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OUR CAPITAL LETTER. r- BY "ZINCO" ABOUT THE MISSINO AUCHDUXB JOHN OP AUSTRIA-THD INCBKASE OF ROYALTIES AND FACTS CONCERNING AN ZKFXBIAI. NURSERY—MOTHER BEFORE IMPIIZBS- IN AT THE DEATH—AN EMINENT ARTIST AND HIS RECORD—PARNEIX THE INVIN- CIBLE AND HIS HOME—OVERSHADOWED ONLY BY PARNELL 18 MARKS THE VEN- TURESOME —THE LATEST DRAMATIC SUC- CESS-COMICAL PENNY BEADING BTORTE8 —AN UNFORTUNATE START—A COSTLY ACCIDENT—WHY NOT A COLOURED CHRISTMAS ? Few real events of recent years present such Itrong elements of romance as does the story of the missing Archduke John of Austria, the ion of the present Emperor's uncle, and, con- sequently, his cousin and in the succession, i here is a little more than a tinge of madness in the Hapsburg family, and eccentrioity-to can it by a mild term-was a marked feature Df ARCHDUKE JOHN. I He was a man of powerful intellect and I great ambition. At one time he aimed at the Throne of Roumania, a station his very good cousin and trusty brother," the all-powerful Czar, would not allow him to acquire. The Czar is to all these tribal nations, Roumania, Servia, Bulgaria, &o., what the Kaiser is to the yet unabsorbed States and petty kingdoms on the probable map of Germany. Both potentates have a quickening quality of absorption. In our free England, with its democratic sovereignty, its jealous tenure of landmarks and boundaries, it seems impossible that indi- vidual will should be allowed to re-draft any portion of the map of the world. However, we are a controlling force, and for ourselves the octopus nation has not yet arisen who will absorb our tight little island. It seems that the Archduke offended bit Imperial cousin, and was banished, and his enormous debts paid. After a time he was received back to cousinly favour, but in some mysterious manner he again managed to offend, and that so seriously that his crime was pronounoed unpardonable. In j consequence of this he resigned his title, place in the succession and everything, and became a plain gentleman. After several adventures—enough to fill a three-volume novel—ha married an actress of low birth, bought a large vessel built in this country, and after a voyage to South America again started for a further journey. But the ship and its living freight have never been heard of again. • Is it well to have too large a brood of royalties? In after years the ramifications become intricate and embarrassing. The Kaiser has six sons, and the ory is still they come. A friend lately in Berlin told me a great deal about the Imperial nursery. The Emperor is devoted to his boys, who are very strong, aturdy young- sters; the seoond is positively lovely, he says. They are simply brought up, well-drilled in military movements, and taught that their whole duty to man is to be on the offensive or defensive. Their father visits their quarters every morning, and, should he fail to take special notice of each individually, he hears of it, and the little one out in the cold is incon- solable for the day. The Empress is an ad- mirable mother; in fact, she is Frau first and Kaiserin afterwards. She has a magnificent figure, and when recently she donned a gor- geous habit of green and gold and headed the regiment called after her, she elicited great admiration. # • The Princess Louise received a severe, ahock in being at the studio of Sir EdKar Boehm as he was on the point of death. Her Royal Highness had an appointment with Sir Edgar at his studio in Fulham-road, and at lix o'clock—the hour arranged—she went there. The resident caretaker at the studio took Sir Edgar his lunch, when the latter told him he expected the Princess and would wait for her. He had just been working on a horse for one of the liothschilds, and only last Monday he had completed the statue of the late Emperor Frederick which is to be erected at Windsor. Full of life and work, the silver cord was loosened. The Princess walked straight to the studio and found that Sir Fdgar had been discovered on the floor and motionless. She called for aid, medical assistance was sum- moned, but life was soon extinct, conscious- Ileu never returning. • « r 41 • I JOHN JiDG.R BOKHM Was a Hungarian, ne was born in 1834 at Vienna, where his father was a medallist and direotor of the Mint. In 1862, the year of our leoond exhibition, Boehm attracted the notice Df the Queen and soon rose to fame. He tried his 'prentioe hand on the Windsor Royalties, but his first important work was the statue of Banyan for Bedford, 1872. In 1878 he was made A.R.A., and in the same year Bnished his fine statue of Carlyle, whioh in braia;tik is now on the Thames Kn.Vfikuient and powerful genius. After this commissions Booked in on him. His publio statues are many; of the moat important are the colossal ones of Lords Napier of Magdala and North- brook for Calcutta. That of Lord Laurence for Waterloo-plaoe did not please the master, and he at his own expense re-placed it by another. In 1882 he became full Academician. The academies of Home and Florence have him also. He was also muchly medalled. It was only last year that he became a baronet. He was the designer of the Jubilee coinage and of the new Wellington statue at Hyde Park Corner. No son, Edgar Collins, born 1869, succeeds. if I give the ancestral home of the most to the front man in this country just now— Parnell, the Invincible. • • •' -■ Tit AVONDALE is situated in the County Wicklow, not far from the Vale of Avon. It was like so many old places in the distressful country, in a very dilapidated condition, but some admirer left the patriot a fortune, and with this certain mortgages were paid off and the place put in partial repair. If those who disapprove of Mr. Parnell wished to punish him, the best thing they can do—if able-is to relegate him to a compulsory residence at his ancestral seat, with full liberty to p!ay the simple role of an Irish squiro I < The editor of a good paper told me only a few days ago that he never remembered a more exciting, extraordinary, and amusing episode in any political situation. The tele- grams, he said, rained in his office; wild, inflam- mable, incoherent, triumphant, insulting, im- petuous, and slightly inaccurate! Will the king come by his own again P I trow not. Mr. Timothy Healy, Mr. Parnell's most bitter opponent, was a curled darling yester- day to-day v- in—ilHimu trnwimm THEY BURN Har IN EFFIGY. Some give Mr. Ilealy the credit of "All for Ireland and the world well lost; other say T. Healy wishes to boss it as leader. Partly true and partly false. One cannot but admire the indomitable pluck and stay of Parnell. He had the elements of a statesman and a ruler of men. A pity he had not been born out of the troublous country! » The substituted leader [ &^ MR. JUSTIN MCCARTHY is a man of very different moral calibre to Mr. Parnell. He is a family man, decorous and sociable. He is a brilliant writer, a good speaker, and consistent in his politics. He will never surprise" his followers. A well-known weekly contemporary gives the only portrait of Mrs. O'Shea wh;.ch has yet been published. By the style of the costume, it must have been taken some years back. It gives you the impression of a handsome, graceful women, a little over 30. The head is particularly well posed and shaped. The hair is fringed in front and combed back over the neck in a rioh thick, unconfined mass. It is reported that Mrs. O'Shea has told a personal friend that she will be Mrs. Parnell before July next. Mr. Parnell, it is expeoted, will marry her as soon as the law permits. Such a union would help Mr. Parnell finan- cially and could now do him no harm sooially, for his personal means are limited and have been dwindling for years, owing to his liberal treatment of all employed by him and his expenditures in the interest of the Irish canse. Mrs. O'Shea will receive a handsome share of the estate of her aunt, the late Lady Wood, however the pending contest as to the will may result, and this, with what remains of Mr. ParnoT patrimony, would support them Another hero of the hour, of a very different build, is MR. HARRY MARKS, the boldest man in this division of the Empire. How, with such Cabinet secrets." the Seniftio adventurer could dare the fierce light which pierces the courts of criminal law, surprises everyone. The papers, tongue-tied during the proceedings, have opened their mouths, and Mr. Marks will wish, for a bad quarter of an hour, that he bad never been born. A good many will wish the same. The Financial News is plaoarded as to absolutely trustworthy," but, then, as the poet said, Things are not what they seem." "The People's Jdol" deals with black- mailing, and in the person of a woman, too. I think—and the records of crimes will bear me out—that a female blackmailer is even more unscrupulous than a male. Laurence St. Aubrey, J.P., has heard that his favourite brother, who is married, is intriguing with a blackmailing adventuress. He makes a ren- dezvous with the woman, to save the family credit, ill an abbey's ruins, but meets instead a Socialistic striker, Jim Stevens, who is caus- ing his workmen to revolt, and who is the cast off lover of the woman. Jim is an arrant coward. He has a revolver to shoot his mistress and her new lover, but to his astonish- ment he is met by a determined man, though unarmed. The scoundrel dyaws his revolver on the unarmed man, sCZTK WHO IS STRONG ENOUGH TO WRENCH IT FROM Bar AND KNOCK HIM SENSELESS. Bat all well. There pcretic Justice all round and Mr. Wilson Barret went up in a blaze of glory." The piece will soon be in the provinces, so enough is said. It has human, living, and stirring incidents. it » • One of the most ingenious papers in Puzzle Prizes is Truth. This paper often selects as the week's subject the best anecdote on a given topic, and very amusing ones are sent in response. The subject last week was The Best Story of a Penny Reading." I give three, which will amuse my readers. "The readings were got up for a charitable Ciutse by a well-meaning curate, who opened the proceedings himself with a proee piece of a moral and didactic nature. To nervousness and a fatal habit of mis-placing initial letters must, no doubt, be attributed his mishaps, of which the following utterance was the first :_u Ah! we all know wh,.t it is to have in us a half-wirmed fish." His hearers tittered, but he struggled on, till, with levelled forefinger and desperate earnestness, "See yon man upon the bizzy drink." At this climax the unrestrained emotion of the audience overwhelmed the reader. At an entertainment in Newfoundland, held for the purpose of raising funds for the enltirgjement of a school, an amateur reciter attempted to give the following well-known lines:—"My name is Norvnl; on the Grampian Hills my father feeds his flock," & Regardless of punctuation, he gave vent to the following :—"My name is Norval on the Grampian Hills." (Full etop.) One of the audience cried out instanter And what is it here, Pat jI" Elocut ionis-t giving "Richard III. and wishing to say, "My lord, stand back, and It t the coffin pass": My lord, stand back, and let the parson cough. No-- My lord, stand back, and pass the coughing aes. No (desperately), My lord, stand back, nnd curse the pardon off." » The burning down of Mr. Dudley Leigh's bouse in Warwickshire, newly furnished and fixed up for the residence of himself and his fair American bride, is an unlucky beginning to the matrimonial journey. The best of the contents, however, were saved. Every year we have bonfires of old mansiolls-irreparable losses. Ten millions' worth of property is yearly lost by fire in England. I hope no disaster will date Christmas, 1890. m » It is said that the cost of the railway acci- dent near TauBton-illustrateà in the Weekly Mail at the time-on the Great Western Hail way, will be between £ 130,0u0and £ 140,000. Had not the chief victims been poor peeple the cost wouJd have been far mere. But the stock of lives is kept up. A child is born in London every five minutes, and a person dies every eight. Perhaps it isn't a toss-up which is the most to be pitied. » Well, we have not got a green Yule. We have had real dirty London snow for at least three weeks off and on. It would be interest- ing if the elements would vary the colouring. Coloured snowstorms were reoorded in the sixth century, and Humboldt states that a shower of red hail fell in Palmero. In Tus- cany on March 14, 1813, there fell hail of an orange colour. In 1808 red snow fell to a depth of over five feet in Carniola, Germany. The storm of coloured snow was followed by one of the regulation colour, and the effect produced by separate layers of red and white, which were perfectly distinct, was very peculiar. A portion of the scarlet snow was melted in a vessel and the water evaporated, when a fine rose-coloured earthy sediment was found at the bottom. Snow of a brick-red hue fell in Italy in 1816 and in the Tyrol in 1847. In the first volume of Kane's Arctic Exploration it is stated that when the ship passed the Crimson Cliffs of Sir John Ross" the patches of red snow from which they derive their name could be seen p-&

Catering for Children's Christmas…

------SURPRISE CHRISTMAS PUDDING.

[No title]

WHERE HE MADE THE MISTAKE,…

FUN AND FANCY.

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