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LONDON GOSSIP.

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LONDON GOSSIP. THE QUEEN AND THE! EMPRESS MARIE. The second Court, of the season was rather sparsely attended, owing1 in some measure to the atrocious weather, which would have done credit to a Russian win- j ter, 'and it, was a great disappointment j that the Queen was unable to be present. This was the mora regrettable from the fact that her Majesty was suffering1 from a cold, and in, the absence of the Queen, the Princess of Wales took her Majesty's place beside the King on the Royal dais. As a rule, her Majesty is impervious to influenza attacks, but she had been unwell before the Royia-l visit, to Berlin, and unfortunately took La, fresh cold on top. of the one which had been troubling her Majesty for some weeks. Under these circumstances the Queen has been spending most of her time indoors with the Empress Marie of Russia, who has come on her customary Lenten visit to her Majesty. The Empress Marie is in mourning for her brother-in-law, the late Grand Duke Vladimer, and the etiquette of Russian Court mourning is very strict. THE KING ABRiOAD. It is upon medical advice, and on account of his health, rather than for a, holiday, that the King goes abroad for the months of March and April, and whilst at Biarritz his Majesty is a frequent spectator on the golf course, and occa- sionally amuses himself at croquet. The King is especially good at long shots in croquet, which he declares is a "splendid game," and a, special court is set apart for his Majesty's use, adjoining the golf course. Croquet, when played fiercely, is unquestionably a rather aggravating game, and it has been suggested) in the medical Press that people who go through life never indulging in games of any kind have more, wisdom than those who sub- ject themselves to the meint,al strain and vexation of spirit, which often accompany the playing of games. That, however, is not the opinion of the world generally, although it is a point which might per- haps be commended to those people who seldom lose a game without losing their temper, and who cannot take a, philosophical view of the fact that if there are to be winners there must be losers. FORTHCOMING WEDDINGiS. Notable among the pre-Easter weddings will be that of the Duke of Wellington's son and heir, Lords Douro, and Miss Maud Chats, which is to take place in London on March 23rd. This will be the most important of the Lenten Society wed- dings, and a large gathering of influential people will be present. Lord Dalmeny's marriage, to Miss Dorothy Grosvenor will also be a matrimonial event of general interest in the near future, and another interesting wedding will be that of Lord Brooke, son and heir of Lord Warwick, and Miss Elden, daughter of Sir William and Lady Eden. Both weddings will pro- bably take place soon after Easter. The earliest possible date for Easter is March 23rd, and the latest is April 25th. Easter Day falls this year on April 11th, as nearly as possible half-way between the two extremes, and there will be a choice of seventeen clays oipen to those couples who have an objection to a Lenten, or a, May wedding, which is commonly sup- posed to be unlucky. THE COATS FAMILY. In the ordinary course of things, Miss Maud Coats will one day be Duchess of Wellington, not by any means the only one of the duchesses to come of a success- ful business family. The Coats family had its origin in Paisley, formerly famous for its shawls, and it was Miss 'Coats' great- grandfather, Mr James Coats, who in 1824 started the thread manufactory, which is now the headquarters of one of the greatest business organisations in the world. Her father, Mr George Coats, one of the wealthiest of merchant princes, takes an active interest in the management of this colossal business. Mr and Mrs Coats are well-known in Society, and Mrs Clo,%ts' musical parties are a feature of the. Lon- don season, whilst she does a good deal of entertaining both in town and in Scot- land. AN EARL'S. DAUGHTER* IN PRISON. Lady Constance Lytton, one of the many suffragists who have gone to prison for the cause" is nearly connected by mar- riage with Mr A. J. Balfour's family. Her elder sister, Lady Betty Balfour, is the wife of Mr Gerald Balfour, and sister- in-law of the ex-Prime Minister. Lady Constance, is the second daughter of the first Earl of Lytton, who was Viceroy of India from 1876 to 1880, and, her mother was a, great personal friend of the late Queen Victoria. The Lytfons are de- scended from a, certain Sir Robert de Lytton, who. was Comptroller of the Household of Henry IV. The famous novelist, Baron Lytton, was the grand- father of Lady Constance, and his son the late Earl was known to literary fame as a poet under the. pen-name of Owen Mere- dith. 1 LADY FlqANCEIS, BALFOUR. Another ardent sympathiser with the woman's suffrage movement, in the ex- Premier's family, is his srster-in-lawr, Lady Frances Balfour. She is one of the younger daughters of the late Duke of Argyll, and has long taken a deep, interest in politics, literature,, scientifilc and charitable movements. She has inherited her father's oratorical gifts, and Is a persuasive public speaker. Mr Balfour has said that if his sister-in-law had been a man, she, would have been famous as a, great political leader. There, is nothing: unfeminine about the appearance of Lady Frances, but she affects a, sublime in- difference for the vagaries of fashion, and has net hesitated on occasion to speak her contempt for that section of society < which does nothing but seek for a-muse- J ment.

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LONDON GOSSIP.