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(Cair Conbon (SorttSBonkn!. t l v t V I;- fWe deem it ripht to state that we do not at all timo identify oui selves with our Correspondent's opinions.] It is earnestly to be hoped that the change of air and scene which her M^ajestv will shortly take on the Continent will answer the expectations founded upon it. The fact that the Drawing Rooms of the season have hitherto been held by the Princess of Wales shows that the Queen's health is not quite what her subjects would wish it to be. It will be noted that the absence of the Sovereign from her dominions will take place at a time which shall cause the least possible inconvenience to the State. Parliament will not be sitting, for the period selected is the Easter recess, and as no Cabinet Councils are held then, a responsible Minister can easily be spared to attend her Majesty, as is invariably the case when the Sovereign is at Balmoral, from August to November. As a rule, the Minister thus told off to be with the Queen is one free from heavy departmental duties, such as the Lord Privy Seal or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Neither of the five Secretaries of State could long be absent from London, and the same may be said of the First Lord of the Admiralty, to say nothing of the Prime Minister himself. On the other hand, one of the easiest posts in the Cabinet is that of Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has to produce his budget once a year, but he is called upon for very little besides. Indeed, Mr. Gladstone, who has held that office in and out for many years, has enunci- ated the dictum that, so light are its duties, i its holder should seek out work, and profitably employ himself in the service of the State in channels beyond the official routine. But it is not every public man who is such a cormorant for work as Mr. Gladstone, or has the physical strength for its performance. The Prime Minister's temporary and enforced re- tirement from the cares of State, owing to serious illness, has given ample occupation to the gossips in the Commons Lobby for speculation as to the possible future. Here is the Premier, 75 y oars of age, who began his official career at the Treasury hair' a century ago—for it was in November, 1834, that he was first taken into Sir Robert Peel's administra- tion and he is at the head of the ruling party in the State. In his absence the lead of the House of Commons is entrusted to Lord Harting- ton, a most able and efficient lieutenant. But the Secretary for War, who is over 50 years of age, is the eldest son of the Duke of Devonshire, who is older than Mr. Gladstone. Now the lobby gossips have been pointing out to one another that, in the course of a comparatively short time, as the history of a nation is reckoned, Mr. Gladstone will cease to sit in the House of Commons, and Lord Hartington will be Duke of Devonshire, and no longer a member of that assembly. Then who will lead the Liberal party ? A question of that kind is more easily asked than replied to. A Reform Bill debate carries the memory back, not so far in time as in events. Less than twenty years have passed since Mr. Gladstone moved the second reading of the Franchise Bill on the 12th of April, 1866. There were then facing him on the front Opposition bench Mr. Disraeli, Lord Stanley, Viscount Cranborne, Sir Hugh Cairns, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, and Mr. Gathorne Hardy. Not one of these is now a member of the House of Commons. Mr. Disraeli and Lord Lytton, both of whom were created peers, died. Lord Stanley Is now, as the Earl of Derby, one of Mr. Gladstone's colleagues as Colonial Secretary. Viscount Cranborne, as the Marquis of Salisbury, is the Conservative chief. Sir Hugh Cairns and Mr. Gathorne Hardy were raised to the peerage, and are prominent members of tlif Tory party in the House of Lords. But the shiftt* g waves of political power are as nothing compared to the mighty changes which have been witnessed on the Continent. Eighteen years ago Austria was still a German S<,>'ereigii(.y, and the Battle of Sadowa had not been fought. For four years thereafter the Emperor Napoleon ruled over France, little dreaming of the approach of that September day in 1870, when the Empire of Germany rose, Phcenix-like, from the ashes of the Empire of France, amid the smoke and ruin of the capitulation at Sedan. If any evidence were required to show the popu- larity of the Prince and Princess of Wales, it would be found in the enthusiastic reception accorded to their Royal Highnesses whenever they make their appearance to discharge any of those duties which are so numerous during the London season. As to the Heir-Apparent, he is quite as much at home in open- ing a Training School for Nurses in Westminster as in presiding at the annual meeting of the National Lifeboat Institution, or in advocating the claims of either of the many charities which, at the request of the patrons, he takes up at Willis's Rooms, St. James's Hall, or the Freemasons' Tavern. Nor is his Royal Highness a stranger at the opening of a bazaar for some philanthropic purpose. London knows his features well; and as to his amiable consort, although she has been with us more than twenty-one years, the lapse of time seems to make no difference in the ex- pressiveness of her bright and beaming face. The Fisheries at South Kensington was such a mar- vellous success last year that the authorities who have the Health Exhibition in hand are making every effort by preparation to secure an equal amount of the popular favour. One of the attrac- tions will be a representation of a street in Cheapside in the olden time, with its quaint talk, manners and customs, with the traders dressed just as they used to be centuries ago, and carrying on their handicrafts as in the days of the TurTors. In this pushing age, with its worry and its I z;1 I turmoil, there is always something strangely fasci- nating in a peep at those bygone ages which can never come back again in the whirl of competition which most of us have to face in the world of to-day. The popularity of those old English fairs which are now so often resorted to for charitable purposes is un- doubted; hence the idea to resuscitate an old city thoroughfare by way of contrast with the life and industry, and energy of the time wherein we live. A venerable church, situated in the very centre of the lushing traffic of the City, might, at a superficial glance, seem an incongruous place for a religious service at three o'clock on a week-day afternoon but one of these at St. Olave's, Mark-lane, a few days ago, was attended with incidents of peculiar interest. It was the structure where Samuel Pepys, the diarist worshipped, and in which his remains lie, and the occasion was the unveiling of a memorial to Pepys, the principal speaker being the United States' Minister, Mr. J. Russell Lowell. Pepys, as is well known, was clerk at the Admiralty for many years, and kept his diary in cypher. Although ho lived until the age of 71, he p does not seem to have maintained the records of the diary after he was 37, which is much to be regretted, looking at the fact that, as Mr. Lowell pointed out, it is the most delightful book of its kind ever written in any language. For about 150 years after it was written it remained undeciphered in the library of Magdalene College, Cambridge, but happily a key to the hieroglyphics was discovered early in the present century, and thus was given to the world some wonderfully picturesque scenes of London life of over two hundred years ago. The celebration of the Emperor's William's eighty- seventh birthday on Saturday was attended with many festivities in Berlin. To the aged monarch many of the events in his earlier life must seem more like a dream than a remembrance. For instance, seventy years have now passed away since he entered Paris with the allied sovereigns in 1814, after Napoleon had been sent to Elba. He was in Paris in 1807 as the guest of the late Emperor of the French, and again three years afterwards as the Emperor of Germany and as the conqueror of his former host in one of the greatest struggles which ever took place upon the European continent. The length of his reign, has not, however, been in proportion to the number of his years, for he had attained the mature age of 64 before he came to the throne.




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