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After the pyre has burned itself out, the from a semibarbaric state to an indepenashes of the body are collected amid fur- dent kingdom, he abolished slavery, and,
, ther ceremonies, put in an urn, and placed more wonderful still, by his energy and in a building in the palace in which are constant devotion to duty, he inspired his kept the urns of the reigning family. people with an enthusiasm which has had
With the dawn of the morning ap- an effect on the national character; for the pointed for the recent royal cremation, Siamese of to-day are not the indolent, minute-guns began booming in various pleasure-loving people we knew them to be parts of Bangkok. All else was still, thirty years ago. traffic being stopped, and the usually chat- The Siamese people somewhat resemble ting, laughing Siamese for once the Japanese in their love of artistic effect hushed and subdued. From a very early and display. There is the same minute hour of the day the streets presented a attention to detail, the same harmonizing unique aspect. White being the Siamese of bright colors, and an equally fervent de
mourning color, the spectacle of several votion to national style and conventions. thousand people so dressed, and packed In the construction of the royal cremaclosely together, wending their way slowly torium they showed that the Siamese style and reverently to the Premane Grounds, of architecture—which may be described gave one the impression, when viewed as ornate, for everything is sacrificed for from above, of a river of white on which the sake of elaborate ornamentation-is floated the heads of the people.
capable of much dignity and grandeur. What made the ceremonies specially in- For several months many hundred teresting was the remarkable enthusiasm skilled artisans, working under the direcshown both by Siamese and foreigners to tions of the king's architect, had been busy make the event a testimonial to the worth, night and day at the construction of the and a fitting close to the remarkable ca- meru, or central building, and the pavilreer, of a great monarch. King Chula- ions surrounding it. The meru was delongkorn was generally loved and re- signed to carry the large golden and bespected; he took a great and personal in- jeweled urn in which was placed, in a terest in the welfare of his people, and was kneeling posture, the body of the king. It by natural gifts eminently qualified to rule stood 110 feet high, rising from a base his people. He saw his country emerge ninety feet broad, and consisted of three
platforms, on the top and middle one of ing, or inlay-work, some idea may be which was a golden frame which was to formed of the time and money spent upon receive the royal urn, and under which, it--all to be destroyed in a few minutes. within the closed middle chamber, were a As we took our seats in one of the paclosely packed pile of dry fagots.
vilions that surrounded the crematorium, At each of the four corners of the large and awaited the entrance of the royal promain platform were the praying-towers, cession, about us was a living sea of white, where the yellow-robed priests sat reciting silent and expectant. Already the priests the Buddhist scriptures.
in the praying-tower had begun their moThe pillars and walls of the cremato- notonous incantation. There was a slight rium were beautifully ornamented with a smell of burning incense, and the stewards groundwork of gold, over which scenes were making final preparations for the refrom the sacred books, worked in blue silk, ception of the distinguished mourners. gave a charming effect. On each platform There was a moment of hushed expectancy, were delicately carved figures of angels and over the still and torrid air came the and of yaks (devils), the former in atti- sound of a low wail, which grew louder tudes of devotion and prayer, the latter and louder as the Tamruet Band, 300 holding the large pagoda-shaped umbrellas, strong, clad in scarlet, came marching the emblems of royalty. The ceilings had slowly along the broad Palace Road, the a beautifully chased design in gold and drummers leading, behind them the silver blue, alternating with inlaid mother-of- trumpets, then the long line of conchpearl, and from the inside of the eaves shells, and last the clarionets and flutes. hung great golden curtains lined with red. Some distance behind the band, looking
When we consider that almost every very pompous and sedate, marched the inch of this enormous building was elabo- high officials,
high officials, carrying great jeweled rately ornamented in hand-painting, carv- swords, long silver spears, golden vessel,
and the insignia of state. Next in line nature of the scene, and to the very picwas the holy prince priest (brother to the turesque costumes of the late king, borne aloft on a high palanquin, marched behind them, the chiefs of variand reciting passages from the sacred ous petty Eastern states. The length of books.
the naval and military procession that folImmediately behind the prince's palan- lowed may be gathered from the fact that quin came a force of 220 men, clad in it took one hour to file past and take up scarlet and gold, who drew by a double its position round the grounds. rope the great state car on which rested Before the steps of the crematorium the the jeweled gold urn in which reposed the prince priest conducted a religious serbody of the king. Two of his sons knelt vice and preached a short and eloquent in front of the car, and two behind. On sermon, which seemed to appeal forcibly each side marched officers of the dead to the nobles and members of the royal king's household, bearing the insignia of household, and then, amid much cereroyalty,-white, pagoda-shaped umbrellas, mony, he sprinkled holy water on the -great clusters of peacock feathers, and urn, which was being slowly moved from enormous fans.
the state car to its lofty position on the Two standard-bearers came next, and pyre. then the chief mourner, the young King A moment later, all being in readiness, Kajiravudh, dressed in a field-marshal's the young king was seen mounting the uniform. He looked a pathetic figure, steps leading to the middle portion of the walking alone, with head bent low and crematorium. The great curtains swung evidently feeling his loss very keenly. A to, and for the last time he was alone with few paces behind marched a number of the dead body of his father. There was princes dressed in the picturesque court an impressive silence. Then suddenly the costume of King Mongkut, with flowing silver tones of a trumpet rang out sharp white silk cloaks and quaint, green, coni- and clear. It was the signal that the king cal hats.
had lighted the great pyre, and the bands Then came the various representatives struck up the national anthem. The peoof foreign powers in conventional garb, ple of Siam had taken their last farewell offering a strong contrast to the Oriental of a great monarch.
BY KATHARINE LEE BATES
THE rain that fell a-yesterday is ruby on the roses,
The grief that chanced a-yesterday is silence that incloses
Holy loves where time and change shall never trouble them.
The rain that fell a-yesterday makes all the hillside glisten,
Coral on the laurel and beryl on the grass ;
For whispers of eternity in all the winds that pass.
O faint-of-heart, storm-beaten, this rain will gleam to-morrow,
Flame within the columbine and jewels on the thorn,
Yet sorrow shall be beauty in the magic of the morn.