Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

24 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

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-(),U:t LONDON OORKESPONPKNT. Even in the midst of grave discussions as L,) the advisability of undertaking the reconquest of the Soudan, there are members of the House of Commons who are engaged in careful cogita- tion &s to the manner in which their personal comforts CFTII best be attended to. The First Commissioner of Works, to whatever Adminis- tration ho may belong, is subjected to a host of suggestions on this head and successive holders of the office csuld relate many n sin- gular story as to the plans which, in all seriousness, are laid before him. It is not often, however, that these are brought into the cold light of print in the form of a question put in the Houge of Commons; and, like the best ideas of the immortal Captain Cuttle, when found they are to be made a note of. This week, for instance, the First Commissioner of Works has been asked whether, considering the crowded state of the House of Commons Smoking Room at certain hours of the day, he would give his serious consideration to the advisability of covering in the space enclosed by the cloisters, and turniyg it into a winter garden for the use of members wishing to smoke. There is almost touch of sybaritism about this suggestion, which is at once so novel and so striking that it deserves a better fate than to be laughed at. For, if cl once our legislators arc accommodated with a winter garden, there seems no suffieient reason why an aqnarium and a menagerie should not follow; and Westminster would than be a much more interesting place to which to take a country visitor than it is to-day. Those who have esthetic or historical tastes, however, will scarcely relish even the bare suggestion that the cloisters would look out upon a winter garden, filled with cigar-smoking senators, for they form one of the very few re- maining portions of the original Palace of Westminster, destroyed in the great fire of October, 1834. They are the cloisters, indeed, of the original Chapel of St. Stephen, ia which the Commons assembled for three centuries, and in one portion of them, according to a strictly-held tradition, Cromwell and bis colleagues of the High Court of Justice si "Tied the death-warrant of Charles I. Sad to rslate, the authorities of Parliament have found ) o better use for this beautiful and venerable temnant of the ancient edifice than to turn it Into a cloak-room, where members hang their hats and coats and have their boots blacked; d this despite the fact that it contains the most superb carving to be seen on any stone at Westminster. The carving in the present build- ing was imitated from that in the cloisters, but, while the handiwork is there, the spirit has ileparted; and, if our legislators possessed a grain of true feeling for art, they would not allow so exquisite a portion of the palaco to be degraded to such a menial use. It is this kind of thing which provokes foreigners to taunt us frith being" a nation of shopkeepers," but even the least artistic shopkeeper would not dream of using his drawing-room as a coal-cellar. Remembrance continues keen in the Thames Valley of the great flood of 1894, when persons were driven to the upper storeys of their houses, and cut off from food, gas, and water supplies when the streets of Datchet were unnavigable by boats because of the rapidity of the stream when the distress at Windsor was so acute that the Queen was prompted, not only to organise daily relief, but to pay several visits to the Bcene of desolation and when, as the water- supply of Windsor Castle was interfered with by the floods, it nearly happened that her Majesty herself was numbered among those who had to leave their homes. It is because of this remembrance that the Thames Permanent Floods Committee has been sending a deputa- tion to the President of the Board of Trade, seeking advice and aid in the matter; and one of the suggestions which has been consequently put forward is of importance, not only to dwellers on the banks of the Thames, but to those who live by the side of any river which is subject to sudden and neavy floods. It is proposed that telegraphic or telephonic commu- nication should be established between all the looks and weirs, so that concentrated action might be taken and superfluous water thereby quickly got rid of; and the idea seems suffi- ciently practical to warrant it having an early trial. The measure which has been introduced by the Government in the House of Lords this week to amend the law with respect to loco- motives on highways does not arouse the slightest trace of party feeling, and, therefore, should stand a good chance of being fairly dis- cussed. It has been obvious for months that the rapid growth in the manufacture and use of "autocars" would force this question to the front, for scarcely a week has lately passed without somebody being mulcted in a nominal penalty, customarily accompanied by an amount of costs-altogether dis- proportionate to the fine-for having driven a motor-propelled vehicle along a road without having a man preceding it by a score of yards, bearing a red flag. It is, of course, a matter for careful consideration as to the speed at which such vehicles ought to be allowed to proceod along our high-roads, but the present legal rate of four miles an hour can probably be raised to that at which a horsed vehicle is permitted to travel, without any harm resulting. That being the case, there is little doubt that dispassionate consideration will on all sides be given to a measure which may in the end almost revo- lutionise our present system of road travelling. Hasten slowly is apparently the motto which has been taken for the telephone system in London, and it is by no means certain that the approaching transfer of the trunk lines to the Post Office will do much to brisker opera- tions. But the world moves for all that, and now that not only has telephonic communica- tion been established between Marl borough House and the general London system, and between Buckingham Palace and other parts of the metropolis, but different portions of these Royal residences have been placed in telephonic communication with each other, and even with Windsor Castle, some sort of fillip should be given to the system. Probably no civilised country uses the telephone so little as our own, and this, as far as London is concerned, may be largely attributed to the cost. It may be im- possible, under all the circumstances, to charge tess, but the consequence is that, in the metro- polis, a telephone is generally regarded as a luxury, rather than as the necessity it is con- sidered to be in the United States and various Continental countries. On the face of it the Zoological Gardens are not the most obvious place of resort for geolo- gists, but all scientific studies touch each other at some point. That will be found, in this rela- tion, to be the case two or three weeks hence, when the members of the Geologists' Associa- tion of London will visit the Zoological hardens, and when, having assembled at the Elephant House, Dr. Sclater will give an Account of the recent elephants and rhino- ceroses, and the president of the society will follow with some remarks on the fossil repre- sentatives of the same groups. There is little excuse in London, indeed, for anyone interested in a particular branch of scientific study not becoming acquainted wiih it. Societies attend iiim on every hand, with their officials ?nly too happy to give the neophyte ;he assistance of their information and the manner in which even the severest of such earned bodies contrive to combine pleasure vith business is well known to any who have Iver attended an annual meeting of the British Association. But the picnicking element, after rtl, is only a very small part of what is done by hese bodies. In various ways they stimulate aid sustain interest in studies which otherwise ralght IAug-uish tor want ot moral orpaaterial support; and if the stern savantg,occasionally unbend and give the idea that they can mingle social pleasure with scientific pursuit, there is no reason to think that it is the worse for either. A question which has excited very keen interest in tfce cycling world has, within the Past few days, come before the Council of the Rational Cyclists' Union, by which body it has been$,t last temporarily settled. The proposal was one fõr « mixed racing, which would have swept away the barrier now interposed between amateurs and professionals. It was thought before the gathering that there was more than of it being carried—though not by the two-thirds majority necessary to effect a change in the rules of the Union-becauso the Birmingham, Newcastle, and Nottingham its favour, but London, Bristol, TSorthanipton, Leicester, and the Eastern Counties were known to be against it; and, in the result, the motion was rejected. It is s hardly, of course, to be expected that this decision will finally dispose of a proposal which has the support of such influential centres as have been named but its promoters are likely now to recognise much more clearly than before the very great difficulties they will have to encounter before they secure success, even if they ever do so. There is much to be said upon both sides of the question, but it will need very strong arguments to persur.d most cyclist* that the barrier in question can be safely broken down. R





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