TELEPHONE TALKING ACROSS THE CHANNEL. On Saturday last some experiments were carried out, en the telegraph cable connecting St. Margaret's Bay, near Dover, and the village of Sandgatte, on the French coast. The Mayor of Dover, and several other gentlemen connected with the town, drove over to the bay and assembled in the little telegraph hut erected on the beach within a few yards of the shaft of the borings connected with the proposed Channel tunnel — a gross and material way of connecting the two countries compared with the delicate com- munication we were about to establish. Mr. Bor- deaux, the superintendent of the Submarine Telegraph Company, at once established a communication with the opposite coast, and at his request, conveyed by an ordinary pocket telegraph instrument, the tele- phones were attached to the French end of the cable, and ic a few minutes we were conversing across 221 miles of wire at tbe bottom of the sea The portable instruments, made in polished mahogany, and in shape like a ch ttnpsgno glass without a foot, were used. By placing one to the ear, and speaking into the cup of the other, a continuous conversation was kept up without difficulty. Although the wires w^re being used on the ordinary business of the station, and the clicking* of the Morse instrumenis being worked at Dover and Calais we-e going on all the time, yet the voices could be plainly heard and their tones dis- tinguished. The songs sung in that little wild hut on t le French coast were reproduced note for note and word for word, piano and foHe, like the distant mur- mur of a sheTl-asmalI far-off voice—in that on which stood. h Star ef the Evening" and Auld Lang Syne" came rolling across that rough and stormy Channel, down which ships were staggering with shortened sails, and through that tumbling surf, with- out the loss of a tone or a note. Whistling was tried with equal success, and the tunes were equally dis- tinguishable with the songs. It was suggested that the popping of a cork might be made out, and our French friends were asked to listen attentively to what would happen. Unfortunately no bottles were at hand, but a rev. gentleman equal to the occasion put his finger into his cheek and admirably imitated the drawing of a cork. You have just drawn a cork," came the voice from the other side, with just a shade of melancholy in its tone. A hearty laugh was raised by this mistake. After thanking our friends for their songs and other efforts to amuse an audience so far off, Mr. Bordeaux gave a short lecture on the con- struction of the instrument, and the party separated much impressed with the success of the experiments and of the important part it is likely to play in the communications of the future. At present it is clearly useless for military purposes, as the most perfect stillness is necessary not to drown the little voice.
THE GUILDHALL LIBRARY. It will be recollected that, as on experiment, and in deference to the wishes of many large firms in the City, the Corporation of London determined that their library in the Guildhall should be open te the publie for twelve months on every evening during the week, except Saturday, until nine o'clock. Mr. Overall, F.8.A., the librarian, reports that the total "number of readers availing themselves of the addi- tional privileges granted by the Corporation had been 49,4S4-namely, those staying at five o'clock, 14,738, and those afterwards arriving, 34,696. The average attendance each evening had been 201 readers, and, taking the months separately, it appeared that the maximum occurred on" an evening in February, 259, and the minimum in June, 170. Thus, as might be expected, the public make more use of the library in the winter months than in the summer. The class of readers using the library and reading-room in the evening would appear to be, for the most part, young men engaged in mercantile pursuits during the day. The literature consulted might be thus classed: (I) History, topography, heraldry, and biography; (2) Philosophy, science, and the fine arts; (3) Poetry, drama, snd fiction; (4) Voyages, travels, and geography; and (5) Classical and English literature, and belles- lettres. There was not a single instance of any one m* juring the books entrusted to them. The works of the most popular historians had been duplicated, and a purchase had been made under the bequest of the lata Sir David Salomons of a liberal selection of works upon science and the fine arts. The staff arrangements made by the Library Committee had worked very satisfactorily. The actual cost of the evening opening had been £1277 for the year. In 1874 the total number of readers and visitors was 173,559; in 1875, 192,716 in 1876, 220,257 and in the first six months of this year 121,619—the daily average attendance for these years being respectively. 603, 724, 767, and for the six months in this year, 816. In conclusion, the librarian stateø" that, judging from the rapid increase in the number of readers, and the usefulness of the library in all its branches since it has been opened by the Corporation as a free library, and including the evening opening during the past year, he was certainly of opinion that as the facilities afforded, and the great value 6f the collection in the library became more generally known, the results in the future would be even more favourable. The Library Committee having carefully considered the librarian's report on the details of the working of the library, and having regard to the very satisfactory evidence as to the extent to which the public had been benefited by the evening opening, recommended the Court to authorise its continuance and permanently sanction the arangements which, during the experimental period, had been found to provide so effectively for the care, maintenance, and supervision of the library. This recommendation has been adopted.
CAFFBE ATHO CITIES.—Among the incidents of the war South African journals have made special mention of the deaths of Sub-Inspector Carl Von Hohenan and Constable O. Evans, killed in action by the Galekas. On the order to retire being given Von Hohenan having (so it is said) assisted Evans into the saddle, was vaulting up behind when he was shot in the hip, and both men rolled to the ground. The enemy were too close at hand for escape. A gentleman who witnessed the recovery of the bodies of the policeman who fell in the action, says: "Evans had eighteen assegai wounds, mostly on the back. All the bodies were stripped, but Evans's coat was so full of holes that the natives left it. Sub-Inspector Von Hohenan had long boots on, and finding them difficult to get off, they severed the feet at the ankle joint and took them away in the boots. One of the unfortunates was found -scalPect-6 thing, we believe, unheard of in any pre- vious Oaffre war. All the bodies were horribly muti- lated?' A correspondent writes" Many horrible thiags. hanna been seen by our volunteers over the Kei, but, perhaps, the most revolting sight was a dog lying gorged by the side of his dead master, upon whose body it had been feeding from day to day. Numbers of anecdote* are teld us of the faithfulness of the dog; how he would lie by the dead form of hia once master, and keep all intruders at bay until the breath leaves his devoted body. The question naturally rises, does an animal degenerate by contact with a savage race ? Galeka dogs were frequently seen eating dead Galekas, and our men shot them for revolver practice." A contribution is made to the list of eventa on which the fate of battles has hung: It is stated among the Galekas that whenever' a commando of Caffres took the field, a hare was invariably seen leading the army, and hencethe disaster which always befel the natives. A dqgtor, it waa said, was consulted, who accused Lindinxolts of being a wizard who sent the hare fo? the purpose of destroying the army. The natives say that Lindinxowa has been put to death for this." REGISTERED LETTERS AND MONEY ORDERS. —The changes in the system of registering letters and in the scale of charges for inland money ordera has come into operation. The registration fee has been reduced from 4d. to 2d., exclusive of the ordinary charge for postage, and special registered letter en- velopes, bearing a 2d. stamp, have been prepared of different dimensions. These will be sold at all post- offices and by rural messengers, who are now autho- rised to register betters. In the event of a re- gistered letter be; >g lost while passing through the post, the department will, under certain regula- tions, make good the value of the contents up to £2. The scale of charges for inland money orders has been altered by raising the rate charged for orders under 10s. from Id. to 2d., and the rate for orders of 10s. and under £1 from 2d. to 3d. The scale of charges for inland money orders is now as fellows: For sums under lOa., 2d.; 10a. and under£2, 3d.; £2 and under £3, 4d.; £3 and under £4, 5d.; £4 and under d65, 6d.; £5 and under £6, 7d.; £6 and under £7, 8d.; £7 and under £8, 9d.; £8 and under £9, lOd. £ 9 and under £10, lid.; £10, Is. STBTTCK OFF THE REGISTER.—In the course of the month of November 118 sailing vessels and 11 steamships were struck off the Register of British Shipping, but of these two have been subsequently re- stored. Of the total of 129 ships, 50 were registered at English ports, 15 at Scotch, 12 at Irish, 7 at Welsh, 4 at ports in the Channel Islands, and 38 at Colonial or foreign ports. The ages of the ships vary from 77 years to five months. Not many were of very large tonnage, 58 being under 100 tons and 26 betwden 100 and 200, only nine being over 1000 tons. The causes assigned for the removal from the register were: Stranded, 15; sold to foreigners, 13; unsea- wortby, 3 foundered, 7; broken up, 18 lost, 21; sunk after collision, 5 wrecked, 20; abandoned, 9; mwaing, 2; gold as wrecks, 3 sold under judicial decrees, 2; to be broken up, 1; registered at other 1 ports, 2; condemned, 2; abandoned on fire, 1; burnt, 1 1; sunk, 1; and 3 converted into lighten or hulks, — i;-yr jf f -• • -i • — v » 3 A, -• w
THE FATAL FIRE AT NEW YORK. The New York papers, per the Germanic, give de- bails of the disastrou» fire at :MflS9nj! Greenfield's con- fectionery establishment, Barclay, street, by which between fifty and sixty lives were sacrificed. The New York Herald of Dec. 21 says: Greenfield and Son's confectionery store. No. 63, Barclay-street, was destroyed by fire last evening, occasiened, it is said, by the explosion of the boiler in the basement. The engineer and his assistant were, in all probability, killed. Thirty-five, persons were badly injured—eighteen are reported as miss- ing. There were a great many hands employed in the establishment, and fears are entertained for the safety of some who may not have been engaged for list night. Tomkin's paper warehouse and English's boarding-house adjoining were also des- troyed. No just appraisal of the property could be obtained last night; all that was definitely known was that Mr. Greenfield's stock was valued at S100,000. The first Rlarm of the fire was at five o'clock in the evening, when people were about winding up the business of the day in the stores and counting-rooms in Barclay-street. Some were hurrying towards the car lines and Broadway others were en route to the ferries on the North River. The street, too, was filled as usual with itinerant vendors of nicknacks and Yankee notions; in shert Barclay-street was at its busiest period. On the corner of Col ego-place stands the Grocers' Bank; a few doors below is Ernest Greenfield and Co., confectioners, No. 63, Barclay-street. While horses, carts, and men were passing to and fro a sudden explosion rent the air, the startled people lookod towards the street and saw the front of Greenfield's premises rock and, split- ting, pitch forward into the middle of the street. In a moment the flames leaped forth from the ruins and enveloped the buildings adjoining. Very speedily the conflagration assumed dangerous and threatening proportions as if by magic. The crowds in the streets caught the whispered statement that there were hun- dreds of boys and girls employed in the establishment, and that most of them were buried beneath the ruins. The alarm was given without delay, and the fire bri- gade with engines and ladders were soon on the spot. A mass of spectators surged in and eut of College- place in frantic endeavours to see or touch the fugitives from the burnihg building, when the clamour of the bells ef the approaching fire engines warned them to clear the way. Cap- tain M*Laughlin and Assistant Fireman Murray got streams upon the burning houses at once, and ladders were placed against their sides. Daring fire- men mounted them in quest of fainting or half- smothered inmates, while other brave fellows dashed in through the open doors and tried to mount the stairways; but there is no record that any of these bold efforts were crowned with success. All who had the good fortune to escape were out of the build- ing before the firemen got into it. Those who perished were dead a few minutes after the explosion. And now the fire had gained tremendous headway. The building immediately adjoining Greenfield and Son's stores, occupied by Tomkin's paper factory now engaged the attention of the firemen. The battle between them and this store was brief, the flames devouring the inside of it with frightful rapidity. Meanwhile, the fire had been busy at the extreme corner of the building which forms the angle ef College-place and Barclay-street. Nothing here seemed for a time to check ita fury. It forced its way along the cornice and top storey of this building, and uniting its huge lambent tongues with the flames already at work inside swept in a fearful-looking curved stream of fire round into the windows of the building, the ground floor of which is occupied by the Grocers' Bank. Here the devouring element, as though its appetite were thoroughly whetted, ate out the whole of the top storey in an incredibly short space of timei It was now evident that the critical moment, had come. The bank stood alone, a brown rock in a sea of fire; the rooms were lit up with vivid tongues in flame, and every article in them could be seen by these in the streets, on the housetops, and from the windows of adjacent houses. It was evident that unless the endeavours of the firemen should be redoubled the whole block would be destroyed. To prevent this the stores in Greenwich-street were opened and hose run through to the rears, where, there was communication by window with the Greenfield establishment. The white ambulances came and went ili charge of the surgeons, bearing the bodies of living sufferers from different drug stores in the neighbourhood, and some of them stood waiting for the bodies of the dead that had not yet been found. Several firemen were burnt in their eagerness to check the fire, and were attended to on the ground; but none of them as far as could be learned went to the hospital. The surgeons in most instances merely accompanied the injured employes to the hospital, where their sufferings were attended to. About seven o'clock the boarding-house of Mrs. English fell in, and came very near burning a couWp of firemen who were standing on a ladder reared againstit; they had only just got down with the hose when the building caved in, and the ladder toppled over with the ruins. The Grocers' Bank, though badly damaged, was as a building safe, as were also the other houses in the block the fire had only ravaged the L shaped pro- perty, the Tomkins and English establishments, and portions of some of the adjacent buildings. Not a body had yet been discovered, and as the fire seemed to be dying out President King, of the Fire Department, and Chief Bates began to turn their attention to searching tor those who it was expected were in the cUbris.
A ZULU CONVEBT.—The Rev. James Dabe, the beloved native preacher, and for seven years the ordained minister and worthy pastor of the Inanda native church, died of dysentery on the 10th of No- vember. By birth of Royal blood, the uncle of the chief Umgawe, in physical stature like Saul, higher than any of the people, he was everywhere—among white or black—recognised as one of Nature's noble- men but it was in difnity of character, in Christian excellence, and in moral influence over the people that he was especially pre-eminent. His manly voice was always heard in favour of truth and godliness, his great heart ever beat faithful to his profession. He was born in Zululand, but early in life moved to this colony, and while but a boy became a member of the family of the Rev. D. Lindley, to whom, under God, he owed almost everything that made him above the heathen Zulu. It was in reference to James Dube that it has been said, If the Rev. Daniel Lindley had been successful in raising up and training but one such man, his missionary life had not been lost." Pastor Dube ever laboured for the best good and spiritual elevation of his own people, and among them he was best known; but not a few among the English colonists have learnt that at least one Zulu was worthy to be honoured, not only for his work's sake, but also for his real goodness, and some have not failed to recognise in him a brother beloved. Hundreds of his own people, young and old, Christian and heathen, followed his remains to the grave.— Natal Mercury. FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM.—The Medical Press and Eegister says: Our readers may recollect the experiment made in 1860, at the Pantheon in Paris, by the learned Leon Foucault, upon the pendulum. A great metallic globe, which hung by a fine wire from the summit of the dome, demonstrated that the oscillatory movements of a heavy mass freely sus- pended in space remain independent of the rotation of the earth. This pendulum swung very slowly in con- sequence of the length of the wire, and at the end of each oscillation a point attached to it ate away by degrees a li:tle wall of sand placed there for the pur- pose of showing the apparent alteration in the plane of oscillation. This experiment, by which—as we may say—the world can be seen to move round, is to be repeated in the Exhibition of 1878, with such new arrangements as to make it comprehensible to the crowd. -The pendulum will be 300 kilogrammes in weight, and will hang from a wire seventy metres wi' ^e °bj»°t of the experiment being to instruct the public in a visi ble physical phenomenon. • SHOCKING AFFAIR.—A shocking affair occurred m North Shields shortly after one o'clock on New xears morning. Some Italian seamen who had been serenading their friends went down Mill-lane, Olive- street, and performed before a boarding-house, when suddenly, while two of the musicians had gone into the lodgings, a shot was heard, and a foreign seaman was taken into the house apparently dying. Medical men were called in, when it was found that the unfor- tunate man was badly wounded in the abdomen, and his case seems to bo a hopeless one. Five of the sea- men were taken into custody, but the sixth—ht»4 there is reason to believe the seaman who fired the shot—has escaped. No reason can be assigned for this outrage, for there had been no quarrel, and the wounded man had only arrived in the Tyne on New Year's eve. THEFT OF A DIAMOND RING.—At Worship- street Police-court, London, Frederick Swift, 22, described as a salesman, very respectably-dressed, and living in York-street, Manchester, was charged with having stolen a diamond ring, value £i5. The prosecutor, Benjamin Jacobs, traveller, of 46, Ap- proach-road, Victoria-park, said that the prisoner, after staying as a guest in his house for a few days, left on the morning of the 21st ult., and subsequently witness missed a ring set with five diamonds belonging to his wife. He gave information to the police, and on Friday night found the prisoner in custody at the police-station, Bethnal-green-road, with the ring in his possession. The prisoner said he would plead euiltv to taking the ring, but that he had not meant to keep t. Mr. Hannay sentenced the prisoner to two months' sard labour. I is the only pane of which everyone I. nakes light f—A window-pane, 1; •. J,' ur: •' ¿.'t¥; Sol: .1o¡ \). -¥ r.' ,c '11< .r.
THE BRAHMAPOOTRA. The Abbé Deagodins, a French missionary traveller, .in a paper recently contributed to the Paris Geo- graphical Society, makes some additions to our still very imperfect knowledge of Tibet, and especially of the middle course of the Brahmapootra. An old Lama told the Abbe that in his youth he had travelled much and visited nearly the whole of Tibet. He had fol- lowed the great river from its source, in or near the lakes of Too-ma pang, in the western part of the Pro- vince of Nogare, the most western of Tibet, and in making his pilgrimages he arrived at the frontiers of the wild tribe of the Lhopa. The Lama said that some days to the east of Lassa the river turns towards the south, making along bend, and traverses the Tibetan district of Hia-yul, a rich and well-peopled district just to the north of Lhopa. The river enters the country of the wild tribe and winds its way among steep and rugged bare rocks, without roads, and which can be passed only by means of wretched ladders made of lianas. After a certain course among the Lbopa, the river falls over a high reck into a valley which is not known. T height of the fall is so great that the Lama said t m",de him giddy to look down. At this place, he said the river is almost as considerable as the Kin-sha-kiatg at Bathang. The details which the Lama gave the Abbe leave him in no doubu as to the accuracy of the information, which confirms what he has learnt from other sources. Everybody in Assam knows of the fall of the Brahma-Khound, a regular place of pilgrimage. The Abba's confrere, M. Bernard, has often spoke to him of a fall marvellous for its height, the volume of its water, and the basin which it has hollowed out for itself. The position assigned by M. Bernard on the south of this fall and that assigned by the Lama on the north induced the Abbe to believe that the fall of the Brahma- Khound is simply the fall of the Tar-kiou-taang-pe, which becomes the Brahmapootra, and which is navi- gable almost immediately after the fall. The Lama affirmed on several occasions that the Yar-kiou-tsang- po does not reach the Mishmis, but disappears more to the west among the Lhopa. This brave Lama, as the Abbe calls him, gave the latter much other geogra- phical information, but at present he gives only what he has been able to confirm from other sources, though he believes the Lama to be quite trustworthy. In going from Sha-mou-to, on the Lan-taan kiang, to Lassa, by the great official route, after having passecl the Lo tee kiang, we come upon the principal ports of Lo rong djong, Sho pan to, Lah (in Tibetan Larego ), and Kiamada. To the south of Sho-pan-to and Lali, atabcat two days' journey, the traveller leaves on the left ttie south) the independent Principality of Po-zul (in Chinese Pomi). This Principality recognises the Emperor, and is governed directly by the third Ambassador of Lassa, who bean the title of I tsin; it does not in the least recognise Tibetan authority. It is divided among four indigenous chiefs, who are almost independent in their respective terri- tories, and who take council together only on the common affairs of the tribe. The country is said to be very rich and difficult of access, surrounded as it is on all sides by high, steep mountain. The red Lamas are here very numerous, and robbers more so, and they often make expeditions beyond their frontiers. Leprosy is said to be widespread. Po-zul borders on the west the Tibetan country known under the name of Kongbou, and of which Eiamda is the chief town or village. This country extends almost to Lassa, is thickly peopled, and very rich, but leprosy is here also extremely prevalent, Another singular peculiarity of this country is that the proportion of females is much more considerable than that of, males in the statistics of births. The country of Po-zul does not reach on the south as far as the Himalayas, from which it is separated by a strip of country governed by Lassa. The eastern limit of Po-zul is the western slope of the chain of mountains which descends from north to south on the right bank of the Lo-tse-kiang. The Lama's statement as to the middle course of the Brahmapootra seems to confirm the surmises of Cap- tain Godwin Austen.
THREATENED GENERAL KAFFIR RISING. The latest intelligence from the Cape is much less favourable than that received by the last two mails. In the colony a very uneasy feeling prevails; there is excitement at Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, and the Home Government thinks it advisable to send out a regiment of infantry and a battery of artil- lery without delay. The cause of appre- hension in the present case is partly the chief KrelÏ, who has returned with his tribe to the Transkei, to try and recover their territory. To meet the danger of an apprehended exten- sion of the war, every regular soldier has been sent to the front. Further, the Zulu King, Oetewayo, now appears disposed to give trouble. This potentate has occupied a district on the Transvaal frontier to which he pretends a claim that is not recognised by the British Government. The dispute is one which we took over with the territory of the South African Republic. Sir Bartle Frere has requested Cetewayo in a friendly manner to retire from the country he has occupied, but hitherto he has shown, no disposition to do so. Possibly the dispute may still admit of an amicable settlement; but it would be a serious matter to have our power defied even with only a temporary appearance of success by a chief whose lead the great body of Zulu Kaffirs would be inclined to follow. We need not dwell upon a subject the importanse of which has been fully exhibited by Lord Carnarvon in his despatches to the Governor of the Cape in support of his policy of confederation. The Kaflirs are in an over- whelming majority, and they have been for years in- vesting their spare cash in rifles and ammunition. Sir Bartle Frere has declared the British settlements to be ia danger, and he is no alarmist. We may be sure that he would not have called for reinforcements if they had net been really required, and can only hope that they will arrive in time to enable him effec- tually to maintain the rights of this country without landing it in a general Kaffir war. By the arrival of „the mail from the Cape of Good Hope we learn that public meetings have been held at Port Elizabeth,Graham's Town, King William's Town, and East London, at which resolutions were passed urging the Gevernment to adopt a more energetic policy, and pointing out the necessity for a special session of Parliament. Sir Bartle Frere, in replying to a deputation, admitted that the situation was one of extreme danger, but said that if the colonists sup- ported him he had every hope of carrying things through without peace being disturbed within the colony. Rumours of disaffection among several tribes prevailed, it is stated, but there appeared to be no foundation for them, except the excitement ampng the natives consequent upon Kreli's movement. j Ç'r
FAMINE IN CHINA.—A correspondent engaged in the relief work in the North-east of China writes: "People of all ages die of actual starva- tion by thousands. The famine extends over a dis- trict which includes at least 5000 villages, and in these latter together I am certainty within the mark in saying that 500 die daily, perhaps 1000 may be within it. A few days ago I traversed the worst part. Thousands upon thousands have perished already. Houses are pulled down in every village to sell the timber and thatch in order to get food. Those who can get husks and dry leaves, ordinarily used for fuel, are considered well off. Most of the poor young girls have been sold old men, middle- aged, young men, and children die daily of sheer starvation and others freeze. The dead cannot get a burial; they are too many, and none can afford the expense; so they are cast daily into large pits." This is a description of what happened last year. This year even worse horrors are reported. The people at Shansi are said to be living on the corpses of their fellow-beings who die of starvation! And the strong are killing the weak for the sake ot obtaining their desh for food! Up to the present time the principal relief has come from the Christian missionaries, Protestant and Roman Catholic, who have distributed among the sufferers the funds subscribed by their communities in the open ports. A CORRESPONDENT of Land and Water makes the curioua statement that in certain English counties from whence the chief supply of geese is drawn, young children are frequently detained from school or work, that they may lie in bed by turns for the sole purpose of watching goose eggs placed there with them It remains to be seen whether the present Government I', system of education will permit the continuance of this system.—Live Stock Journal. LIEUTENANT-GENERAL VON KUNST, the oldest officer in the German army, died at Munich a few days ago. He was in his 99th year, had been in service eighty-five years, and fought in the Battle of Nen Brisach,in 1793. LICENSED HOUSES IN FRANCE.—An offiolal document shows that there were in France, at the date of the last return, 313,529 establishments licensed for the sale of liquors. The greatest number was in the department of the Seine, including Paris, namely, 24,809; the Department of the Nord was, however, not far behind, with 23,127; the adjoining Depart- ment of the Pas-de-Oalais was also provided with 13,293. Those are the only three in which the number exceeds 10,000. It may be remarked that in opposition to the abundance of drink-shops in the north of France, there were only 6014 in the Rhone, which includes Lyons, and but 3244 ini the Bouches- du-Rhone, comprising Marseilles. THE young woman who, being engaged, sighed in sentimental rhythm. "Oh! for some new-found pame by which to call "'mmarr-ed her lover about six months ago, and haa now decided to call him Old Bwnm >1-' )
DISTRESS IN SOUTH WALES. The Cardiff correspondent of the Times writes: During the strike and lock-out of 1874 an appeal was made to the country to aid in relieving the distress which was then prevailing. The destitution ef the colliers now is greater and more widespread. Then, prior to the strike, coal had been realising a high price, wages were good, and some of the more thrifty had laid by a small sum of money, and they were thus able to keep off the destitution for a time. Since the beginning of 1875 coal has been gradually, but continuously, falling in price, and the wages of the collier began, when the award was concluded, at tho minimum to which by that award they could fall. This rate of wages continued up to the close of 1877. After some months, when the de- mand for coal fell off, the collieries began working short time, so that, for tho last two years, the collier has been getting gradually poorer. His whole earnings when at work full time he required for sup- plying himself and his famfiy with food, and the clothes that ought to have been renewed have been gradually falling away into rags. The children's shoes are worn out and cannot be replaced with new ones, and thus he and his family are not only being pinched with hunger, but they we also, suffering from the cold. The Rhondda Valley is the great centre from which the South Wales steam coal is supplied to the market. The mountains on each side contain rich seams of coal, and for eight miles along both banks of the river every foot of ground is covered with collieries, which when in full swing give support to about 30,000 people, who live in clusters round each colliery. At Treherbert, which is at the extremity of the valley, a soup-kitchen has been opened, a relief committee formed, to which Lord Aberdare has handsomely contributed, and the wants of the most urgent cases are being met; but for the whole distance below, from Treherbert to Pontypridd, which is almost one continuous town, no organised system of relief has yet been established. A short distance below Treherbert is the populousvillage of Treorchy, situated in the midst of several large collieries — Treorchy, Abergorkey, Tylacoch-park, Dare, and other collieries belonging to the Ocean Com- pany and others. None of these collieries have, I am told, been at work more than about two days a week for some time, and each would give employment to nearly 500 men. Before the reduction, which has now been conceded by the collier, he would, in favourable circumstances, and with these hours of labour, earn about .£2 a month. If he had to encounter faults, or the coal was difficult to get, he would not earn so much. He lives in a cottage which belongs to the colliery owner, and the rent for these cottages is usually, including rates, 13s. a month. At the end of a fortnight he draws perhaps half his wages, and at the end of the month the balance is paid to him* or rather the amount that was due tehim on the previous Saturday, a week's wages being always re- tained by the employer. When the balance is paid the 13e. fer the rent is deducted, the weekly contri. bution to the doctor, and the value of the coal which he haa taken home from the colliery for his own use and for which he is charged at the rate of 6s. or 6s. 6d. per ton. After these reductions are made the collier has very little spare euh to take home to his family, and as the monthly system of payments prevails everywhere, he is invariably in debt to the grocer, probably also to the publican, and hundreds of men with wives and five or six children have had for months to live on 58., 68., or 7s. a week. The debts to the tradesmen have accumulated so much that nothing, in many instances, can be obtained unless tne money is tendered for it. In almost every colliery village the number of public-houses is large, and when there is no fire in the grate at home the cheer. ful fire in the publican's kitchen is a sore temptation to the collier, and a small debt to the publican may still further reduce the cash he has taken from the colliery. Whatever business these persons may have done in the good timaa they certainly do not seem to be doing much now. This state of things exists more or less among the great bulk of the population in the valley, and in other districts where collieries are working shorter time the distress must be greater." The clergy and gentry of the afflicted districts are doing their best, by distributions of soup and bread, to check the advance of hunger. Even if they ruined themselves in trying to perform the task which is the affair of the whole nation they could scarcely accomplish it. The Rev. Mr. Wil- liams, of Dukestown, Tredegar, writes to tell us that the-children in the schools come barefoot, ragged, and unfed, and that the poor creatures "betray their misery in the afternoon by burst- ing out into piteous cries." It is a hard thing to see children cry for very hunger. Mr. Williams is ready to receive and expend subscriptions, and to establish a soup-kitchen. It is not money only that is neces- sary. Clothes, and especially boots and shoes, are almost as much needed as food. For," as a cor- respondent writes, of course the poor people have no means of renewing their stock, and the trouble has been prevalent so long now that what they have started with is all worn out." The women are so ill-clad that they are ashamed to carry babies born into this misery to church to be christened. Mr. Henry Richard, M.P., has forwarded even more painful details of the condition of the children than any that a correspondent has observed. The School Board Visitor finds little truants of necessity, boys and girls absolutely naked in their fathers' houses. The Rev. John Griffith, Rector of Merthyr, as a correspondent informs us, is ready to receive sub- scriptions and other help for that town; aid destined for Aberdare may be sent to the vicar, the Rev.Wynno Jones; while contributions for the relief of Mountain Ash may be forwarded to Lady Aberdare, Duffryn. Mr. Richard also is willing to receive subscriptions, and to see that they are properly distributed. It is not likely that the charitable people in South Wales will long be straitened for want of means when once the public understands that it is only in extent, not in quality,of suffering that Merthyr and the surrounding country differs from India.
THE CAPE EXPEDITION.—The Army Clothing Establishment at Pimlico, London, has received an order from the War Office countermanding the usual warrant for the annual issue of uniform clothing to the battery of Royal Artillery and regiment of in- fantry ordered to the Cape of Good Hope, and direct- ing the supply of a special outfit, the chief feature of which is a serge patrol-jacket, or jersey," that of the artillery being blue, and that of the infantry red. Arrangements are being made for the conveyance of the troops to their destination, and they will probably embark at Portsmouth. The artillery bat- tery consists of abcut 150 officers and men, and these, with the 90th Regiment, comprise the whole of the present expedition. No preparation is being made to send out at the same time any field-guns, ammunition, or warlike stores; but, as large supplies of all requi- sites for an African campaign were despatched by steamer a short time since, it is believed that there is ample provision for the equipment ef the troops at Oape Town. A MAGISTRATE'S LID THREATENED. Mr. T. S. Raffles, the stipendiary magistrate for Liverpool, received a letter, apparently written by an illiterate person, and signed in the name of Daniel Jones, threatening that his life would be taken for com- mitting to the sessions two burglars who were caught by the police in a butcher's shop in Islington. The writer in the course of his epistle said: I mane to murder you for sendin them poor fellars to tbe sissions for such trifle, I know you and I will surely shoot you when I mate you coming out of coort to- morrow on my oath I will kill you and owld Karlesle (the detective anperintendent) too when I mate him." The letter was ornamented with a sketch of a coffin containing a human figure, over which was the name "Rafelfl." Instruction* were given to the police to trace, if possible, the writer of it. UNITED STATES SAVING BANKS.—The Secre- tary ef the United States Treasury reports that the savings' banks of that country hold, deposits exceed- ing 8843,000,000, belonging to 2,300,000 persons, and he says that the heavy losses which have been sus- tained through the funds of such banks being impro- vidently loaned (lent) on insufficient security have in- flicted far greater injury than would a similar loss suffered by persons engaged in commercial pursuits. What he proposes (and the President recommends the scheme) is that small sums be received at the postal money-order omces, and Government certificates for the amount be issued, convertible on demand of the holder into four per cent. bonds of the United States, the money thus received to be applied in the redemp- tion of bonds bearing a higher rate of interest and now redeemable at par. The Secretary believes that by some puch system the great body of the public debt might be reduced to its smallest possible burden and distributed among the people of the United States. SUPPOSED MURDER ON BOARD SHIP.—A communication has been received by 'the Mayor of Middlesborough from the Home Secretary directing him to follow the crew of the steamship Glengarry, a Middlesborough steamer, which proceeded to Grangemouth a day or two ago. It appears that the Glengarry, was at Boulogne before coming to Mid- dlesborough, and while there one of the engineers, a man named Wilson a Middleaboroughman, died sud- denly, and was, in accordance with the laws of France, buried at once. From circumstances which have since transpired it is believed that he met with foul play, and the body has been exhumed. In coneequenee of the examination a communication was made to the authorities at London, and the result is that the Mayor of Middlesborough has been directed to make in- J quiries among the crew. AN unpaid-for yaoht is politely formed a loat- ing debt) > i
--=- GUN ACCIDENTS AND THEIR CAUSES. (Irom "Land and Water.") Each succeeding shooting season brings with it the usual accompaniments of fatal poaching affrays and gun accidents. We are, however, pleased to nore from careful observation, that, although a few very deplorable instances of both have occurred, the present season has hitherto been comparatively free from distressing occurrences of either kind. But Christmas has only just gone bv and probably we are premature in forming such a favourable estimate of this season's casualties. Regarding "gun accidents," the subject to which we intend in the present instance to confine our remarks, the numbers that occur yearly can scarcely be deemed great, considering the multitude of individuals who use firearms in this country. Nevertheless, although comparatively far from excessive, they might be greatly reduced by the simplest precautions. As many ajcidents from guns occur, we should imagine in the fortnight succeeding Christmas as during nearly the whole of the rest ot the year, and this arises from the fact that a greater number of individuals, more or less unacquainted with the dangerous nature of the weapon, use it at that season of the year than at any other. Accidents aris- ing from this cause, it is much to be feared always will happen with more or less frequency as long as each Christmas brings its numbers of young men and boys home at this season, from their town employments, and from school, to their friends in the country, where at Christmas time most classes spend their holidays, indulging in that love, so inherent in the English people, of field sports of some kind or other. We can scarcely attribute any reasons for this gratifying decrease of gun accidents this year, except it be the almost general use of the breechloader. Guns built on this principle are certainly much less likely to be the cause of accident to the shooter at least than the muzzle gun, particularly if the latter be a double-barrel. It has frequently caused us to shudder in the olden days of muzzle loaders when we had to reload one barrel while the other contained its charge with the cap on the nipple. Of course, with the hammer at half cock, the danger was re- duced to a minimum, but still it is next to impossible to replenish the empty barrel without having some pomen of the person exposed to or partially covering the tube containing the deadly charge. We have seen men reload the empty chamber of a double- muzzle gun with the hammer resting on the cap this is one of the most fertile causes of accidents from firaarms. It is, indeed, a very dangerous practice, for if the striker should get a slight knock from a stone or piece of wood, it would in all probability explode the fulminate, and we have heard of an instance in which a second barrel was discharged bv the striker while down on the cap being accidentally bumped against the leg of the loader, whose hand was in consequence badly mutilated. Some men even neglect the commonest precautions, and allow the cock of an undischarged chamber of a double- muzzle gun to remain at the full while they place the butt-end on the ground and reload the empty barrel. Loading at the breech precludes all possibility of accidents of this kind to the loader, aa in all instances while loading operations are going on the muzzle necessarily points away from him. The immunity, however, of his companions the while is not quite so complete, although the probabilities of the cartridges exploding as the breach of the barrels is pressed or jerked back to its place in the stock are remote. In any such instance, if the holder of the weapon be a careful man, there need be no danger, as he will take care that the barrels shall not be united while in the horizontal position in which he holds the stock to insert the cartridges, but pointing downwards. VIe have seen many men, however, who ought to have known better,after reloading, jerktheir barrels into posi- toon in a horizontal line en a level with the waists of their neighbours, who, we have seen, have had quicklytostep out of a position thus suddenly rendered dangerous. Fatal accidents not unfrequently result from persons pointing a gun at another in fun. Any onlT J°.PeuP Jfte8 8uck a sorry "joke" is utterly unfitted to handle a gun, and should on the first oppor- tunity be disarmed, and treated as something akin to a dangerous lunatic. Accidents in the field are chiefly attributable to two causes-drawing or pushing the gun thronrh a hedge with the muzzle forward; carrying the gun with the hammers resting on the caps (if a muzzle-loader) or at full cock. We have had personal acquaintance with two or three dreadful accidents arising from the former cause. A young man two or three years since wanting to hide his gun tiU his return/rom a visit to a neighbouring house in the midst of closely preserved land, where he did not care to carry it, pushed it butt-end foremost into a dense thicket of brambles, and in doing so the trigger waspulled-no doubt by a twig-the gun ex- ploded, and the charge lodged in the man's groin, causing almost instant death. About twelve months afterwards a brother of the unfortunate individual lost a leg from an almost similar accident; and the ™ x. ™ a y°un? man named Ernest Marsh, 20 years of age, son of a brewer at Barnsley, was fatally shot in the stomach while in the act of handing a double-barrelled gun, butt-end first, through a hedge to a friend. Guns should always be carried at the half-cock, as then neither a blow on the striker nor a pull at the trigger will bring the former into action. There is no necessity what- ever for a gun to be otherwise than at the half-cock, unless game is immediately in front; and, further, it may not be out of place to add, that it is dangerous when shooting in company for the gun to be swung round in taking aim, with the finger on the trigger. The eye should follow the line of flight, and the gun oe raised at the proper moment. Accidents from guns bursting are rare; but caution is very neces- sary in getting over fences to see that no earth gets lodged in the muzzle, or in winter time that the latter does not get blocked up by snow dropping from bushes, or otherwise. These obstacles, although they may be easily re- moved, are quite sufficient, if they remain, to burst the strongest barrels when the piece is fired. This it caused by the wonderful velocity of the expanding gases. This expansion, which is said to be at about the rate of 7000ft. per second, is the same in all directions, and the least check at the muzzle of the gun causes such a sudden increased pressure on its sides, that the latter are unable to resist its effects and are burst open. The monitory remarks above are scarcely needed by true sportsmen of experience.
M. GAMBETTA'S TISIT TO ROME.—In conver- sation with Signor Cairoli at Rome, M. Gambetta denounced Clericalism as the greatest enemy of France, and said that had its partisans triumphed in the late elections, intervention on behalf of the Pope would have followed. Before leaving Rome M. Gam- betta had an interview with Xing Victor Emmanuel. «, COMPENSATION CLAIM. — At the Sheriffs Court, Red Lion-square, London, before Mr. Under-sheriff Burchell the case of Sir Spencer Maryon Wilson, Bart., and the Metropolitan and St. John's Wood Railway Company was heard. The claim as presented to the Court was about .£85,000 for land in the Fincbley-road, beyond the Swiss Oettage, which Wal required for a new station. The company had taken a portion of land for a tunnel, and had served a notice for a further portion. A sum of .£5500 had been paid for the tunnel land, and the question was the sum to be awarded for the additional laud. About six acres were required, and on the part of the claimant it was pnt at from £2000 to .£8000 an acre. On the part of the company the jury were invited to consider that £8500 would be the full extent to be given. Mr. Under-sheriff Burchell, in summing up the case, regretted the delay since the first hearing in July, owing to the elevation of the Hon. W. Thesiger. The jury returned a verdict for £17,000. and no damage for the severance. A SOUTH AFRICA WEDDING. The Gold- fields correspondent of the Natal Mercury writes from Pilgrims Rest, on the 4th of November: "The mar- riage of Mr. W. G. Compton (late of Natal) to Miss Alice Mary C. Marshall (third daughter of Mr. William Marshall, for many years a resident of Maritzburg, and the well-known sportsman of that city) took place to-day. The camp was gaily decorated with bunting, every flagstaff showing its colours. A novel feature was a rope stretched across the street, with a lot of old beots and slippers attached to the rope, which was lowered down as the bridal wag- gonette passed underneath. This, at any rate, can boast of originality, though the oxen drawing the vehicle did not appear to appreciate it. The happy pair intend to spend their honeymoon travelling about this part of the country for a fortnight. They have the good wishes of every pilgrim. The bridal wag- gonette deserves a passing word, it being one of the prettiest little conveyances of its kind any one could wish for complete in every particular, nicely cushioned throughout, and placed on good springs." TORPEDO MANUFACTURE.—The War Depart- ment authorities have revoked the decision at which they arrived some time since to exhibit in the pattern room of the Royal Laboratory Department, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, one of the Whitehead or fiah torpedoes, the Lords of the Admiralty having objected to the public display of even the exterior shell of the machine, although it is frequently shown at work and at rest to visitors, native and foreign. It is under- stood that an important improvement has lately been introduced into the manufacture of this torpedo at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, but the improvement, like the main principle of the invention, is kept a secret. IN a sm^ll party, the subject turning on mat- rimony, a ledy said to her sister, "I wonder, my dear, you have never made a match I think you want the brimstone;" the replied, "No, not the brimstone, only the fpark,"
MR. J. ANTHONY FRQUDE, M.A., ON TH EASTERN QUESTION. Mr. Froude has written the preface to a little volume of letters by a Russian lady, entitled Is Russia Wrong ?" just published by Messrs. Hodder and Steughten. Mr. Froude explains that the letters, which are written in an honourable attempt to remove misconceptions, ouaht to be welcome to us, especially at the present crisis, when tae wise or unwise con- duct of English statesmen may affect incalculably, for good or evil, the fortunes of many millions of mankind." He goes on to sav that the task of introducing European civilisation into Asia—a thankless labour at the best —has fallen on England and Russia, and its success depends on the relations between those two Powers. On the broadest ground, therefore, it is our interest to be on good terms with Russia, unless there is some- thing in the Muscovite proceedings so unqualifiedly bad that we are positively obliged to separate our- selves from them." Mr. Froude presumes that we have no idea of crumpling up Russia aad there remains, therefore, the alternative either to settle into an attitude of fixed hostility to a Power which will always exist side by side with us, or to place on Russia's action towards the Asiatic races the same favourable construction we allow to our own, and to ask ourselves whether in Russia's conduct there is anything materially different from what we, too, accept as necessary in similar circumstances." Mr. Froude condemned the war of 1854, then as well as now. That war had been made inevitable from the indignation of the Liberal party throughout Europe at Russia's inter- ference in Hungary. Professedly a war in defenco of Turkey, it was fought really for European liberty. European liberty is no longer in danger, nor has the behaviour of Turkey since the peace been of a kind to give her a claim on our interest for her own sake." The Ottoman Empire having existed for half a century on sufferance, and the Great Powers being all agreed that the Porte cannot be left to govern its Christian subjects after its own pleasure, the question was, in whom the right of supervision ia to reside." The Treaty of Paris provided a general European protectorate; but it seemed to many likely that the real occasion of the war would be forgotten in the other objects that were secured by it, and that, after a very few years, the problem of how to compel the Turk to respect his engagements would certainly re- turn." Such anticipations had been ridiculed as absurd; but "the Turk has gone back, not for- ward. He remains what he has alwavs been —a blight upon every province on which he has set his heel. The Christian subjects having appealed once more for help, "Russia, unable to trust further to promises so often made and so uniformly broken, has been obliged to take active measures, and at once the Orimein ashes have again been blown into a flame; there is a cry that Russia has sinister aims of her own, that English interests are in danger, and that we must rush to the support of onr ancient friend and ally. How we are decently to do it, under what plea and far what purpose, after the part we took at the Conference, is not explained." The rest of Europe is not alarllled, but is indifferent. If we go into the struggle, we must go in without a single ally," and when we have been successful we should be obliged to become sole protector of the Bulgarian Christians. A British protectorate is too ridiculous to be thought of; and if the alternative be to place Bulgaria under a government of its own, that is pre- cisely the thing which Russia is trying to do. To go to war with such a dilemma staring us in the face, and with no object which we can distinctly define, would be as absurd an enterprise as England was ever entangled in." Still there was room for misgiv- ing. Politicians snatch at passing gusts of popular excitement to win a; momentary party victory. Our Premier, unless he has been misrepresented, has dreamt of closing his political career with a transfor- mation scene-Europe in flames behind him, and him- self posing like harlequin before the footlights. Happily there is a power which is stronger than even Parliamentary majorities in public opinion, and publie opinion has, I trust, already decided that English bayonets shall not be stained again in defence of Turkish tyranny."
OUR AUSTRALIAN COLONIES. The Statistical Eegister contains a Statistical Re- turn, showing the relative position and aggregate importance of the Australasian Colonies at the close of the year 1876. The estimated mean population of the several colonies is given as follows New South Wales, 618,214; Victoria, 830,679; Seuth Australia, 218,060; Queensland. 184,194; Tasmania, 104,573; Western Australia, 27,321; New Zealand (exclu- sive of Maories), 387,465; total, 2,370.506. The reenue of New South Wales was £5,037,662; Vic- toria, £4,325,156; South Australia, £1,320,204; Queensland, £1,263,268; Tasmania, £ 327,350; Western Australia, £ 162,189; New Zealand. £3,580,494; total, £16.016,128. The proportion of the revenue of 1876, raised by taxation, is thus stated: New South Wales, il,161,406; Victoria, £1,780.392; South Australia, £445,548; Queensland, £568,776; Tasmania, £215,639; Western Australia, £85,178; New Zealand, £ 1,350,025; total, £5,606,964. The rate of taxation per head of the population was, in New South Wales, £1 17,. 7d.; Victoria, £2 3s. 2fd.; South Australia, £2 Os. 10ld.; Queens- land, £3 3s. 1°¥1.; Tasmania, £2 Is. 3d.; Western Australia, £3 2s. 4-fd. New Zealand, £3 9a. 8Id.; total, £18 8s. Od. The value of imports was as follows: New South Wales, £13,672,776; Victoria, £15.705,334; South Australia, £4,576,183 Queens- land, £3.126,559; Tasmania, £1.133,003 Western Australia, £386,037; New Zealand, £6,905,171; total, £45,505,083. The value of exports is stated as follows: New South Wales, £3,003,941; Vic- toria, £14.196,487; South Australia, £4,816,170; Queensland, £3,875.581; Tssœa.nia. £1,130,983; Western Australia, .£397,293.; New Zealand, £5,673,465. The number of miles of railway open on December 31, 1876, was, in New South Wales, 554 Victoria, 702 South Australia, 328 Queens- • land, 298 Tasmania, 1724; Western Australia, 38; New Zealand, 718; total, 2810i. In New South Wales there were 513,840 acres under crop, 366,703 I horses, 3,131,013 cattle, 24,503,388 sheep, and 173,604 pigs. In Victoria there Were 1,231,105 acres under crop, 194,768 horses, 1,128.265 cattle, 11,278,893 sheep, and 175,578 pigs. In South Australia there were 1,514,916 acrea under crop, 106,903 horses, 219,441 cattle, 6,133.291 sheep, and 102,295 pigs. In Queensland there were 85.569 acres under crep, 133,625 horses, 2,079,979 cattle, 7,315,074 sheep, and 53,455 pigs. Ihe figures just given for Queensland are those of 1875, be- cause, owing to the floods in the western district, it was impossible to complete the returns of the year 1876 for the districts of Cunnamulla and Blackall. In Tasmania there were in 1876 127,282 acres under crop, 23,622 hones, 124,459 cattle, 1,755,142 sheep (not including 13,643 sheep on islands-in Bases Straits), and 60,681 pigs. In Western Australia there were 45,933 acres under crop, 33,502 hones, 54,058 cattle, 899,494 sheep, and 18,108 pigs. In New Zealand there were 2,682,755 acres under crop (including 2,202,645 acres of artificial grasses, and exclusive of 257,954 acres of land broken up, but not under crop), 99,859 horses, 494,917 cattle, 11,704,863 sheep, and 123,921 pigs. These latter figures for New Zealand, it should be observed, are taken from the Census of 1874, as no account of stock has been taken since that date. Lastly, each of the colonies had a Public Debt—via., New South Wales, £11,759,519; Victoria, £17,011,382; South Australia, £3,837,100; Queens- land, £6,948,586; Tasmania, £1,520.500; Western Australia, £185,000; and New Zealand..£18,677,111 —making a total of £59,890,198.
YOUTHFUL TIPPLERS.—The Liverpool stipen- diary magistrate received the following letter, which explains itself: "Liverpool, 2nd of January. To T. S. Raffles, Esq. Sir,—Enclosed please find Is. 8d. for the police-court poor-box, obtained under the following circumstance: A boy, about 10 or 11 years of age, came into my house last Sunday for a shilling's worth of rum. He also tendered a penny for the bottle. I asked him who it was for, and he said his mother. I told him to go for her, and he said she was ill. I then said he must bring his father. (I doubted him as he coloured very much.) He murmured a great deal, and I asked a person present to go for a policeman. He then ran away as hard as he could. On Christmas Day another boy came in, and asked for sixpennyworth of rum, also putting down a penny for the bottle. He said it was for a woman who was outside. In each case the money was put down on the counter first, and several boys stood at the corner of the street waiting for the boys who wished to buy the liquor. This shows how easily we licensed victuallers may get a bad name through these lads.—I, remain yours respectfully.—A LICENSED VICTUALLER. A CHAPLAIN ROBBED.—The ohlaplain to the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rev. F. 0. Beaumont, was set upon and robbed on the highway the other day. He had been officiating for the Vicar of Weeford, and was on his way back to Lichfield. At the time the robbery occurred—half-past one o'clock—three men advanced to meet him, one of them asking for money. Mr. Beaumont drew out his purse, and as he was doing so one of the gang Btruck him on the head with a stick and another snatched his purse. The three then ran away. Information has been given to the city and county constabulary, but up to the present time without result. THE FLAG OF HER MAJERTY'S SHIP ALERT, distinguished by having been planted in the highest north latitude ever known to have been attained, has been placed on public view at the Royal Naval Mtiwwm in Greenwich College,
PROVINCIAL FREE LIBRARIES. (From the" Times.*} The Free Libraries Act of 1855, amended in 1866, and also in the last Session of Parliament, permits town councils and parishes, by vote taken in a pre- scribed form, to tax the ratepayers to the extent of Id. in the £ ef rateable value, and no more, for the estab- lishment of a free library. The Id. or eon, lesser rate in the £ is applicable to the acquisition of books, newspapers, specimens of art and science, tiding, furniture, fuel, service, and light. Neighboiring branches may unite together for the purpose of executing the Act. We are told that about 100 towta have adopted the provisions of the Act; and Professor Leone Levi, in hia "Plea for a Public Library a: *he Islington," gives a list of towns having reference and lending libraries, which includes Airdrie, Bilston, Birkenbead, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Brad- ford, Bridgwater, Brierley Hill, Brlehton, Bristol, Burslem, and many other towns of the most hetro- genous character. Some of the provincial libraries have valuable specialities, as Birmingham in its col- lections of works relating to Shakespeare and to ths history and antiquities of Warwickshire. The Bir- mingham Free Library has five establishments; Sheffield has three. At Manchester, which was the first town to adopt the Free Libraries Act, there is a central library with six flourishing branches in outlying districts; and there is another library with branches in the neighbouring borough of Salford. The work of the libraries is largely done in Manchester, as in the United States of America, by yeung women employed in the capacity of assistant librarians, and thus a new field of labour is opened to wemen. Great advantages which the provincial libraries have over the reading-room of the British Museum are that they are open at night up to nine and ten o'clock, at hours when the working population are at liberty, and that they have lending departments from which all ratepayers or persons with a ratepayer's voucher may borrow books to read at home. These circumstances lead to use being made of provincial libraries by people of a much lower class than that which furnishes students at the British Museum. Each library publishes an annual report and statement of expenditure, and returns re- lating to the subject are annually laid before Parlia- ment. The reports from Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Dundee, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Roch- dale, and Westminster may be cited as good examples of their kind among those to which we have been enabled to refer. From some of the documents issued the status and numbers of the persons using the libraries can be ascertained. At Leeds Public Library, established in 1869 under the Act of 1855, and now possessing four- teen branch lending libraries, the trades of those who consult works of reference are carefully registered and published in the report. In the year 1876-7 works of reference were consulted by 11,327 artisans, whose occupation is not further particularised, in addition to 3590 metal-workers, 1018 woollen operatives, and 256 dyers. Working men thus formed a substantial portion of those using the library and in still greater numbers came another class, which may be expected to benefit at least as much by the useful op- portunities of culture which free libraries afford. No less than 14,668 clerks, 2777 shop assistants, and 1649 warehousemen used the library in the year. Com- paratively a small number of teachers (3269), pupils (4533) and professional men (4583) consulted the re- ference library. The manufacturers and merchants (2506) far outnumbered the shop-keepers (1167). fact probably due to the comparatively short hours which wholesale trade enjoys. The most surprising figures are those which come last. In epite ef the abundant leisure of women, out of 15,509 persons who used the reference books in the year, only 176 were females. There was no such great disparity in the proportion of the sexes using the lending libraries. Here, out of a total of 14,389, about a third, or 3251, of the borrowers were females. Three-fourths of the books issued at the lending libraries (285,680 out of 398,456) are works of imagination. Something may be due to the situation of the reference library in a business part of the town, but the inference is irre- sistible that at Leeds, if not elsewhere, ladies, factory girls, school girls, female teachers, and domestic servants read novels and little else.
A ROMANTIC STORY. The Paris correspondent of the Daily Telegraph says: The Valdrome affair, which commenced as a society scandal, and ended with the glaring publicity of a court of law, has had a curious and romantic epilogue. In the first instance, Madame de Valdrome, the widow of the last Home Minister of the Empire, lost her case, the guardianship of her child was entrusted to the uncle, and by him the boy was placed in charge of the Dominican Brothers at Argueil. On Dec. 31 a Dominican father brought the little boy to wish his mother a happy new year. Madame de Valdrome retained her child with her, kept the Dominican father for several hours in an ante- chamber, dressed her son as a girl, entrusted him to i some friends who were starting for abroad the s ime If day, and then returned home to prepare for her own flight. At last the Dominican lost patience, found that the boy was gone, and rushed off to inform his j tutor, M. de Valdrome, of what had passed. M. de Valdrome communicated with the police. Madame de i Valdrome's house was surrounded and she herself was Y watched, the agents even following her to church. There after her prayers, she entered the sacristy as t i Madame de Valdrome, and, taking advantage of her theatrical experience, left it as a little, bent, old woman, well enveloped in a large mantle. One of the agents of the police even sprinkled her with holy 1 water as she departed. Once in the street, Madame de Valdrome of course found a cab awaiting her, drove to the station, and safely reached her little son beyond the frontier. One can hardly believe such a romantic story, but it is only another proof that truth is stranger than fiction. We find, however, Madame de Valdrome consulting such very material and unro- mantic lawyers as Maitres Alloa and Betolaud before taking the bold measures in the success of which public sympathy will go with her.
A KLEPTOMANIAC WIDOW LADY.—A klepto- maniac, a widow of good .family and in comfortable circumstances, has been sentenced in Paris to six months'imprisonment. She is believed to have stolen articles from a number of drapers' shops, and was lately detected at the Magasins du Louvre slipping two lace handkerchiefs into her muff. The shopman who saw her do this, and whose attention had been attracted by her restless air, followed her into the street, and asked her wkether she had not forgotten something. She said she had bought nothing, :whereupon he drew out the hand- kerchiefs. She offered to pay for tnem, but he led her to the desk, where she pullet a square of soap and a cosmetic from her pocket. These she at first asserted she had paid for, but aterwards confessed she had stolen. On being askei whether she hac anything else, she replied in negative but t' shopman, on searching her, found six articler, four of them in a false pock*- At her lodging a muff, waterproof, and other'hings from the Boa, Marchá were discovered, amou ting in value to 420. The Magasins du Leuvre, on laming her connection, declined to prosecute, but th Public Prosecutor ù- sisted on proceeding with the^ase. On her trial tte prisoner wept, and her guilt, addiig that she had no need to steh and that she had lot her senses when she did so. ALLEGED TRADE UlON INTIMIDATION.— At the Sheffield Quarter essions an application 1nI made fer the postponement of the trial of Robert Holmshaw, a trade unio secretary, for having ini- midated a grinder name Hibbert. The defendait was committed for triaat the last Quarter Session, but two days before theyommenced it was ascertains! that Hibbert had beer sent to America, his passage being paid, and money Ten to his wife to follow hin with her child. The d* was adjourned last sessions that the Treasury *ght be asked to assist in bringing Hibbert bao but they declined to inter- fere. Under those cblmstanceø it was the intentim of the prosecution t<have gone on with the casein the absence of Hibbc, but a few days "go it 1188 discovered that the Ost important witness left—a man who heard theiefendant threaten Hibbert tlat if he did net disclfge an apprentice he would be smashed "—had ,10 disappeared. The eouniel for the prosecution ;ated. that there was a strong case in point of la against the defendant, but a weak case in poinof fact. He therefore applied that the indictmentmight be placed upon the file until the further ders of the Court. The applica- tion was granted. <| THE PUBLICS AND THE TEMPERANCE II MOVEMENT.—In ^sequence of a letter from a FJ Windsor clergymalto the secretary of the Berks and Bucks Licensed tstuallers' Association, that body has issued the flowing declaration: II We, the licensed victuallers? the Berks and Bucts Protection Association, feelintheimportance and responsibility of our position, ar it being represented to us that our co-operation ?the cause of true temperance is earnestly desired, Id feeling that we may be a great help or a great hi*r&nce, do hereby heartily declare that in all lawful r»ys and by all reasonable means we will seek to .omote temperance, sobriety, and moderation." LADIES are be watches—pretty enough to look at—sweet Ices and delicate bands, but some- what difficult to relate after tbev are set agomg. h. Printed ANDPUBL^by the proprietor, JOHH Coirvrrso* .1 ROBBWTS, at ^General Fruiting Oflice, No. 1, Eben ■ i.M Cudinar1 the parish of Saint M«y^s u» ttie Oonjttf e( 12, 18'lI.