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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH, 1896.

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SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL.

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SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL. BY JOE HAMMERSMITH. They have re-started the Imperial Debating Society at Westminster. The floodgates of eloquence have been opened once more, and the torrent of palaver rushes onward as rapidly as ever. Tumultuous floods of talk o'erwhelm this weary land of om". Sir William Harcourt, I learn, speaks now in so low a voice that his words are scarcely audible to the reporters. Perhaps the air of the Welsh hills does not agree with him. Or perhaps he is tired of talking. On the whole I incline to the latter theory. At his age I would have been tired myself. And Sir William is not by any means ti e worst of them. There is Silomo, for instance. He's an extreme case. But it is gratifying to read that, when he is on his feet, the House steadily empties." This reassuring fact goes to prove that, in the matter of intellect, the House shows no symptoms of deterioration. Time is short, and life is full of interests outside and beyond the House of Commons. The speeches of honourable members are terribly long. One cannot read them all. What, then, is to be done ? My own plan is to glance up and down the columns, pick out the laughters," and read the preceding sentences. I can confidently recommend tnat remedy. It has ■ever been known to fail. People given over to strong delusions are said to be happy. We look up to our Imperial House of Parliament, and our bosoms swell with joy and pride. We think the legislative business of the country is going on satisfactorily. The fact, however, is that it does not go on half quick enough, and legislation consequently falls into arrears. Peradventure some day we shall awake from this dream, and see what a tools' paradise we have been dwelling in. Things will happen then. Welsh legislation in particular is terribly in arrears. Westminster has not kept pace with the progress of opinion in the Principality. We ought to have had Disestablishment many years ago. The land question has long been rotten-ripe, and in education we should have had special laws this many a day. Not only have we not had these things, but the prospects of having them are at present very gloomy. The Tories will not give us what we want most. They may favour us with small mercies, for which we shall be duly thankful. But they will never give us the great things. Dr. Talmage has been preaching about pawnshops, and his words may not be without interest to my readers. He spoke as follows When I look into a pawnbroker's window, it seems to me as if I had looked into the window of hell. To whom did that watch belong ? To a druukard. To whom did those furs belong ? To a drunkard's wife. To whom did those shoes belong ? To a drunkard's child. I take the three brazen balls at the doorway of a pawn- broker's shop, and I clank them together, sounding the knell of the drunkard's soul." These are strong words, and perhaps they are not absolutely just. Dr. Talmage admits that the drunk- ard was thero before the pawnshop. Drink produces poverty, and poverty creates a demand for the pawn- broker. Pawnshops are thus one of the results of poverty, and poverty is the result mainly, though not altogether, of drink. The Guardians elected a new relieving officer for Aberdare on Saturday. Mr. Price was the lucky man this time, and the choice seems to be a good one in every respect. There was some doubt, however, about Mr. Price's age. Mr. James, the clerk, had received an anonymous letter stating that Mr. Price was over the age, namely 45. The selection was consequently made on condition that Mr. Price is able to prove, by a certificate of birth, that he is within the stipulated age. The general rule is, I believe, that candidates for posts with age limitations are required to produce cer- tificates of birth, and to hand them in with their applications and testimonials. Why the Merthyr Guardians should not have adopted a similar course, it is not clear. Four candidates appeared before the Board, and they seemed to be four very good men. Most ot the guardians did their best, I believe, to make their choice without any sort of bias, using their judgment, to the utmost of their ability, to select the most fitting candidate. Some of the votes given, however, would scarcely come, I fear, within this category. Applicants were favoured because they happened to livein a certain place, or because they followed a certain trade, or because they belonged to a certain denomination. As far as some of the guardians are concerned, the lesson of recent experiences appears to have been lost. These guardians are open to censure. The candidates, of course, are not to blame in any way, and despite the biassed voting referred to I believe the man selected will prove a reliable and efficient officer. The anonymous letter sent to the clerk was treated with the contempt it deserved. Mr. James very properly advised the Guardians not to pay any attention to it. Most cowardly and contemptible of miscreants is the man who, from behind a hedge, aims a bullet at the head of an unsupecting passer-by. The Guardians, acted wisely, however, in taking steps to clear away all suspicion, and to make certain that Mr. Price came within the advertised age. Mr. Price himself did not seem to be quite clear 011 the point, and in order to be on the safe side the registrar of births will be .appealed to. There is much speculation going on as to what Dr. Nansen found at the North Pole. I have been fortu- nate in obtaining specially authoritative information on the subject. What the doctor found there was a group of cosmopolitans and Cymru Fyddites arguing whether there °hould be four poles or only one. He says the debate was very amusing, and promises to send me additional particulars later on. I have said, more than once. that the English Liberals of Wales are more Welsh in their politics than the Welsh themselves, and that they do not advocate the domination of English ideas m Welsh politics. The Cambrian Nexus is a paper owned and edited by an Englishman, Mr. Gibson, who is not a blind upholder of everything Welsh, who is a clear thinker and fluent writer, and who has never lacked the courage of his convictions. In the latest issue of his journal he writes as follows:- The English residents of Wales are for the most part prouder of Wales, and more in sympathy with Welsh aspirations, then are the Welsh themselves, and it has often happened that the English in Wales have been the first to teach the natives of the Princi- pality that their country is a country to be proud of, with its history and language, its legends and poetry, to say nothing of its enchanting natural beauty." These are the words of an Englishman who has often said hard things about Welshmen. 1 maintain that he voices the sentiments of his countrymen generally, with the exception of Sir Edward Reed, Sir. Robert Bird, and the editor of the Smith Wales Daily News. Professor Morris Jones' second article on the Goreedd in Cymru, to the general reader, is not quite aa interesting as his first. He shows how the Glamorgan bards, after the great Carmarthen Eisteddfod of 1451, quarrelled with their fellows, and set up an Eisteddfod, or a Gorsedd, of their own; and how, with that Gorsedd as a starfing point, they worked back into the distant past, and wove a chair that linked their institution with the legends and rites of Druidism. Like some of our "county" families, they created an ancient lineage for them- selves, and invested themselves with the hoary halo of antiquity. What will Morien say to all this? But then Morien is out of this business. So is Hwfa Mon. I am the boss of the show now. I base my authority on the memorable line that decides the whole ques- tion: "Digawn gofal y gofangord," "enough care for the smith is the hammer." What have you there but "Hammersmith"? And what is "Hammer- smith but me, at your service ? If I'm not the only genuine Gwyddon Tir Iarll and Archdderwydd, then ancient documents have no value at all. Professor Morris Jones has been blamed for writing these ruthlessly destructive articles. The Gorsedd may not bQ ancient, say these slipshod critics, but it is a pity to disillusionise the public mind. Oh the whole, however, I rather think we had better get at the real truth of the matter, and, having got it, stick to it. That policy will be the safest in the long run. The Merthyr School Beard have been agreeably surprised at the number of highly-qualified assistants they have in their employ. The worthy chairman (who, I may notice in passing, is a most admirable disciplinarian, and will stand no nonsense) has publicly expressed the gratification of the Board at this dis- covery, and declared that the Board in future need not and will not, as far as practicable, go outside their own area to fill up vacancies. That is as it should bp, within reasonable limits. Incompetent insiders should not be given the preference over competent outsiders. But there is no danger of this being done for many years, as there are plenty of fully competent candidates in the Board's own schools. This may be a discovery to the Board. To others the fact was already well known. I am very glad the Board have at last found it out. By the way, does not the question of salary come in here ? Do these assistants, who, as the Board are gratified to find, have such splendid qualifications, receive reasonably adequate salaries for their services? Are the salaries, so to speak, commensurate with the diplomas ? I'm afraid the Board, by-and-bye, will be beaten with the stick they themselves have put in the hands of the assistants. So mote it be, say I. To -Cosmopolonius Your letter is very interest- ing, but I fail to see that its publication would answer any useful purpose at present. The Nonconformist Union of Ministers deserve to be complimented for initiating a soup kitchen for the children of the Plymouth men. They have done this with laudable promptitude. An invitation was issued to the ministers of all denominations to attend a com- mittee meeting on Monday night. The only ministers who disregarded the invitation were those of the Roman Catholic Church, Church of England, and the Unitarians. The Jews accepted, and are rendering most valuable help.

SOCIETYOF SOUTH WALES MUSICIANS.

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MUSICAL GOSSIP.

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MERTHYR GUARDIANS.

THEATRE ROYAL, MERTHYR.

DROWNING FATALITY AT ABEH-DARE…

Correspondence.

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BY THE WAY.

-METEOROLOGICAL REGISTER.

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ABERDARE NOTES.

HEOLGrERRIG CONTINUATION CLASSES.