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TOWN TALK. r BY OTJB SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. i Our will understand that we do not hold ourselves respon libit for our able Correspondent's opinions. IT has for the last twenty years been the custom of the Arch geological Institute to hold its annual meeting in some country town in Great Britain or Ireland, but on this, the twenty-first yeair of its existence, the London district has been Eslaeted for its explorations. Several interesting old churches in the City of London have been visited, as well as St. Paul's and the Tower, while, at the same time, "Westminster Abbey and Lambeth Palace have been inspected and lectured, upon. Tiie lecture upon Westminster Abbey by Daan Stanley was singularly interesting. Its importance as the burial-place of the Kings of England was dwelt upon, and the fact was pointed out that there was but one other building in Europe, the Kremlin, at Moscow, in which kings were crowned and buried. In an animated and vivid manner the Dean went over the list of royal personages buried in the Abbey, from Edward the Confessor, its founder, down to the Duke de Montpensier, brother of Louis Philippe, the only one of his house who slept in that royal asylum; concluding by ex- pressing a hope that both the family and the Roman Catholic Church would not grudge the en- tombment of an Orleans Prince in a Protestant church, if only to show that there was a connect- ing litik between two races, creeds, and kingdoms. Equally interesting was Mr. Hepworth Dixon's paper on the Tower of London. Whether regarded as a state prison, as a royal palace, as a fortress, as a mint, as a court of justice, as an arsenal, .as a military museum, or as a strong jewel- box, he showed that it filled th3 mind "with picture, poetry, and drama." From the many interesting incidents mentioned by Mr. Dixon I will select one which is in its way unique. Sir Henry Wyatt, a Lancastrian in politics, was a Etate prisoner in the time of Richard III. He had neither bed to lie on, nor clothes sufficient to warm him, nor meat for his mouth. A cat came one day down into the dungeon unto him, and, as it were, offered herself unto him. He was glad of her, laid her in his bosom to warm him, and by making much of her won her love." So runs the statement in the Wyatt papers, from which the above is a quotation, and which is founded on Sir Henry's own narrative. This extraordinary cat not only warmed him, bat when she could get one," brought him a pigeon, which he persuaded his keeper to get cooked for him. In this way was the prisoner provided with food from time to time by the faithful cat. When released from the Tower, he ever made much of cats," and had the one referred to painted with a pigeon in its paws, offering it through the grated window of his dungeon. This picture is among those histori- cal portraits now on view at South Kensington. This story must be ranked with the other wonder- ful and touching stories of tamed mice, rats, aad ths like, with which readers of life-long imprison- ments in dreary dungeons are familiar. THE Conservative President of the Poor-law Board has announced th",t lie does not intend to apply to the House of Commons for further powers to enable him to remedy the fearful state of things proved to exist in so many of the London work- houses, till he has tried whether the powers he now possesses, and which have hitherto not been put in force, are insufficient for the purpose. Mr. Gathorne Hardy states that he can compel the Boards of Gaardians to provide proper ward accommodation for the sick poor, efficient and sufficient medical superintendence, and competent paid nurses. IE this be so—and we may certainly assume that the new President would not com- mence his official career by making an ass of himself—what a reflection it is on the management of Mr. Vilii^s! All persons with any pretensions to humanity must be glad that the superintend- ence of the poor has passed into other hands; in fact, the only persons who will regret the change will be that portion of the Strand guardians wno last week tried to dismiss their medical officer on account of the independent nature of his evidence at the recent inquiry, and that section of the St. Pancras guardians who have jast refused to vote six shillings a week for a paid nurse to attend upon the sick. TEE shooting at Wimbledon terminated on Saturday last with the usual review, which at- tracted large numbers of visitors to the camp. Before the review came off the Princess of Wales distributed the prizes in her own graceful way. The Scotch carried off the Queen's Prize, the National Association Prize, the Saturday Review Prize, Lord Ducie's Running" Prize, the Wind- mill Prize, the Rifle Oaks, and the International Challenge Shield. At last Flodden is avenged. WHEN her Majesty went to and returned from Scotland recently a new electrical apparatus was tried for the first time, which enabled her to com- municate with the railway guard while the train was in motion. It would take too much space to describe the mechanism of this invention here, out it is sufficient to say that it was perfectly successful throughout the whole of the journey. The Queen telegraphed to the guard, and the guard telegraphed to the driver; and as the expe- riment was thoroughly tested and proved to be a success, there can be no reason why the plan should not be adopted by all the other railways. Ideed, I hear that the South-Eastern is already using the apparatus; and public opinion must ere long force the directors of other lines to do the same. A LONG career of what looks very much like reckless expenditure has brought the London Smashem, and Dover" to grief. At the instance of several creditors the Court of Chancery has appointed a receiver, so that the money now taken C;:tl1 only be distributed by order of the Court. Of course, the board of directors does not recognise tha propriety of the order of the Vice-Chancellor," and contemplates" early arrangements" by which the company will be able to resume the manage- ment. of its own affairs. When these arrange- j monts are concluded, a meeting of the unfortunate bondholders and shareholders will be called to o:.r;0i't'in their opinion on the subject. Mean- I I note the fact that about a year ago the j mrirket value of the paid-up stocks was from < £ 44 I to £4G, while now it is from £ 20 to £ ,22, with no I purchasers. What Tennyson says of the" solid 1, lands" may be said of the solid coin which has found its way into the treasury of this company "The hills are shadows, and they flow From form to form, and nothing stands; They melt like mist the solid lands, Like clouds they shape themselves and go." THE Thames Embankment on the north side of the river i3 slowly but steadily approaching com- pletion. On the south side, opposite the Houses of Parliament, the works are in such a forward state that the foundation-stone is to be laid by Mr. Tite, M.P., on the 21st of next month. It is on the land which will be here made that the future St. Thomas's Hospital will stand. Extending from the bridge to Lambeth Palace will be a handsome I pile of buildings, that in attractive appearance will prove a formidable rival to the new palace at Westminster. Progress is also being made with that other improvement of London, the Holborn Viaduct; foundations have been laid, and brick- work executed on both sides of Farringdon-street. Mr. MAPLSSON has closed his regular opera season, and is giving some cheap performances, by which means the same singers and operas may be heard for somewhere about half the money you have to pay during the season. In the theatrical world I hear that Mr. Fechter intends to reopen the Lyceum, assisted by Mr. and Mrs. Dion Bou- cicault. A CAST from Mr. Woolner's statue of Lord Macaulay, for Cambridge, has been placed in the South Kensington Museum. There those who admire the brilliant historian and essayist may see him sitting in his gown, half turning round in his chair-a simple and natural attitude which looks well from all points of view. The likeness is excellent, but it is in the nature of things that marble should fail to give that lit-up expression of his face when in animated conversation—an expression which gave such a peculiar charm to features which in repose was almost heavy. IT is statedthftt for the Derby of 1868 there are no leas than 263 entries, for the Oaks, 220, and for the St. Leger 244. lZ.