1 SEPTEMBER 1900, Page 15



SIR,—" No procession that could march through the Strand would produce the electric shock that would be felt if every man in that great street at the same moment stopped and lifted his hat in air." Such is the conclusion, and practically the keynote, of your interesting and reflective article in the Spectator for August 25th. May I point out that in this con- nection England might well sit at the feet of the most his- toric instructress in the art of dignified and impressive simultaneounness,—the Catholic Church ? Let a funeral pass through the crowded streets of any city in a Catholic country—let us even say Paris, where religion as such is anything but universal—and in the simultaneous uplifting of nearly every hat within sight may be seen a near approxima- tion to the scene you have suggested. But even more impres- sive, dignified, and ennobling, if properly carried out, is the very beautiful custom of the Angelus, which, I venture to submit, has no equal in any other form of Christianity,—and this without special pleading. How far a universal observance of the Angelus is to be found to-day in any one place I cannot spy; but this at least is certain, that granted such observance the impressiveness and solemnity of the occasion could hardly be surpassed. As the sixth hour chimes, so also chimes the Angelus from every steeple. At that moment every man un- covers, and every tongue gives utterance to prayer. The players pause in their game ; the shopman and his customer both interrupt their bargaining ; the peasants in the fields (as Millet shows us) cease their labour ; the passers-by are arrested; housewives silence their gossip; business, pleasure, toil,—all alike are hushed for a tiny period, during which the thoughts of men return to God. Surely here is a simul- taneousness, simple in its action and noble in its purpose, equal to anything else that the world can hope to show. As I write there is opposite my window the tower of a Dominican monastery whence every day the Angelus rings its call to prayer. But, alas, how few of the passing Londoners know aught of the beauty that might wait upon the bell !—I am, .Southampton Road, H. W.