Scene At Westminster Cathedral
Tribute In A Sermon
Throughout Sunday crowds of people went into Westminster Cathedral to pray for their dead king, Behind every pillar, and at every side altar, little groups were to he found: soldiers with war medals, widows proudly wearing their husband's decorations, and workmen gripping cloth caps.
Owing to the extra duties imposed on them by the death of the King, the Irish Guards were unable to attend Mass at the cathedral in full force.
Normally more than 200 are present, and when they parade outside the main doors it is one of the finest sights of a London Sunday morning.
Many were present on Sunday—the officers with black bands on their arms— but there was no band, no martial pomp. At the end of Mass, just a simple sharp word of command, and they returned to the barracks as quietly as they had come.
People From All Parts
At all the Masses and at Vespers the cathedral was filled with people, many 'of them from the north and midlands. Some who entered, had come from among that multitude which all day long had filed into Westminster Hall, where the King lay in state, only a few hundred yards away. Fr. John Murray, S.J., who preached in the morning, paid a moving tribute to the late King.
Regret, he said, was often the more poignant because it was in the moment of loss and separation that people realised for the first time how much they owed, how closely they were bound, to those whose death they commemorated.
"In this hour of national sorrow we may at least be thankful that we have been spared that added burden of regret," he went on. " The late King's illness, in 1928, when the wings of the angel of death seemed already to be stealing by his bedside, aroused his subjects to the realisation of how large a place he had taken in their lives and what a personal as well as a national loss his death would be
" Of the judgment which will be passed upon King George we may he more sure. We are convinced that it will differ but little from that which is graven now upon his subjects' hearts.
" He was a man of deeply religious cons victions and beliefs. The name of God upon his lips in official pronouncements was no mere formality, but carried the faith in which lay the only true salvation of his realm.
" For his successor, King Edward VIII, and the Queen, and the other members of the Royal family, we pray for consolation and divine succour in their hour of loss and grief, and for the grace of divine guidance in his arduous path."
In the evening the Rev. Cuthbert Collingwood, before beginning his sermon said, " The death of our devoted sovereign is felt by all mainly as a personal loss, for in common with all his Majesty's subjects, we have not only admired the noble qualities of self-sacrifice and devotion to duty which have marked his wise and glorious rule, we have also loved him as a father.
" By the utmost simplicity of his character and mien he has taken an unchallenged place in the hearts of his people. May he rest in peace."
At this point the feelings of the great congregation overcame its restraint and a murmur rose—a murmur of assent which swelled up, and died away, slowly, and so it seemed, in that vast cathedral, reluctantly.