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26 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



LONDON CORRESPONDENCE. (We deem it ritrht to state that we do not identify oar. selves with our Correspondent's opiuiou-i-I THE month has be,-in in which Parliament re- sembles but though the new session—which "erybody expects to be an important and active Jne—is so near at hand, it cannot be said that the political atmosphere of the metropolis or the country at large is surcharged with electricity. One reason for this may be found in the circum- stance that it has been pretty well known for some time what measures are likely to be Lrought forward by the Government, and Conservatives and Liberals are therefore in the mood to wait patiently for the development of events. As the Cabinet, through the public statements of some of its members, is considered pledged to introduce a bill for eclualising the borough and county franchise, there is no need for any agitation on the question, which only remains to be debated in Parliament. Perhaps another cause for the present political lull lies in the rather unusual coincidence that the head of the Government and the leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons are both abroad at the same time recruiting their health in the same part of the world-the one on land and the other on water. The two statesmen were near enough each other lately to have ex- changed visits; and if Mr. Gladstone had gone to shake hands with Sir Stafford Northcote on board the Pandora when off Nice, or Sir Stafford Northcote had gone to see Mr. Gladstone at the Chateau Scott, at Cannes, the political quid- nuncs would have had a good theme for plenty of ingenious speculation. The metropolitan newspapers are not in the habit of indulging in prolonged warfare with each other, as newspapers do in provincial towns, especially where only two rivals are published, the one Conservative and the other Liberal. If a London daily deems it necessary to comment on something a contemporary has said, it does so; then there may or may not be a rejoinder; and so the matter ends. One of these passes of arms, short if not sweet, has just taken place between the Daily News and the St. James's Gazette, with reference to the stability of the Government, composed, as it is, of Whig and iladical members. In that circumstance the Gaz-llc sees the certainty of disruption, while the Daily Neil's denies this, asserting that the Whigs have always, willingly or unwillingly, followed the lead of the Radicals, who perform the duty of pioneers. The coming session should settle the point, whether a Cabinet that contains Lord Derby and Sir Charles Hiike can cohere or otherwise. Sir E. Watkin, though he has Channel Tuanel on the brain, can yet turn his attention to other subjects. At the recent half-yearly meeting of the directors of the South-Eastern Railway, he stated that the electric communicators on all the passenger trains had been in perfect working order, but that they had not been made use or in a single instance within the last six months. The tone of his remarks seemed to imply that he rather deemed the outcry about the necessity of means of communication between the carriages and the guards or engine-driver, had been some- what too loud. It might, however, have occurred 10 Sir. E. Watkin that it was just the fact of the communicators being in good working order that may have acted as a deterrent upon the would-be perpetrators of murderous outrages upon pas- sengers. The establishment of the parcels post system a going to cost the Government a heavy outlay lor new buildings. The site of the structure, which will cost JHO,000, has been fixed upon near the General Post Office in St. -liartin's-le-G rand. There will also be new buildings or an extension of offices required in the numerous postal dis- tricts of the metropolis, and as outlay for the same purpose must necessarily be incurred in all the chief provincial towns, the Government may be credited with the prudence of having counted the cost before entering upon this heavy under- taking. There is little doubt, however, it will well repay the enterprise of the Postmaster- fJeneral when it has once made a start. It would not be a bad idea if people sending parcels by post were to have it in their option to pay a small fire insurance, just as passengers may, if they like, purchase an accident insurance ticket before starting on a railway journey. The recent disastrous fires in the metropolis have nhown what risks may be run by buildings con- taining great quantities of combustible matter, similar to parcels sent by post. In the new buildings that are to be erected in connection with post offices, special provision will, of course, have to be made to guard against the risk of fire. There is reason to believe that the success of the experiment made on the last Saturday of January will cause a repetition in the coming years 'tf the new method then adopted of contributing J) the theatrical fund for the aid of aged, sick, And disabled actors. Collections took place on that day on behalf of the fund among the various companies at all the theatres-metropolitan and provincial-at which performances took place. Actors and actresses have always set a good example to other professions by the substantial manner in which they show their sympathy for each other at those trying times, when friends in need are friends indeed." This is the best form in which the esprit de corps can manifest itself. Among London improvements, which are always in progress, not the least important is the removal of the equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington which has so long distigured the noble arch at Hyde-park-corner. It seemed as if it had been placed in a very conspicuous position, by the side of a great thoroughfare and at one of the en- trances of a magnificent park, for no other pur- pose than to protrude its ugliness upon the public gaze. It was difficult to say whether the duke himself, or the animal he bestrode, cut the most sorry figure. A Frenchman, who saw the statue shortly after it was erected, is reported to have exclaimed, Xow is Waterloo avenged!" Foreigners, indeed, were always in the habit of making game of it aa a choice specimen of British art. The erection of the Wellington statue was one of the rather too numerous instances in which the authorities have persisted in doing an absurd thing in the teeth of public opinion. The de- signer of the arch remonstrated and the press ridiculed the hideousness of the statue, but all in vain. It was put up, and there it stood year after year, in sunshine and rain --a spectacle to gods and men. More ncently-only the other day, in fact—the same obstinacy was shown in erecting a street obstruction, with its griffin adornment, meant to serve as a memorial of Temple Bar, which had long been regarded, before it was demolished, as an impediment to traffic. There are other statues in London, with and without horses, which ought also to be removed for much the same reason as the Wel- lington statue. The Queen Anne me- morial, now sadly mutilated, has long been under condemnation, so to speak, but it continues to occupy its site in front of St. Paul's Cathedral: and there are others which it is needless to specify, as their defects can readily be recognised even by those who have no preten- sions to be considered as connoisseurs in art. But the mi-fortune is, that the people who are in the habit of passing these statues daily, get so accustomed to them that they seldom trouble themselves to think how great an improvement would be effected by their demolition. It is observant and intelligent strangers who make a note of their ugliness, and who wonder why such graven images" are allowed to disfigure the ,treets of this great metropolis. There is a children's rhyme in which the streets of London are represented as being paved with gold. Some Londoners, of the humbler class, if they know better than that about the street, seem they know better than that about the street, seem to have an idea that the bed of the Thames is inlaid with pearls or precious stones. On a recent date, during the prevalence of a gale, the remarkable phenomenon was witnessed of the r channel above bridge being blown half empty by the force of thewind at ebb-tide and numbers of men and boys might have been observed wading among the mud and searching for lost treasures. It is to be feared that they would be more successful in find- ing fragments of discarded tobacco-pipes, thrown out of steamers, than anything more valuable. If the same amount of industry had been better employed, they would possibly have been better rewarded for their pains. D. G.


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