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T O W 07". TALK. .l'..


T O W 07". TALK. l' BY JOUR TON DON CORRESPONDENT. *< —- »• —■ Out- readers leitt understand that we do ito't Uld ourselves responsibUfor onr able (JorreSp<Yf¿dent''q ¡¡pinions.. P" d- THE colapletion of the greatest railway improve- ment of London is promised for the 1st of November. On that day the Charing-cross Railway station is to open, and the hotel and ornamental part is to follow as soon as possible. It would be difficult to find a better position for a railway terminus at the intersection of so many of the great thoroughfares of London. It was always easy of access from the West-end, and even now will be more conveniently approached from the East than any of the stations on the Surrey side of the Thames when the embankment of the river is finished it will become naturally one of the great starting places for goods and passengers. The trouble and delay of getting across the bridges will be done away with. The coming success, certain as it is, is curious enough, for the Charing-cros station was forced on the South-Eastern directors by the success of their rivals, the Chatham and Dover, and Brighton and South-coast, in esta- blishing the Victoria station in the heart ofs Belgravia. By that step the old route to France and Belgium was considered to be for ever check- mated and the fortunate Brighton Company triumphed in a West end route to the Crystal Palace and the South-coast. The idea of buying up Hungerford Market and bringing a railway there from London-bridge was so audacious that the Brighton directors laughed at it at first. Now it is done and, moreover, -there is a whisper of a junction with the London and North Western, by means of an underground line from Euston-square. Indeed, it would seem probable that every northern railway will eventually be obliged to come to Charing-cross. Fortunately, the Thames embank- ment will find room for them all, and if not, the Duke of Northumberland must be bought out. As to the Thames embankment, that may be said to have commenced, as the tender for the principal section from Westminster to Waterloo-bridge has been accepted, and it is to be hoped that neither the Metropolitan Board nor the contractor will have cause to rue the bargain. Half a million, less" five thousand pounds, does not seem much for so good a work. Those who live another ten years will see wonderful changes in London, caused by new hotels and railway stations, underground rail- ways, and river embankments. For the want of some better subject, there has been a great deal of newspaper correspondence on fire insurance conditions-arising, of course, out of the Woolley case. Some people seem to think it a hard case that insurance companies should have a right to insist on particulars of the property said to be burned. Indeed, according to the tonl, of some of these letters, it is the public.who are'the victims of the cruel, grasping fire insurance com- panies. But the statements are overdone. It is well known that a percentage of the claims on fire insurance companies are fraudulent. Some are resisted, and the claimants get hints that make them withdraw; some are compromised, but many are paid; because it is (fontrary to the interest of an office to dispute, if dispute can be avoided. There are people who make almost a trade of taking shops, insuring, and burning down, and the assurance offices keep up a sort of private detective police, who can tell some very curious stories. As these salamanders change their names, photography sometimes comes in as evidence, and, after a look at an album of cartes de visite, the proposal to insure is declined without thanks. We have had a succession of French actors speaking English with more or less accent,, and with tolerable success. Mr. Fechter is a very clever man, and Mdlle. Stella Colas is very pretty- so the Hamlet of the one and the Juliet of the other drew for a time but the commercial treaty with France has not .produced any more extraordinary exchange than the ap- pearance—the successful appearance-of the ever- green Mr. Charles Mathews on the French stage. The French are really beginning to tolerate English rivalry, and this is the most striking example we have seen. The French newspapers are evidently surprised at the good temper of their countrymen. The. gain is with the French, for Charles Mathews is a delightful actor, who makes you laugh in the pleasantest possible way. And what is better than a hearty, cheery laugh for man, woman, or child? We have had so large a dose of tall American talk that we believe very little that comes uncor- roborated across the Atlantic. It seems as if the Australians had been vaccinated with the same disease. A Mr. Edward Wilson, who is proprietor of a Melbourne newspaper, has been threatening all sorts of dreadful things if England continues to send convicts to the Swan River colony, now called Western Australia, this being about as far from Melbourne as Norway is from France, and nearly as difficult to reach by land. These bump- tious Australians forget that without convict labour none of these colonies would ever have been founded, or, if founded, would have perished. They are all grafts of the old convict colony of New South Wales, better known as Botany Bay in old times. I remarked some time since on the oddness of an old true blue and orange Protestant paper becoming the advocate of the Pope's power; still more strange is it to find a peace and Puritan paper shocked at hanging four murderers at Liver- pool, and yet with not a word to say against the shooting of five wretched foreign fticitives-not deserters from the Federal army-in the presence of twenty-five thousand civilians! Let us sup- pose that during the Crimean war our War-office had shot five of the German Legion for deserting to London, what would the journal representing this party havesaid ? Z.Z. »

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