A GREAT deal has been written about learning to say, No. If you would teach a man to say no, just ask him, if he would like to pay that little bill to- day. TOT, who is taken to the seaside, and sees a steamer for the first time, exclaims Look, ma! There's a railway engine having a batne.
THE QUEEN'S BLRTHItAY. For the first time during many years the Queen's birthday was celebrated in London on the actual date of the anniversary. The principal event of the day was the trooping of the colours, to witness which, on the Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, there was the largest attendance of spectators ever knows on a similar occasion. Admission to the parade was obtainable only by ticket, and the morning being fine the holders of them commenced to arrive so I early as eight o'clock. An hour later every point was occupied, the assemblage comprising most of the members of both Houses of the Legislature, a large number of foreigners, officers of the services, and ladies. Shortly after nine o'clock the troops detailed to take part in the display marched I on to the ground. These consisted of four com- panies of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, three companies of the Coldstream Guards, and three of the Scots Guards, each completed to 32 files. As the troops arrived they were formed in line, the massed bands of the three regiments, under Mr. Dan Godfrey, and the bands of the Life Guards, in State uniforms, being posted near the India Office. Major-General Gipps, C.B., commanding the Home District, was in command, and was accompanied by Colonel Lorn Campbell and the other members of the staff. Precisely at 10 o'clock the troops came to attention as the Royal procession, which had been marshalled in the Mall, near Marlborough House, came on to the ground, and, having taken up position at the saluting base, was received with a Rnyal salute. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge wore the uniform of the Guards. There were aiso present the Crown Prince of Denmark, all the foreign military attaches, several Oriental officers, and the principal officers of the Head-quarters Staff of the Army, including Lord Wolseley. Simultane- ously with the arrival of the procession, the Princess of Wales, with her daughters, and the Duchess of Teck, arrived at the Horse Guards and witnessed the display from the Levee Room overlooking the parade. The line was then inspected, quick- march tunes were played, and the Queen's colour was trooped in splendid style. After the "trooping" the troops marched past in slow and quick time, the Grenadiers to the Duke of York's March," the Coldstreams to the March from Figaro," and the Scots Guards to the "Garb of Old Gaul." In marching past in quick time the airs played were the British Grenadiers," the Mina- nolla March," and Highland Laddie." The dis- play terminated at eleven o'clock with an advance in review order and Royal salute, and on the departure of the procession, the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cam- bridge, and Crown Prince of Denmark, were re- ceived with hearty cheering, which was repeated when the Princess of Wales drove back to Marl- borough House. There were the usual rejoicing, holidays and other celebrations in the dockyard and garrison towns, and at night the customary Minis- terial banquets took place.
THE CRYSTAL PALACE. Notification has been given by the Orystal Palace authorities of their intention to apply to Parliament in the present session for leave to bring in a bill authorising them or the directors from time to time to purchase and redeem or convert the existing debenture stocks of the company, or any part thereof, on such terms as may be prescribed in or authorised by the bill, or as may be settled by agree- ment with the holders, and to provide that the con- sideration may be either in cash or in other stock or stocks or shares to be created and issued under the powers of the bill. Authority will be asked for enabling the company from time to time to raise new or additional capital by the creation and issue of shares or stock and debenture stock, re- deemable or otherwise, and entitled to a fixed, imme- diate, deferred, or terminable interest or dividend for a limited period or otherwise, and to such priorities, special or other rights, and subject to such restric- tions as may be provided for in the bill, or as to the company or the directors may seem meet, f°r 'he purposes of purchasing and redeeming or exchanging the existing debenture stock of the company, and also for any of the general purposes of the company, or for such purposes as may be provided for bill. Powers will be sought to confer on the kolders of stocks or shares created under the bill the right of attending and voting at meetings of the company, and to regulate the respective rights of any stocks or shares so created and of any existing stocks or shares. The bill will contain clauses empowering all persons who hold or are interested in the existing debenture stocks to carry into effect the purchase and redemp- tion or exchange of existing debenture stocks, and to accept in lieu thereof debenture or other stocks or shares to be created, and to enable trustees and other persons to invest any moneys under their management or control in the last-mentioned debenture or other stocks or shares. The bill will also authorise the company to borrow moneys on mortgage, bond, or otherwise," and to apply such moneys to the objects of the bill, or to other purposes of the undertaking or as may be provided for in thebill; while by other clauses power will be asked for to provide for the redemption of any debenture stock of the company, whether now existing or created under the bill; to enable the com- pany or the directors from time to time to release leases, grants, and others, and to accept surrenders; to empower the company from time to time to sell or otherwise dispose of ground-rents arising from leases of lands granted by them, and to provide for the application of the price thereof to any purposes of the company for which capital is properly applicable or towards substantial repairs of the building, or other- wise, as the bill may provide.
THE CONGO. Reuter's Agency has just received the following communication, dated Boma, March 30th, describing the present position of affairs on the Congo: It is at Stanley Pool that the progress made by the Independent Congo State during the last six years can best be appreciated. In 1881 Mr. H. M. Stanley, who led the first expedition of the International Asso- ciation, arrived here, and founded Leopoldville two Belgian officers, M. Valcke and M. Braconier, were installed. There are now at Stanley Pool nine establishments containing more than 50 Europeans employed in managing either trading stations or mis- sions. Among others there are the English Baptist Mission directed by the Rev. Mr. Grenfel] and occupied by three missionaries, including one hdy; Bishop Taylor's mission at Kimpoko, with eiaht mis- sionaries, who will shortly have a steamer of their own to navigate the Pool. and finally, the Livingstone Inland Mission, directed by American missionaries. There are also the French station of Debrazzaville a factory from Rotterdam established last year, a French factory, and the two Belgian stations of Leopoldville and Kinchassa containing 15 Europeans and 20 workmen, and a garrison of Houssas and Bangalas. Stanley Pool is at present one of the most active colonies of Central Africa, being in 80me 80rt the central station separating the Lower from Hm Upper Congo. This activity will greatly develope with the construction of the railway from Matadi to Leopoldville. Then will the centre of Africa really be opened up politically as a new State. It is pro- poeed to lay a railway which, skirting the raiids shall connect the Lower Congo with the fluvial sys- tern of the Upper Congo, the navigable portion of which extends over about 7500 miles. The line will be from 175 to 200 miles in length. It is not yet known if it will follow the southern bank of the river or leave it to pass through the flatter country An expedition is shortly expected here from Brussels, which will make the necessary surveys. The General Government of the Congo is now com- pletely organised. The Governor-General resides at Boma, where he publishes the decrees which are issued at Brussels by King Leopold, Sovereign of the Congo State. The decrees published up to the present refer chiefly to the organisation of property and to respect for authority and law. The civil and criminal code as existing in Belgium has been made obligatory for the whole of the Congo State. A tribunal has been cstab- lished at Boma, and a pcstal service from Banana to Leopoldville, the central office being at the former place. The Governor-General administers the State with sovereign powers, and can by his authority decide all difficulties which may arise. He can even suspend the execution of the decrees of King Leopold when he may consider it necessary. There is no direct telegraph to the Congo State, as the telegraph communication does not extend at present beyond San Thomas on the Gaboon. Up to this date the United hllel £ In™ "? the °nly two countries which have accredited Consuls to the Congo State.
W.- FATHER of stupid boy: Professor, I want you to teach this boy German and French.—Boy's Uncle (quickly interposing); Why do you want the Germans and French to know what an ass he ia ? Isn't it enough that the English-speaking races should know it ?
THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH'S ] FINANCIAL TROUBLES. Mr. Justice Kekewich has beard, in the Chancery Division, an action brought by the Duke of Marl- borough against the Equity and Law Life Assurance Society, with respect to transactions relating to in- surances and advances of money. In the year 1875, (DI J«°' Marlborough, who was then the Marquis or Blandford, was in pecuniary difficulties, being in- debted to an insurance office to the extent of £ 21,000, and iu large sums to other creditors, and was being pressed for the payment of his debts. The only available property for raising money was his yearly portion of £3000, subject to a charge of X400 per annum under his marriage settlement, and his rever- sion to the family estates and some policies of in- surance, and these were charged with a loan of ~~1,000 to the insurance company. In April, 18(5, the Marquis of Blandford opened negotia- tions with the Equity and Law Life Assurance Society, and an advance of £16,500 was made to him on the prospect of his reversion to the family estates. The company insured his life, and it was arranged that upon the death of the then duke, who died in 1883, the present duke should commence to pay an annuity to the defendant company of £6234, or that he might redeem the whole loau by a lump sum of £ 83,273. The duke, by his action, asserts that he was pressed by creditors at the time of the advance, and that the premiums charged were too high, and that the method of computation was unfair to him. He offers to pay the sum actually advanced, with the sums paid for premiums by the defendant company, with interest at 5 per cent., and he asked the court to make a declaration to the effect. The Duke of Marl- borough was called as a witness, and said that at the time he borrowed the money he knew nothing about the details of the computations or the actuarial cal- culations. He was pressed for money at the time. On his lordship taking his seat on Saturday morning, Sir Horace Davey, Q.C., representing the Equity and Law Life Assurance Society, said that after the court rose on Friday he was autborised to make a proposal to the other side, the effect of which was that if the plaintiff would elect to allow his action to be dismissed now the defendants would not ask for costs. He (Sir Horace) would inform his lordship why he was in- structed to make the proposal. Undoubtedly the late Duke of Marlborough having died earlier than could have been expected according to the actuarial scale framed for the length of human life, the insurance company did make a very large profit over the trans- action, just as his lordship knew that in some cases upon lives lasting longer than was expected insurance offices experienced very heavy losses. Under these circumstances the defendants thought thty were fully justified in not seeking for a hostile order. He was quite sure his lordship would understand, and that his learned friends would understand, that he did not intend, in making this proposal, to make any admis- sions in respect of the plaintiff's case. With regard to the actuarial figures which were presented to the court, he would have been prepared to prove that there were several serious mistakes in them, but he would not now go into the matter. Mr. Cookson, Q.C., for the plaintiff, said the terms were accepted on behalf of the duke. His Lordship: And the counter-claim will be withdrawn P Sir Horace Davey Yea. His Lordship: I think this is a very satisfac- tory conclusion to the case. Judgment will be for the defendants by consent, but without costs. Mr. Cookson It will be better to dismiss the action, the defendants not asking for costs, the counter-claim being withdrawn. His Lordship: That is the same thing.
ANGLO-TURKISH CONVENTION: The Anglo-Turkish Convention relating to Egypt has been approved by the Council of Ministers and submitted to the Sultan. It contains seven articles. The first and second deal with previous Firmans re- lating to Egypt and other minor matters. The third provides for and acknowledges the neutralisation of the Suez Canal during times of peaca or war. The fourth, which is perhaps more important than the whole of the remainder, stipulates for the British evacuation of Egypt within three years from the signature of the Convention, provided it can be done without danger to the peace and security of Egypt. England rotains, however, for a further period of two yeavs the right of controlling the military arrange- ments of the country, and of officering the Egyptian Army. The fifth article directs that the Powers be invited to sign a guarantee maintaining the inviolability of Egypt after the evacu- ation, except in the case of disorder or of foreign in- tervention, when English and Turkish troops, jointly or severally, have the right to intervene. The sixth article contains modifications of the Capitulations, and further deals with the tribunals, the press, and matters of quarantine; while the seventh refers to the time of the ratification of the Convention. It is I reported that the Sultan has asked the Under Minister for Foreign Affairs for further explanations respect- ing the fifth article of the Convention, his Majesty regarding the stipulation for the return of troops to Egypt as equivocal. Whatever the value of this Con- vention, it is quite certain that it is only the prompt and energetic measures taken by Sir H. D. Wolff that have brought the question into its present forward condition. After the signature of the Convention the Porte is (according to a Reuter's Constantinople correspondent) stated to intend submitting to the approval of the powers a loan of XT5,000,000, guaranteed upon the tributes of Egypt and Cyprus.
PROFESSOR HOLLOWAY'S WILL. The case of Young v. Holloway and another,' heard on Saturday before Justice Butt, in the Pro- bate Court, had reference to the testamentary dispo- 6itions of the late Mr. Thomas Holloway, the well- known patent medicine vendor, who died at Sunning- dale, Berks, possessed of between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000 sterling. The plaintiff, the sister of the deceased, opposed probate of the will, principally alleging undue influence. The Solicitor-General (Sir E. Clarke, Q.C.), on behalf of the defendants, said that his lordship had allowed this case to be inter- posed, but it could not be disposed of with as much brevity as was expected, and therefore he had to ask that it might take its usual place in the list. Mr. Justice Butt: Do you want it on these sittings ? The Solicitor-General: Yes, my lord, we are very anxious to have it disposed of on these sittings. Mr. Justice Butt: We are nearly at an end of the special jury cases. Does anybody know anything of the next case ? Mr. Searle It is contested, my lord, and will last a day. Mr. Justice Butt: What do you say, Mr. Solicitor-General, as to the duration of your case ? The Solicitor-General: I do not think it will tako more than a couple of hours. Mr. Justice Butt: Then it can go in the list as is convenient. The Solicitor-General: As your lordship pleases. It is understood that the case is practically settled.
THE HOT WELLS OF FLORIDA. The Americans are, or ought to be, a happy people. They have within their boundaries all sorts of climates, and enough power in one waterfall to run all their workshops, if they could but transmit the energy to the spots where it is wanted; they have coal and iron in abundance, springs of mineral oil, and reservoirs of Datural gas, and what is perhaps of more importance, ample room to spread out and settle, each man on his own land. Although many of the States have made elaborate geological surveys, no one can say what riches are yet undiscovered but a scheme is on foot in Florida, which, if it answers anticipations, will be one of the most remarkable in the whole history of the utilisation of natural forces. It is believed, not without reason, that beneath some parts of Florida there are vast reservoirs of hot water, which are prac- tically inexhaustible, becausejthey are being continually replenished, and an experimental bore is about to be made at St. Augustine, by sinking a twelve-inch pipe, with the object of obtaining water hot enough to heat buildings, pure enough for domestic purposes, and at a pressure high enough to run machinery. Wells and "bores" already mad give sufficient evidence to make it worth while to try the experiment of driving deeper still, for jets of warm water have been obtained which rise to a height of forty and more feet above the surface. Hot wells are known in many parts of the earth, from the geysers of Iceland to the warm baths of New Zea- land while both at Grenelle and Pesth there are wells which supply hot water at such a pressure that it can be utilised as a motive power. The well at Pesth is perhaps the best known and most remark- able, for it now supplies about 200,000 gallons daily at a temperature of 160 deg. Fahrenheit, and is being driven deeper, in the hope of getting still hotter water and a higher pressure. There is not much doubt that the interior of the earth is still intensely hot-volcanoes alone prove that-but it ia tolerably certain that in some localities hot water can be tapped, and at such a pressure as can be utilised in working hydraulic machines. If the experiments in Florida should prove successful, the orange-growing State may become more densely populated than it is now, and possibly become the principal seat of the cotton manufactures.
THE SUEZ CANAL. The number of ships passing through the Suez Canal last year was much smaller than in 1885, and the receipts of the company fell off in proportion. The traffic was, indeed, smaller than in any year since 1881. Mr. Burrell, her Majesty's Consul at Port Said, who notes the fact in his report, does not dis- cuss the probable causes. Transit through the Canal has been greatly facilitated by the permission to all vessels fitted with the electric light to pass through it during the night. This permission has been accorded since the 1st of March last, and a great saving of time is effected by means of it. The length of the Canal is just over 99 English miles. The average time of passing through it in 1886 was 33 hours, but now that the fall of night no longer brings the ship to a standstill, it may be accomplished in a little over 15 hours. Both the Peninsular and Oriental and the Messageries Maritimes boats are now enabled, by means of electric lighting, to make the transit by night. The shortest passage actually made was by Mr. Gordon Bennnet's steam yacht Namouna, which accomplished the voyage in 13 hours 53 minutes from Port Said to Suez. This little vessel was, however, allowed to use a higher rate of apeed than is permitted to the larger passenger steamers. The placing of leading lights on the canal itself has also been of great advantage to the navigation. All the improvements, however, which have been effected can only be regarded, says Mr. Burrell, as so many sops to Cerberus the widening of the canal is what is really looked forward to with eager expectation." This, of course, will depend upon increased prosperity; which, in its turn, must depend upon revived trade, bringing with it increased receipts.
THE THREE EMPERORS. There is (remarks the Globe) to be no meeting of the Emperors this summer. It does not follow, how- ever, that the peace of Europe is going to be broken, or that the Imperial League no longer exists. The immediate difficulty in the way is the German Em- peror's age and consequent infirmity. His Majesty's doctors have decided, it seems, that he must not go this year to Gastein, according to his habit for the past 20 years. It may be readily believed that the Emperor, who as resolutely as ever declines to be put upon the shelf, has accepted the medical decision with a good deal of reluctance. He has accepted it, however, and the opportunity which the visit has afforded in the past years of an inter- view with the Emperor of Austria will not this year be presented. It is true that the Austrian Emperor, who is neither very old nor in the least infirm, might go to Berlin or Potsdam, or some other place in Prussia, and would, perhaps, be willing enough to do eo. But this would be a much more formal business than merely calling on his German brother at Gastein, a piece of civility which, as Gastein is in Austrian territory, could hardly be omitted. If the Em- peror Francis Joseph were invited to Prussia it would be impossible, after all that has happened in past years, not to ask the Czar also, and to this there are no objections. Whenever the Russian monarch travels elaborate precautions have to be taken for his personal safety, and his hosts are put to a vast deal of trouble. There may, however, be other reasons than the avoidance of trouble which make it seem un- desirable to arrange for a triple meeting on German soil. Without supposing that the old friendship be- tween the three monarchs no longer subsists, it is certain that Russian policy timds to drift more and more in a direction which cannot be agreeable at Berlin, and it would be difficult to prevent embarrass- ing questions from cropping up. It is stated from Vienna, as a proof that the friendship of Austria and Germany is unbroken, that Prince Bismarck and Count Kalnoky will have an interview, and possibly each of these Ministers may see M. de Giers. It is necessary, however, to bear in mind that M. de Giers does not stand for llussia as Prince Bismarck does for Germany and Count Kalnoky for Austria.
Iltiscell-wtflus fttMligtittfe DOME- FOREIGN, AND COLONIAL. THE TELEPHONE.—Telephonic communication COO" necting Paris with Amsterdam through Brussels is tO be established shortly. A BIG AMBER NUGGET.-The largest piece of amber ever discovered was recently dug up near the Nobil Gate, at Altona. It weighed 850 grammes. A TREMENDOUS SNOWFALL.—A German mathemati- cian has, from certain measurements effected, calc11' lated that the quantity of snow which fell in Centra* Germany irom Dec. 19 to Dec. 23, between 50 deg. 52'5 deg. N latitude, and between 7 deg. and 18 deg* longitude, weighed ("Nature" says) no less thftD 10,000,000 tons. M. PASTEUK.—The site for the Pasteur Institute Paris has been definitively chosen in the Vaugirft1" quarter, on the left bank of the Seine, not far from the Kue de Vaugirard. It is a square plot or ground, sot* rounded by factories and schools, but isolated from i*4 neighbours by long gardens. The site covers about acres, and costs over 1:15,000. AN ACTORS' ADDRESS TO THE THRONE —The actors and managers of the United Cingdom intend to offer her Maiesty the Queen a loyal and dutiful address congratulation in commemoration of the fiftieth year of her reign. The signatures will be contained on separate sheets of parchment, and will be ultimately together in a superb volume, and offered for the Queen's acceptance. The address will be signed by actresses as well as actors, both in the provinces and 1Ø London. BRITISH BUTTERFLIES.—Lord Walsingham has pre-" ■ sented to the British Museum a collection of Lepi^' optera with their larva:, mainly British butterflieS (Rhopalocera) and certain families of moths (Heter. ocera); also a series of Indian species, collected in the Punjab, and specimens of exotic silk-producing Bo)11' byces. HISTORICAL ENGRAVINGS.—The Keeper of the Prifw has arranged a considerable and very interestIpg collection of engravings of historical subjects in the Second Northern Gallery of the British Museum. Tbj? first of the kind ever attempted, this exhibition is of curious illustrations of history, manners, costualo, and public opinion. THE HEADSMAN OF COLOGNE.—A well-known execM* tioner is just dead, the Cologne headsman. He WO the only executioner in Germany who used the guillO. tine, all others preferring the old-fashioned axe and block. This worthy functionary was one of the ters of the city, and in the course of a long life been successively dog-catcher, reporter, doctor, veterinary surgeon, detective, and finally headsman. For 20 years he had kept his coffin iu his bed-rooffl> containing the full-dreas black suit in which he wisbeo to be buried-a wish dulv fulfilled. A PUZZLING TUMOUR.—There will shortly leave St. Petersburg a special medical commission, under pro Rapschewski, appointed to inquire into the cause of peculiar disease known as the Pendel tumour, which Has been prevalent for several years among the RusSlaP troops in the Transcaspian territory. General Konaa* roff's tro,ps in the Murghab valley suffered especify from the ailment, which since the summer of 1884 attacked 90 per cent, of his men, rendering many them unfit for service for several months. The doctor are meanwhile inclined to believe that bacteria occasion the disease, but in &ny case a commission baS now been appointed to investigate its nature.. THE LAKE OF LUGANO.—The waters of the Lake of Lugano have been most curiously affected of Usually the lake is most beautifully blue and clear, but recently the water became suddenly thick and yellOlfO while the surface was covered with a thick greasy coating; smelling strongly of decomposition. continued for some time, till heavy storms cleared an<j cooled the air, when the waters became blue limpid again. It is supposed that throueh recent earthquakes the bed of the lake had affected, and crevices had opened, emitting sulphuroUS gases. THE LONDON CITY SCEPTRE.-The London corre.. spondent of the "Manchester Guardian" writer Wonderful accounts have appeared of the City sceptre," which was seen upon the occasion of the Royal visit. It has been described as the" pear sceptre," as "a magnificent work of art,"and soon. It is nothing of the sort. It has indeed far higher value JO its ext-aordinary antiquity. Its gold is supposed to be of a date before the Conquest, its gems are almost barbaric in the rudeness cf their shape and setting; Perhaps the two most ancient "properties" oI the City Corporation are this "sceptre" and the Charter of William the Conqueror, which latter, it is understood, gave to London that which Lord Halebury proposes to restore to all England—freedom from the law of primogeniture. THE POPULATION.—The Registrar-General, for the purposes of registration, divides England and WaleS into 11 districts, and it is interesting to notice holl these districts sha-e in the general increase of 7'3 pet cent. The London population increased between 1881 and 18S6 from 3,816,483 to 4,149,533, or nearl? 8 7 per cent. The districts in the north of show a larger increase than this. Thus, the north- western district-that is Cheshire and Lancashire increases from 4,108,184 to 4,532,874, or over 10 per cent.; the northern, which consists of Durham, N°r* thumberlsnd, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, froDJ 1,624,213 to 1,778,028, or 9 5 per cent.; the county °_ York, from ?,894.759 to 3,154,349, or nearly 9 per cent. > and the north midland—the counties of Leicester Rutland, Lincoln, Notts and Derby—from 1,637,865 to 1,771,093, or rather more than 8*1 per cent. « COTTON-SEED OIL —Two-thirds of the cotton«see oil sold in the States goes to the makers of lard an butterine, and its use to the extent of about 20 cent. has, it is stated, been one of the most powerfo* influences in reducing the price of lard. It is alsobetOK used for cooking, and a large proportion of the oil with salads and sardines is the product of the fields. Scientific men declare that it is perfectly wholesome, and some even say that it is better animal fats It is estimated that not far from 600,00° tons of cotton-seed are used in this industry every ye*T. and that from 400,000 to 500,000 barrels of crude °u are produced, half of which is exported from the States. The oil is not the only product of the seed. The meal, after the oil has been expressed, is solo; either loose or compressed into cake, for animal food, cattle taking to it kindly, and fertilising purpo-qo- When refined, it is difficult to distinguish between tb8 cotton and olive oils. ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY.—The monthly peneral has been held at the Society's hoaJe in London fessor Flower, LL.D., F.E.S., President was in the caajr. Amongst the sdditious to the society's njells" gene during the month of April were specially noticed, two young Polar bears (" Ureus marl" timus "), presented by Mr. Joseph Montei'h, and tvvo crested ducks ("Anas criststa") from the Falkland Islands, presented by Mr. F. W. Cobb. The additions to the Gardens during the past week include an Alexandrine parrakeet from India, presented by Mles Ada Marshall; two Chinese geese from China, Pfe* eented by Miss Hoare four midwife toads, South European, purchased; a blue-cheeked parrakeet, from North Australia a pied crow shrike, from Australia a sun bittern, from South Ametica, received in ex- change; a blood-breasted pigeon; two dwarf chanae* leons, bred in the Gardens. LAST WEEK'S WRECKS.—Twenty-one British and ten foreign vessels were reported as shipwrecks last week. Collision cases increased to 36, of which two (a British steamer and a Swedish sailer) sunk by collision. Lives lost numbered 38. A Scotch steamer was re- ported with all hands. Total wrecks for the year 625. Total for corresponding week of last year. Wrecks for week, 29; total wrecks for year, 6-32; lives lost for week, 6. GBOUSE PROSPECTS.—Reports from the moors of East Cumberland state that the disease amongst the grouse is rapidly spreading; birds are seen to fall down dead as they attempt to rise from the hea:her. The male birds aro principally those which are attacked. The prospects for next season's "hooting were never more gloomy.—Repcrta of disease on the gronse moors of Scotland have lately been current, but inquiries just made show that these were exaggerated. On the Selbirksnire and other moors in the south of Scotland a considerable number of diseased birds have been found, but the reports from moors in the northern counties are almost uniformly favourable. The prospects on the Derbyshire moors have, during the past month, become much brighter than they were a short time previously. A fair sprinkling of the early birds have already hatched their broods, which are doing remarkably well, notwithstanding the recent hail storms. The prospects are, on the whole, of a very tair ana promising character, especially as there was an entIre absence of diseailc last year, in addition to u- i '"ere was above an average number of the old birds left over from the tail end of the season for breeding purposes. "THIS IS THE MASTER HERE."—A Welsh corres- pondent writes The following remarkable incident was reported last Saturday with respect to the tithe war' in North Wales: A formidable band, of bailiffs visited recently one of the largest farms in the dis- turbed district. On presenting themselves at the door of the house the bailiffs inquired from the servant if her master was at home. No, he is not,' answered the servant, Is your mistress in ?' Yes, she is; do you want to see her ?' Upon this the mistress of the house, a smart, sprightly woman, made her appearance. Is the master in ?' again inquired the bailiffs. Oh, yes, sure,' was the rearly reply; would you like me to send him to you? If you please, missus,' answered the bailiffs. Will you go into the yard, and he will be with you directly.' The farmer's wife then closed the front door, and passed through the back to the farm buildings and unloosed the bull, which came roaring into the yard where the bailiffs were awaiting the master.' There, that is the master here,' called out the dame, as the representatives of the Eccle- siastical Commissioners beat a hasty retreat, mounting the gate and fence with the greatest alacrity."
GOSSIP ON DRESS. j THE dresses of the-guests at the State Ball at Buckingham Palace were mostly tulle, the young ladies weariug satin, brocade, velvet, plush, and peau de soie bodices, coming well off the shoulder, the married ladies having handsome paoels of brocade and embroidery. Many of the petticoats worn at recent Drawing Rooms were converted into ball gowns. The Countess of Cottenbam wore a shimmer- ing silver gauze over white satin, with crepe drapery across one side, entirely tulle the bodice was draped with the silver; a floral spray on one side. Her Highness the Maharanee of Cooch Behar wore a blue and silver brocade, the pattern floral and very large, standing out in bold relief; the Sardis was blue crape, covered with the finest Duchesse lace; the underskirt cut in battlements, with coquilles of the same lace between each tab; she wore magnificent jswels, and the pointed shoes were wrought in silver. Lady Emily Van de Weyer wore one of the hand- somest brocades of a crevette tone, with long panel draperies of fine point d' Alenc;an, and clusters of chestnut blossoms here and there blending exquisitely with the lace. Lady Catherine Bligh had a blue tulle dress draped with buttercups tied with yellow ribbon. There were many black dresses, some finely worked .with steel beads. Lady William Cavendish, a black tulle petticoat and black satin bodice, all richly trimmed with fine cut steel embroidery. Mrs. Mac- namara had a gown of white satin embroidered with coloured flowers; the train of white brocade; the velvet bodice draped with- the floral embroidery. Lady Caroline Madden, a dress of white and gold, draped with Brussels lace Lady Alice Dundas wore a favourite colour, viz., deep yellow, with bunches of nasturtiums. Lady Castletown carried a posy bouquet of mixed carnations the Countess Gosport, one of Catherine Mermet roses; the Lady Mayoress, one of lilies, roses, and fine gardenias, without any foliage-a happy contrast to her black gown; the Countess of Caledon'a bouquet, of white Lilium candidum.was tied with apple-green velvet to match her gown Lady Wilmot had pale pink blooms, to match the tone of her dress Miss de Yahl, a charming combination of pink and mignonette; Miss Holford. damask roses and white orchids. THE Baroness Henry De Worms bad a remarkably handsome dress, elaborately embroidered the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Leslie Melville wore another of many beautifully embroidered dresses. The foundation was white satin, veiled with white tulle and Brussels lace, while down one side was a panel of tulle beaded, with pendent tassels and drops of opal beads, which seemed to catch the light. The Hon. Mrs. Colville bad a white tulle dress, with a broche bodice, and panels on the skirt entirely composed of marguerites; the stomacher of the same flowers-an original idea. Miss Walter bad a pretty cream tulle with gold sequins, and a bodice of gold brocade; Miss Mun- della, yellow tulle, and also a drapery of mother-of- pearl sequins, the bodice corded silk Miss Royt wore the new and delicate shade of fleur de peche crepe Miss Mordant bad white tulle, with a white silk bodice Miss Ponsonbj, a white tulle covered with dewdropa, and a satin bodice; Mrs. Chaine Brown, tulle and silk bodice, the front beaded Miss Milman, a pale green tulle of the Eau de Nil tone, caught up with buncties of white lilac-a happy contrast, for the leaves exactly matched the tulle; Miss Adderley Pon- sonby wore white tulle, with white moire bodice, cajght up with long ribbons. Lady Paget's dress was of Italian brocade, sti-ipsd with Pjmpadour colours, trimmed with chartreuse Merveilleux, and ribbons of three colours, maize, chartreuse, and fraise; petticoat of the brocade, with revers of satin, draped with iri- descent beaded net, and looped with ribbons. ONE of the loveliest dresses worn at the last Draw- ing Room was remarked at the first glance for the great beauty of the silver embroidery that covered the front. It resembled the inimitable Indian silver work, both in colour and design, and was of a most uncommon and striking description. Here and there it was lighted with sparse touches of gold, which brought its shimmering whiteness into accord with the yellow satin which formed a background for the silver work, and showed through its interstices. The rest of the dress was trimmed with perpendicular bands of black velvet, the yellow satin between the bands being veiled with fine black lace laid on flat, and thus showing to advantage its graceful and dainty design, and the extreme fineness of its meshes. The train was black velvet, and also the greater part of the bodice, the front being almost entirely covered with silver embroidery like that on the front of the skirt. The train was lined with yellow satin. ANOTHEK Court train was made of exquisite antique silver brocade, the lines of precious metal catching the light and tossing it hither and thither. The sole trimming, and all that was needed on a fabric so sumptuous, consisted of large bows of white moire ribbon. The whole dress was a model of rich sim- plicity, of the kind that is thought out with care and elaboration in order that all token of such may eventually be carefully concealed, whereby the very highest form of art is reached. The dress itself was of moire, turned back from the knees in front to show an underdress of white satin. The portions turned back were covered with very beautiful Italian lace. More of this lovely lace was at the sides, which were very quaintly held by old paste buttons, each of which confined a group of moire ribbon loops, each edged with a slender line of silver braid. A DBE.-S, in which a charming combination of colours was artistically managed, had a petticoat covered with very pale blue tulle and real Eastern silver embroidery. This was trimmed with guelder roses and foliage. The train was of the exact tint of this foliage in corded silk, lined with satin in the tone of grey-green to be seen on the under side of a poplar leaf. The train was edged with superb rose point, under which ran a band of the poplar-green satin. AnDther beautiful combination of colours was seen in a train of silver grey moire lined and bordered with pale maize satin, with groups of feathers here and there, also in pale maize. The border was seen through a cloud of lovely lace. An artistic touch was that which added a line of velvet in i deep tone of colour, darker than tan, paler than nasturtium, which had wonderful value in harmonising and warming up the cool tints of the grey and the raaize. The dress with which this unusually beautiful train was worn consisted of grey crepe draped with lace and trimmed with maize-coloured feathers. A train of black velvet and satin and black lace was edged with costly Alençon and trimmed with feathers. With this the dress was of white moire antique trimmed with embroideries of black chenille and the finest cut jet. Over this was the very finest Alenço:1, lined with black tulle in order more artfully to display its beauty of texture and design. Groups of white feathers added the one touch needed to perfect a har- mony in black and white, in which the velvet might be called the deepest note and the feathers the highest. The design of the valuable point d'Alenron which was lavished on this dress was ono in which the rose and thistle formed the principal section, while the whole of the background was dotted with frequent shamrocks. A rOETic dress was tulle covered with marguerites and worn with train and bodice of snowy silk trimmed with lace und marguerites. A train of marvellous gold and silver brocade was trimmed with feathers in a rich tone of ivory, in which the tints of the gold and silver seemed to be happily wedded. The dress was of ivory s<».tin, richly embroidered with a wide panel of finest gold. on either side of which was a lighter embroidery in gold and pearls. Here and there cluster? of feathers were tied on with gold and silver gauze ribbons. A small mantle of the brocade was prepared to wear in the carriage. The outlines were all edged with soft chenille fringes in the same tone of ivory with the feathers; and bands of rich gold embroidery formed a sort of heading for the fringes. Another notable dress displayed corsage and train of rich yellow and silver brocade, train trimmed with white and yellow ostrich feathers, arranged with silver ospreys; petticoat of white satin, exquisitely embroidered in pearls and gold head- dress, tulle lappets and feathers; ornaments, dia- monds and pearls. A posy of Marechal Niel roses and lilies of the valley was carried with this dress. ONE of the most beautiful of the debutantes, in height a daughter of the gods, wore most symphonious white, an admirable mingling of white satin veiled with tulle, white silk of the softest, and ostrich feathers. A train of exquisite brocade was lined with ahell-pink Eatin, the tint of which, showing through the white, was admirably soft and pure. A bride, presented on her marriage, wore over her wedding dress a Court train and bodice of silver gauze in a very uncommon and effective ornithological design. One of the most wonderful brocades was pabst green shot with palest lilac, and edged with very rich silver embroidery. The tulle dress was trimmed with similar embroidery, arranged in graceful lines. A train that at once challenged admiration was in the most sumptuously soft white satin, trimmed down the whole of the left side with three very wide bands of black velvet. Black Chantilly lace of the very finest description trimmed this train in a wholly novel and very effective way. The lace had been so made as to describe a graceful retreating angle, the design accommodating itself to this form. Consequently the lace ran along the bottom of the train, slightly rising in height and continuing along the left side in a gradually decreasing line, which the varied and undu- lating pattern of the edge robbed of all stiffness. Upon the background of white satin, this exquisite lace looked superb. The trimming consisted of large magnolias, whose creamy white tint contrasts so beau- tifully with the coolgieen of their broad green leaves. A MIRROB-GREY satin dress was covered with black Chantilly and trimmed with violets in every shade from dark to pale. The train was of striped black I silk on either side of a centre width of white satin. This train, which, like the dress, was trimmed with black Chantilly, hung from the shoulders in a more than usually becoming way, being continued from the waist upward in two slender lines which hid none of the figure, but rather displayed to admiration that inward curve of the waist that is one of the artist's favourite lines in drawing the human figure, and without which a waist is open to be called wooden."
THE CHARGES AGAINST ORDNANCE OFFICIALS. REPORT OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION. The report of the Royal Commission to inquire into the system under which patterns of warlike stores are adopted, and the stores obtained and passed for her Majesty's service, was issued with the Parliamentary papers on Monday. The Commission, which was appointed on the 27th September last, consisted of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Sir Archibald Alison, Sir Walter Barttelot, M.P., Admiral Nowell Salmon, and Dr. John Percy. The Commissioners, at the outset of their report, remark that they experienced some difficulty in deciding practically upon the limits of the inquiry. The first difficulty arose upon the examination of their fir.3t witness, the then First Secretary of State for War, Mr. W. H. Smith. Some of the questions which he was asked produced upon his mind the impression that they proposed to examine the whole administration of the War Office-so far, at least, as related to the ordnance for the last five years, and this, be said, was not the pur- pose for which the Commission was issued. This matter was arranged at a conversation at the War Office between the Secretary of State and the Chair- man of the Commission, part of which was carried on in the presence of the Lord Chancellor. The ques- tion discussed was to what extent the Commission was to inquire, if at all, into tho functions of the Secretary of State and into the manner in which his duties had been discharged, more particularly for the last few years. The Chairman strongly expressed his opinion that the powers of the Secretary of State not only formed a part of the system under which patterns of warlike stores were provided for the public service, but were the leading and mcst essential parts of it; and, sad as the fact was, they were unanimous in that opinion. Mr. Smith did not deny this, and admitted that their report ought to deal with those powers in general, but he stated very decidedly his opinion that it would not be proper for the Commission to inquire into the general administration of the Ordnance Department for the last few years, and more particularly into the question whether the reserves of stores bad been kept to their proper height. This, he remarked, would in- volve an inquiry, which was never intended to be entrusted to the Commission, into questions of imme- diate policy. The chairman agreed to this, and the Commissioners have accordingly treated as confiden- tial such official reports bearing upon this question as have come to their knowledge in the course of their inquiries, but they thought that they were not only entitled, but bound, to ascertain as completely as they could the general nature of the powers of the Secretary of State, and to express their opinion upon them. In regard to the special part of their inquiry, that into complaints made since July 1, 1881, as to warlike stores, analogous difficulties arose. The most important of the complaints was systematic fraud and corruption took place between the years 1858 and 1863 that the administration of the Ordnance Department has ever since been conducted more or lesa under the influence of that fraud and corruption and that the particular results finally arrived at cannot be fully understood or fairly criticised unless this is borne in mind. They thought that the whole object of the Commission would be defeated if they considered themselves to be debarred from entering upon this matter because the incidents referred to occurred many years ago. They bad accordingly gene into such matters con- nected with the origin of the present system and its working previous to 1881 as have been referred to as proofs or indications of its essentially corrupt character. They bad, in their anxiety to probe to the bottom the complaints of corruption, allowed tho;e who came before them, especially Colonel Hope, Major Armit, and Mr. Lynall ThomaP, to say what they thought proper, but they gave the. persons whose names were mentioned an opportunity of contradict- I ing if they were so disposed, what had been said against them. and they published both sets of state- ments. They had regarded their duty in reference to charges of corruption as judicial, and not inquisi- '¡ torial. The general result of the inquiry are stated by the committee as follows: "1. We think that the system on which patterns of warlike stores are procured and passed into your Majesty's service is defective in the following particu- lars (a) That the powers of the Secretary of State are so great that no single person can be expected to I exercise them efficiently, especially when regard is bad to the uncertainty of his tenure of office and his presumable deficiency in special knowledge, (b) The same observations apply in a less degree to the Sur- f veyor-General of the Ordnance, (c) The Secretary of State and the Surveyor-General of the Ordnance are practically in the bands of their subordinates, and this destroys all real responsibility and all effective superintendence, (d) The present system is directed to no definite object; it is regulated by no definite rules; it makes no regular stated provisions either for the proper supply and manufacture of warlike stores, or for enforcing the responsibility of those who fail to make them properly, or for ascertaining the fact that they are made improperly. It is to these defects in the system that we attribute most of the matters complained of. "II. We propose to remedy the above-mentioned defects as follows (a) A Commission, composed of men of the highest eminence and authority, should be formed to lay down a standard as to the amount of stores which should be kept in hand for the public service, and annual tables should be published show- ing how the existing stores stood in relation to this standard, (b) The office of Master-General of the Ordnance should be revived so far as the manage- ment of the stores and manufacturing departments is concerned. The Master-General should be a soldier of the highest eminence. He should hold office for a term of, say, seven years certain. He should prepare and publish annually a statement of what he regards ai necessary for hia department every year. The Secretary of State should con- tinue to be in all respects responsible for passing the Estimates laid before Parliament. We are sensible of the difficulty of arranging his relations to the Secretary of State and to Parliament, (c) The Master-General should have a council, the duty of which should be—(1) to advise on all technical questions submitted to them (2) to cause warlike stores issued for service to be inspected at irregular intervals, and to hear and adjudicate upon all complaints as to their quality (3) to pass resolu- tions as to the adoption of different patterns of war- like stores and new inventions (4) to hear and deter- mine upon complaints of inventors. III, As to complaints. (1) We think that the charges of corruption brought against the Ordnance Department are false and unfounded, and that nearly all tho particular instances alleged are either wholly untrue or distorted versions of innocent facts. One act of indiscretion has been proved. Some matters of suspicion as to some of the inferior officers of the Ordnance Stores have been proved, and ought to be, in our opinion, independently investigated (2) we think that the charge of inefficiency, both generally and in a variety of instances, has been proved to a considerable extent. We attribute this inefficiency to the defects in the system pointed out above
ANNUAL AGRICULTURAL REPORT. The annual report of the Agricultural Department of tho Privy Council has been issued. The pro- fessional officer speaks of the increase of pleuro-pneu- monia in Scotland, which he ascribes partly to the cattle imported from Ireland being affected. The inquiry of the council into this came to the con- clusion that no great difficulty would be found in preventing the exportation of infected cattle from Ireland without seriously cbstructing the trade. The researches of M. Pasteur, continues the officer, have thrown considerable light on the nature of rabies, the manner of its extension, and the means of protecting the animal system from the action of the virus. In his opinion the animals of the farm can most easily be protected from risk of infection of rabies by dis- couraging the unnecessary employment of dogs on the farm, and by adopting measures generally for keeping dogs under control. The total number of animals imported from all countries into the United Kingdom last year was 1,370,480, against 1,141,534 in 1885.
A DOG with a high pedigree: A Skye terrier. A CLERGYMAN relates that on one occasion, after marrying a couple, an envelope was handed him, which he supposed of couroe contained the marriage fee. On opening it he found a slip of paper, on which was written We desire your prayers. DISTRESSINGLY HEALTHY.—At the first meeting of the New Blayden (Northumberland) Local Board, the medical officer of health created considerable amuse- ment by his congratulatory report, in which he said Since last meeting nothing whatever has occurred of medical interest in your districts. The high state of health extending over so lengthened a period is still fully maintained. It is really altogether remarkable. Personally I may fairly claim to join in the doleful and all too general cry, Ah, yes, indeed; trade is very slack Oould I pay a higher compliment to the good officers of your Board?" — "The Sanitary Record."
HOW TO RUIN ENGLISH TRADE. Sir F. Plunkett, in his consular report from Tokio for last year, says that further and very exhaustive inquiry among dealers and consumers of every class in Japan has confirmed the opinion he bad previously expressed that the declining demand for English cotton goods is "mainly due to the disgust produced in the minds of all consumers by the unvarying bad quality of nine-tenths of the cotton piece goods im- ported in recent years." There is a certain demand for cheap goods in Japan, but there is also a large and appreciative market for good and durable articles, for which the Japanese willingly pay fair prices; and it would be a great mistake to minister only to the inferior class of buyers." The Tokio Chamber of Commerce has answered a series of questions addressed to it in regard to the falling off in the Japanese demand for English cotton goods, and the answers are in full accord with the foregoing observations of Sir F. Plunkett. As a specimen may be cited the following from the answer to the ques- tion why grey shirtings are now less used than they were five or ten years ago: Careful examination shows that both the texture and wearing quality of those recently imported are bad, and that deterio- rating quality has finally brought the Japanese to view them with dislike." The only way to bring back former prosperity is to send articles as good as those which used to be sent, to study the requirements of the people in regard to their dimensions, and then to sell them at as moderate prices as may be found pos- sible.
A COLONIAL CEO^VN.—The Australian Colonies pro- pose to present the Queen with a golden crown as a Jubilee gift. My son, said a refined mother to her boy, you should not use the word blackguard; it is vulgar.— What should I use in the place of it, ma ?-Why, use —use—African sentinel, my dear. VISITOR: Are you papa's boy ? Sonny. Yes, sir. Visitor: Are you mamma's boy ? Sonny: Yes, sir. Visitor But how can you be papa's boy and mamma's at the same time ? Sonny (after a pause): Can't a nice carriage have two horses ? CONJUROR (pointing to a largo cabinet): Now, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to exhibit my concluding trick. I would ask any lady in the company to step on to the stage and s and in this cupboard. I will then close the door. When I open it again the lady will have vanished without leaving a trace behind.- Brute (in a front seat, aside to his wife): I say, my dear, do we a favour, and step up.