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the farmyard before the house has been kept clear, and is neatly swept, but the lower end is filled with vehicles and saddle-horses, for many people have ridden or driven long distances to be present. After a while there is a stir about the door, and the women begin to stream out. Upon this the whispering men, and those who have gone farther away to talk more freely, cease their conversation and cluster together and move into the yard. Now all eyes are fixed on the door, and presently the coffin is borne out shoulder-high. It is fastened firmly to the bier, and the latter is carried by four mourners, and these are always the four nearest male relations of the deceased. The bier is set down in the middle of the yard, and the whole crowd, for whom there is now plenty of room, gather round in a close-packed ring. The officiating minister gives out one of the fine hymns of which there is such a noble store in Welsh, and they sing-ah, how they sing!

This hymn is called "emyn cyn codi," the "hymn before lifting," because at its close the body will be lifted and set down no more till the church is reached. As the hymn dies away the men begin to move steadily off, and the women stand on one side, and the four who carried out the bier receive it once more on their shoulders. It is theirs to carry their dead the first stage away from home, it is theirs to carry the last stage to the church and set the bier down before the altar, it is theirs to carry from the church to the grave. For the rest they walk immediately behind the coffin, and the bier is borne in turns by the friends and neighbors who have gathered to pay this last token of regard.

You will observe that as the men move off they form in ranks of four abreast; you will also see that these ranks are formed on a principle, and this is that any given four are much of a size;

four tall men walk together, four short men drop into line. This is for convenience when their turn comes to carry the bier, any marked inequality in height among the bearers resulting in great awkwardness and uneasiness over the rough broken roads and steep slopes lying between us and the churchyard. When every man has dropped into his rank and stepped away with slow, regular stride, the four mourners, shouldering the bier, follow, and now the women prepare to march. They walk behind the coffin, and, as they have not to carry, their ranks are not formed with the exactness of the men's. After them the vehicles move forward in single file, and finally, the horsemen fall in, usually two abreast, and bring up the rear. Thus it will be seen that the bearers are all before the coffin, the non-bearers all behind it. Everything has been reduced to an exact system, and the labor of bearingno slight task under a heavy load over rough country-is distributed to a nicety among the marching column. At the head of the procession walks the man to whom this duty is entrusted, usually a patriarch of the mountain, whose bowed shoulders are no longer equal to the burden of the bier. He walks along, his great silver watch in his hand, and at intervals-the exact length settled by his judgment of the varying conditions, such as the roughness or steepness of the road, the heat of the day and the like points-he waves his staff above his head. Instantly obedient to this signal, the front rank drops out, two on each side, and stands still while the procession of men moves past them, As the bier approaches they step forward, and the load is transferred with wonderful dexterity, the one party slipping out and the other slipping in so swiftly and surely that the march is not delayed an instant. Nor is the bier lowered for a moment. Shoulder-high the dead are borne out

of their homes, and shoulder-high they remain until the bier is set down before the altar in the little church. The relieved party step forward and form the rear rank of the men. Thus the front line is continually falling out and the rear is continually forging forward until it is the turn of the latter to step aside once more, and the result is perfect equality in the distribution of the work.

It will be seen that the large concourse is absolutely inseparable from this kind of a funeral. Often the burden has to be carried for miles over rough country and by the rudest of roads, and the members of a small body of men would be called upon too often. The idea of a hearse, or a substitute for a hearse, is regarded with the keenest repugnance. In their opinion it is so cold, so heartless a way of conveying a dead friend to his grave; and to carry out their beloved custom they will support unmurmuringly a high degree of discomfort and inconvenience. I have seen a bier patiently borne mile after mile at midday when the mountain was a-shimmer under the sultriest blaze of a July sun. I have seen eight or ten men wrestling fiercely to keep their footing and hold up their precious burden on a precipitous slope coated with ice, utterly impassable under such a load, had not the great square nails in their heavy boots given them some sort of grip. I have known a journey of six miles made to a distant churchyard over the hills, and every inch of it, save the first quarter-mile, done at the usual snail's pace under a hissing downpour, which speedily reduced the clothes of the procession to mere sops of cloth upon their bodies.

To the on-looker from a distance, especially if he be on some adjacent height, the long, dark train looks wonderfully picturesque as it winds slowly by narrow road and open mountain towards the churchyard. Nowadays

the march is made without pause. An old custom, now disused, checked the march at every place where roads crossed, and a prayer was offered up. It is said that this had reference to the ancient custom of burying evil-doers at such points, a practice which resembled the old English custom with suicides. It was believed that the spirits of these evil-folk haunted the spot where their bodies had been laid, but the prayer offered up saved the departed from becoming their prey.

Sometimes on the march the people sing, and the effect is often fine beyond description. I remember a few years ago, attending a funeral, perhaps the largest in my experience, when I heard some of the noblest singing I have ever listened to in my life. There were circumstances of sad and special interest in connection with the occasion, and a concourse, great for so thinly inhabited a countryside, had come together. Horse and foot, full five hundred, preceded or followed the bier that day. It was very hot, and to escape the dust I had walked ahead a little at one point where a very steep hill stood up like a wall across the country. The road mounted it directly, and at the top I turned to look over the funeral train in the valley below. The advance guard was almost at the foot of the ascent, while the horses were still filing round a distant bend where the road disappeared. Midway the uncovered coffin of polished oak glittering in the sun was the only point of light along the far-extended sable line. From this height and distance it had the appearance of a little boat borne smoothly forward on the dark wave which flowed beneath and around it. Of a sudden the men in front began to sing. They sang, of course, "O fryniau Caersalem," and the fine old verse was never more nobly rendered. The parts for the various voices were taken up with the utmost

precision, and the stately harmonies, exquisite at once in their lofty melancholy, their tender beauty and the deep sadness which was breathed into every note, rang back from cliff and woody scaur with a thousand echoes as if hill and valley recalled the strain-as well they might-and chanted it back to the chanting train. Faintly at times one caught the high sweet notes of the women in the distance. As in "The Princess":

"And the women sang Between the rougher voices of the men Like linnets in the pauses of the wind.”

But for the most part the rich, sonorous voices of the men filled the valley and rolled up the hillside in a massy billow of full and sustained harmony. From "O fryniau" they passed to "Bydd myrdd," another air compact of most admirable effects and as finely rendered. Heard amid alien scenes this music is striking in a high degree, but only amid such a setting and on such an occasion as this can its last drop of sweetness be drained. The wild, wailing note of some of the airs sung on these marches are in such keeping with the mournful beauty of the gray, desolate mountains, that it is easy to see how among like scenes they must have crept into the heart of the first singer-often a long-forgotten singer of a far-off day, for many of the airs are traditional and of great antiquity. When the funeral procession reaches the church the majority stretch themselves on the grass, if the day be fine, to rest after their journey, for the tiny building will hold but part of the array. The service concluded, the coffin is carried to the grave, where it is lowered and the final prayers are read. It is the invariable custom to fill in the grave while the relatives remain about it, backed by the thick-standing crowd,

Temple Bar.

before, indeed, any one goes away. A bundle of the queer, long-handled shovels they use is fetched from behind a tombstone near at hand, where they have been stowed in readiness; three or four seize them and the filling-in goes steadily forward. This final touch often deeply affects the easily-moved Celtic throng, so keenly alive to sentiment, so quick to feel, so prone to weeping. Death strikes with a deeper, sharper bolt among these solitudes than in busier places. Where but few are to be found a familiar figure is the more keenly missed. Age after age, generation after generation, the people have married and intermarried until, within a little, every one is related to every one else, and the mountain is inhabited by one great family. The loss is personal to a degree unknown in busy towns where people look on each other with cold and careless eyes. And as the clods and stones fall with hollow rattle and dull, sullen blows into the open grave, often a song of farewell is raised, the strain breathing such feeling and passion as to produce an effect inexpressibly striking and affecting. When the last spadeful has been thrown on the mound, the assembly begins slowly to melt away, striking to every point of the compass, and the funeral is over.

There is the fine simplicity of immemorial custom about this rite. Through the dim mist of tradition nothing is seen more clearly than the meeting of the people to march in solemn procession with their dead, whether a hero was borne to the hill-top to be laid under a mighty cairn, or one of humbler rank was buried in the valley below. So did the old Welsh carry the ashes of their departed to place under the ancient barrows found on many an English hillside, and so do their descendants to this day on the Little Mountain.


Among the many ideas which mislead Europeans in dealing with Asiatics, few are more inveterate than the belief that they are generally wanting in courage. They are not exactly considered cowards, that would be too absurd, but their courage is held to be, in some way, of an inferior quality. They can never, it is supposed, face Europeans, however inferior in numbers, and never succeed against them unless under the inspiration of some religious emotion, which is then denounced as "fanaticism." An exception is sometimes made in favor of the Turk, who, when not an officer, is considered a manly fellow, but the remaining inhabitants of a continent which contains considerably more than half the human race are classed together as rather feeble folk, who, if the white soldiers will only advance, åre sure to run away from want of pluck. Arabs or Tartars, Persians or Chinese, they are all lumped together, and all believed to be, as Pyrrhus said, the womankind of humanity. That description is true enough in some ways; but it is not true as regards the possession of individual bravery. There is one race in Asia-the Bengalee-which openly acknowledges that it has not the heart to fight, though when in expectation of any form of non-contentious death it is more serene than the European; but the immense majority of the remaining seven hundred millions are personally brave men. do not say they are quite equal to Englishmen or to Germans, or to the picked soldiers of any European country, but they are equal to any Southerners, or to the average militia of any land. The Asiatic Turk is a born soldier, usually quite devoid of nervous


ness as well as of fear, and the Arab, though much more sensitive, and therefore more liable to panic, is, at least, as careless of death or physical pain. He has never, that we recollect in modern times, fought with Europeans in Asia, but his half-brother, the Soudanese, has extorted respect even from disrespectful "Tommy." An army of Dervishes led by English officers would, it is acknowledged, face most armies with success. The Persian is a laughing soldier, very like a Frenchman, who has done in quite recent times heroic deeds, and who avoids battle, when he avoids it, rather from a sort of selfishness than from fear. The Indians, Bengalees, and some classes of Madrassees excepted, are quite singularly free from cowardice. That is acknowledged when the Indian is the Sikh or the Ghoorka, or in a less degree any variety of drilled man, but it is true also of the undrilled. The ambulance man and the kind of camp follower of whom Rudyard Kipling writes as "Gunga Din"-a nearly impossible name, by the way-is taken almost haphazard from the population, and faces the shot quite as coolly as the average European, while if the shot overtakes him and his hour arrives he is less complaining. The Indo-Chinese are not soldiers, and as a rule have not the soldierly instincts, but the Burmese "dacoits," that is, "klephts," half-patriots, half-brigands, who so grievously worried us during the first four years of the conquest, constantly died like heroes, while the Roman Catholic converts of Annam accepted martyrdom in thousands with the tranquil constancy of the early Christians. They were only asked for the most part to destroy their temples, give up their pas

tors and be quiet, and they accepted death in preference. Of the Siamese we know little except that they fought their way to empire; but Chinese have contended with each other like heroes, the Mahommedan Chinese having faced extermination, and the Taepings, who were undrilled, having died in scores of thousands while battling with their drilled fellow-countrymen under Gordon. To the coolness with which the Chinese meet death all observers bear witness, while their kinsfolk, the Tartars, overran the world, and fought like heroes, though well aware that a wounded man had little chance except of death by torture or starvation. That great difference between their position when fighting and that of Europeans is common to all Asiatics, and has never been allowed for. Their armies are unaccompanied by hospitals. There is, moreover, one admitted fact which certainly makes heavily against the charge of cowardice. European officers will take Asiatics of almost any kind, and by a few months of drill and training in arms will make of them good regi ments, equal most of them, though they have not the incentive of patriotism, or any tradition of honor, to battle on fair terms with Europeans. Drill is a grand education, but you cannot educate a coward into valor.

Why, then, are they so often, we might almost say so invariably beaten by Europeans? There are many reasons. One very little noticed is the inferiority of their weapons, of which, being nervous and suspicious men not made oblivious by drink, they are sensitively aware. Hardly any troops will face artillery when without artillery themselves, and Austrian soldiers who are as brave as any in the world, positively refused after a short experience to encounter the needle-gun while armed only with the musket. It is a little unfair to expect of Asiatics more

heroism than theirs, or to require them to die in heaps when victory is impossible. Another reason is that we judge them too exclusively by their conduct when opposed to Europeans, of whom they have an instinctive awe, not derived from physical fear at all, but as patent in civil life as on the field. The only Asiatics quite free of this feeling are the Arabs, and if we ever meet them in the field on equal terms we shall be surprised at the magnitude of the death-list. They know, too, their own inferiority in war considered as a science, and expect to be beaten by an intelligence they scarcely understand. But the grand reason-we write this on the evidence of great experts-is want of confidence in their leaders, in their ability, in their fidelity, in their care for them. They recognize with the keenest insight that selfishness of the prosperous which they know to be latent in themselves, and at the first check expect desertion, or betrayal, or neglect. So in certain moods do Frenchmen, Spaniards, or Italians, who, like all Asiatics, are liable to be the dupes of wild imaginings such as the Northerner is too stolid to entertain. That is the reason why in an Asiatic army the death of the King or the Commander-in-Chief is so invariably fatal. He, and he alone, must, his followers think, desire victory, and he once gone authority ends, the officer having none except as derived from him, and the soldiers become a mob of individuals, each intent, not so much on his own safety, as on abandoning that particular and hopeless transaction. Add that, except the Chinaman, no Asiatic is without the belief that defeat reveals the will of the gods, and we shall understand why he will not, or at any rate does not, stand up under military adversity like his rival, and why the effect of a lost pitched battle spreads so suddenly and so far, so that occasionally a whole country submits when

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