The Tomb of Cecil Rhodes!
THE FUNERAL OF CECIL RHODES.
DESCRIBED IN A LETTER FROM SOUTH AFRICA.
The following graphic account of the funeral of this great Englishman which we extract from the "Gippsland Mercury" is from the pen of a brother of Mr. W. G. Bull, of Sale, and will be read with inte rest at the present time when the sub jugation of South Africa is an accom plished fact and British rule prevails the object for which Cecil Rhodes gave the best years of his life :
BULAWAYO, April 21. We have just emerged from a cloud of mourning and the last streamer has been taken down. For the past week the town has been smothered in black, each build ing trying to outdo the other, and I think it has seldom been the lot of any man to be mourned so sincerely. Nearly all those who hold good positions to-day had cause to remember some lift that Rhodes had given them in the early days, and all could not help feeling that the man who had made the country deserved all the honor and respect we could show his memory. The funeral train arrived on ,Tuesday and the coffin was carried on a gun car riage to the drill hall for the lying-in state. The roadway was lined with thousands of people, and the carriage was preceded by the military.and the band of the B.S.A. Police playing the " Dead March."
The lying-in-state.was the most im prdssive sight I ever expect to see. It was night when we went up and as we ap proached the hall a huge building stand ing alone on the top of a small rise-we were joined by .streams of people com ing from all directions to pay their last respects to the great man. The interior of the-hall was hung with crape, and irn the centre rose a large canopyplumed and curtained in black. Under this the coffin rested on the bier covered with flowers. The whole place was in darkness, except for the candles on the altar and by the corners of the coffin. At each corner of the canopy stood the sentries, motionless, with bowed heads and arms reversed, while on either side stood an officer with drawn sword. The solemnity of . the whole thing was overpowering, the silent sentries and the almost equally silent crowd moving slowly past, their faces showing white in the dim light of the candles, and over all the faint. sickly smell of the flowers that one seems always ito associate with the presence of death.
On Wednesday the funeral service was partly read in the hall. The people sang " Now the laborer,s task is o'er," and the funeral started on its twenty-five Imiles to the burial ground-a lonely kopje in the Matoppo Hills called the " View of the World." His grave is hewn out of the solid rock and over him is placed a a plain slab of granite, with a brass plate 'bearing the equally plain inscription: "Here lie the remains of Cecil John Rhodes."
After the funeral service was all over and the people had gone down from the rock, the Matabeles were allowed to pass the grave. It was a strange sight and typical of the superstitious nature of the people, for, though from five to six thousand filed passed two by two, I don't think two of the whole lot looked at the grave-they all turned their heads away ! And now you can bet that no native will go within miles of the place after dark for fear of meeting with spirits. It is the same when a chief dies with them. The whole crowd clear out and build another kraal, the old one being held sacred to the spirit of the chief, and they won't dare to enter it again after dark. There were about three thousand people at the funeral. How they got out is a mystery. Every wheeled vehicle in the town was pressed into service, and the bakers' carts and things that were left in the town were pulled round by niggers, the horses having gone to the funeral. Some of the people arrived home two days later.
The funeral itself was very strange. Masonic and pagan symbols abound. Sort of like a pharoah.