At 10 o'clock, Piccadilly pavements were loosely thronged with women in light summer attire - cool, energetic, merry, inquisitive, and having an air of being out for the day. Their restless eyes were on everything at once: on each other; on the great houses of Piccadilly decorated with bunting, where workmen were even then erecting stands and gaspipes curved into monogrammatic designs, and nailing festoons of gold fringe upon red cloth; on the patient vendors of elevated standing room behind the railings of the Green Park; on the mounted police who, disposed in companies, dismounted like automata at the word of command.
At one o'clock, as I rode home on the omnibus, all the streets were so many seas of faces, so many gardens of hats. Most of the shop-windows and balconies were already occupied in anticipation of a spectacle yet two hours distant. And though hundreds of women sat contentedly on the pavements with their feet in the gutter, none looked fatigued or bored.
What an anachronism monarchy is! To think that in these modern times a head of state should be chosen by accident of birth rather than on merit by election seems incredible, but in addition there are all the associated hangers-on: sons, daughters, cousins, and all the privileged entourage. One would think that there would be crowds in the streets not to cheer but to protest this gross injustice, and yet ... It is interesting that the women seem more enthusiastic than the men, and perhaps this is because of a persistent fantasy of seeing themselves bejewelled and costumed, feted and adored, an eternal Cinderella-princess.