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-----------A DULL SEASON.



ltis!tllautDus HOME, FOREIGN, AND COLONIAL. THE LOCUSTS IN SOUTHERN RussIA.-The locusts in several districts of South Russia are committing fright- ful ravages. In the district of Elizevatgrad the peasants have just received 17,000 roubles from the Imperial Agricultural Society as a reward for the destruction of 1,700,000 of those pestilential insects. The disastrous effects of this plague for the past two years have impelled the authorities to stringently repressive and efficacious measures for its destruction. TOBACCO CULTIVATION IN AMERICA.—In the United States 671,522 acres are devoted to the cultivation of the tobacco plant. In 1882 the average yield per acre was 7641b., which at an average price, 8 dols. 4 cents. per lb., made the aggregate value more than forty-three million dollars. Until recently the foreign leaf was little used in American manufacture. In 1883, however, the consumption of the foreign leaf nearly doubled, in- creasing from 7,800,0001b. in 1882 to 13,811,1401b. in 1883. AGRICULTURAL PROSPECTS.—The "Mark Lane Ex- press says: During the past week upland hay, together with a fair proportion of the meadow hay, has been secured in very fine order, and must prove to be of ex- cellent quality. The earlier wheats have had an ex- ceptionally favourable time for blossoming, but all spring crops are being severely punished by the drought. The hot weather has been theoretically in favour of the hop crop, so far as the attack of vermin is concerned, but some of the bine looks small and of a bad colour, whilst with persistent washing the vermin keep in the ascendant; the outlook therefore is very critical. The sustained drought is greatly against the root crops. STRIKE IN THE COAL TRADE.—The threatened strike in the coal trade of South Staffordshire and East Wor- cestershire took effect on Monday, when some 16,000 miners turned out against the reduction of 4d. per day decreed by the arbitrator, Mr. Joseph Rowlands. The award was to have taken effect from the 14th ult. if the men had accepted it, but as they repudiated the arbi- tration when it went against them, the masters thought it expedient, in order to be on the safe side, to give a fortnight's notice of the reduction. The notice ex- pired on Monday. For the present the supply of coal is ample, and the demand very limited. TERRIBLE TRAGEDY IN FRAKCE.—A young man of good family, named Bertheaud, has been convicted at Montbrison of murdering his grandfather with extraor- dinary premeditation. After having dissipated the fortune he had from his mother, he concealed himself for several days in his grandfather's house, watching his opportunity, and was almost starved, though he stole a little food from the kitchen. He ultimately knocked on the head an old woman, his grandfather's house- keeper, and killed his grandfather afterwards, taking away the money he found in the drawers. It was long before he was found out, and despite an eloquent defence he was sentenced to death. I JOURNALISM IN JAPAN.—Japanese journalism has developed with great rapidity during the last ten years. In 1875 the Japanese Empire counted only S3 periodical publications of all kinds. To-day there are published within its boundaries at least 2000, counting periodicals of all kinds. Most of the Japanese newspapers are sold at three-halfpence. They are mainly modelled upon the best European dailies. They contain leading articles, news paragraphs, money articles, market reports, and advertisements—all as with us, save that one reads from the bottom of the column to the top, FARM SERVANTS BURNT TO DEATH.—On Friday night in last week a fatal fire occurred! at a farm stead- ing in Gowan's Parish of Glenbaire, the' property of Mr. James Badenoch Nicholson. A new steading is in course of construction, and the fire bifoke out in the old farmhouse, and when discovered it had such a com- plete hold that nothing could be done too save life. Two male servants occupied an upper room a» a sleeping apartment, and after the fire had, spent itself their bodies were discovered among the embers much charred and quite unrecognisable. Their names were David Donald, 18, and James Taylor Bain,, 13. The fire is supposed to have originated in the opposite end of the building to that occupied by them.. Some valu- able machinery was also destroyed. TWEED SALMON FISIlING.-Salmon s-til1 continue to be scarce. There is a little improvement,, however, in the takes of trout and grilse. The prices- on Saturday were: Salmon, Is. 5d.; grilse, Is. Id.; and trout, Is. per lb.; compared with lid. for salmon, lOtF. for grilse, and 9d. for trout, in the corresponding week last year. For the week ended June 14, the number ef boxes of salmon sent from Berwick to Billingsgate was fifty- eight, as compared with thirty-eight at the- same time in the previous year. PRIZE FIGHT NEAR LIVERPOOL.-A very sensational prize fight took place in the Stanley Grounds, Stanley, near Liverpool, on Saturday. The stakes were JE50 a side, and the combatants were Barney and a man named Williams, of Manchester, the latter being the lighter in weight, but the more scientific pugilist of the two. Williams had received a fortnight's special train ing. There was a large attendance at the- fight, the charge for admission being from Is. to 10s. The fight began at five o'clock. Gloves were used, but they were so hard that the punishment inflicted was as bad as if the naked fists had been used. Six rounds were fought, M'Gee being knocked out of time. His cheek and breast were cut open, and one of his eyes was closed. Williams sprained his wrist in giving a blow in the second round. A policeman was present, but gloves being used he did not interfere. DROWNED.—An accident, in which ,three lives were lost, occurred at Morpeth on Friday morning in last week. A party of excursionists from Gateshead and Jarrow went to Morpeth, among them being Albert Edward Richards, aged 20, of Jarrow, Ellen Richards, aged 16, and Walter Richards, aged six, residing in the same town. The heat being oppressive, the girl stooped over the river bank and dipped her handkerchief in the water. Her foot slipped and she fell into the stream. The younger brother, Walter Richards, ran to her assistance. She seized hold of him, and in a short time they were both struggling in. the water. Seeing this, the elder brother, Albert Edward Richards, jumped into the water and endeavoured to rescue them. Un fortunately, however, he was unable to do so, and all three were drowned. Two. or three relatives of the de- ceased witnessed the accident, but were unable to render any assistance. MILITARY EXECUTION IN SPAIN.—A Madrid telegram states that on Saturday Commander Fernandez and Lieutenant Velles were shot at Gerona for desertion and attempted rebellion, while six of their comrades were publicly degraded before being sent to endure the punishments to which they have been condemned, one to chains for life, another to 20 years, and the others to lesser terms of imprisonment. Both men met death with courage and serenity. They were placed in chairs with their backs to the firing party. Velles died at tha first discharge, and Fernandez at the second. Great consternation reigned in Gerona. All the shops were closed, people remained in their houses, and the few hundred persons who witnessed the executions were principally women and children. RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE IN RUSSIA.-A resident of St. Petersburg writes: Colonel Paschkoff, who has again been banished for holding religious meetings, has done as much as any man of his generation for the good of his country and the benefit of the poor. For many years he has spent the greater part of a princely income in seeking to help others. Count Korff, who has also been ordered to leave, is the son of one who was raised to a higher rank among the nobility on account of the services he rendered to the Government. On receiving the order to leave his country, Count Korff appealed for a few weeks' respite owing to the fact that his wife was near her confinement and in a delicate state of health. This was refused. Hence they must leave in a few days, though it be at the risk of the lady's life. The shop of Mr. Grote in the Litanaya has been closed by order of the police. Henceforth it is illegal to dis- tribute the publications of the Religious Tract Society, though, strange to say, they bear the printed permission of the censor. A more stringent law has also been passed respecting the children of those who cannot conform to the Greek Church. They may now be taken and shut up in a convent without even an appeal to the Emperor. THE FLOWER GARDEN.-The late fine weather has proved very beneficial to the newly planted subjects in the flower garden, even the tenderest kinds have already made satisfactory progress and will speedily fill their alloted spaces Having made such rapid growth extra attention will be requisite in pegging, tying, and train- ing them in the proper direction, and in pinching and stopping exuberant growths and such shoots as have already filled the spaces they are intended to occupy. Although the weather has been very favourable to the growth of most plants, there are a few subjects to which it has not appeared to be altogether suitable. Freshly planted calceolarias, for instance, have not made satisfactory growth except where special means have been taken to keep their roots cool and moist. Frequent watering alone is not sufficient to ensure this but if a good mulching of rotten manure is also given over the surface of the beds immediately after planting they will succeed thoroughly, nor should this beneficial and economical method of mulching in dry hot weather be confined to calceolarias and similar plants, as there are few kinds that will not be improved immensely by its application; and much labour in watering will thereby be averted. Where the beds are surrounded or intersected by box. edgings, these should now be trimmed as neatly as possible, and the shoots carefully cleared away the gravel walks should also receive a sprinkling of new gravel over the surface, and then be well rolled. Cleanliness, neatness, and order should be maintained throughout, so as to make everything as bright and pleasing as possible.—" Gar- deners' Chronicle.' COMPLIMENTARY DINNER TO THE SPEAKER On Saturday evening the Speaker of the House of Commons was entertained by the Master and Fellows of Balliol College, Oxford, of which he is a member, at a dinner in the hall. Nearly 200 of the past and present members of the College assembled to meet him. The Master of Balliol proposed the health of the Speaker. He alluded to the great statesman, whose son was now called on to preside over the assembly which was the scene of his father's fame. He spoke of the proofs of strength and dignity of character which were manifest in the Speaker as early as his undergraduate days at Balliol. The Speaker, in reply, paid a tribute to his predecessors in the chair, the fruits of whose labours he inherited, and expressed his warm satisfaction in revisit- ing his old college. AVERAGE PRICES OF BRITISH CORN.-The following are the average prices of British corn for last week, as received from the inspectors and officers of Excise: Wheat, 37s. 4d.; barley27s. lid.; oats, 23s. Od. per im. perial qr. Corresponding week last year: Wheat, 2s. 3d.; barley, 29s. 8d.; oats, 23s. 5d. 4 THE RESERVE SQUADRON.—The nine ironclads com- posing the reserve squadron, under the command of Admiral Hoskins, steamed into Kirkwall Bay between four and five o'clock on Sunday afternoon, having left Heligoland the previous Friday. The squadron made a good run across the German Ocean, and as the wind had increased almost to a gale it was thought better to take up anchorage in Kirkwall Bay for the night. Very few people witnessed the arrival of the squadron, most of the inhabitants being at church. As the ships sailed up between Shapinsay Island and the mainland, a narrow sea passage leading from the German Ocean to Kirkwall Harbour, they presented a. magnificent appearance, and appeared to be so close to the land that one could almost hear the orders given on board as the ships passed. DISASTERS AT SEA.-The Bureau Veritas has just published the following statistics of maritime disasters, reported during the month of May, 1884, concerning all flags: Sailing vessels reported lost-Five American, two Austrian, 38 British, three Chilian, one Danish, one Dutch, 10 French, two German, two Greek, four Italian, one Liberian, eight Norwegian, one Portuguese, one Russian, six Swedish; total, 85. In this number are included 15 vessels reported missing. Steamers re- ported lost: One American, 12 British, one Chinese, one Greek; total, 15. TRICYCLING IN SWITZERLAND.—The entire tour round the Lake of Geneva has just been accomplished on a tricycle in the day by Mr. Hutchinson, a member of the Alpine Club. The time occupied in running was eleven hours, distance 112 miles. There was a strong head wind to contend with most of the way, with the thermometer considerably over 70 deg. Fahr. The road between Evian and Bouveret is in a very bad state owing to the construction of the new line of railway, and necessitated frequent halts. Starting from Vevey la Tour, Nyon, 37 miles was reached in 31 hours; Geneva, 51 miles, in five hours; Thonon, 72 miles, in 7|hours; Evian, 78 miles, in 7J hours; Boureret, 91 miles, in 9 hours; and Yevey la Tour, 112 miles, in 11 hours. The machine ridden was a 42-inch Humber roadster, geared up to 56 inchea.