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the ladies with tails to their gowns six feet long!
And the cocked-hats, the aiguillettes, the ostrich
feathers, the lappets, the epaulettes, the stars
and the crosses, glittering and glistening on
every side. There are a dozen historical
anachronisms in every square yard of this pageantry.
Why does it all send me half crazy with excitement,
and half stupified with admiration?

A jackdaw may shrug his shoulders without
derogating from his ornithological conditions.
Let me shrug mine. What have I to say to
common sense in this matter? Well, not much.
"Caw!" All these jarring customs and businesses
are no concern at all of mine. As they float
upwards to me they become homogeneous, and I
can caw forth my approbation in spirit and in
truth. If I have anything more to say to common
sense, it is this: That the show, after all,
was a wedding between two charming and
handsome young people, and, consequently, an
affair with which common sense can have
possibly nothing to do; and, finally, that the most
inveterate grumbler, that the most determined
cynic, that the most splenetic railer at the follies
and fripperies of this world, must have been
disarmed, tongue-tied, and demolished, had he been
situated as Ia humble jackdaw wason that
auspicious morning. For, directly over against
our gallery, at the south-eastern extremity of
the chapel, there was that same pew, or closet,
I spoke of before, high up in the wall over the
altara dusky, musty nook, first built, I have
heard, in Henry the Seventh's time, but swept
and garnished and hung with tapestry for this
grand joining of hands pageant, and therein sat
the forlorn lady, dark and dreary in her
persistent weeds, Victoria the Queen. And that was
why, perhaps, I cawed, and caw now, with bated
breath, and bade common sense get behind me.

And the wedding itself? Well, you must
know all its details by this time quite as well as,
if not much better, than I do myself. It was
very much like other weddings that you and I
and all the world have witnessed; only the major
part of humanity do not attend the hymeneal
altar in robes of blue velvet, or with their trains
held up by eight young ladies, daughters of
earls. The pretty bride trembled a good deal,
but, so far as my jackdaw eyes could perceive, she
did not cry. The bridegroom went through his
part in a business-like manneras, indeed, why
should he not have so comported himself, seeing
that it was his business to stand up and be married?
The Archbishop of Canterbury read the service
in a clear, sonorous voice, which appears to have
created extreme surprise in the breasts of certain
wise jackdaws, who perhaps expected that he
must needs stammer and trip himself up in it.
The remaining bishops and clergy " assisted"
his grace in the performance of the ceremony
by standing behind him, and staring as hard
as they could at the chief actors in the pleasant
scene. The organ boomed, and the
choristers chanted in their proper places; only I
would entreat you not to believe the dicta of
certain very imaginative jackdaws, to the effect
that the princess uttered the responses in a
" low but silvery and perfectly audible voice."
Of course both bride and bridegroom said what
was set down for them, but not a syllable they
said could be heard at our end of the edifice.

When the two were finally made one, there
was a visible flutter of satisfaction all over the
chapel. Stay! There was one exception. There
was one personage who never moved, who never
turned his eyes to the right nor to the left, from
the moment when he stalked to his seat to the
moment when, all being over, he stalked from
it. The mass of kincob and jewels supposed to
represent the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh made no
sign. He bore it all like a wax-work image.

While the concluding Wedding March was
thundering forth from the organ, the buried blower
surpassing himself in efforts to raise the wind,
we jackdaws dived down our staircase, pushed
past a policeman who, half by force and half by
persuasion, endeavoured to induce us to
remain where we were till the grandees had
taken their departure, and deliberately fought
our way out of the chapel. Not for us collations
or gossiping comparison of notes. Our
time for cawing in right business-like earnest
had commenced. The gentlemen- at- arms
crossed partisans to prevent our traversing the
nave, so we dived between their gold-laced
legs. The yeomen of the guard halloaed to us
to stop; but we knew them to be ancient men,
feeble in body and short of wind, and defied
them. By a dexterous flank movement the police
cut off our egress from the southern porch,
whereupon we as dexterously doubled, skirted
the northern aisle, and, rushing through the
corps diplomatique, reached a gate at the east,
behind the altar, and fled into the open.

It was a fearful moment. The A division were
in full cry after us. The Life Guards brandished
their sabres fiercely, as we bolted beneath Henry
the Eighth's gate. Here there was a chain and
barriers, and the Berks constabulary seemed
disposed to show fight: taking us, perhaps, for
members of the swell mob who had rifled the
British Peerage of their diamonds, and were
flying from justice. Fortunately, a shrewd
metropolitan inspector recognised us as jackdaws.
"Make way, there!" he cried. Away we fled,
so fast that we might have been carrier pigeons.
Away, away, down Thames-street, past the
Castle and the White Hart; away, away,
through hot masses of angry bumpkins; away,
away, up a dusty turning to a terminus; away,
away, wild and breathless, into a train which, with
a screech and a yell, forthwith darted away as
fast as it could pelt towards London.

With the assistance of a two-wheeled cab,
whose driver for double speed was pleased to be
contented with triple fare, I reached about three
that afternoon the jackdaws' haunt. And there,
tying a wet towel round my head, and a wet
pocket-handkerchief round each wrist, and taking
off my coat, and kicking off my boots, I dipped
my beak in ink and cried " caw" about the
wedding till one in the morning. Then, I went
to bed.

I didn't feel quite so much like a jackdaw

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