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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I'm surprised that the Telegraph wouldn't correct Mr. Robertson's statement that the British are unfamiliar with the custom of hired mourners. It was common custom during the Victorian era, and mocked accordingly.

I wasn't familiar with the Victorian era practice, Ruth, though I'm pretty sure I'd heard about mourner renting in some Asian communities.

I probably wouldn't have known about it either, except for a book I bought years ago (for the wonderful B&W photography, you'd love it), "Highgate Cemetery, Victorian Valhalla." The first half of the book describes the high theater British funerals had become, and the subsequent lampooning dealt these practices from none other than Charles Dickens, whose steady criticism helped to end such weirdness.

Like I said, I was surprised that there was no editorial comment on the Telegraph's part, given how steeped in their own history the British seem to be.

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