[COPYRIGHT.] TWENTY SHORT STORIES. 14. TsE PRIVATE' SECRETARY, ji Y EVELYN SHARP. PART 1. It was on a cheerless day, at that season of the year when the only signs of vegetation to be seen in the fields are decayed turnip-tops, and heaps of faded couch grass, that two men were speeding towards the Eastern counties in a smoking carriage as fast as the five o'clock express from Liverpool Street could carry them. One of them evidently the younger, was talking incessantly as though he had no cares of his own and had never felt it incumbent upon him to shoulder those of other people gratuitously. His face was a small, round, shrewd-looking one, and it surmounted an undersized, unphysical body, which he had been ill-judged enough to accentuate by wearing a long, loose overcoat, reaching to his feet. Tenez, mon ami," he cried, as he began to realise slowly that his conversation was falling on unappreciative ears, "what have you to complain of after all ? You've lots of money—" So have all the beastly shopkeepers in Totten- ham Court Road," growled his companion from the other end of the carriage. ft And your name is in all the papers, en fin— "I might be a fashionable swindler for that." "And you are enjoying the glory of having explored where no white man has gone before and you were smart enough to do it in Africa, which is all the rage j ust now, and society is at your feet. What more can you want ?" "More? Good heavens, Alphonse, there's lots more," said the other grimly. You've left out the mothers who always want to know if you have met their youngest sons who went out to the Cape last year, and who offer you their eldest daughters in the same breath. And you take the eldest daughters into dinner, and they put you down as a fraud, because you never killed a lion, and always had lots to eat. I wish I had never come to England "And I wish I were in your shoes, that's all," rejoined Alphonse, "give me your opportunities, and see what I'd make of them-" "Done wioh you," suddenly exclaimed the elder man, throwing away his ha if-smoked cigar, and sitting upright. "Alphonse, my boy, I've got an idea." "Bon Don't lose it then, will you?" These people, the Crookleys, have never seen me since I was a boy and we are the same colour- ing, you and 1. Why shouldn't we exchange identities just for the furtnight we are there, eh? Do you twig ? A keen look crept into the small eyes of his com- panion. Impossible We should be found out; people staying in the house or something. You're a public character now, Wilde," he answered, and seemed to dismiss the idea with a laugh. Not the least possibility of discovery. Listen to me. The Crookleys are not like ordinary people. Old Crookley is an eccentric anti- quarian, who has so far cut himself off from the outer world that he not only lives in this out- landish place, which is ten miles from a town or a station, but he won't even allow a newspaper to be brought into the house, nor a visitor to be asked to lunch. Our invitation was a perfectly abnormal event. He only asked me out of respect to a fancied obligation he owes my dead father, and he allowed me to bring you, because I said I could not travel without my secretary. So it would be as safe as tombs, and I could enjoy the luxury of being a nobody for fourteen days. Shall we try it ? I really mean it, Alphonse." Je commence d'avoir des yeux. But has he no family, your old curmudgeon ? His wife is dead-" That's good. Et puis ? I believe there are some daughters, but don't let that excite you. They have never moved out of the place since their birth, and they have been brought up on antiquities. So they won't be lively. And if they are like the father, their looks won't redeem them." Sons?" There are none, fortunately." It is hardly necessary to reproduce any more of the conversation between the two travellers. It is enough to say that when the train at last deposited them at their destination, a sleepy mar- ket town in Suffolk, Alphonse Marston had assumed the name of Arthur Wilde fer a season, and the great African explorer, who had recently taken London by storm, had consented to slip into the shoes of his own half-French secretary and friend. "And are yon, too, interested in the folk-lore of the Aryan nations, Miss Crookley ?" Oh yes, indeed, Mr. Marston, it is my favourite study although I find the jewellery of the Roman matrons almost as fascinating," answered the young- est Miss Crookley, with her eyes fixed demurely on her soup pla-e. "Ah yea, to be sure, yes," said the supposed Alphonse, hastily, "that's the kind of stuff they put into ri-useuma where nobody goes, isn't it? Doesn't the jew l:el'Y in the shops down Bond Street hold any attraction for you, too ? He caught a glimpse of her eyes then, but they were hastily lowered again, and the same absurdly precise childish tone :mswered him"back I have never been to a museum, and I did not know they kept antiquities in Bond Street. Isn't Bond Street a dreadfully dissipated place ? I have never been P. way from home, you know," she added with a deep tigh. No? l'lmt is a great pity." he said fervently, and wondered if she would talk this sort of bosh for a whole fortnight. He looked across the table to see how his friend was getting on. The real Alphonse was discoursing brilliantly on some dis- trict of the world that Arthur concluded was meant to be Africa. The eldest daughter, a slender sweet-looking girl, who had none of the affected airs of her sister, Joan, if she also had none of her coy prettiness, was listening with a gravity which shewed that she was used to playing the part of patient listener in her own home; and Arthur blushed with trepidation at some of the wild asser- tions, the fellow was asking her to believe. "Lions ? Why I have lain in my bullock-waggon in the moonlight, and watched the lions walk down tne road, sniffing at the rug that covered me as they passed And such moonlight as it is too; you do not know what moonlight is in England." "What an instructive fact," murmured Joan thoughtfully, I had no idea they had a different moon out in Africa now, how can that be managed I wonder ?" It is the same moon, but they keep it cleaner," explained Arthur. Oh. So you are an explorer too ? How improv- ing it ought to be to have two explorers staying in the house at once Did you hear that, Catherine? Mr. Marston is an explorer too, as well as a French scholar. I hope I shall be able to restrain myself from asking him too many questions while he is here. You will rebuke me if I do, Mr. Marston," and she lifted two blue eyes to his face with a look which was almost vacant in its simplicity. "Joan, dear, please don't," said her sister in a pained tone, though there seemed no immediate cause for her rebuke. "He an explorer? exclaimed Alphonse. Oh no, you are mistaken, Miss Joan, I assure you. He never.set foot in Africa in his life. Frenchmen never travel far from their boulevards, you know, and he is a Frenchman to the core, in spite of his English father and his English education. Isn't it so, mon ami I suppose it is, yes," answered Arthur humbly, feeling there were slight drawbacks to the 2-dle he had adopted. Then if you are not an explorer, why did you assume a knowledge of a country you had never visited ? I call that presumptuous, Mr. Marston," said Joan in a reproachful tone, and she addressed the rest of her remarks to Alphonse. Talking about the first Britannia struck by Hadrian, Mr. Marston," said old Mr. Crookley, looking up from the book in which he had been btiried,since the beginning of dinner, "there is a curious fact mentioned here in connection with it that might possibly interest you, seeing that you "em to know something of that branch of numis- matic art." No one had even mentioned the first Britannia ,¡f,J'!ICJ:t by Hadrian, and Arthur was not aware of Having given the slightest proof of a knowledge of bat as Mr. Crookley's method of introducing wabjjset was apparently well-known to his aad as Aiphonse was riveting the atten- 'i- tion of both of them at that moment by a thri, I account of how he had lived on two ounces of por- ridge a day, made out of sour meal, for three months, the ex-African explorer submitted to his fate, and assented in monosyllables to a mass of information he had never intended to provoke. "It's been the most beastly evening Ive ever spent," he said to Alphonse, when they parted for the night. You're never satisfied," answered his quondam secretary, who had been enjoying himself mightily. "Of course you're not playing first fiddle, but you'll get over that; I have had to, ma foi. What do you say to the old man ? Conceited old bore. And the youngest girl is a prig, and the eldest one alarms me, she is so painfully honest." „ Ah, true. Mais, ce sont des femmes et j'y fais mon bonheur. We must wake them up, they are too terribly primitive for words. That's enough to ruin any woman, from an entertaining point of view, bien entendu. By the way, how could you promise to help that little one with her French ? You'll betray the whole game if you are so rash." "I was fairly let in," said Arthur gloomily, "and how could you invent all that trash about South Africa ? Any encyclopedia would bring you up if they were to look it. up." "But they won't, it's not in their line. I per- ceive they have put the wrong bags in our rooms so we must exchange contents." Arthur Wilde could hardly believe his ears when he awoke early next morning to the sound of laughter under his window, pure, girlish, careless laughter, that would make any man's pulse beat faster and inspire him with an ardent wish to dis- cover the uvaker of it. Could there be another daughter who had not appeared the night betore ? "Kate, Kate," cried a mocking, mirthful voice which seemed to have a ring of something familiar in it, Oh Kate, come out, such a glorious morning as it is too! I have been riding Skip all round the fields, and they are white with boar frost, and all the beech leaves are coming down with little craeks and shivers, and no one is about, not even an African explorer, or a grumpy old French secretary. Kate, Kate, do you hear ? Come out, there was the noise of a window-sash being softly opened a little way off, and Catharine s voice sounded in the crisp morning air. Child child will you never grow old ? Bare feet, and loose hair, and no saddle. And you promised me last night not to play any more pranks for-for a fortnight. And you will catch your death in this frost." "But, Kate," pleaded the merry voice, grown plaintive, I am going to have my breakfast before they are down so that I needn't mention antiquities till lunch time, and I am sure you would have been tempted to play him tricks if you had sat next to him, and he had glared at you, and never smiled all the time. But oh! the iewellery of the Roman matrons, and the folk-lore of the Aryan nations!" and the peal of laughter broke out again. There, go along, Joan. No, I am not coming out at this unearthly hour, and you will wake the whole house up if you stay there." There was a clatter of a horse's hoofs down the drive, and the window was closed again. The great African explorer lay awake, and wondered how he could have been so deceived. And she had thought him grumpy The post brought him a good many letters that morning, which were finally transferred from Alphonse's plate to his own pocket; and the two men spent most of the hours before lunch time in answering them in the library. The temporary resumption of his own character during this operation restored some of Arthur's self-respect, which had received so rude a shock in the early hours of the morning, and he walked into the dining-room when the second gong sounded, with a swiftly-made resolve to have his revenge on his little tormentor. "Is your sister not well to-day?" he asked "Catharine with a sudden sensation of disappoint- ment at the sight of the empty chair next his own. Oh yes, thank you. She generally stays out all da,y when it is fine like this," said Catharine, hastily. "Have you been for a walk this morning?" No-yes, I don't quite know. But I suppose she takes her books with liec ? She is such a student, is she not ?" he continued, curiously. don't know—at least—did you say fish, Mr. Marston?" So the subject was dropped again. The only glimpses he was destined to have of her that day were from his window. He was dressing for dinner in the evening, when her voice again sounded from the path below, rather subdued in tone, and without any accompanying laughter. "Oh, Joan, darling, how tired you look," said her sister's voice from the lawn, "why did you stay out so late ? Don: be cross, Kate I couldn't help it, it was such a lovely day. I have been all over the hills and—isn't it different when the sun goes in? Oh, need I come in to dinner ? I should so like to go to bed, and I don't want to meet those men a bit. I hate people who go and explore a place you know nothing whatever about, and then tell you things you are not in a position to contradict." The elder girl with cautious intent seemed to be endeavouring to silence her, though ineffectually, for Joan began again in a scarcely subdued key- "I don't care who hears me. They shouldn't come spoiling everything. Nobody wanted them. He's just as bad as the other, with his great serious face and his stupid questions. Why should we all be supposed to be soaked in antiquities just because papa hates everything that isn't two thousand years old? He should have had more sense. I should like to tire him out with a day on the hills, it would do him lots of good." The stacre of his toilet did not allow Arthur to make his presence known by announcing from the window that nothing would please him better than p to be punished in this manner; and Catharine evidently believed. so little in the efficacy of the prescription, as evinced in its effect on Joan, that she carried her off at this point to her room and he saw no more of her than a bedraggled, dust stained, little figure, under a battered straw hat. "Did ever maiden have such varying moods?" he asked himself, wonderingly and as Alphonse was not there to tell him that Joans were a com- mon occurrence in the civilised world, he continued his speculations on her remarkably original character, undisturbed. It was on the following morning, when he had left Alphonse in the library to finish off some letters, that he met her alone for the first time. There was a wood at the back of the house, and he came suddenly upon her among the trees lying on the loose sandy soil with her ear to the ground. She jumped up impatiently as he uttered an exclamation of surprise, and knitted her brows at him. "You've spoilt it, and they won't come out now," she said in a disappointed tone. Who are they,' please ? My rabbits, of course; they all know me, and they come when I call them, if there is no one about. There are lots of rabbits here, and papa won't allow anyone to shoot them, so they are quite tame with me. But they won't come out now." Shall I go away ? be asked, penitently. "Oh, it wouldn't be any good, so you might as well stay now you've come. But you mustn't shoot anything while you're here. I know you brought your gun, I saw it in the hall." No, I didn't," he said, eagerly, it was my friend's," which was true. It had your name on it, Mr. Marston," she said, eyeing him keenly. He remembered, and stumbled over his answer. I "Oh a.h, yes, I was forgetting. But I'll promise you not to shoot anything." Tells stories," was her mental note. She had sunk down listlessly on some faggots, and he leaned against a tree and looked down at her. Do you mind smoking? he asked her. She opened her eyes. I never tried. What are you thinking of You mistake me. Of course I meant, do you mind if I have a cigarette ? Of course I don't. What a ridiculous question to ask Why should I mind ? And she laughed. Upon my word, I don't know why you should, in the open air. But it is a customary question to ask a lady." y He lighted his cigarette, and sh tified a yawn. Where is Mr. Wilde ? she ask abruptly. In the house, finishing some latteml* H I thought you were his secretary t" So I am, but there are some things he will do himself. Quite unnecessary, of COUMe, bait Wilde is full of odd cranks as perhaps you've DOtMed." He felt he deserved some satqfactioll lot havt none of the tctat. She was putting him down as meanly jealous in her mind. But surely he is your friend? You ought to support him through thick and thin." Her voice sounded centemputous. Is that how you treat your friends ? I don't Lk. now. I never had a friend, except Kate. I think I would kill anyone who treated her badly." He caught a glimpse of her clenched fists and her flashing eyes, and believed her. I was not casting any aspersion upon Wilde," he went on, but he has his faults like everyone else. What does that matter ? You have no right to drag them up. You have not been all over Africa, and shot eight lions, and lots of buffaloes, and elephants, and—and—leopards, have you ? "No," he answered truthfully, and realised with a feeling of horror that Alphonse had not wasted his time. Is that what Wilde has done ? "It's only a very little part of what he has done," she answered, dreamily, oh, it is splendid to he an explorer like that. If I were a man, I would not rest until I had done what he has done, and more too I think he is a grand charac- ter. He is what I have always imagined a man should be. And then a man like you presumes to run him down behind his back I would have more manliness than to be jealous of a great man, even if I hadn't the wits to be a great man my- self." This was seri ms. What had Alphonse been doing ? "When did he tell you all this?" he asked, cautiously. "Last night, in the conservatory, after dinner. I think I never had such a happy evening before. I will never say anything against African explorers again 1 was a foolish child before, and Mr. Wilde with his great life experience, and his magnificent character, has made me a woman. Ah why am I telling you all this ? I forgot you were there. But you must never say a word against him again. I won't tolerate it." So she had not gone to bed after all, and that was where Alphonse had been all the evening. He was begiiiiiin4 to doubt the simplicity of this country-bred damsel. I assure you I had no intention of depreciating Wilde, we are immense chums, he and 1. I am glad he has interested you so much. Now tell me, Miss Joan, do you find African explorations as thrilling as Roman antiquities ? He had merely meant to make a mild joke to change the conversation. But she sprang to her feet with red cheeks, and confronted him angrily. "Now you are laughing at me. How can you? No one has ever laughed at me before. I know I was a silly child the first night you came, I-I offer you my apologies for it. Is not that enough ?" Certainly, she was unsophisticated. In a really distressed tone he was trying to justify himself in her eyes, when she turned and vanished down a side path. He lost his way in attempting to follow her, and came in late to lunch; and he sought out Alphonse when that meal was over, in anything but a placid frame of mind. Que penses tu ? cried the volatile Frenchman with a burst of laughter, I shall not break her heart, I promise you. But she is a woman, and I am a man and there is nothing else to do, pour passer le temps. What will you ?" It may mean nothing to you, but it is a serious matter to that child, and I am responsible for you, Alphonse, while we are here; although our posi- tions are ostensibly reversed. We have neither of us any right to make love to a woman under an assumed name. Now, do you understand?" "Perfectly, my dear friend I entreat you not to be alarmed. It shall go no further, on my honour. At the end of the fortnight, only ten days more, nous verrons." "What a cursed arrangement it is," muttered Arthur, and there the matter dropped. ( To be concluded).
AN ASSISTANT OFFICIAL RECEIVER IN THE BANKRUPTCY COURT. EXTRAORDINARY ADMISSIONS. AT the Liverpool Bankruptcy Court, on Thursday, Mr. Registrar Cooper, Hugh Ro- berts, formerly assistant official receiver for the Chester district, came up for public examination. The circumstances of the case were somewhat peculiar. The re- ceiving order was made in October last, but the bankrupt failed to make an appearance. In view of his non-appearance the public examination fixed for the 1st December was adjourned sine die, and upon the application of the Chester Official Receiver, who set forth that it would be difficult and embar- rassing for him to proceed in the matter of a person with whom he bad been ultimately associated, the further proceedings were transferred to the Liverpool court. The bankrupt was now examined by Mr. F. Git- tins, the official receiver for Liverpool, and said he lately resided at 19, Halkyn Road, Newton-by-Chester, and his salary as assis- tant receiver was E375, with extras, and the allowance of £3 per case over seventy cases. He left his employment on the 29th August, 1896, and wrote to the Official Receiver re- signing his appointment and stating that he was going abroad. He gave no reason for going. He went abroad on the 19th Sep- tember. His reason for leaving his employ- ment was that he had speculated and lost money which he was not able to pay, and he did not like facing the position. The receiv- ing order was made on the 9th October, but he did not get official intimation of this un- til January last, although he had written from America tothe Chester Official Receiver to say that he was in Chicago. When he left he was in too much troble to think that a receiving order would be made, and he now wished to correct an inaccurate state- ment made in the Chester court that no- thing had been heard from him. He had written to ask that forms should be sent to him so that he might fill up particulars of his affairs. He surrendered to the court on the 9th February last, and filed a statement of affairs showing liabilities to 22 unsecured creditors of X465 and assets £104. The Official Receiver proceeded to ask the bankrupt about money which :he had borrowed from three persons-D. Belcher, Birch, and Isaac Gordon-early in August, 1896, about X318 in all. The bankrupt said that he bad speculated with the bulk of this money. He put his losses through speculation at X180 to £200. Asked for particulars of the speculations, he said he had received circulars repeatedly from the firm of White and Co., commission agents and brokers, of Fore Street, London, asking him to invest through them, but not stating what the investments were to be, beyond that they would be in South African stock. The Official Receiver For the first sums with which you speculated they sent you a profit ? Yes, and the second. The first profit was £ 5 and the second £ 10. Then in August I sent them other sums in various amounts, and got nothing. I sent the money by Bank of England notes. You never got any further profit ? I digjpnot. I wrote to the firm to say that I should go up to see them, as I did not hear from them, and I went up the 4th Septem- ber. An appointment was made at the Cannon Street Hotel, London, with a gen- tleman representing himself to be Mr. White. He told me that the money was all right, though they had not written, and that they had not written in consequence of changing their offices to Bishopsgate Street. I did not ask for any number. I afterwards tried to find him, both in Fore Street, and in Bishopsgate Street, but without success, and I have never seen him since. The Registrar: Did you see the London police after ? I did not. The Official Receiver: Why did you not go to the London police ? I thought, as the money was gone, it was useless my taking any further trouble. But you ought to know, after your experi- ence, that this is a very old trick for getting money out of people, if your present story is true. It is true. Why did you not inform the police ? (The bankrupt did not reply). The Registrar: You have been Assistant Official Receiver, and have been through other people's affairs. You knew all about these inventions surely ? (Again the bankrupt did not reply). The Registrar: Well, this is very green on your part (laughter). Asked by the Official Receiver as to let- ters and circulars he had received from White and Co., the bankrupt said he had destroyed them when he went away. He destroyed them on board ship, as he had then no intention of returning, and they were useless to him. The Official Receiver Have you any pa- per that will assist me in finding or tracing Messrs. White and 001 I have absolutely nothing; I destroyed everything I had. You have nothing that will assist the po- lice in tracing them ? No, I destroyed everything. Have you nothing that will corroborate this story, because it is shrouded in mys- tery ? I am asked to find out where this money has gone. You tell us an extraor- dinary story. Have you nothing that will corroborate it ? No; I have told you a true story. Can you bring me any evidence ? I did not divulge my affairs to anybod;" unfortunately. Iq In further examination, the bankrupt swore that he given a true account of the manner in which the money had been dis- posed of. The Official Receiver said he did not see how he could follow the matter up in any way, although it was very unsatisfactory. The Registrar: I suppose there are no books ? The Official Receiver: No books. The bankrupt said there was only one creditor who was pressing them, and that was Isaac Gordon. The Official Receiver: Well, he wants to know where his money has gone, I suppose. The bankrupt asked to be allowed to state that Isaac Gordon had fairly thrust' the money upon him. He pioceeded: 'I wrote to Gordon for his terms to borrow £100. Instead of sending the terms, he sent me by return of post £100 in bank notes, and a promissory note for 2150. I refused to sign the note, and returned the money and the note. Then he sent the S.100 a third time, and the note two or three days afterwards. Then I gave way and signed the note. I wrote from New York to the principal credi- tors, asking them for time, and I would pay in full. I was then in a situation, receiving 1,500 dollars a year-about.C310-my expen- ses, and a commission after 2,000 dollars bad been cleared. I intended devoting the whole of my salary to paying my creditors, as I could live. on the expenses allowed, and did live on them almost wholly, but I re- ceived a letter on the 2nd January, and was informed that there were rumours in Ches- ter that I had robbed the office. Within an hour I t-ok my passage, and started home the same day. On the 9th January I reached Liverpool, and got home the same evening, and reported myself at once to the court, the official receiver, and four princi- pal creditors. I afterwards wrote 'to the creditors under the advice of Mr, Churton, solicitor, of Chester, to know whether they would agree to an application to the court to set aside the receiving order. Fifteen out sixteen were willing. Isaac Gordon, who pushed the money on to me, was the only person who opposed.' After some discussion as to the necessity of keeping the examination open, the Offi- cial Receiver said he saw no purpose in such a course. The public examination was therefore closed.
CONWAY AND COLWYN BAY I WATER BOARD. The Rev. W. Venables Williams (chair- man) presided at the meeting of this Board, held at Colwyn Bay, on Friday. On the motion of Mr. H. Owen, seconded by Mr. E. Roberts, Mr. W. Whalley was ap- pointed waterman. The Chairman said that on the 9th Feb- ruary, he wrote to the Clerk of the Conway Corporation, suggesting, with a view to re- moving the existing deadlock with reference to the extension of the water main from Sarn Mynach to Llysfae% through Colwyn Bay, that the solicitors to the authorities concerned should draw up a case, to be sub- mitted to Mr. Balfour JBrowne, and that his decision as to the settlement of the dispute be taken as final. He counselled the Board by every possible means to try and avoid the terrible expense of an arbitration, in which they might easily spend £ 2,000. At this stage a letter was read from Mr. Thornton Jones, solicitor to the Conway Corporation, making certain proposals, the main feature of which was that Colwyn Bay should pay the expense of the main as far as that town. The Chairman said that was all very well from the point of view of the Conway Coun- cil. The contract for the extension had been signed, and the work would be com- pleted in six months. Supposing they did not get the loan, the contractor (Mr. Sheffield) would not ask them for an ad- vance, but if he did, he (the chairman) was prepared to become responsible for a thou- sand or two, as it 's imperative that the scheme should be carried out without delay. He moved that failing an agreement on the lines suggested, the I ard appoint solicitor, counsel, and an arbitrator. The Mayor of Conway denied the right of the Board to take up the cudgels for Colwyn Bay any more than for Conway. The Con way Council had every right to make a stand against paying for the mains to Col- wyn Bay. Mr. John Roberts: Have we not helped Conway to get water from lake Cowlyd ? The Mayor: And it has cost us more than if we had done it ourselves. Mr. R. Evans seconded the Chairman's resolution. The Mayor moved c That this Board has no power to appoint an arbitrator.' The Chairman: I shall not put that to the meeting. The Mayor: Then I move that no action be taken by this Board. Mr. E. Roberta seconded. The Chairman's resolution was carried by six votes to four. Mr. John Roberts moved that Mr. Cham- berlain be appointed solicitor, and this was carried. On the metion of the Chairman, it was resolved that Mr. Balfour Browne be engaged as counsel, and that the arbitrator for that Board be Mr. James Mansergh, the Conway members declining to vote. The Clerk was instructed to inform the Conway Council that the Cowlyd Board had appointed an arbitrator.
I DOLGELLEY. I LITERARY SOCIETY. The weekly meeting of the Wesleyan Liter- ary Society was held on Friday evening, Mr. W. Williams, Maes-y-ffynnon, presiding. Several addresses dealing with the influence of The Press,' 'The Pulpi t,' and 'The Sunday School' were given by Messrs. W. M. Jones (Goat Inn), R. Roberts (Arran Read), W. J. Jones (Cambrian Terrace), D. J. Lewis (Plas Coch), W. C. Williams (Caerynwch), Lewis Lloyd, and the Chairman. LITERARY SOCIETIES. The weekly meeting of the Wesleyan T,iferarv I Society was held on F-iday efenije. tht" K*v S. Parry Jones prexidixji. Messrs. Law is Lloyd, W. J. Jones, R. Roberts, Hugh Morgan, John James, and others, took part in the appointed debate. At the weekly meeting of the Calviniatic Methodist Literary Society, Mr. D. E. Hughes, Old Post Office, read a paper on • The Preachers of Dolgelley,' and Mr. R. Roberts, on Some Notable Places Around Dolgelley.' PERSONAL. Mr. W. E. J. Clarke, assistant master at the County School, has been selected to play for Wales in the International Hockey Match, 'Wales v. Ireland,' which is to come off at Dublin, at the end of the present week. Mr. Clarke is an enthusiastic athlete, and is a prominent member of the Cricket, Hockey, Tennis, and Football Clubs in the town. We believe he is the first from the town to take part in any international game. THE IDRIS CHORAL SOCIETY. This well known society, under the ably con- ductorship of Mr. O. O. Roberts, is again in full practice. We learn with gratification that they intend giving a grand concert in June on the occasion of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and for which they are now preparing. A distinct feature will be the production of a musical contribution specially selected by one of the best known musicians in the king- dom. The society is about to rehearse Mount of Olives' (Beethoven), probably for another occasion. GOOD NEWS FOR THE POOR. Captain N. T. Williams, late of Mount Mor- gan Gold Mine, has, we learn, forwarded a cheque of E5 to the Rector (Rev. J. Lloyd), and Mr. T. H. Roberts (his brother-in-law), as a contribution in aid of the poor of the town. These gentlemen have handed the sum over to Messrs. R. H. Roberts and Tom Parry, the officials connected with the' Popular entertain- ments fund, which is being raised for distribu- tion amongst the poor. Captain Williams' generosity will, we are sure, be greatly appre ciated. Both Captain and Mrs. Williams (nee Miss Madge Roberts), have already arrived in England from South Africa. PRESENTATION. Mr. W. Evans (Artro) of the Post Office, was the recipient of a presentation on Thursday night, consisting of a handsome gold watch and an illuminated address, subscribed for by his many friends in the town, as a token of respect and good feeling on the occasion of his leaving to take up duties at Liverpool. Mr. E. W. Evans, Frondirion, presided over a good attendance, which met at the County Hall. Addressess were made by Messrs. R. Williams (Post Master), D. E. Hughes, W. Harvey Jones, &c. Mr. Evans suitably returned thanks. The watch was supplied by Mr. W. Williams, Greenwich House, and the frame for the illuminated address by Mr. D. G. Tudor. POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT. THE sixth of the series of these entertainments was held in the Public Rooms, last Thursday evening-Mr. R. Williams presiding over a large gathering. c The Programme submitted was, on the whole, very creditably rendered the most attractive items being the Musical Drill contributed so ex- cellently by a number of children from the Na- tional School, instructed by Mr. J. D. Williams, the head teacher. The programme was as fol- lows :— Song, by Mr. Richard Hughes. Recitation by Miss Lloyd. Song by Miss Alice Rowe (a pupil of Mr. D. J. Williams. Musical Drill by National School Children. Competition — Singing any song the winner was Mr. H. O. Williams, printer. Concertina Solo by Mr. John Evans (junr.). Song by Mr. N. Roberts. Hand Bell Ringers-Mr. D. Roberts and party. Anthem-D. L. Ackers and party. Miss Blodwen Williams, Messrs. M. W. Griffith(Mus. Bac.), J. Roberts, and E. Richards shared the duties of accompanists. A vote of thanks to the chairman, which was briefly acknowledged, brought to a close a very successful entertainment. WEDDING. The Wesleyan chapel, on Monday morning last, 1 was the scene of a happy event, when the mar- riage of Mr. D. Barnett, of The Stores, Lion Street, and Miss A. W. Evans, Bridge Street, both of this town and respectably connected, was duly solemnized. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. P. Jones Roberts, assisted by the Rev. S. Parry Jones, Dolgelley, in the presence of Mr. Tom. Parry, registrar. There were also present a large number of friends and well-wishers witnessing the cere- mony. The bride, attended by Miss C. Barnett, was given away by her uncle, Mr. W. Williams, Greenwich House. Mr. E. A. Williams (cousin of the bride), acted as best man and the bridal party included Miss J. Barnett, Miss Williams (Corwen), Mr. H. Evans (junr.), and Mr. R. Barnett. Ceremony over, amidst the strains of the Wedding March, Mr. J. Lloyd presiding at the Harmonium, the party left the chapel, and were greeted out-side with the inevitable showers of rice. Subsequently, they, in addition to some invited friends, sat down to a sumptuous repast at the Royal Ship Hotel, prepared in a highly creditable manner by Mr. and Mrs. Rowe. The eustomary toasts followed. The happy pair left for Liverpool, and other places, amidst the well-wishes of many friends, who had gathered at the station to witness their departure. The presents were numerous and costly,
0 PETTY SESSIONS. TUESDAY.—Before Messrs. O. Slaney Wynne (presiding), Dr. Edward Jones, R. Wynne Wil- liams, and J. Meyrick Jones. DRUNKENNESS. P. C. Breese charged Robert Jones with being drunk and incapable on the Machynlleth Road, on the 20th instant. Mr. R. Guthrie Jones represented the defen- dant, and pleaded guilty. Fined 2s. 6d. and costs. Lewis Thomas, Mallwyd, was charged by P. C. Davies, with being drnnk and disorderly at Mall- wyd, on the 13th instant. Defendant admitted the offance, and was fined 5s. and costs. NON-NOTIFICATION. Hugh Hughes, Erw Wen, was charged with not reporting the outbreak of scab amongst his sheep. Defendant pleaded ignorance. Fined Is and costs. HEAVY LIST OF SCHOOL BOARD CASES' MAGISTERIAL WARNING. A number of cases, at the instigation of the School Board, for bad attendance of children, were next proceeded with. Mr. R. Jones Griffith appeared for the Board in each case; and the attendance officer (Mr. Ellis Williams) gave evidence. Daring the hearing, the chairman, cerameat- ing on the absence of several of those summoned, said they vi ished it to be m:d» very clear that all these person?, and others, v ho did not appear after being summoned would, in future, be treated with much more severity. T; y would not tole- rate it and they gave warniug that the absence, of all defendants would, in future, be considered in deciding the fines, which would be much heavier because of their non-appearance. An order of attendance was granted in the cases of Griffith Thomas, South Street, and Mrs. Anne Pusrh, Well Street. The following wnr- fired 5s. and costs :—Hugh Davies. Ei-gli ii Terrace; J. M. Jones (Cross Foxes (two cases); R. Llovd Morris, South Street; Robert Jones, English Terrace; Hugh Owen, I Lawnt; James Jones, Cader Road D. Roberts, Lawnt; Margaret Roberts, Bridge Street; and An' e Pngh, Well Street. The c'õsea against H. H. Griffith, English I r.re! race; and W. Owen, Green Lane, were ad- journed for a month.
URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL. The ordinary meeting of the above Council was held on Tuesday evening. There were present Messrs. J. Meyriek Jones (chairman), E. Wynne Williams, W. O. Williams, E. W. Evans, John Edwards, Richard Mills, Dr. John Jones, David Meredith, R. Richards, G. Owen, with Mr. W. R. Davies (clerk), Mr. R. Barnett (assistant clerk), and Mr. Wm. Jones (surveyor). THE WATER COMPANY AND THE COUNCIL. Mr. Richard Mills reported that the Water Company were willing to put all the Hydrants throughout the town in order, provided the Coun- cil would see that they were not covered by street mettaling. THE COUNCIL AND THE BOWLT G GREEN. A communication from Mr. J. R. S. Furlong, hon. see. of the Cricket Club, concerning the Bowling Green, was considered. They applied to the Council, as joint owners with them of the. land, to sanction the use and control of the same to the Tennis Club at an yearly rent, half of which would be guaranteed to the Council. It was agreed to adopt the suggestion subject to two members of the Council being appointed on the committee of management. DILAPIDATED HOUSES. It was agreed to appoint Messrs. Richard Mills, Griffith Owen, and the surveyor, as a deputation to wait upon Mr. Richard Edwards and Mr. Rowland Williams concerning some dilapidated houses of which they were owners. TY'N Y-COED ROAD. After some discussion, it was agreed that the surveyor should prepare plans and estimates of the proposed widening of this road. THE COUNCIL AND THE COUNTY SCHOOL. It was agreed to appoint Mr. William Williams, Maes y-ffynnon, and Mr. E. W. Evans, Fron Dirion, as the representatives of the Council on the Local Governing Body of the Intermediate School. THE FIRE BRIGADE. Reports were received as to the formation of the Fire Brigade; and that the town and district were being canvassed for subscriptions. It was agreed to vote JE45 towards the purchase of certain fire appliances. MEDICAL OFFICER'S ANNUAL REPORT. The Council next proceeded to consider an exhaustive annual report, submitted by Dr. E. Jones, the medical officer. In the report Dr. E. Jones, amongst other valuable information, points out:- That the chief difficulty of the district was to secure proper dwelling houses for the working- classes, for at present many of them had to live in houses which endangered their health: and during illness they were placed under very unfavourable circumstances. The action of the Local Autho- rity during the year, regarding unsanitary dwell- ing houses, had been most beneficial. There re- mained, however, more to be done. There were several yet in the town that were, radically wrong as regards sanitary arrangements. The district had a very efficient system of sewers. The pre- servation of the public footpaths, which received the attention of the Council during the year, had undoubtedly a bearing on the public health of the district. The water supply was excellent as re- gards quality and quantity the supply being constant, and free from the possibility of any pollution. He regretted to have to report that zymotic diseases were prevalent during the year, though the deaths from these were exceedingly few. The greatest vigilance bad been, however, exercised, and the district was, at present, most free from all infectious diseases. Cases of this character had occurred during the year in houses which had been repeatedly reported to the Council as unfit. The number of both births and deaths during the year showed a slight increase compa- red with the previous year. The birth rate was 24'2 per thousand of the population, and the death rate 22 6 per thousand. The number of births exceeded the total number of deaths during the year. The present death rate was a high one for a small urban district. The birth rate of the district was lower than the birth rate in England and Wales for the year 1896 but the death rate was considerably higher. These facts called upon the local Council to use every exertion to improve the sanitary condition of the district. Excellent sanitary work bad been done by the Council during the year; and with perseverance and de- termination the remaining obstacles should not prove insurmountable.' After some discussion, it was agreed to defer further consideration of the report until the next meeting; and Messrs. J. Edwards and E. W. Williams were requested to make a digest of the report. RE-APPOINTMENT. It was agreed to appoint Dr. Edward Jones as medical officer for the ensuing year and Mr. W. Jones as inspector of nuisances,
BANKRUPTC/LN CHESTER AND NORTH WALES. A synopsis of the working of the Bankruptcy Acts and the Companies Winding up Act for the Chester and North Wales district during the past year shows that, taking the Bangor, Portmadoc and Blaenau Festiniog, Wrexham, and Chester courts together, 79 petitions have been filed. Out of these four were dismissed, and of the remainder 74 receiving orders were made this year. One administration order was made under section 125 of the Bankruptcy Act, 1883 (Deceased Insolvents), this order, together with three other receiving orders, being made upon petitions presented in the year 1895. This makes a total of 77 receiving orders and one administration order, 17 of which were made upon the petitions of creditors and the others upon the debtors' own petitions. It appears that 72 cases were left in the hands of the Official Receiver for administration and 79 orders of adjudication were made, two being in cases carried over from 1895. There have been 74 meetings of creditors, and no fewer than III public examinations were conducted, in addition to which eight private examina- tions were held under section 27 of the Bank- ruptcy Act, 1883. In one case the public examination was dispensed with, and in six cases the public examinations were adjourned sine die. Six debtors made applications for their discharge, one of which was granted unconditionally, four conditionally, and one suspended for two years. Three winding-up orders were made under the Companies Wind- ing-up Act, 1890. The Official Receiver has wound up and applied for his release in in 47 cases during the past year, one of which was a company case, and outside trustees have obtained their release in six cases. As com- pared with 1895, there has been a decrease of eight in the number of receiving orders, and the number of private arrangements, which in 1895 was 63, went down to 48. Of the latter four only were cancelled, and bankruptcy pro. ceedings supervened.