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Monday, 3 December 2012

A winter funeral

Saturday, December 3rd., London.

I decided at early morn to go to Gladys Beaverbrook's funeral today. I drove off in the car at 1.40, and got to Mickleham, scene of the funeral, at 2.25. So I drove on to Dorking and through Dorking and came back, the car having taken a wrong turning, just as the hearse and procession was arriving at the lych-gate of the churchyard.

Mickleham Church
I went in and Castlerosse joined me, and I saw Baxter, Blumenfeld, James Dunn, Raymond Thompson, and a whole lot of Max's secretaries, clerks, etc. etc. The entrance of the coffin, covered with really magnificent wreaths, was moving. Max was leaning on young Max's arm, and looked quite old. Chopin's funeral march - not equal to Handel's. "Abide With Me" at the end. This hymn is quite a good poem. Then the coffin goes out again, and a scene of terrible damp cold at the graveside, and our hats off, and Lord Ashfield only just up that day from a chill. These funeral rites in an English winter are absolutely barbaric. I met Max at the gate, and was so moved, unknown to myself till the moment came, that I could not speak to him.

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