Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

29 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

OUH LUNDUN CJH RESPONDENT.

Newyddion
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

OUH LUNDUN CJH RESPONDENT. The old-fashioned type of party politician, some specimens ox which are still to be met at Westminster, is a little perturbed at the fact that, as far as the present Session has gone, the greatest amount of interest displayed by the public has been in connection with private bills. There were more visitors in the Quter Lobby on the occasion of the discussion of a pri- vately-promoted scheme for distributing electric power through the Midlands than have yet been seen there for any other debate of the Session, and this is only one symptom of the lull that is taking place just now ir. domestic affairs. There is no doubt by this time, however, that that lull will be dispelled next month, if only for a sitting, as Budget night promises to be the most interesting of its kind for years. Even when what has been called a hum-drum Budget is expected, the galleries are always crowded, but when either a remission or extension of taxation is anti- cipated the throng both inside and outside the Legislative Chamber is both great and agitated. No need exists to say whether it is a remission or an extension which is this spring to be looked for. but the prophecy can fairly be indulged that the telegraph office attached to the House of Commons will, on Budget evening, be kept more than usually busy. Those connected in a large way with the tea and tobacco industries are, in especial, already alert with requests to their members to be sure and secure them seats for the Occasion and although these requests cannot tet be complied with, their very earliness shows the interest in anticipation aroused. Military men in London are struck with the fact that some of their colleagues on the Continent continue to strenuously declare, in curious opposition to another section of critics, that the Lee-Metford rifle, as supplied to the British Army, is unsatisfactory. The most vigorous supporters of this view are the admirers of the Lebel rifle, the French service weapop. and these suggest that the small calibre bullet used in the Lee-Metford should be abacdoned for that arm as well as for the Lebel. But this view does not commend itself either to the French or the British War Offices, and the" man-stopping" power of both the Lebel and the Lee-Metford may ultimately be tested in actual warfare before any such change is made. The sad lesson, howover, has once more been borne in upon observers of military affairs that it is not the bullet that in these times kills most soldiers. The returns of the casualties of the United States Army during the recent war with Spain tell a terrible talo of death from disease, exceeding by many a fold that from wounds. Much of this, of course, was due to the fighting having taken place on unhealthy soil, but the figures are sufficiently appalling to furnish material for a sad indict- ment of those who organised the campaign. Folkestone was to some extent en fete on the occasion of the Queen taking her departure from that harbour for Boulogne, on the occa- sion of her Majesty's annual spring visit to the South of Europe. This is the less to be won- dered at. because that favourite resort of fashionable London has been more than once threatened in recent years with the deprivation of its long-established cross-Channel service: and. therefore, the choice of this particular route by the Sovereign gave special pleasure to the good people of Folkestone as furnishing a compliment which in itself is an endorsement to the claim of the town for a continuance of the service. Folkestone has had a further reason to rejoice this winter in the fact that the mail-boats have had to run from that port more than once to France when the seas were too heavy at Dover: but the main point is that it is now being more than ever proved that ample room exists for all the continental services, and this will be the more shown next year, when the Paris Exhibition takes place. They may then be even added to, for a service from Margate may be put on specially for the summer of 1900; and this need create the less wonder, seeing thaJfc —even if it is from Folkestone that the Queen has made her latest journey to France—it was from Mar- gate that she made her earliest. Cab-driving London continues to be in some ferment because of the efforts of the Com- missioners of Metropolitan Police to put down the practice of "crawling" in the Strand, Piccadilly, and Bond-street: but the fever in that direction is as nothing compared to that in the omnibus world over the proposal of the Home Secretary to deal more drastically with the Tbuses. There seems little doubt that his intentions have been to some extent misunderstood, and it may he that the bill will not be pressed through Par- liament this Session: but not the slightest doubt exists as to the fear entertained by both the proprietors and the patrons of the 'buses that the suggested additional legislation would hamper the movements of these popular vehicles. They are now used by so many mil- j lions that anything which lessened their con- venience would become a widely-felt grievance; and it seems likely, therefore, that before Par- liament will consent to interfere with them, a searching inquiry will be instituted, and pro- bably by a Select Committee, as to whether such interference is necessary in the circum- stances of the case. Every fact which testifies to the enormous ex- tent of London has its value, and this especially when it deals with a phase of metropolitan life little understood even by Londoners themselves. How few dwellers in the capital know. for in- stance, that the annual expenditure of the Metropolitan Asylums Board is not only three- quarters of a million, but that it is constantly growing. Even the largest ratepayers who assist to find this great sum are unaware not merely of the names of their representatives on this body, but of how and when and by whom they are elected, and what are their functions when once chosen. What might prove a very wholesome check upon their expenditure is thus missing, but it may be explained that within the past few days it has become known that. in addition to this expenditure, the Board possesses a debt of nearly two and a quarter millions. For this asylums and fever hospitals and convalescent homes are kept up in various parts of the metropolitan area, and the demand upon these is so great that even now the accommodation at certain of them is being ex- tended. An attempt, the progress of which will be watched with much interest, is being made by the Thames Conservators to re-stock London's great rivers with salmon-trout. There is natu- rally the customary difference of opinion as to whether this can be done with success, but a great deal of public sympathy, even among those who are not anglers, will be given to the experiment. Whatever to the attractive- ness of the Thames adds to the pleasure of London, the denizens of which year by year more and more appreciate the river." sgne point, however, is being raised in connexion with this attempt which may have its effect in unexpected quarters, and that was as to whether the fish will thrive if the stream becomes increasingly fouled by the grow- ing number of house-boats. The house- boat, in fact, like the steam launch, has multiplied of late years in a degree calculated to disturb those who love the more placid phrases of river life; and. although the former is not the danger the latter sometimes is, there is always the peril of it proving a nuisance. The Thames Conser vators have made somewhat strict regulations to prevent any such nuisance; and it may be that now it is expending both money and energy in restocking the river with fish, it will instruct- its officials to be even increasingly vigilant to see that these reguiations are ftTlly oarriod out, to the confusion of the. careless nd the comfort of all other users of tha The writer of comedy who once observed that life was too short for chess did not. unhappily, live until the present week, when there has been proceeding, in disproof of his theory, an international chess tournament in London, between representatives of the British Isles and the United States, and con- ducted by telegraphic cable. There was » somewhat similar competition a yoar or two ago between British and American legislators our own portion of the struggle being conducted in the smoking-room attached to the Pres* "•*< i -> r *'■ ■ •• i uaiierv ot ui3 tiot, 'se ot Uommons; and tha fact that such contests are not infrequent is a striking proof of the world-wide popularity of chess. In the present while the British players were at a London hotel, the American were ensconced in the Academy of Music at Brooklyn, which was draped with the flags of both nations in honour of the occasion. Although the players were four thousand miles apart, they might, for all practical purposes, have been opposite to each other, the tele- graphic transmission of the moves being almost I ti-i instantaneous, and no fewer than one hundred and twenty-three m-. being '-cabled" in the first hour of the match. n.

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