18 JULY 1931, Page 12

A Penny of Observation


Now is the season of Pageants. Up and down the country civic authorities are diligently falsifying the archives, scratch. ing acquaintance down the centuries with the Illustrious Dead. On a fine Saturday you will find as many as half a dozen Queen Elizabeths to a county. The wives of aldermen achieve precarious hualeur on curiously upholstered hacks. The local tennis club ruffle it in baldric and wimple. Small, baffled children, congested in velvet or corrugated in tights, shamble forward in natural:amphitheatres to present huge, symbolical keys. The deer under the park trees are maddened by the sound of sennet, tucket, and hautboy. These things have their comic side ; yet perhaps, for one sunny afternoon, men glimpse their birthplace in a just perspective. ' Will it be always so ? Three hundred years hence, will pageant masters show the same eagerness to recapture the specious days of George V ? Will it be worth risking hay-fever to relive history where the landmarks are sessions instead of sieges ? Will impersonators be as easily available when it is a Royal Commission that they have to present, and not a charge of horse ? Will there be the same excitement in unpacking the hampers from Wardour Street when they contain only bowler hats ? There comes to us a vision of the Genius Loci—an obliging peeress in non-committal draperies— popping out from the ruins of a quaint old filling station to flute a doggerel introduction to Scenes From The Lives Of Sir 0. Mosley and Miss Betty Nuthall. Or perhaps there is some red-letter day in local history to be commemorated, Trerhaps a Speed-King passed that way : or did the village win a newspaper prize for being picturesque ? But it is not for us to audit the great reserves of glamour which modern life is piling up. We see now that we were wrong to suggest that they wanted looking into.

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