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May Day, Ladner

(From Our Own Correspondent)

Ladner, May 21. – Bright rose the sun on Friday morning last, filling the young hearts of two hundred and fifty children with the happiest anticipations of pleasure.  It was May Day at Ladner, for the schools of the Delta.  The Town Hall was crowded with children and their friends.  At one o’clock, the queen and queen-elect, with their maids of honor, took their places on the platform amid great cheering and clapping of hands, and, indeed, a more charming group of young girls it would be hard to find anywhere.  The Rev. Mr. Manuel opened the meeting in a brief but appropriate address, and called upon the children for a song.  “The Soldiers of the Queen” rang through the hall from their united happy voices, and then began the organizing of the procession.  First came Mr. Murchison, with the Highland pipes; then came Sam Savage, with the school flag, and at his side, Douglas Honeyman , with drawn sword, champion of the Queen-elect.  Following, came Capt. Ed. Lord’s armed and well drilled guard, whose steady marching throughout deserves all praise.  Then came the fairies, with long slim wands, which, when meeting at the tips, formed wuth theur (sic) silver paper covering, a brilliant arch for the royal party to pass under on their way to the throne.  The royal car, draped and decorated by truly artist hands, followed, carrying the queen, queen-elect, and their four maids of honor, and next came each of the schools in order, including Miss Ethel Harris’ pupils of the kindergarten.  Last came Capt. Miss Beadleston, with the rear-guard.  It was a long and splendid looking procession, full of gorgeous color, from the gay hats and bright ribbons and dresses of the children.  On reaching the platform in the school grounds, the procession opened, and the royal party passed through to the throne.  The procession then broke up, and the children were arranged round the platform, so that all could see and hear. The ex-queen, Miss Mabel Thirkle, then rose, and, lifting the pretty crown of flowers, approached the queen-elect, Miss Alice Ladner, addressing her as follows:

Dear Sister, - When I received this crown, a year ago, the crown was peace. But since then war has arisen, and many of our brave Canadian subjects have shed their blood and spent their lives to maintain the supremacy and integrity of our Empire, and now when I place this crown upon your brow, as I am about to do, it will be with the devout hope and prayer that, during your happy reign, peace may once more return to our Empire, and those who are at variance now may be brothers again.

Dear sister, you have been elected by the free choice of your peers to the proud eminence of being Queen of the May, and be it your part, by the moderation and gentleness of your rule, to justify the confidence they have reposed in you.  Always remember, dear sister, that the rule of love is stronger and more enduring than the rule of power.  Let justice and right ever be your motto and the guides of all your royal thoughts and actions, and thus you will ever command the love and obedience of your subjects.  It is now my pleasing duty to place this emblem of royalty upon your brow, praying that your reign may be a happy and prosperous one.  (Crowns Queen.)  Loyal subjects behold your Queen!

A verse of “God Save the Queen” was then sung, and the new Queen, rising, delivered the following address:

My loyal subjects and loving friends, you have this day crowned me Queen of the May.  It is an honor I gladly receive at your hands, though that honor is tempered by the consideration of the duties and responsibilities which attach to it.  During my reign, it shall ever be my wish that the realm of Delta shall be prosperous, the laws obeyed, and my people happy.  As far as in me lies, valor shall be rewarded with respect, industry with prosperity, virtue with honor.  The good and the true shall ever receive my favor, the disloyal and false my contempt. This day of joy and gladness will, I trust, stamp its character upon the entire year of my reign, so that, throughout the length and breadth of my realm, no voice will ever be heard to pray that the happy reign of Queen Ally should be shortened by a single day.

To you my dear sister, who has placed this crown upon my brow, I give my thanks.  And you my loving subjects and friends who have so loyally attended my coronation, Your Queen thanks you.  And you my Maids of Honor shall ever have the kindest remembrance of your royal mistress.  Dear sister you have spoken of your wish and hope for peace.  I too deplore the evils of war and deeply lament the loss of so many of my brave soldiers, and   gladly would I hasten the return of peace if the attitude of the enemy admitted of it.  But my crown represents the dignity and honor of a great, powerful, and noble nation and while I wear it and am its guardian, - much as I may wish for the return of peace – I can entertain proposals for peace unless it is to be “A peace with honor.”

And now Douglas Honeyman, brave champion of my crown, step forth and perform your devoir, in accordance with the ancient laws of chivalry and the statutes of our realm.  (Sits down.)

Here I, Douglas Honeyman (comes forward and draws his sword) stand in arms champion to Queen Allie, and if in all this vast assemblage there be any wight so hardy as to deny that Queen Allie is Queen of the May in right of her peerless beauty and worth here throw I my gage, and defy him to mortal combat, and Heaven defend the right.  Sir Herald blow a flourish that all the world may hear (trumpet sounds) and champion picks up his glove and returns to the Queen.  Sovereign Lady I bring you word you have not one single traitor or dissatisfied subject in all your realm of Delta.

Queen (rising) – Happy is the Queen who reigns in the hearts of her subjects.  Brave champion your welcome news deserves a royal reward.  Come hither.  Give me your sword and bend your knee (champion kneels on one knee).  Douglas Honeyman with this good sword I dub you knight in the name of St. John, St. Michael, and St. George.  Arise Sir Douglas Honeyman.  Sheath now this sword Sir Knight, and see you draw it not again save in the cause of your country, or in defense of the right.

And now my loving friends, since the ceremonies necessary to my coronation have been duly fulfilled I call your attention to our merry dance round the May pole, and our games, and dismiss you to your several pleasures.  Thanking you, again for your kind attendance at our coronation.

An abundant supply of oranges and sweets were distributed.

The May Pole dance was performed of course, and a variety of games and sports indulged in till hunger rang the bell for supper at 6 o’clock.  Thus closed the most successful public display we have had in Ladner, convincing all that in this part of the country the pleasure and happiness of the children is looked after with a whole-hearted interest by their friends and in this connection the untiring energy and zeal of our principal and her assistant was most marked and deserves all praise.    ALVES


Reprinted from The Daily Columbian, May 23, 1900.