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♦ FRIENDSHIP.—When I see leaves drop from their trees in the beginning of autumn, just sucb, think I, is the friendship of the world. While the sap of maintenance lasts, my friend swarms in abun- dance, but in the winter of my need, they leave me naked. He is a happy man who has a true friend at bis need but he is more truly happy who hath no need of his friends.—The Reflector. ONE DROP AT A TIME.—Have you ever watched the icicle as it formed 1 Have you noticed how it froze ouedrop at a time until it was a foot long or more? If the water was clean the icicle remained clear, and sparkled brightly in the sun but if the water was slightly miyldy the icicle looked foul, and its beauty was spoiled. Just so our characters are formed. One little thought or feeling at a time adds its influence. If each thought be pure and bright the soul will be lovely, and will sparkle with happiness; but if impure and wrong there will be deformity and wretchedness. A RESULT OF COMMERCIAL DEPRESSION.—The financial collapse of 1866 is having deeper effects than has been imagined. The public has been made acquainted with several great failures following close upon it, but the cases of hundreds who have suffered severely will,, perhaps, never come to Ught. A striking fact, however, in connection with her Ma jesty's customs clearly proves how great the devas- tation has been among private individuals in conse- quence of that panic. In the Inland Revenue De- partment at Somerset House, as the public are aware, is kept a register of all those persons paying duty on carriages and horses, and at this office notice has been received, since the 31st of December last, that 1,600 private persons intend to discontinue keeping their carriages, and claim therefore, to be exempt from duty in the financial year 1868 9. This wi!l cause a noticeable deduction in the balance which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will next have to ex- hibit. The loss to the revenue by these withdrawals will not be less than £10,000 per annum. BABY FARMING AND BABY MURDER.—In carrying on the investigation into the character and conseqnences of the system of baby farming in the metropolis the British Medical Journal has become possessed of clues, which it has followed up, which lead to its now publishing the proofs that in many parts of the metropolis there is carried on, under the most flimsy disguise or quite openly, a criminal trade equally dangerous to the morality and the health of the community, and constituting a felonious offence. It produces evidence that the majority of the persons who publicly offer retirement for ladies, and facilities for leaving baby,' are engaged in this tramc and it gives verbatim extracts from the notes of conversations in which these persons have announced their business and stated their terms. All ranks of society are involved in injury by this system; and the statements transcribed in the British Medical Journal are such as lead us to the conclusion that this traffic in life is extensive that it is carried on in open daylight, and without any concealment; that the police authorities could easily stop a great majority at least of these crimes, as now practised; and that all classes of society are interested in some steps being taken for the purpose. OVERSTOCKING OF GAME,—On Wednesday and Thursday a case was tried in the first division of the Jury Court, Edinburgh, before Lord Barcaple, in which Mr George Syme, farmer on the estate of the Earl of Moray, Fifeshire, sought damaged to the ex tent of £270 from the trustees and executors of the late earl, with whom he had entered into certain leases. The issue laid before the jury was whether during the vear 1865, the late earl had upon the lands leased by the pursuer an 'unreasonable and excessive stock of game' beyond what existed thereon at the dates of entering into the leases, to the loss and injury of the pursuer. In the course of his evidence the pursuer stated that one evening in 1865 he counted between 70 and 80 hares in a field of twenty acres, while the pheasants were so nume- rous that it was impossible to count them.' He had seen on six or eight occasions 70 or 80 pheasants in a field at a time. It was urged for the defenders that the farms on which the loss was alleged to have been sustained were near the mansion of Donibristle that they were surrounded by coverts, and in a situ- ation where game might be expected to abound. Evidence was led to show that the farms had been let at a low rent on account of their being liable to injury from game; and that any tenant taking them must necessarily have that in view. The jury re- turned a verdict for the pursuer, awarding £197 damages. VITAL STATISTICS.—-The Registrar-General has just published a summary of his weekly returns for 1867, by which it appears that in the middle of last year tbe population of tHe metropolis numbered 3,082,372. This great and unrivalled aggregation of human beings covered a space of 122 square miles, intersected by the river. About three fourths of the whole population, occupying 51 square miles, are on the northern banks of the Thames, and the remaining quarter, occupying 71 square miles, are on the southern bank. Within these limits 112,264 births and 70,588 deaths were registered. The male births and the male deaths were in excess of the female, notwithstanding the preponderance of the female element in the metropolis, which is as 114 to 100. Nearly 10,000 persons less died last year than in 1866. The rate of mortality was 2 298 per centum of persons living—in males 2 532, females 2*093. In the past five years the rates were successively 2 356, 2-447, 2-653, 2 456, and 2 648 per cent. In Birmingham the death rate last was 2 427, in Sheffield 2 467, in Liverpool 2-557, in New- castle-on-Tyne 3-079, in Manchester 3 140; in Dublin it was 2*706, in Edinburgh nearly the same, in Glasgow 2'854. In estimating the fruits of sanitary labours in the older neighbourhoods, it should not be forgotten that the condition of popu- lations increasing rapidly within fixed boundaries has a contant tendency to deterioration—that the rate of mortality uncontrolled must rise and if there reasonable ground to believe that the great engineering works that have been undertaken in the interest of the public health have checked this tendency, and, though they have not extirpated epidemic diseases, have to some extent quelled their fury, this result must be regarded with satis- faction and hope. Whooping cough carried off many children all over London; and diarrhoea, which was the most fatal of the zymotic class' caused 2,942 deaths. Cholera, chiefly cholera in; fantum, was fatal in 241 cases; typhus, typhoid fever, &c.. in 2,174, against 3,232 and 2.6SI in the two previous years. There were 7,501 deaths from bronchitis, 3,627 from pneumonia, 8,817 from phthisis, 3,003 from disease, 39 from privation, 100 from purpura and scurvy,156 from delirium tremens a.ud intemperance, 2,148 from accident or negli- gence, 104 from homicide, 260 from suicide, 3 public executions, 34 other violence not described. The thorough systematic cleansing of the streets and the regulation of the traffic on them are subjects which urgently claim public attention. 164 deaths from injuries caused by horses or vehicles in the streets were recorded in 1867. Ten persons were killed by horses, 3 by carriages, 7 by omnibuses, 17 by cabs, 32 by waggons, 5 by drays, 43 by carts, and 11 by vebiclcs not described, COSTS OF INSPECTION OF SCHOOLS.—A Parlia- mentary return shows that in the fiscal year 1860- 61, the expenditure on management and on inspec- tion of schools in Great Britain amounted to £8 5s 7d per cent. of the £798,167, the Parliamentary grant for public education; in the year 1865-67 it was £11 7s 2d per cent. upon the ^694,530, the Parliamentary grant for that year. But this ex- penditure on management and inspection was less per scholar present on the day of inspection in 1866-67 than in 1860-61, being Is 31d per head in the earlier year, and Is lid in the latter year. GREAT Loss OF GAS.—A singular fire occurred late ou Tuesday night at the works of the United General Gas Company, Limerick, A storm was raging at the time, and a strong gust of wind caused a gasometer which contained 200,000 feet of gas to cant over and fall against a wall; and the wall giving way, a large breach was made in the gas- ometer, from which the gas rushed out with im- mense force. When the gas reached a lamp in the yard it caught the flame, the blaze spread rapidly to the breach, and nearly the whole of the gas which the ponderous vessel contained was burned out within an hour. The light was visible for miles round the city. THE PEABODY FUND.—The annual statement of how the Peabody Gift to the Poor of London has been administered, and how the plan has operated during the ye. 1867,_was published last week. It shows that the original fund has been increased by rents and interest on unexpended capital to the extent of £20,042 6s 4d, making the sum total at the end of December, 1867, £ 170,042 6s 4d. The cost of general management of the trust daring the year was, including salaries, printing, stationery, &c, £268 15s 4d. Mr Peabody's second donation of £100,000 will be available for objects of the trust in July, 1869. The buildings at Spitalfields and Is- lington continue fully occupied, with increasing de- mand in anticipation of vacancies. The Shadwell buildings, containing 195 tenements, were ready for occupation at the close of 1866 but the depression of business, and consequent suspension of employ- ment in that part of London, has caused them to fill slowly; 175 families were resident at the beginning of the present year, and the number is gradually increasing. The total population in all the build- ings erected by the trustees is 1,583. The sanitary condition of the houses is excellent, and appears to secure almost an immunity from diseases incident to crowded localities. Satisfactory evidence of the social effects becomes every day more apparent in the peaceful deportment of the tenants, the improved order within their apartments, and the disappearance of excess of all kinds. The healthy aspect of the children, the neatness and tidiness of their dress, and their inoffensive happiness at play in their ample and secluded grounds, secure from evil street intercourse, abundantly justify the belief that a beneficial influ- ence is being exerted over the future of the working classes by the signal improvement thus introduced into their dwellings and domestic habits. STATISTICS OF EDUCATION.—Returns have been published of the nnmber, so far as can be given or estimated, of children in inspected schools in the year ending the 3lst of August, 1867, distinguish- ing how maey of such children belong to families which are considered as poor. The first return (A) gives the total number of children on the books of schools actually visited by Her Majesty's in- spectors in England as 1,376,882: and in Scot- land 216,030. The number of children belonging to families which are returned by the school mana- gers as above the class who support themselves by manual labour in England are estimated at 17,567. This return is calculated on actual returns, wherein the managers of schools profess to distinguish children not falling under Article 4 of the Revised Code from others, and so far the return rests on direct testimony. But Return B is calculated on the number of children paying school fees, at different rates, and is said to be probably the more trustworthy of the two. This return is the same as Return A in giving the number of children on the books of schools visited by the inspectors but it states the number of children paying school fees not exceeding 4d per week, in England, to be 1,340,576 and in Scotland, 199,401. The number of children whose school fees exceed 4d per week are, in England, 36,306, and in Scotland, 16,629. The total number of schools of all denominations visited on account of annual grants was, in Eng- land and Wales, 6,443; in Scotland, 1, 466; and of schools visited lor simple inspection only, in England and Wales, 82 and in Scotland. 11. GREAT FIRE IN MARYLEBONE.—On Sunday morn- ing, shortly after midnight, a fire which assumed the most serious aspect, and destroyed a vast amount of property, broke out in Portman-market, New Church- street, Marylebone, exactly opposite the Marylebone Theatre. Owing to a high gale of wind the flames extended with frightful rapidity. Portman-market is composed of, a regular square of buildings, con- sisting on three sides of shops and dwelling-houses, and on the fourth of a line of stabling and sheds for storing hay, &c, and enclosing an extensive open area, which on market days is crowded with stalls and itinerant dealers of every description. Fronting the main street is a boot and shoe warehouse, and in this shop, shortly after twelve o'clock on Saturday night, the fire was first discovered. An attempt was made by a mob to save' the contents of the shop. but the door was held fast by two policemen until more aid arrived. The flames shot out simul- taneously with the arrival of several engines, and whilst the hose was being laid out the fire spread to an adjoining ironmonger's and attained a teriific force. Unfortunately, when the firemen brought the hose to bear it was found for some time to be useless, a puny jet of water proceeding from it amidst the jeers of the bystanders; and although the firemen, guarding their faces as much as possible, walked literally up to the fire, the water dribbled in an impotent manner upon it. A powerful stream was soon obtained, but the conflagration had by this time extended to several shops down an avenue, and its entrance was a perfect furnace. Twenty minutes had not elapsed after the flames had first broken out when they shot out in a continuous body from the roofs of some half-dozen of the shops in the avenue, and reached far into the air above in the form of a pyramid. Despite the number and power of the fire engines, and the energy with which they were worked, the flames rolled on until thp whole of the avenue had been seized, and the open area of the market was brilliantly illuminated. At 1.30 the fire was evi- dently giving way, although it was not till an advanced hour in the morning that it was entirely extinguished, when it was found that several shops in New Cnurch- street and the whole of the market avenue were completely destroyed altogether 20 shops were laid in ruins. A large number of persons who were suddenly rendered houseless were taken in by neighbours. WILLS AND BEQUESTS.—The will of the Right Hon. Samuel Hood, Baron Bridport, of Cricket-lodge, St, Thomas, near Chard, Somersetshire, and of Wimple- street, was proved in Her Majesty's Court of Probate on the 3rd inst, and the personalty sworn under £20,000, the executors appointed being the Right Hon. Charlotte Mary, Baroness Bridport, his relict, and Major-General thejiight Hon. Alexander Nelson Hood, Baron Bridport, his only surviving son, who is the acting executor. The will is dated July 15, 1861, and the testator died on January 6th last, aged 79. The deceased was the second son of Henry, second Viscount Hood, and succeeded his granduncle, the celebrated Admiral Viscount Bridport, and mar- ried in 1810, Charlotte Mary, only surviving child of William, first Earl Nelson. The testator bequeaths to his relict, in addition to all other provision, an immediate legacy of £1.000, his leashold residence in Wimpole-street, with the fixtures, furniture, and other effects, both in his town and country residences, with certain portions of the wine, also his carriage and horses. The rest of his effects he leaves to his son, the present Baron.—The will of Mr Joseph Straker, of Benwell, Northumberland, was proved in the rigistry at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and the personalty sworn nnder £250,000, the executors and trustees being Mr John Straker, the testator's son, and Mr John Coppin. The will is dated June 30,1863, and a codicil June 28, 1867; and the testator died on October 13 following. To his eldest son he leaves a legacy of £10 000; to his son George the interest of £25.000 for life, and the principal to his children. He devises his estate at Lee Riding, Bywell, St. Conde, Northumberland, to his son-in-law, Henry Straker, for life, and afterwards to the sons of the latter, Joseph and Henry Straker.—The will of William Barnes, of Berkhampstead, Herts, was proved on tha 2nd ult, in the London Court, under f 3.000 personalty. The will is dated September 13, 1866, and contains the following bequest:—I give and bequeath unto the Chancellor of the Exchequer for Great Britain, for the use of the nation, all my estate and effects whatsoever, and wheresoever, both real and peisonal, after having paid all my lawful debts; and three bequests of ^'100, £50, and £40 to his servants, all free of duty, the executor to receive, full compensation for his trouble. Should the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer refuse to accept the same, it shall revert to the executor, the Rev Thomas Suell, Independent Minister, to be used by him as shall appear to be most in harmony with the mind of the testator as expressed by him.—The will of John Ransom, stud groom to Her Majesty, of the Royal Paddock, Hampton-court, Was proved ucisf £5,000, Illustrated London Newi.