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(Dor IMwm Carmpitkni


(Dor IMwm Carmpitkni 0V 8 deem it right to state that we do not at all times identify ourselves with our correspondent's opinions.] Personal rumours relative to high life are plentiful. On dit that the Princess Louise, her Majesty's fourth daughter is to be married to the Prince of Orange, heir apparent of the Netherlands; that Sir Roundell Palmer, with the title of Lord Selbome of Selbome, is to become Lord Chancellor, Lord Hatherley resigning; that Mr. Chichester Fortescue is to have a peerage, and the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland, vice Earl Spencer, who is to resign and that Mr. Denison will resign the Speakership at the end of the session, witha peerage of course, and that Mr. Cardwell may proba- t y be the new Speaker. Some correspondence has taken place with regard o the decay of the Houses of Parliament, from which S clearly appears that something ought speedily to be one. Many parts of this noble pile of buildings are bsolutely crumbling away. It is very strange that othing has yet been discovered to stop this premature lecay. Tempos, edax rtrum, of course causes every- thing to decay, but Westminster Palace is toe modern I, to attribute this marvellous decay to this cause. A very few years after the building had been commenced, and long before it was finished, it was found that the stone was decaying. At the present time on the river front the decay is perceptible. Projecting cornices, plinths, and mouldings, have been gnawed and cracked; the fine tracery of panels and other ornaments has been corroded, and even on the fiat surfaces patches of the outer skin, as it were, of the stone have peeled off from utter rottenness. More than twenty years ago Professor Faraday and Sir Roderick Murchinson reported that a remedy had been found, and parts of the building having been washed over with a prepara- tion this was found to arrest decay, but it is strange hat no effectual preventive has yet been discovered. It would be easy to moralise on the decay of our Palace of Parliament, but I leave the reader to do his own moralising. While public attention is being directed to the exterior of the Houses of Parliament, the members are con- templating improvements to make themselves more comfortable. It is intended to form a splendid dining-room for members of the two Houses, and from a reply by the First Commissioner of Works to a question, it appears that it is intended to make con- siderable improvements in the ladies' gallery in the House of Commons. The little gilt-barred cage in which these pretty birds are confined, does not deserve the name it bears, for not more than a dozen ladies can peep through the bars and see and hear anything of what is going on. But Mr. Ayrton throws out pleasant hints of not only a tea-room but a toilet- room. What a delightful place the ladies will then find it! The ladies dearly love a cup of good tea (and that the tea is unexceptionable in the House of Commons I can personally vouch), and of course they also dearly love to make themselves "look nice" through the arts and mysteries of the toilet-room. Another improvement, more important to the public generally, ia contemplated in the House of Commons —or, at least, a member who is knows as the pro- prietor of a newspaper has taken preliminary steps to bring about such an improvement—the enlargement of the Press gallery. Considerable alterations have been made for the better of late years, and the mem- bers of the Press have no reason to complain of the desire to accommodate them as far as existing arrange- ments f"1 permit; but still the accommodation is not adequa 0 requirements the fouctv ^e." All these suggested improvements are bo -^anx>A ications of the desire to bring Parliament and putitwA ato more friendly relations. The first of an annual series of International Exhibi- tions will be held in London next year. The Prince of Wales presided th other day at a meeting held for the purpose of organising arrangements for the educa- tional department of the exhibition. In this matter he follows in the footsteps of his fathsr, the late Prince Consort. In the same room in the Society of Arts in which this building was held, the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the International Exhibition, of 1862 were planned. Subsequently to this meeting there has been held, in the same room also, a conference on the repre- sentation of the fine arts in the forthcoming series of exhibitions, Prince Christian presiding. When royalty leads the way there will always be plenty to follow, and there is every prospect of the International Exhi- bition of 1871 being worthy of the name. Other nations will no doubt cordially co-operate. Already in France a committee has been officially nominated to adopt measures for facilitating the participation of French exhibitors. As far as can be at present seen the pro- posed Exhibition will not be quite such a holiday show as previous Exhibitions have been, but it will be per- haps more instructive. In many towns, and certainly in London, it will have been remarked that the older places of Dissenting worship are situated in very out-of-the-way corners, but that the newer chapels are both more pretentious in their architectural character, and in their situation. Of late years great progress has been made in this way, and many Dissenting chapels are splendid structures. I noticed that at Exeter a Congregational church of more than ordinarily ornamental character," with a spire 155 feet high, has been opened. We, too, have Dissenting chapels with spires, and why not ? A very fine chapel, it has been stated, is to be built at Penton- ville, for Dr. Parker, the minister of the Poultry Chapel. The latter building (near the Mansion House, and therefore standing on most valuable ground) is to be sold, on dü, for £10,000. This is an enormous sum. for even a large chapel which is "up a court." A wilful attempt to upset a railway train is certainly one of the most horrible crimes that can well be ima- gined. The .extent of the loss of life and injury to property cannot be foretold. To aay nothing of the train itseU, several people may be killed, and several more may be injured- It is not surprising, therefore, that the Home Secretary has been questioned with regard to a sentence of only a year's imprisonment on a man found guilty of this offence. Mr. Bruce says that the sentence complained of Wall inflicted by a learned judge, and it had never been the practice of the Secretary of State to call a judge to account for any sentence he may pass. And no doubt Mr. Bruce is quite rigM no doubt, also, that the learned judge acted in strict accordance with the law. But, if so this .aw is cenl^ not stringent enough. The crime I is most serious, ana punishment ought to > proportionately heavy. Few people, perhaps would think fourteen years' penal servitude too much. In contra-distinction to too light a punishment or none at all, first let me note a case where punish ment is deservingly inflicted. Two persons are found guilty of forging the trade-mark of an eminent firm of pianoforte makers, and sending out pianos ostensibly of that firm's make when they were really not made by this celebrated house. Thus the legiti- mate profit of selling pianofortes is to some extent taken from the well known house, and their reputation is injured by their name being placed on inferior instru- ments. I certainly think that two months' imprison ment is not too much for this offence. There is no doubt that this sort of thing is done to a large extent I remember some time time ago selling a piano to a dealer. The instrument was not exactly the kind of piano that Misa Arabella Goddard would choose for a sonata, Op. 45, at Hanover-square Roomø; in fact it deserved the classical epithet of a duffer, and for that reason I sold it. But happening to be in the dealer's shop a few weeks afterwards I fancied I saw my old piano; I looked, and looked again. Yea, it was my old friend with a new iaee; it had been furbished up, and a "Broadwood" lah^i had been placed on it. Such occurrences cannot be. uncommon, and they ought to be severely punished. What strange tasks some peopj* uti themselves! Here is Mr. Elihu Burritt, "the learn*},blacksmith," reckoning up the expense of the letter u, words as labour, hononr, &c. He comes to the «*»olWon that if we take into account ink, pens, the wag* of compositors, copyists, &c., the letter « costs Engfi^ speaking people £10,000 annually. How he arrives this result he does not tell us, but nobody can con- tradict him unless the same amount of trouble is taken. Mr. Burritt might go into still nicer calculations, and tell" us how much it costs to dot our i's and cross our t's; and then perhaps he might tell us of what use are such calculations. Early next month Mr. Allen intends to move that it is desirable that the British Museum and the National Gallery should be open on the evening of week days. I hope the abstract resolution may be passed, so that ultimately so desirable » result may be attained. It is a question that interests the provinces as we as the metropolis. Where shall we go this evening, is a frequent question among visitors to London, who per- haps object to theatres and music-halls; and the open- ing of these national institutions would afford a ready answer to the question. The week-day opening would also do much towards meeting the views of the National Sunday League while it would strengthen the hands of those who are opposed to the views of that association.





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