only notice by increased rigidity of uprightness
till the cause of the murmur is made known by the appearance at the entrance of
the Knights of the Garter, all robed and jeweled in their almost regal costume,
and headed by the Premier himself. They make a noble and a gallant show as they
sweep up the choir like a procession of monarchs, with their long velvet mantles
of imperial blue, looped at the shoulders with white ribbon, trailing after
them. Lord Palmerston proceeds at once to his stall on the left, where he is
joined by Lady Palmerston; and the others, after waiting for a single second in
a stately group, pass also to their seats. The Premier was, of course, the most
observed of all, as he stepped up lightly into his seat, and looked round him
with a brisk joviality, as if about to quell a troublesome member, or evade, by
a most voluminous reply, an awkward question. The Duke of Newcastle, Earl
Granville, Earl Clarendon, and Earl Russell are the most noticed of the rest,
and the latter when once he sits in his wide, high, ample stall, is almost lost
After all the knights are seated
the Lord Chancellor, in his state robes and carrying the Great Seal, passes slow
and stately up the choir—alone, but a perfect pageant in himself—to his seat at
the head of all.
Suddenly there is just a
perceptible movement—a kind of consciousness that something has occurred which
tells at once that the Queen is either coming or has come, and all eyes are
quietly directed toward the quaint old pew in the wall. In another instant the
Queen herself appears, accompanied by his Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe-Coburg
and Gotha, the brother of the late Prince, and, as we ail know, so like him as
to make the resemblance almost startling as he stands by the side of Her
Majesty. The Queen wears the simplest and plainest of widow's weeds—a widow's
cap, a black silk dress, with white collar and cuffs, and black gloves. The only
colors which appear upon her are the star of the Order of the Garter, and its
blue ribbon, narrowed to the width Her Majesty usually wears across her left
shoulder. She looks well in health, but thinner and older, with the permanent
traces of deep grief and care stamped on every lineament of her features.
She stands at the window of the
royal pew, a little withdrawn from general gaze, and only to be seen at all by
those on the opposite side of the choir glancing quietly into the interior,
while the Duke of Saxe-Coburg speaks, and apparently explains to her the
arrangements going on below for the great ceremony which has drawn her forth
from her mourning and seclusion. After a few minutes, she seats herself a little
away from the window, and the Duke retires.
Officers of the household,
pursuivants, and heralds lead the way as before, halting and making a double
line below the dais, while the Princess Mary, of Cambridge, her magnificent
train borne by Lady Edith Somerset, moves up the choir with the most stately
grace. At the dais her attendant pauses, and she turns to gather her train over
her arm, and, moving to the centre, makes a profound courtesy to her Majesty,
then passes at once to her place on the north of the altar, in front of and just
beneath those treasures of iron-work, the gates of Quintin Matsys. As she passes
in the Duchess of Cambridge follows, with like state and ceremony, and then the
Princess Beatrice, Princess Louise, and Princess Helena ascend in turn, followed
by the Princes Arthur and Leopold, the latter in Highland dresses of the Royal
tartan. All how and courtesy deeply to the Queen, and the Princess Helena, who
wears a train, gathers hers on her arm like the rest, and seats herself near the
Duchess of Cambridge. The next is the Princess Alice, wearing a noble coronet of
brilliants, who pays the same deep reverence to her mother as all the rest; then
the Princess Royal, looking as young, as amiable, and as timid as when, with
slow steps, she herself was led to the altar at the Chaps Royal, but this time
leading by the hand a fine little boy, who, all unawed by the stately pomp
around, dragged on his mother's arm, as he looked behind him at the pageant, and
with difficulty brought his little feet to surmount the three steps of the haut
pas. All have risen as they enter, and the Queen now rises too, and bows to her
daughter with a kind and winning smile—the first that has passed across her face
since she entered the chapel. Beethoven's noble march has been played as they
filed in, but, as may be guessed, its strains, though beautifully rendered, are
but little attended to in such a scene as this. The Queen has evidently found an
object which more deeply interests her, and instead of seating herself again she
remains at the closet-window, watching her royal children as they pass one after
another to their seats beneath, and even when they are seated she leans over the
front and remains gazing down at them steadily with an expression of fond pride
which is unmistakable, and in which no trace of grief can be discovered now.
PRINCE OF WALES.
Again the cheers come louder and
more sustained than ever from the outside; again there is the same pause, broken
by the trumpets and rattling kettle-drums in the Nave, and this time all save
the Queen herself rise and remain standing respectfully; for it is the
bridegroom that approaches. Great officers precede him, but they are little
heeded; all eyes are turned upon the Prince of Wales, who, in his uniform of
General, but wearing over all the insignia and purple mantle of a Knight of the
Garter, comes alertly up the Choir, partly accompanied, partly followed by his
brother-in-law, the Prince of Prussia, and his uncle, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg,
similarly robed. The Wedding March is played as they move up with stately ease,
and the Queen rises and comes fully forward as the heat pas is reached, and the
three ascend and turn in line toward her, bowing deeply. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg
and the Prince of Prussia retire to the south side of the altar, and the
bridegroom, after kneeling a few seconds in prayer, rises and stands "the rose
and expectancy of this fair State," in the centre of the haut pas, alone, with
his face toward the Queen.
Such an occasion is one in which
few men appear to advantage; yet the Prince gains by passing through it. With
the easy grace that seems natural to all his actions he stood alone, the watched
and observed of all observers, neither bashful nor confident, but with a manly
royal bearing that became his illustrious birth and exalted station. He looked
round upon the splendid scene for a moment quietly and easily, and his every
movement, his look, his very bearing, seemed in their vivid likeness to his
royal father to amaze and impress all—even those who, by their rank and station,
might be supposed to be the most familiar with his features. As the sound of
cheering was heard without, marking the coming of his youthful bride, he kept
turning his head every moment; for from where he stood, in the centre of the
altar, he could see through the screen and down the nave beyond to where the
crimson curtains would hide the marshaling of the bride's procession. Often and
often did he glance this way, but the curtains were motionless, and gave no sign
of the coming forth of her whom all now watched for with such eager expectation
that the suspense even of the slight delay seemed almost painful. Still he stood
alone, and, though evidently keenly anxious for the coming of his young bride,
he bore eager scrutiny of all with a quiet ease that was charming.
At last, with a great clangor of
trumpets, which at first are muffled into a rich indistinctness behind the
curtains, the long-looked-for procession of the bride enters, and the Prince,
giving one look to satisfy himself of the fact of the arrival, keeps his eyes
fixed upon the Queen, and never turns his head again till his affianced stands
The hush was now so deep and
breathless that even the restless glitter of the jewels that twinkled every
where seemed almost to break it, and, despite the stately etiquette which had
hitherto regulated every word and gesture; all now bent far and eagerly forward,
as the hum and rustle in the nave beyond showed the young bride to be drawing
near. In another minute she had entered, and stood,
"In gloss of satin and glimmer of
pearls, Queen lily and rose in one,"
the fairest and almost the
youngest of all her lovely train
that bloomed in fair array behind
her. Though not agitated, she appeared nervous, and the soft, delicate bloom of
color, which ordinarily imparts a look of joyous happiness to her expressive
features, had all but disappeared, as, with head bent down, but glancing her
eyes occasionally from side to side, she moved slowly up toward the altar. The
programme tells us that she was supported on the right by her royal father,
Prince Christian, of Denmark, and on her left by the Duke of Cambridge; and the
same dry but most authentic document leads us to believe that both were in full
uniform, and wore the collars and badges of their respective orders of
knighthood. But without wishing at all to derogate from the importance of these
illustrious personages, we may say that any one else might have safely borne
their part, so deep, so all-absorbing was the interest with which the bride, and
bride alone, was watched. From the way her features are now shaded by the veil
and her looks bent forward, it is difficult to see her features more fully; but
as she nears the altar she drops her arm, and for the first time appears beneath
the folds of her veil a large bouquet of orange flowers, carried in a princely
gift from the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh.
On these occasions, we believe,
the dress of the bride ranks, in general estimation, as only second in
importance to the celebration of the ceremony itself, which is to be regretted,
for a lady's dress, like a lady's beauty, can only be described by its effect.
It is embroidered white silk, trimmed with silver, which can just be discerned
in rich designs glittering between the snowy folds. The traditional white is
not, however, departed from, though over all she wears a slight bodice with open
sleeves of white silk, embroidered with silver, and which, falling tight, sets
off her tapering waist and faultless symmetry of form to absolute perfection.
Her gorgeous train of white and
silver is borne by eight young ladies, between the ages of fifteen and twenty,
the very choice and flower of the fair scions of our most ancient houses. The
young ladies thus honored with so fair a post in the long programme of this
happy day are all the daughters of Dukes, Marquises, or Earls whose titles are
almost as familiar as the names of our Kings of old.
Handel's march from "Joseph" had
been played at entering, but all music had ceased as the party stood around the
altar, till its strains broke out with the solemn words of the chorale:
"This day, with joyful heart and
To Heav'n be raised a nation's
pray'r; Almighty Father, deign to grant
Thy blessing to the wedded pair.
"So shall no clouds of sorrow dim
The sunshine of their early days;
But happiness in endless round
Shall still encompass all their
The exquisitely soft music of
this chant, at once solemn and sorrowful, was composed by the late Prince
Consort. It may have been this, or the associations and life-long memories
called up by the scene beneath her; but certain it is that as the hymn commenced
Her Majesty drew back from the window of the pew, and, after an effort to
conceal her emotion, gave way to her tears, and almost sobbed; nor did she
throughout the rest of the ceremony entirely recover her composure.
As the solemn chant ended the
Prelates advanced to the communion rails, and the Primate, in a rich, clear
voice, which was heard throughout every part of the building, choir or nave,
commenced the service with the usual formulary, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered
here, in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation, to join together
this man and this woman in holy matrimony." There is a solemn pause after that
dreadful adjuration, in which they are charged to answer if there was any
impediment to their marriage; and then, after a moment, the Primate passed on
to, "Wilt thou, ALBERT EDWARD, have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live
together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love
her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking
all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?"
To this the Prince rather bowed
than responded, his utterance was so indistinct. To the same question, "Wilt
thou, ALEXANDRA CAROLINE MARIA, have this man to thy wedded husband?" the reply
was just audible, but nothing more, though, as usual, every ear was strained to
But to the words, "I take thee,
ALEXANDRA, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for
better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and
to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and
thereto I plight thee my troth," the Prince repeated clearly, word for word,
after his Grace; though now again, when it was the turn of the young bride, she
could be heard only to answer almost inaudibly, and her cheeks were suffused
with a crimson flush, and she seemed very nervous.
To the question, "Who giveth this
woman to be married to this man?" the royal father of the bride only bowed and
moved toward the Princess, who was removing her glove hurriedly. Then the
Primate joined their hands, and in a clear, soft voice, firmly and deliberately
repeated the words:
"With this ring I thee wed, with
my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: in the name
of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
All then knelt down while the
prayer commencing, "O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver
of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life; send Thy blessing upon
these Thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in Thy name," was
solemnly repeated, and then they rose, while the Primate joined their hands, and
said the final words, "Those whom God hath joined together let no man put
With these words, which in law
completed the marriage ceremony, the service was continued to the 67th Psalm,
the solemn strains of which came like a relief to what seemed almost the
overwrought feeling of all within the choir as the words went pealing softly
through both nave and aisle.
The happy couple have gone to
spend the honey-moon at Osborne, in the Isle of Wight.
The pleasure of the wedding was
somewhat marred by the bad arrangements of the police. Seven women were crushed
to death in the throng, and one hundred wounded. If such a thing occurred here,
how our "mobocracy" would be abused!
DARK NIGHT'S WORK.
By the Author of "Mary Barton," etc.
Printed from the Manuscript and
early Proof-sheets purchased by the Proprietors of "Harper's Weekly."
CHAPTER XVII.—(Continued. )
ELLINOR walked as nearly round
the castle as ever she could, looking up at the few high-barred windows she
could see, and wondering in what part of the building Dixon was confined. Then
she went into the adjoining church-yard, and sitting down upon a tomb-stone, she
gazed idly at the view spread below her—a view which was considered as the lion
of the place, to he shown to all strangers by the inhabitants of Hellingford.
Ellinor did not see it, however. She only saw the blackness of that fatal night.
The hurried work—the lanterns glancing to and fro. She only heard the hard
breathing of those who are engaged upon unwonted labor; the few hoarse muttered
words; the swaying of the branches to
and fro. All at once the
church-clock above her struck eight, and then pealed out for distant laborers to
cease their work for a time; such was the old custom of the place. Ellinor rose
up, and made her way back to Mr. Johnson's house in High Street. The room felt
close and confined in which she awaited her interview with Mr. Johnson, who had
sent down an apology for having overslept himself, and at last made his
appearance in a hurried, half-awakened state, in consequence of his late
hospitality of the night before.
"I am so sorry I gave you all so
much trouble last night," said Ellinor, apologetically. "I was overtired, and so
much shocked by the news I heard."
"No trouble, no trouble, I am
sure. Neither Mrs. Johnson nor I felt it in the least a trouble. Many ladies, I
know, feel such things very trying, though there are others that can stand a
judge's putting on the black cap better than most men. I'm sure I saw some as
composed as could be under Judge Corbet's speech."
"But about Dixon? He must not
die, Mr. Johnson."
"Well, I don't know that he
will," said Mr. Johnson, in something of the. tone of voice he would have used
in soothing a child. "Judge Corbet said something about the possibility of a
pardon. The jury did not recommend him to mercy; you see, his looks went so much
against him, and all the evidence was so strong, and no defense, so to speak,
for he would not furnish any information on which we could base defense. But the
judge did give some hope, to my mind, though there are others that think
"I tell you, Mr. Johnson, he must
not die, and he shall not. To whom must I go?"
"Whew! Have you got additional
evidence?" with a sudden sharp glance of professional inquiry.
"Never mind," Ellinor answered.
your pardon only tell me into
whose hands the power of life and death have passed."
"Into the Home Secretary's — Sir
Philip Homes; but you can not get access to him on such an errand. It is the
judge who tried the case that must urge a reprieve—Judge Corbet."
"Yes; and he was rather inclined
to take a merciful view of the whole case. I saw it in his charge. He'll be the
person for you to see. I suppose you don't like to give me your confidence, or
else I could arrange and draw up what will have to be said?"
"No. What I have to say must be
spoken to the arbiter—to no one else. I am afraid I answered you impatiently
just now. You must forgive me; if you knew all, I am sure you would."
"Say no more, my dear lady. We
will suppose you have some evidence not adduced at the trial. Well, you must go
up and see the judge, since you don't choose to impart it to any one, and lay it
before him. He will, doubtless, compare it with his notes of the trial, and see
how far it agrees with them. Of course you must be prepared with some kind of
proof of what you say, for Judge Corbet will have to test your evidence."
"It seems strange to think of him
as the judge," said Ellinor, almost to herself.
"Why, yes. He's but a young
judge. You knew him at Hawley, I suppose? I remember his reading there with Mr.
"Yes. But do not let us talk more
about that time. Tell me, when can I see Dixon? I have been to the castle
already, but they said I must have a sheriff's order."
"To be sure. I desired Mrs.
Johnson to tell you so last night. Old Ormerod was dining here; he is clerk to
the magistrates, and I told him of your wish. He said he would see Sir Henry
Croper, and have the order here before ten. But all this time Mrs. Johnson is
waiting breakfast for us. Let me take you into the dining-room."
It was very hard work for Ellinor
to do her duty as a guest, and to allow herself to be interested and talked to
on local affairs by her host and hostess. But she felt as if she had spoken
shortly and abruptly to Mr. Johnson in their previous conversation, and that she
must try and make amends for it; so she attended to all the details about the
restoration of the church, and the difficulty of getting a good music-master for
the three little Miss Johnsons, with all her usual gentle good-breeding and
patience, though no one can tell how her heart and imagination were full of the
coming interview with poor old Dixon.
By-and-by Mr. Johnson was called
out of the room to see Mr. Ormerod, and receive the order of admission from him.
Ellinor clasped her hands tight together as she listened with apparent composure
to Mrs. Johnson's never-ending praise of the Tonic Sol-fa system. But when Mr.
Johnson returned she could not help interrupting her eulogy, and saying,
"Then I may go now?"
"Yes; the order was there—she
might go, and Mr. Johnson would accompany her, to see that she met with no
difficulty or obstacle.
As they walked thither he told
her that some one—a turnkey, or some one—would have to be present at the
interview; that such was always the rule in the case of condemned prisoners; but
that if this third person was "obliging" he would keep out of ear-shot. Mr.
Johnson quietly took care to see that the turnkey who accompanied Ellinor was
The man took her across
high-walled courts, and along stone corridors, and through many locked doors
before they came to the "condemned cells."
"I've had three at a time in
here," said he, unlocking the final door, " after Judge Morton had been here. We
always called him the 'Hanging Judge.' But it's five years since he died, and
since then there's been never more than one in at a time—though once it was a
woman for poisoning her husband.
Mary Jones was her name."
The stone passage out of which
the cells opened was light, and bare, and scrupulously clean. Over each door was
a small barred window, and an outer window of the same description was placed
high up in the cell which the turnkey now opened,
Old Abraham Dixon was sitting on
the side of his bed, doing nothing. His head was bent, his frame sunk, and he
did not seem to care to turn round and see who it was that entered.
Ellinor tried to keep down her
sobs while the man went up to him, and laying his hand on his shoulder, and
lightly shaking him, he said:
"Here's a friend come to see you,
Dixon." Then, turning to Ellinor, he added, "There's some as takes it in this
kind o' stunned way, while others are as restless as a wild beast in a cage
after they're sentenced." And then he withdrew into the passage, leaving the
door open, so that he could see all that passed if he chose to look, but
ostentatiously keeping his eyes averted, and whistling to himself, so that he
could not hear what they said to each other.
Dixon looked up at Ellinor, but
then let his eyes fall on the ground again; the increased trembling of his
shrunk frame was the only sign he gave that he had recognized her.
She sat down by him, and took his
large horny hand he hers. She wanted to overcome her inclination to sob
hysterically before she spoke. She stroked the bony, shriveled fingers on which
her hot, scalding tears kept dropping.
"Dunnot do that," said he, at
length, in a hollow voice. "Dunnot take on about it; it's best as it is, missy."
"No! Dixon, it is not best. It
shall not be. You know it shall not—can not be."
"I'm rather tired of living. It's
been a great strain and labor for me. I think I'd as lief be with God as with
men. And you see I were fond on him ever sin' he were a little lad, and told me
what hard times he had at school, he did, just as if I were his brother! I loved
him next to Molly Greaves. Dear! and I shall see her again, I reckon, come next
Saturday week! They'll think well on me up there, I'll be bound; though I can
not say as I've done all as I should do here below."
"But, Dixon," said Ellinor, "you
know who did this—this—"
"Guilty o' murder," said he.
"That's what they called it. Murder! And that it never were, choose who did it."
"My poor, poor father did it. I
am going up to London this afternoon—I am going to see the judge, and tell him
"Don't you demean yourself to
that fellow, missy. It's him as left you in the lurch as soon as sorrow and
shame came nigh you."
He looked up at her now for the
first time; but she went on as if she had not noticed those wist, weary eyes.
"Yes; I shall go to him. I know
who it is, and I am resolved. After all he may be better than a stranger for
real help; and I shall never remember any—any thing else when I think of you,
good, faithful friend."
"He looks but a wizened old
fellow in his gray wig. I should hardly ha' known him. I gave him a look as much
as to say, 'I could tell tales o' you, my lord judge, if I chose.' I don't know
if he heeded me though. I suppose it were for a sign of old acquaintance that he
said he'd recommend me to mercy. But I'd sooner have death nor mercy, by long
odds. Yon man out there says mercy means Botany Bay. It would be like killing me
by inches, that would, It would. I'd liefer go straight to Heaven than live on
among the black folk."
He began to shake again; this
idea of transportation, from its very mysteriousness, was more terrifying to him
than death. He kept on saying, plaintively, "Missy, you'll never let them send
me to Botany Bay—I could not stand that."
"No, no!" said she. "You shall
come out of this prison, and go home with me to East Chester—I promise you, you
shall. I promise you. I don't yet quite know how, but trust in my promise. Don't
fret about Botany Bay. If you go there, I go too—I am so sure you will not go.
And you know if you have done any thing against the law in concealing that fatal
night's work, I did too; and if you are to be punished, I will be punished too.
But I feel sure it will be right—I mean as right as any thing can be, with the
recollection of that time present to us, as it must always be." She almost spoke
these last words to herself. They sat on, hand in hand, for a few minutes more
"I thought you'd come to me. I
knowed you were far away in foreign parts. But I used to pray to God. 'Dear Lord
God!' I need to say, 'let me see her again.' I told the chaplain as I'd begin to
pray for repentance—at after I'd done praying that I might see you once again;
for it just seemed to take all my strength to say those words as I have named.
And I thought as how God knew what sees in my heart better than I could tell
Him. How I was main and sorry for all as I'd ever done wrong; I allays were, at
after it was done; but I thought as no one could know how bitter-keen I wanted
to see you."
Again they sank into silence.
Ellinor felt as if she would fain be away and active in procuring his release;
but she also perceived how precious her presence was to him, and she did not
like to leave him a moment before the time allowed for. His voice had changed to
a weak piping old man's quaver, and between the times of his talking he seemed
to relapse into a dreamy state; but through it all he held her hand tight, as
though afraid that she would leave him.
So the hour elapsed, with no more
spoken words than those above. From time to time