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Opening of Workmen'e Hall,…

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The Property Market.






1 BITS FROM BOOKS. AT A DUTCH COUNTRY FAIR. The account given in Mr. Nico Jungman's "Holland" of a country fair in Zeeland goes far to justify the claim here made for it to be considered the most conservative part of the Netherlands: All over Zeeland a peculiar courting custom, which at first blush would seem rather at variance with the severe morality of the people, is held in favour. Custom condones many strange things, and, perhaps, especially as their individual enjoyment would suffer from close criticism, the inconsistency of practice and precept does not penetrate the rather dull minds of the Zeeland lovers. On the occasion of the annual kermis, or fair, a feast which is universal over Holland, the Dutch peasants give them- selves over for a day or two to feasting and riotous living. Drinking, clumsy dancing, and monotonous singing constitute their highest conception of amusement. For this festivity they save up their spare cash all through the year, and when at last the eventful day has passed, it is incredible how many guldens have gone from the pockets of the young men and maidens into the money-bags of the bootn people, who congregate for the occasion. In Zeeland the oldf folks content themselves with many extra glasses of Schiedam, and leave the excitement of the day to their juniors. At dawn the big old-fashioned carts of the farmers of the province, drawn by enormous Flemish horses with flowing manes and tails, are par ked tightly with boys and girls, all dressed in their best. A procession of such vehicles starts off amid shouts of laughter and chaffing not too refined. The whole crowd descends at each inn it passes on the way, and the young men treat the rosy damsels of their choice to various drinks, more or less intoxicating. It is only to be expected that by the time the trippers reach their destination the giggling bashfulness of the start has disappeared, and the various couples, excited and loud-voiced, are ready for any fun that may come in their way. the merry-go-rounds and the swinging boats are well filled during the afternoon. It is entrancing to see a much-petticoated girl balancing her balloon-like proportions on a small and almost invisible wooden horse. Fortunately, her weight is not to be judged by appearances. The swain, in suit of velveteen, with many gold and silver buttons, valiantly and amorously holds his giggling sweetheart round the waist, to insure her against a fall as far as in him lies. Later, these amusements pall. The young people, more than half tipsy, I fear, amuse themselves for hours in an aim- less and vigorous movement, which they believe to be dancing. A row of girls and youths join hand-in-hand, seven or eight together, and jumping heavily from one foot to the other, make their way through the narrow streets, singing a monotonous song to which th'y endeavour to keep time. A verse of the festive lay generally consists of lour or five words repeated again and again with emphasis. This noisy amusement contents them until they are tired. After more drinks,which include a sweet and very nasty champagne, they begin to think of home. SCOTS HUMOUR. Among the varied contents of Mr. David Macrae's "National Humour," a plentiful supply of Scottish humour is naturally to be found. Here is a story of Dean R nnsey: It is told of Dean Ramsey and a Highland minister with whom he was having a long day's walk amongst the glens that they stopped at a little inn, where they sat down in the parlour and ordered two glasses of whisky. When these were set before them, the pious Highland minister proposed that they should ask a blessing. To this the Dean assented, but when his friend had closed his eyes and begun with great solemnity to ask a blessing (Highland in length), the Dean quietly drank off his own glass first and presently also the other. When the minister had finished his thanksgiving and opened his eyes, his amazement can be imagined when he beheld the two glasses standing on the table before him empty. lie turned his eyes inquiringly and upbraidingly on the Dean. "Ah!"said the waggish Dean, "you forgot half of the Scripture warning. We are told to watvh as well as pray."