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Uaneties, <&c.



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CONTEMPORARY CHAT During the recent tropical weather a very fine array of white waistcoats have been on view throughout London and the suburbs. Now, if the wearers of these garments are philanthropists, and parade these snowy vests for the purpose of giving an aspect of coolness to the neighbour- hood, I personally am greatly indebted to them, saysMr.Ashby Sterry in the Graphic. But if they imagine that by this style of clothing they are keeping themselves cool, their imagination must have got very much the better of their common sense. A white waistcoat—that is to say, an ordinary white waistcoat made of drill—is the very hottest garment you could possibly wear. It has a very close texture to begin with, and when it has been frequently treated by the laundress its means of ventilation become so absolutely closed by starch and soap that you might just as well wear a cuirass of mackin- tosh. Of course there are light flannels and other materials in white that are admirably adapted for tropical times, but the ordinary white waistcoat worn by thousands as a summer garment is an absolute failure. And yet it has been held in high esteem for at least half a century! July is not always the hottest month in the year; in recent years its temperature has been exceeded both in August and September. The latter month, indeed, gave us the maximum of summer in 1693. It appears, however, from Whi taker that on the average of fifty years the warmest days are July 14th, 15th, and 16th. The average mean temperature in the -shade (day and night) for those days is 63deg., the mean being 62 from June 25th, and falling again to that figure on July 17th. The average remains unchanged till August 16th, when it falls to 61. There is a lawsuit pending in the Scottish cour's which, unless a compromise can be effected between the conflicting parties, will arouse considerable interest in all circles of society. Acccording to the West End, it concerns one of the largest estates in the Western High- lands, and turns on a flaw in the technical wording of a will. Twenty years have elapsed since the will came into execution, and till quite recently no one dreamt of disputing it. By a mere chance the mistake was discovered that involves the making good of twenty years' arrears of a large income. No wonder the beneficiaries under the will are anxious to square matters privately, but naturally, under the cir- cumstances, it is no easy task for the lawyers to arrive at a settlement equally agreeable to all parties. The British Medical Journal says: We under- stand that a Departmental Committee, consist- ing of Mr. Austen Chamberlain, M.P. Admiral Moore, C.B., C.M.G., Junior Naval Lord; and Sir Henry Norbury, the Medical Director-General, with Staff-Surgeon Gipps, R.N., as Secretary, has been sitting for some time past 'to con- sider various projects of medical reform in the Royal Navy. Among other subjects which have engaged attention is that of the teaching of tropical diseases and the general teaching in the Naval Medical School at Haslar. We are con- fidently assured that the alterations which the Committee are likely to recommend will be such as will commend themselves to the officers of the service and to the medical profession. Afternoon teas in fashionable Transatlantic society are much enlivened just now by the popular fad for telling fortunes in a teacup. Special teacups are sold for the purpose, very wide and deep, and having the inside covered with a network of lines and a border of the signs of the Zodiac and various astrological emblems. When the guest has finished his or her tea, the hostess solemnly examines She position of the tea leaves in connection with the lines and signs, and foretells the future accordingly. Local option experiments in Norway appear to have proved that closing public-houses does not necessarily reduce drinking. There was recently taken in Fredrikstad a vote as to whether the town's "Bnendevin-Samlag," or public drink store, should continue or be suppressed. Every- body over twenty-five years of age is entitled to vote, and the result of the polling was the aboli- tion of the Samlag. But the British Vice- Consul reports that it has practically made no difference so far as the consumption of drink is concerned. The people who want drink get it, and the closing of one or two public-houses does not deter them. Consequently there is as much drunkenness as ever. At the same time the local hospitals, schools, and charitable institutions which shared the profits of the Samlag find their resources considerably cut off. "As the present law does not appear to have worked more favour- ably in any other part of the country, it is not improbable," the Vice-Consul adds, "that an amending measure will soon have to be con- sidered by the Storthing." The Vice-Consul at Stavanger sends home an almost precisely similar story. It is not improbable that before long the Shore- ditch Vestry will make a new departure by beginning business in the "public-house line." The Swan Tavern, Provost-street, bars the way in the Maria-place improvement scheme, and notices have been served to treat for compulsory acquisition of the premises. The vestry will have three courses open to it: it may follow the lead recently set by the London County Council, and drop the licence; it may dispose of it to a brewer; or retain the interest and run the public- house itself on ordinary business lines. It will be interesting to see which alternative is adopted. An interesting commission has been given by the French Government to a lady art-worker in gold for a necklace designed as a gift to the Empress of Russia. It consists of twelve medal- lions in gold, each bearing the portrait of a Frenchwoman celebrated in political, literary, or social history. The series begins with the first Christian Queen of France, and ends prior to the Great Revolution. An interesting little romanceTwas unveiled at the last meeting of the Central London School District Managers. Forty years ago one of the lads of the school started out to make his way in the world fortified with the meagre training that the barrack school afforded half a century ago. The lad worked hard, and now holds an impor- tant position in her Majesty's Post Office. But he has not forgotten his early association with the Hanwell School, and last week applied for permission to be present at the annual fits which will shortly take place. In an interesting letter to 'the managers he recalled the fact that in the old days the music was supplied by a tin- whistle band, of which he was a member. As a result of coppers collected on the routs sach bandboy received twopence for his services. The writer pointed out that that state of things con- trasted very strongly with the fine band and numerous privileges enjoyed by the scholars to- day. Those who advocate an Anglo-American under- standing should bear in mind the colossal danger which threatens the race in the immediate future, writes Sir Walter Besant in the Queen. There has arisen of late in the minds of all the European Powers a profound jealousy of the Anglo-Saxon, or Anglo-Celt—I prefer the latter name. They see the Anglo-Celt in possession of all the fairest places on the earth; they see in him the spirit of democracy, which is the deadly enemy of the autocrat. It is not only a jealousy of prosperity, it is a fear that all this people should join hands, in which case the future of democracy would be assured. The danger to be met is that of the combination of the three great Powers of Europe against Great Britain alone, a combination which might be successful, in which case the whole of our Colonial Empire would fall to pieces and be divided. This com- bination would be naturally followed by another against the United States of America, which would be the only last refuge and hope of freedom, as Holland once seemed the only fortress of free religious thought. It is not for me, but for a student of the Art of War, to calcu- late the chances of such a combination. It is not very often that members of our old nobility are reduced to the very lowest depths of penury. But it does happen sometimes, as a statement in the report submitted at the annual meeting of the Universal Beneficent Society thews. We read that among the pensioners of the society was a Viscountess, who, at the time she applied for assistance, was trying to earn v living, so as to keep out of the workhouse, by making shirts at twopence apiece, and was in receipt of out-door parish relief. "Shirts at twopence"! Making these is surely about the worst use to which any human being could be put, to say nothing of a Viscountess. Whv, asks the' Westminster Gazette, don't some of these charitable societies trace the history of a few of these garments, and let the world know whence they come and where they go ? "Captain Coe" writes: I am very glad to see that the Jockey Club are about to consider a pro- posal to prevent any jockey whatever from own- ing hones. I think a jockey has quite enough to do to attend to his legitimate business, and leave the owning to others. If I had my way no bookmaker should be allowed to own horses either, for the animals carrying the colours of some of the pencillers shew most erratic form at times.

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