Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

9 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

JMtbøn Ccmspimimt.


JMtbøn Ccmspimimt. Jprt Went n right tr state that we do not at all tims.1 Mi if' ontnelvec witi our Correspondent's opinions, j What may be called the last public appearance of the Shah to a London crowd took place on Monday evening amid very unfavourable weather. The most extensive preparations had been made at the Crystal Palace for the reception of the Imperial visitor, but the suoeess of the arrangements was sadly interfered with by a heavy downpour of rain, which continued for hours without intermission. At such a time London is very far from being a cheerful-looking place. The smoke hangs in leaden palla over the streets, which latter are for the time converted into rivulets of muddy water people hurry past upon the pavements with depression plainly marked upon their countenances omnibusses rattle along to the tune of full inside," to the discomfort of those who, having sought refuge in doorways, make signals of dis. tress to the conductors; and caba are driven at a rapid rate, scattering sheets of mud upon the disconsolate wayfarers. It was on such a night asi; lis that the Shah was t'ntertained at the Crystal Palace, and this, combined with the thorough drenching received by Us Majesty on the evening of his arrival, effectually con- vinced him that in the matter* of climate as well as in other important rf-specta England differed essentially from his own bright and sunny land. The reported assassination of Sir Samuek Baker, which was circulated some weeks ago, is happily in- correct. On the 29th ult. Sir Samuel was at Khartoum in good health, and we have his assurance that up to that date the slave trade had been completely put down. This intelligence is highly satisfactory in more ways than one, for it shows how careful we ought to be before accepting as true, the stories which we at times get from the interior of Africa. Dr. Living. stone, we all know, had by rumour been murdered again and again before his discovery by a newspaper correspondent eighteen months ago. It is stated on good authority that the visit of the Shah of Persia to this country, so far from having been prompted by mere curiosity is likely to have an im- portant effect in developing the resources of his own empire. In replying to an address from the Corpora- tion of Manchester on the 27th ult., his Majesty de- clared that although he did not expect to create such a seat of commercial activity in Persia, he would endeavour to incline the energies of his people in that direction; not, he hoped, altogether without success. It now appears that offers have been made to a number of our skilled artisans to make a journey to the far East with a view of instructing the Persian workmen in the arts and mysteries of our staple industries. Similar results followed the visits of the Sultan of Turkey and the Khedive of Egypt some years ago. The terms now ought to be very good to induce English workmen to enter into a binding contract to serve a series of years in Persia, to abandon their nationality, and to agree to foreign naturalization whilst they are away. Wages are a great deal higher now than in 1867, for we were then snffering from the effects of the financial crisis of the previous year. The Sultan and the Khedive, there- fore, found little or no difficulty in obtaining as many of our artisans as they wished to engage. Whether the agents of the Shah will be equally fortunate has yet to be seen. The people of these islands are naturally proud of their navy, and of all the sights witnessed by the Sovereign of Persia whilst in England, that in which the mass of the nation took the most interest was the naval review at Spithead. It was assumed at the time that the gathering of ships was more powerful than the combined navies of the world, but we are now told by Sir Spencer Robinson that such is not the case. This gallant officer it will be remembered, was Con- troller of the Navy for several years, and left the Ad- miralty early in 1871. Sir Spencer maintains that we ought to have a more efficient fleet than we possess, and this we could have if the money voted by Parliament for naval purposes were carefully and intelligently ex- pended. He contends that the sum of nine or ten millions yearly is enough to give us a better navy than we have now, and that the estimates are not properly applied. I may, however, be allowed to point out that this, at best, is a matter of opinion. The navy has been in a transition state for many years, and even now scarcely any two practical men agree upon the kind of ship which shall combine sea- going and fighting qualities. There is a council of naval architects perpetually sitting at the Admiralty, and we may depend upon it that if inquiries and experiments can secure us an efficient vessel of war, neither labour nor expense will be spared to make our fleet of ironclads a match for any possible com- bination against this country. On these warm summer days, the crfeket-ground at Lord's is a place of favourite resort with the upper and middle classes of London society and during the recent match between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the assemblage was a very numerous and fashionable one, although an event which excites even more interest is the annual contest between the public schools of Harrow and Eton. I have often ailked myself who was the primordial cricketer-the inventor of those singular expressions which, like so much Greek and Latin to the general public, are so well understood at Lord's and atKennington Oval. Pass a few hours at either of these pleasant spots, and you soon become familiar with such phrases as a rare hit at leg," "a fine catch at point," "four added by a straight drive," "caught at mid-off." "moving the total up in overs," "removing the leg bail from So-and So's stumps," driving one batsman to the on side," "sending another to the square leg for four in OIM over," "a grand hit to long leg," "dead on the wicket," and a host of others too numerous to mention. However, there are peculiarities of description in every trade and profession, and I suspect that few outside a printing office would understand the meaning of the word chase," for the interpretation thereof is very different indeed from that attached to the ordinary acceptation of the term. No one can be surprised that the game of cricket is so popular in England. It not only supplies healthful exercise and recreation, but it is of infinite service in enabling a young man to attain a quickness of eye, and a condition of mus- cular development which cannot fail to be of value to him in after life. London antiquarians have been lamenting the proa- pectoflosingtheold "Tabard" Inn, in the Borough, the scene of the meeting of Chaucer's pilgrims before they set out on their memorable visit to Canterbury. The gite of thfc historical relic is in one of the busiest quarters of the metropolis, only about five minutes walk from London Bridge, where, without exaggera- tion, oue may see the greatest stream of traffic to be witnessed in any city in the world. Leave the Bridge on its southern side, and go dowti the High-street in the Borough, witii all its reminders of the bustling activity of to-day, enter an ancient gateway, and there stands the Tabard," as though to tell the hurrying throog of the quiet world which existed centuries ago. As one stands in the court-yard, gazing upon the antique galleries which run round the sidea of the building, the mind seems to be carried back at least five hundred years—back through the reigns of a. score of English Kings and Queens, to the days when the prowess of Edward III. and the valour of his army, won the battles of Cresci and Poictiers against the French. What a contrast to the life as it is to-day, with its never-ending excitement &ad its weary straggles for the acquirement and the mainteaance of A position I Compare, if it be possible, the restleaa energy of the present, the anxious look on men's faces am they pass hurriedly through the streets, the shrill whistle of the mighty locomotive, the swiftly-moving steamers up and down the rapid tide of the Thames, I the vast array of shipping in the London docks, the stores of accumulated wealth in the lofty warehouses, the marvels of the electric telegraph flashing the thoughts of men with lightning speed from continent to continent-compare these with the simple life and the uneventful existence of the people who once came in and out the courtyard of this venerable inn Pass out jEromthe Tabard," typical of the fourteenth century, to the busy street, only a few yards cff, representative of the nineteenth, and what a difference between the two periods! Seeing how rapidly our interesting relics are disappearing before the progressive require- ments of a utilitarian age, it is not to be wondered a that a-stroa# protest should be raised against the de- molition of oiw of the oldest landmarks cf ancient London that we pf?sses<?. Mr. George Smith, tfee Assyrian explorer, bas sent home an interesting description of a recent ride over the ruins of Babylon. After a m^ute examination, he confesses himself unable to make out the positions of various buildings mentioned by ancient majors. In modern times learned speculation has spent its atrength in determining the sites, but having seen the ruins himself, Mr. Smith is convinced that some, if not mottt, of the speculators are wide of the mark. He considers the excavation of the site of Babylon the most important archaeological work in the Euphrates Valley. The Arabs, having learned the va)ur of antiquities, are always turning over the rubbish in these ruins, and extracting fragments of tablets and other objects, while the trade in bricks from the mounds has been carried on for hundreds of years. Babylon, that great city so often mentioned in the Bible, is slowly disappearing, but Mr. Smith tells us that it is such a vast area, that it will take centuries to remove the remains. Some particulars respecting the cruise of the Chal- lenger have been supplied by the correspondent of a I' New York paper, who went on board the vessel when -d. was in Halifax Harbour. The Challenger, it will be remembered, has gone on a voyage of scientific re- a arch, which is to last three years. Specimens of marine life have already been found at the depth of 24,000 feet beneath the surface of the sea. Curious organisms have been taken up from the bed of theoceau unlike anything ever previously discovered. Many descriptions of marine flora previously unknown to the naturalist, have been brought up from extraordinary depths. As the most careful record is kept of the in- cidents of the voyage, and as the ship is filled up with every facility for scientific investigation, there can be no doubt of the interest with which the result of these explorations will be looked for amongst the members of our various learned societies. Singularly enough, just as the clavs are at their ongest and hottest, coals have again begun to rise in price, thus repeating the experience of last year. Twelve months ago, when day after day the sun was shining brightly over the metropolis, people wsre startled by a sudden and unaccountable advance in the charges for coals, and as there Wig a general desire to lay in btocks for the winter, a run upon the supplies was the consequent, and this naturally tended to maintain the high rates. Fortunately for the poorer classfs the winter was a remarkably mild one, and we had no cold weather worth sneaking of until the middle of February, whea in one day an increase of eight shillings per ton w"s rasdj, Wallsend reaching at last the extraordinary figure 54 <. per ton. With the ap- proach of f-pring, prices gradually fell, and for several weeks, Wallsend stood at 36i. The first intimation of an advance upon that was given to the Committee of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into our coal supply, and for the past fortnight Wallsend has been quoted at 39s. and 40s. There is no guarantee that it will stop even there, and as we cannot always expect such a mild winter as that of 1872, there is a possibility that the high rates for such a necessary of life as coal may yet lead to much suffering and distress amongst the labouring classes of the population. The principal cause of the alteration is the immense deve- lopment which has taken place in our manufacturing industry within the past few years. In 1851, the year of the first Great Exhibition, when our works of mechanical skill, our railways, and our steamboats bore no proportion to their numbers to-day, the ruling price of good coals in London was 12s. 41. per tOB, a third of what it is now, and a fourth of what it was some months ago. Every new railway which is con- structed, adds to the demand upon our coal-beds, and as there is reason to believe that coal is taken from the earth much more rapidly than it is formed, there is little hope of prices returning to the figures which so long ruled in the market. Every preparation is being made at Wimbledon for the annual rift. competition, which opens on the 7th instant. This is the fourteenth of these yearly gatherings, which are looked forward to with very considerable interest throughout the kingdom. The Volunteers who camp out on Wimbledon Common for a fortnight have occasionally met with singular experiences a* far as the weather is concerned. Some years, as in 1868, not a drop of rain has fallen, and there has been a cloudless sky night and day at other times, as in 1867, rain and tempest have ruled the elements, and lively streamlets have run through the low-lying tents at night, as if to give the occu- pants some slight idea of what real campaigning would be like. The metropolitan commanding officers have resolved to hold a review of Volunteers at Wimbledon after the distribution of the prizes on Saturday, July 19, and it is hoped that the spec- tacle will in some degree compensate for the absence of a similar display at Brighton on Easter-Monday.




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