0Wednesday. 24th January [1877]—Madrid
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24 January 1877 — Madrid
Wednesday. 24th January [1877]. Henry & I went to see the ceremony at the ch: of San Isidro & took Clarita. Henry was in uniform & we in white mantillas. We left home at ½ past 10 & got to the church in a few minutes. Our invitations said we were to enter at a side door in the Calle de la Colegiata—& when we got there there was a tremendous confusion & such a crowd that we had great difficulty in finding the “estrade” that had been built up for us. After struggling about hopelessly & helplessly jumping over benches & squeezing past fat ladies we got into our places. Our entrance was thro’ the sacristia & it was crowded with Knights of the orders dressing themselves up in the long white cloaks & velvet caps wh are worn by the orders. Punctually at 11 the Princess of the Asturia arrived & took a place on an estrade opposite ours. Then followed the King in uniform conducted by 6 of the Knights who carried a canopy over him– He walked then the whole length of the church between 2 rows of white robed Knights & took his place on a dais placed close to the high altar steps. The King was at once invested a grand master of the 4 orders of Santiago, Calatrava, Alcántara & Montesa. He took the oath & was then dressed in a kind of white bodice embroidered with the 4 crosses– A long white mantle training some yards on the ground & a black velvet cap with 2 long white ostrich feathers—the cap also embroidered on the crown with the 4 crosses. H.M. then sat down & each Knight came in turn & kissed his hand– This was no easy matter as their long cloaks became entangled & they were obliged to have waiters to pick them up & given them over their arms– When this was over began High Mass– The Master of the Ceremonies stood a little in front of the rest & with a small silver sword tapped loudly on his book when the Knights were to kneel rise up &c &c &c. At the Elevation of the Host he gave a sharp rap—& every Knight flung himself flat down on his nose! The effect was marvellous—the congregation of course was kneeling & from the altar to the door was a long line of white woolen cloaks on the ground. The King was shaking with laughter as he lay there which was very wrong of him but quite comprehensible. Twice during the service this performance took place– After the mass a Te Deum was sung– The woman’s voice was represented by a man who sang a falsetto & was often out of tune. The Burmese ambassador assisted at this ceremony & must have thought our religions were all alike! The King went out under the canopy wh being of solf silk & the bearers not being able to stretch it properly had the effect of quite hiding him from our gaze. We saw, however, that he made sighs to some lady up in a tribune & forgot to bow to the Corps Dip: The cardinal archbishop of Toledo took part in the service. We got home at about 1 oclock.

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