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Our Little
English Cousin

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ONE of the great events in the life of an English child is to be able to go to London to the "Lord Mayor's Show," which takes place every year on the 9th of November. Thousands of families from all over the country come into London for that day, and bring the young folks.

Early in the morning of the great day, the Howard and Stamford families had taken up their position at two of the big windows of a hotel, from which a good view of the parade could be had. Eleanor and Clarence had come up with the Howards, so you can fancy what a merry party it was.

All the children but Edith had seen it before, but they were just as eager as if it were a brand-new sight. As for Edith, she kept her little nose glued to the window-pane, and hardly winked her eyes for fear she might miss something.

The "Lord Mayor's Show," like most customs in England, is of very ancient origin. It has always been considered a great honour to be Lord Mayor of London, and live in the Mansion House, as his home is called.

All children remember the story of Dick Whittington and his cat, and how he heard the bells of London, which said to him that he would become Lord Mayor of London; and I believe it is a true story, too, not about the bells really talking to him, perhaps, but about the little country boy who struggled on, and did become the great Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor's rule only extends over what is called the "City," which is now only a small part of big London. Long ago, when the office was first created, what is now the "City" was all there was of London. It was enclosed at that time by walls.

Well, times have changed! London has spread miles away on every side from the "City," but the Lord Mayor of London still holds almost an absolute sway over his part of London. Many of the old laws still exist; such as the king cannot go into the "City" without the permission of the Lord Mayor, who must meet him at the city boundary, and present a sword which the king touches, and then he can pass in. Of course this is only a form now, but it is still a picturesque ceremony which usually takes place at Temple Bar on the Strand. Every year a new Lord Mayor is chosen, and the "Show," which is a procession that passes through the principal streets, is to celebrate his incoming.

Our little folks were becoming impatient, though it was amusing enough to watch the vast crowd moved hither and thither by the good-natured policemen.

Companies of strolling minstrels amused the waiting people, singing songs and cracking jokes, while the vendors of the funny, coloured programmes did a large business.

"I do believe they are coming at last." These words of Adelaide's brought every head as far out of the windows as possible. Yes, there were the gorgeous coaches of the Aldermen, but nothing to compare to the one which followed, -- the great, gilded coach of the Lord Mayor himself, with the sword of state sticking out of the window, because it is too big for the carriage. You never have seen, nor will ever see, anything more splendid than the coachman to the Lord Mayor. We have to talk about him first because he is seen first. He is a tremendous big fellow in red plush knee-breeches, with a coat all gold braid and lace. White silk stockings cover his portly calves, and his shoes sparkle with big buckles; a three-cornered hat sits pompously on his big powdered wig, and there is a bouquet in his coat, beside which a cabbage would look small. Standing behind the carriage are two footmen, only a trifle less magnificent.

The coachman so catches the young people's eyes they scarcely see the Lord Mayor inside the gold coach, but he too is grand in his fine robe of velvet and fur, and a magnificent golden chain about his neck.

Then come the various Guilds or Societies of the City of London. The Guild of Clockmakers, and the Guild of Goldsmiths, the Guild of Tanners, and many others. Then come soldiers and bands of music, and floats or wagons on which are symbolic designs and tableaux.

The people cheer, and our little folks clap their hands, and think nothing in the world could be so grand.

As Adelaide's mother once said to Edith, "You have only yet seen a very small bit of London." There is, indeed, much more to be seen in this great old city, and in England, for even if it is a very small country it holds a great deal.

But we must for the present bid our little English cousins "good-bye" and give some other little cousin a chance.


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