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Siamese boys in English costume. A crowd of Siamese women, painted and rouged, in European costume. The king’s infantry, headed by pioneers, in European costume. Ladies in Chinese costume. Japanese ladies in rich robes. Afterward, two ladies of the court led him down the flight of marble steps, where two maidens washed his feet with pure water in a gold basin, and wiped them with fine linen. Then the maids of honor, personal attendants, and concubines of the king, chastely dressed, though crowned with gold, and decorated with massive gold chains and rings of great price and beauty. But this decree does not relieve the more distinguished princes and endowed noblemen, who have acquired a sort of complimentary relationship to his Majesty through their daughters and nieces accepted as concubines. His Majesty received the prince from the hands of his nobles, set him on his right hand, and presented him to the people, who offered homage.

About midday, two standards, called baisêe, were set up within a circle of people. These rites ended, the priests were served with a princely banquet; and then the nobility and common people were also feasted. Arrayed in costly robes and ornaments, similar to those worn at a coronation, he was taken in charge by a body of priests at his father’s palace, and by them conducted to the temple Watt P’hra Këau, his yellow-robed and barefooted escort chanting, on the way, hymns from the Buddhist liturgy. The tonsorial operation concluded, the prince was robed in white, and conducted to the marble basin at the foot of the Sacred Mount, where the white elephant, the ox, the horse, and the lion, guarding the cardinal points, were brought together, and from their mouths baptized him in the sacred waters. Thus he was conducted to an inner chamber of the temple, and seated on a costly carpet heavily fringed with gold, before an altar on which were lighted tapers and offerings of all descriptions.

Each circle or canopy has a flat bottom, and within the receptacle thus formed custom requires that a little cooked rice, called k’ow k’wan, shall be placed, together with a few cakes, a little sweet-scented oil, a handful of fragrant flour, and some young cocoanuts and plantains. In his hands was placed a ball of unspun thread, the ends of which were carried round the sacred hill, and thence round the temple, and into the inner chamber, where it was bound round the head of the young prince. Now presents of silver and gold were laid at the feet of the lad, – every prince not of the royal family, and every nobleman and high officer in the kingdom, being expected to appear with gifts. These are not unlike the sawekra chât, or royal umbrella, one of the five insignia of royalty in Siam. Outside of this line marched about five thousand men in long rose-colored robes, with tall tapering caps. Early on the third day all the princes, nobles, and officers of government, together with the third company of priests, Honor of Kings costume for adults assembled to witness the ceremony of shaving the royal top-knot.

The royal sire handed first the golden shears and then a gilded razor to the happy hair-cutter, who immediately addressed himself to his honorable function. On his way to the Maha Phrasat he was met by a group of girls in charming attire, who held before him tufts of palm and branches of gold and silver. The hill, Khoa Kra Lâât, is the Sanskrit Meru, described as a mountain of gold and gems. Orah Pho, cha pai Kra Lâât. They then make a show of striking and thrusting, and princes, rajahs, and governors drop as if wounded. As they went, seven golden candlesticks, with the candles lighted, were carried by princes, and passed from one to another; and as often as they came in front of the prince, who sat between the standards, they waved the light before him. For a year I taught him, from seven to ten in the evening, at his “Rose-planting House”; and even from this distant place and time I look back with comfort to those hours.

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