Today I witnessed a heartbreaking scene in the streets of the old town of Deventer. The two young women were crying their hearts out over their tragic loss who was laid to rest in a simple coffin on a simple handcart pushed over the cobblestones by two grumpy sextons. The two were obviously anxious to get their job of transporting the remains to the graveyard done as quickly as possible but the women weren’t able to say their last goodbyes to the deseized yet.
At the first attempt of closing the coffin the two men were interrupted by a loud cry: “No, no!”. The young lady dressed in deep black, obviously the widow, stopped them in their act to gaze at her loved one for the last time. Then, ruthlessly the sextons closed the coffin and soon after weeled the handcart away through the crowd who witnessed what happened. The two young women followed slowly, gazing with tears in their eyes into a distance unknown.
Not far around the corner the coffin opened of course and I suppose they all drank tea happily before replaying it all again. They were a few of the actors and entertainers that populated the successful ‘Dickens Festival’ in the beautiful city center of Deventer. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend there visiting and taking hundreds of photos, having wonderful conversations and enjoying tea, hot wine and the hospitality of the Deventer people. It was a truly amazing weekend and an example of how tens of thousands of people could have a great couple of days enjoying the visual spectacle of past times revived.
Everything was perfect. The clothes were amazing and many – if not all – of the people wearing the Victorian fashion enjoyed themselves as much as the crowd passing in the streets. Everything went smoothly and I didn’t see or hear a false note at all. What a great way to live up to Christmas this was. No matter what will happen I’m sure I’ll visit the Dickens Festival next year again. Maybe in a more perfected Victorian dress than my improvised outfit that I wore this weekend. I came back home with an immense amount of inspiration for the work on my new novel and a lot of new ideas I can use.
Thanks to the organising committee and the people of Deventer. It’s been marvelous!
© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij