It is customary to trust the details of the arrangements for the funeral to some relative or friend of the family, and if there be no friend who can perform this duty, it can be safely left with the undertaker to perform the painful duties of master of ceremonies. It is prudent to name a limit for the expenses of the funeral, and the means of the family should always govern these. Pomp and display should always be avoided, as they are out of keeping with the solemn occasion, and inconsistent with real grief. At the funeral some one should act as usher to seat the friends who attend.
THE HOUSE OF MOURNING.
Upon entering the house of mourning, a gentleman should always remove his hat in the hall, and not replace it until he is about to depart. No calls of condolence should be made upon the bereaved family while the dead remains in the house, and members of the family may be excused from receiving any but their most intimate friends at that time.
There should be no loud talking or confusion while the body remains in the house. All differences and quarrels must be forgotten in the house of mourning, and personal enemies who meet at a funeral must treat each other with respect and dignity. The bell knob or door handle is draped with black crape, with a black ribbon tied on, if the deceased is married or advanced in years, and with a white ribbon, if young or unmarried.
THE FUNERAL SERVICES.
If the services are held at the house, some near friend or relative will receive the guests. The immediate members of the family and near relatives should take a final view of the corpse just before the arrival of the guests, and should not make their appearance again until the services are about to commence. It is becoming customary now to reserve a room of the house adjoining that in which the services are held, for the exclusive use of the near relatives and members of the family during the services. Then the clergyman takes his position at the door between the two rooms while conducting the services. As guests arrive, they are requested to take a last look at the corpse before seating themselves, and upon the conclusion of the services the coffin lid is closed, and the remains are borne to the hearse. The custom of opening the coffin at the church to allow all who attend to take a final look at the corpse, is rapidly coming into disfavor. The friends who desire it are requested to view the corpse at the house, before it is taken to the church.
If, however, the deceased is a person of great prominence in the community, and the house is not able to accommodate the large numbers who desire to take a last look at the face of the deceased, then, perhaps, it may be well that the coffin should be opened at the church.