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OUR LONDON LETTER. [From Our Special Correspondent.) Th-ere is a general agreement that Mr. I terbert Samuel thoroughly deserves his pro- 1 tiio'.ion to Cabinet rank. Though cccapara- lively a young member-he first sat in thss i He use of Commons in 1902—his abilities ha ve been long recognised, and since he became a Minister he has developed into a debater oi the front rank. He is one of those 1 Ministers who make no enemies, and an gratulations upon his appointment from all parties in the Com norst. VI. Samuel's most notable achievement so has been the piloting- of the Children' Bill through the House. I The resignations of Lord Fitzmaurice zir, di Mr.. Buchanan have come at an awkward time for the Government, arid tbi-Y can. ill spare Lord Fitzmaurice from the Iliyase o.f Lords. At the same time there does not j .-appear to be any ground at all for the rumour that dissatisfaction with the Binlg-et had anything at all to do with his reaigfna- tion, or that of Mr. Buchanan from the TJnder-Seoretaryship for India. Ill-health is ,the reason given for both in the official com- raunication, and it is no doubt the true reason. Mr. Buchanan has been absent from his place for some months, and Lord Fitz- maurice, who is the brother of the Marquis of Lansdowne, has been suffering considerably during the last few weeks, and his medical advisers have ordered him complete rest. The Master <of Elibank, who has been the Scot- tish Whip, goes to the India Office to succeed .Mr. Buchanan. A good many new peerages have been (Created since the present Government took office at the end of 1905, a fact of which they have been not infrequently reminded when the question of U ending or mending" the House of Lords has been mooted. The latest- list of honours, however, contains no names rof new peers, but a multitude of smaller honours, conferred as rewards for party or public service. Since the stage began, to figure in these periodical lists it has been merely a question of time before a knight- hood would be offered to Mr. Tree, and the enthusiastic reception which the popular ;aetor-manager received when he appeared on the.stage at his splendid theatre on the even- ing of the day of the announcement leaves no doubt of the public opinion that the honour was richly merited. Journalism has several representatives in the list, on" of whom, Mr. H. W. Lucy, the famous Gallery "hand," is almost a national institution. In the last few years the great railway companies carrying suburban trafiic have been hard hit by the competition of trains and motor-'buses, and every year the direct tors have had to deplore a loss of revenue 'rom this cause. Rather late in the day, the Great Eastern, who" are perhaps the greatest -Sufferers, are taking steps to try to stop the decline in passengers and revenue and to induce some of those who have left the trais .for the tram to come back again. The method they ai-e adopting is the obvious one of reducing fares so as to compare more favourably with those charged by the tram- ways and the 'bus companies. There are, of course, other things besides cheaper fares which tell in favour of trams. There is a more frequent service, for one thing, and the ears pick up and set down passengers nearer to their residences than any railway can do- But the railways travel faster, and. the travelling is more comfortable—except wen fifteen passengers are crammed into a com- partment designed to carry ten or so. Be- sides reducing fares, the Great Eastern are going to try what can be done by a more frequent service between certain points, and it is possible that these improvements may get back for them some of the traffic which they have lost. The new Victoria and Albert Museum which the Ring opened at South Kensington on Saturday has cost a million plillnda to build, and it is by a long way the most im- posing building among the museums of London. Its construction has been in pro- gress since the late Queen Victoria per- formed her last public act of laying the foundation stone inst over ten years ago. The style of architecture is "a free Renais- sance," that being' the style which admits of the introduction of the largest amount of window-space—an important consideration in the case of a museum. The interior decoration of the huge pile-it contains a mile of galleries, and the courts cover an acre and a half—is superb. Some of the col- lections are already in place, but as the re- moval has only been in progress since the be- ginning of the year, there is still a great deal to be done. When this work is completed the treasures of the Museum will be magnifi- cently housed, and the plan of arrangement will enable them to be viewed by the public to much greater advantage than hitherto, and the Museum will certainly take its place;, as one of the greatest attractions of London. Few members of Parliament were more popular with their fellows than Sir Alfreii Jaeoby, whose death took plaee -last w«ek- His place in the affections of members of fhg i House of Commons W..3 secure, for he had found his way to their hearts through fcfte dining-room, and that way, as the cj nits .'?! us, is alwitys t-he surest road to the heart of an Englishman. As Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, Sir Alfred made many improve- ments and innovations which contributed to the comfort and satisfaction of hungry and thirsty legislators. He took his duties seriously, but he had a sense of humour which enabled him to amuse the House with his answers to questions upon the quality of Whisky, the price of strawberries, or the age of a spring chicken. Colonel Loekvmod, wltv* has been acting for Sir Alfred lately, is lik, him in that respect, as was proved when he announced recently that in consequence of lite .w taxation a halfpenny would tm gat on the price of a glass of whisky, but that member- could get over the difficulty of the hai-penny by ordering two glasses instead of one. One of the most important of the inin subjects which have been discussed at the Imperial Press Conference is the charge made by the cable companies for Press messages. The high rates have made it nexi to impossible for any but news of the very greatest importance to be cabled at anything like adequate length, and awkward misunder- standings have often arisen between the Mother Country and the Dominions owing to a, condensed report of a speech, or a sentence or two torn from the context, beiLg Sashed beyond the seas. An announcement of the I utmost importance was made at one of the final meetings of the Conference, to the effect that the Pacific Cable Board has agreed to reduce by one-half its charges for Press messages, while New Zealand, and probably Australia also, will do the same in regard to their terminal charges. The most interesting announcement, however, was made by Ni r. Marconi, who as good as promised wireless communication between this country and Canada within a few months at the rate of twopence per word. A. E. M.





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