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Notes of the Week.


Notes of the Week. 1905.—Not many angels of light and joy welcomed the newborn year with sweet carols. In fact, very few years started upon their course under greater disadvantages and with gloomier prospects. The usual greeting, a Happy New Year sounds like mockery when all the circum- stances are considered. How can a year be happy when there is so much wailing and groan- ing surrounding its cradle. A war more bloody than any recorded in history, trade in a state of stagnation, thousands of honest labourers starving because nobody will hire them, states- manship groping in the dark for a door cf relief and every door it opens leading into a greater darkness-that is the condition of the estate left to 1905 by its sire. Still it came with a smiling face, as if it were determined in spite of it all to be happier than its predecessor. It has one great comfort. Religion seems to have awakened into new life, and the hopes arising out of that fact may well gladden the young year's heart. Mr. W. T. Stead has proved conclusively in the latest of his innumerable pamphlets—and neither the year nor any other breathing thing can afford to leave unread that which falls from his pen—that every religious revival has brought in its wake a period of great political, com- mercial, and social prosperity. After the Fog the Gal e.- \Vhatever may have been the extent of the damage done by the gale of Thursday and Friday, it did one thing for which Londoners are particularly thankful --it took away the fog that not even a remnant remained. And a real joy it was to be able to see the blue sky by day and the twinkling stars at night once again. We had only a dim memory of the colour of the one and the brightness of the others. It required a gale to take away the dark- ness that had enveloped our city for such a long time, and like every other revolution it gave the whole place a good shaking. Buildings were overthrown, though not the ugliest ones, un- fortunately. Good old Father Thames found his bed too narrow for him and sought to widen it by stretching his strong limbs along the Embankment, causing great annoyance and very considerable damage. But to all reasonable persons the clear skies amply compensated for all losses. The Effects of the Czar's Manifesto.—The manifesto sent forth by the Czar of all the Russians in answer to the petition of the Zomestvos for certain reforms has had an effect very different from the one expected. It has called into being a party whose rallying cry is Down with War." A great meeting has been held in St. Petersburgh, great, not merely in numbers, but in character. The gathering represented the cream of the literary and other professions in the city and the provinces. The speeches delivered were more daring than any delivered by the Anti-South African War party in England. This party will probably be christened pro-Japanese by the ruling classes in the country, but unlike the pro-Boers in England, it has the Russian masses at its back. The people have come to realise that the war is the pet of the party of oppression and tyranny, consequently they associate peace and freedom together. The manifesto itself was referred to in terms that must have sounded strangely on the ears of the policemen who were about the building. One speaker described it as insolent and tackless," a remark that made the audience wild with enthusiasm. Evidently things are looking black for the Czar and the ducal managers, but they seem to be in a similar state of blindness as were their brothers of France before the Revolution. The gale is drawing near them also, and they seem to be in for a shaking more severe for them than anything experienced in Europe for over a hundred years. Londoners and the RevivaJ.- Wales has good reason to feel proud of itself just now. It has captured London. Its name figures largely in the columns of the daily newspapers, and the tone of the majority of them has undergone a marvellous change in the course of some three weeks, though the reports they give still leave something to be desired in accuracy The cream of the London Free Churches gathered together into Christ Church, Westminster Bridge Road, last Saturday afternoon, and for nearly three hours talked about Wales and the mar- vellous doings there. The leaders of religion in the Metropolis go down to the Principality by the scores, not to teach those whom they con- sider their inferiors, as in times gone by, but to be taught and instructed themselves by unlettered and uncouth barbarians. It is so novel that one can hardly realise it. Some one or two of those leaders thought that the revival wanted superin- tendence and management, but they soon found out, if such was the case, that they were not com- petent to undertake the burden, or rather that the revival managed them. It is a great mystery to the majority of religious Englishmen why Wales has been favoured in this manner rather than England. But the secret of it may be in the fact that Welshmen were not used to look upon themselves as the pet children of Heaven. Anyhow, there is the fact; and Wales in these days is being envied instead of being patronised. X No New Year's Honours.—It has pleased the King not to follow the customary practice of distributing honours on New Year's Day. The only one of his subjects to receive any mark of royal favour at this time is Sir Edmund Monson, who changes his knighthood for a baronetcy, but this has come to him because he is retiring from the Diplomatic Service. One would think that this decision of His Majesty must have come as a great relief to the Prime Minister. To be able to postpone the day when he must decide who among his followers deserve "to be kicked upstairs," is most precious to a man who loves to live in an atmosphere of doubt "—philosophic and otherwise. But he must face the business before the day of the dissolution of Parliament, or else the grumblings" of the faithful will disturb his atmosphere. The Fall of Port Arthur.-At last, after a siege that throws every other siege of modern times into the shade, Port Arthur has been surrendered to the Japanese. We presume the report of the fall' of the famous city is correct this time, though after being befooled by similar reports so many limes since midsummer, we were slow to accept it. But there is no doubt now. General Stossel saw that further resistance was useless and that sufficient had been sacrificed to satisfy every claim of honour. He has written his name among the foremost on the roll of heroism. The defence of Port Arthur will become a pivot of poetry and romance, ranking along with the noblest deeds of endurance immortalised in classic lore. The marvel is that the city managed to hold forth so long. Maybe the fact that it was named after a Brythonic Prince who, though often wounded, never succumbed, had something to do with it. And it seems as if the parallel is to be carried a step further. The Japanese are paying the gallant defender the well-deserved compliment of allowing him to march out of Port Arthur with his sword in his hand, so that the sword, the same as Excalibur, may be delivered back to the powers that gave it. According to all reports, the Japanese are acting nobly in the day of their triumph. Though they have humbled the pride of Russia, they recognise that the men whom they fought are foemen worthy of their steel. Should the fall of Port Arthur prove to be the forerunner of peace, it would be the most gracious New Year's gift which the world could obtain.

Am Gymry Llundain.

Nodiadau Golygyddol.