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-R_- OUR LONDON LETTER.. fFmm Our Special Correspondent.J Though the first stage of the Budget is over, the Government are only at the begin- ning of the battle. All that has been done yet is to adopt the resolutions. The real fight will come upon the Finance Bill, which will be presented when Parliament re- assembles after Whitsuntide. There can be. no doubt that members of the House of Com- mons m-ay lock forward to several months of hard work, for if the Budget is to be passed without resort to the guillotine, there is not much iD liiy or the session coming to an end October. Though most members won1 a t sit late and long than have ¡ another session, the prospect of not- I being 1 until October does not arenae any v L > luus.asm. In order to mitigate the i it cf sitting all t-hrotigli. sirai"1 "n%, the Government are making an ♦ to give- some of their sr:.p- poi-1"' 1 1 1 iy in August on conditv n t>"t they r to the [fuiu-e for S<:pteI?) b"T, whit i 's will remain during August n be r.eli"vcc1 in their turn. Care will be taken by H,? ins that the Government majority is not endangered. There was very general disappointment at the refusal of the Dean of Westminster to give permission for the interment of the ashes of Mr. Meredith in the Abbey. No reason has been given, though it is stated that the Dean is of opinion that Victorian literature is already fully represented in the national Valhalla. Probably the Dean never expressed any such opinion. If he had done so he would have laid himself open to the re- tort that there are possibly others better able to give a final judgment upon such a point- It has always been understood that the Dean is guided in these matters to a large extent by considerations of the space which is fit ill available within the Abbey, and in this con- nection it should be noticed that the ashes of the great writer were enclosed in a small urn, and not in a coffin. The test for the honour of burial in the Abbey in these days is high, and rightly so, but even so Mere- dith's life and work surmount it triumph- antly. It does certainly seem as if in a mat- ter of this kind there ought to be some appeal from the decision of a single clergyman, how- ever eminent. Quite a commotion has been created by the action of Mrs. Asquith in inviting her friends to view a display of French frocks and milli- nery at 10, Downing-street, the official resi- dence of the Prime Minister, a week or two ago. Mrs. Asquith, as Mrs. Asquith, is, of course, free to do as she pleases; but Mrs. Asquith, as the wife of the Premier, say those who have protested against her action, is quite a different personage, and ought not to accord a semi-official patronage to foreigners while British tradespeople are in want "of all the advertisement they can get. And that she should have arranged the function in the very house provided by the nation as the residence of the Prime Minister! There's the rub And so there has been quite a lot of fat in the fire. Mrs. Asquith's letter pub- lished the other day should do something to correct the impression that there was any- thing of an elaborate nature about the "exhibition." It was, it appears, just a friendly cup of tea and a few frocks for the inspection of private friends. The- news- papers did the rest. Within the charmed circle of knights of the most illustrious Order of St. Patrick there seems to have been recently some dis- turbance of the harmony, and the fact that the latest recruit, the Earl of Granard, was invested with the Insignia of the Order at Buckingham Palace instead of Dublin Castle, has given rise to a crop of rumours. The ceremony of investiture has almost in- variably been carried out in Ireland, and the King himself was invested there, as was also the Prince of Wales. Lately, however, there has been some trouble. In the case of one recent investiture there was something very like a boycotting of the ceremony by some members of the Order, and' it is stated that some of those whose duty it is to play a Iead- ing part refused to act. in the investiture of Lord Pirrie, so that the ceremony had to be performed privately. It is whispered that the difficulty has its origin in personal dif- ferencev and, perhaps, the mysterious affair of the Dublin State jewels may have some- thing to do with it. The Censor has been at it again, and has made dramatists more thirsty than ever for his blood. He has banned a play by Mr. Bernard Shaw, "The Showing-up of Blanco Posnet," which was to have been produced at a series of matinees by the Afternoon Theatre at His Majesty's. Mr. Redford is pretty well used by this time to having un- kind things, said about him, and he is, un- doubtedly, in for another dose, for the pro- duction of this play had been looked forward to with eager anticipation. In consideration of the disappointment which he has caused to the public it would be a graceful act on the part of Mr. Redford to arrange a public de- bate with Mr. Shaw, in which he should show why he thinks Mr. Blanco Posnet should not be shown up, and Mr. Shaw should defend his play, and incidentally show what a com- pletely illogical and impossible person the Censor is. It would be worth listening to, and would probably prove even more enter- taining than the play. It is a reproach often thrown at political and municipal parties that they constantly disregard their election pledges. That re- proach, at any rate, cannot be levelled at the Moderate majority of the London County Council. They declared that if they were elected to power they would do a great many things, and they are busily carrying out their promises as quickly as they conveniently can. Those unfortunate steamboats came under the ban of their displeasure; the ser- vjee was stopped, and the boats arq beans It i Tt-ie Works Department was ra,other -j > 1 ion for which they had no love at all; j ] 1 i f cen it up and sold the plant, f (1,1it:eJ to accept the legacy of the • nes which had been recom- k 1 b;* their Progressive predecessors, I i tney have now determined to sell the freehold of 'and on which the houses were to 111 1 r brill. Whatever may be thought freehold of The Iand on which the houses were to 111 1 r brill. Whatever may be thought to 1 m or unwisdom of all these t! jl1 s UL ^derates are only carrying out i iv i -> given them by the electors, and I,. t v %«• si •> ^d that they are not a party of t> i. pc merely. Perhaps the electors had Hot ( realised what was to happen, but t t is lookout. A. E. M. í :?

J"DISHONESTY" OF THE LAITY.

BALLOON DERBY -

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