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Family Notices



OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT. The first field-night of the session has been a remark- ably excited one. In a House of upwards of 500 members, the Government majority of only 27 carries conviction even to the Premier's mind that the art of straining an Act of Parliament is as dangerous an operation as a dance upon a tight-rope even to such a practised professor as M. Blondin. Early on Monday evening it was easy to see that the Collier appointment was none the less considered a "job," because last week Lord Hatterley convinced the House of Lords of HIS bona fides in the matter, or even because the Government managed to avert a defeat in the Lords. Sir H. Collier may be, and doubtless is, the best man available for the position, but since every other judge available under the provisions of the Act was not applied to—since, in fact, the statute, to quote the Lord Chief Justice's words, was evaded," we can only deplore the occasion of an unhappy antagonism between men like Sir A. Cockburn and Lord IIatherley, ruefully acknowledge the applica- bility of Lord Salisbury's satire, and hope the Govern- ment will not do so any more." The Duke of Argyle was pleased to attack tho Lord Chief Justice for his part in the difference, in terms that would have disgraced the pet oration of the Coger's Forum, and has already had in the most emphatic and public manner te eat his own words. From the outset of his career as an orator the noble Duke has been more remarkable for what the Scotch call "blether" than for brains but people had even given tho Father-in-law of a Princess credit for being a chivalrous gentleman, and attributed to him a tolerable mastery of that measured phrase one expects to hear in the upper House. He will lose our good opinion if he is reduced to nuke such another exhibition of himself as he did in the House of Lords on Monday night. His attack on Sir A. Cockburn was pretty, personal and querulously beside the question. The Duke of Argyle has injured his own reputation and the prestige of his country by holding up the Lord Chief Justice of England to contemptuous reprobation in the face of the people of the United States. More even than the attenuated majority of the Government in the Commons, the speech of Sir Roundell Palmer has excited surprise. How this great lawyer could have so far become the advocate of the Government as to defend utterances of the Duke of Argyle, for which his grace the same night had been compelled to make the amende honourable, passes the comprehension of legal gossipers. However, the "caution" which the Government has received will not be forgotten, and with this first breeze in the Lower House the political atmosphere will become a little clearer. When is the most Liberal, and at the same time the most economical, Government going to oblige an ex- pectant community by abolishing that unnecessary and scarcely amusing patronage the Lord Chamberlain ? Meddle and muddle" characterised Earl Russell's career as a Foreign Secretary (said his adversaries) meddle and muddle of an abidingly aggravating nature most decidedly characterise Viscount Sydney's public efforts. He caused political allusions to be expunged from the pantomimes he allowed music-hall buffoonery at West End theatres on Ash Wednesday, forbidding with Lord Chamberlainish consistency, really meritorious and refined entertainments at those places of amuse- ment on that day; and for a time he stuck his foot" blunderingly into the arrangements for the thanksgiving on the 20th instant. Performing dogs and "Jolly John Nash are vouchsafed to the habitues of the Gaiety, but patrons of the Queen's Theatre solicit in vain permission for the performance of "The Last Days of Pompeii." Canine intelligence and vulgar comic songs are seemly on a Church fast-dnv; pagan plays are not. Mra. Billington may scream out The Charge of the Light Brigade,' and that amiable bore, Mr. Randford, sing, 'Tis forty yaers, my old friend John," or the Christys render their burnt-cork choruses, but it would be wrong to gaze on an exemplification of the British drama. However, let us turn to my Lord Sydney's last blun- der. The line of route for the procession to St. Paul's was early fixed, and generally approved. It was simply natural that Her Majesty should elect to journey rfV/ the Strand and Fleet-street. About the return journey there was from the commencement a variety of opinions. Had London been polled, the opinion would have been in favour of the Thames Embankment. In realization of a clear understanding to the effect that the Embank- ment would be chosen, the Board of Works proceeded to arrange for making the best use of that noble thoroughfare. On Friday last Viscount Sydney's pretty imbroglio reached its height. Mr. Spencer Ponsoaby wrote to the papers stating that it was impossible for the desires of the inhabitants of Holborn and Oxford-street to be entertained, inasmuch as it was finally decided that Her Majesty would return by the Embankment. In another part of the same paper there appeared a report of answers made to inquiring Members by Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Ayrton as to the return route, about which it was specifically stated that nothing was yet decided. On the afternoon of Friday a number of work- men might have been seen engaged in fitting up stands and galleries with timber marked with the broad arrow. On Friday night it was formally announced that Her Majesty, in consideration of the wishes of the inhabi- tants of Oxford-street, had decided to return to Buckingham Palace by that route Was there ever such a muddle ? Great dissatisfaction has been caused in Cockspur-street, and amongst the inhabitants of Charing Cross by the determination of Her Majesty to proceed along the north side of Trafalgar Square. Meanwhile, the preparations forthcceremony proceed with increasing briskness. Windows in the Strand and Fleet-street are already at an almost fabulous premium. Lucky is he who has obtained a good window in either street at a less outlay than £ LJ. Messrs. Willing, the advertising agents and speculators in hoardings, have done a great stroke of business with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is never averse to turning an honest penny, as was proved by his desire to sell the reserved land of Victoria Park for building sites. Mr. Willing have rented from the Government the entire frontage of the site of the Law Courts. He pays £300, f,nd he hopes, I am told, to accommodate -5,000 persons at two guineas each. The incumbent of St. Mary's, in the Strand, has let the enclosed space which surrounds the church to an enter- prising speculator for £150, which is said will be devoted lo the relief of the poor of the parish. It is to be hoped that a rigid inspection will be made of the various structures that are literally springing up on all ham's. At the present writing some of them wear a damrorously fragile aspect. We ohall have reason to be ihanktul if the day will pass off without loss of life. As might have been expected, the clubs in Pall Mall and neigh- bourhood are making extensive preparations for the ceremony. The Athenfeum is spending about JE200 for the accommodatiou of its members. In the most select circles people are talking with bated breath respecting a "mysterious disappearance" which will throw that of the liussinn into the shade when it comes to be generally discussed. The personage who is non est has now been absent long enough to give uneasiness to his exalted relatives, especially to the young wife whom it is said he has deserted for alien charms. Depend upon it there will be a pretty shine when the British people come to learn the conduct of the said high personage, so contrary to the quality implied by his name.