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OUR LONDON LETTER* [From Our Special CorrespondetU.} From Southend right up to the Houses of Parliament there is a long- line of vessels of war, the greatest and most powerful Fleet the Thames has ever seen. London sees at last the Navy of which it hears so much, and for which it pays cheerfully. There are one hundred and fifty vessels, fully equipped and ready for war, representative of every type in the Navy, from submarines to Dread- noughts. If it fulfils no other purpose it at any rate shows the man in the street that Dreadnoughts, however important, are not the Navy. There are battleships, cruisers, scouts, torpedo boat destroyers, torpedo- boats, and submarines. Only the smaller vessels, it is true, are berthed in London itself, but Southend, where the mighty Dreadnoughts are anchored, is not very far, and a trip down the river affords a wonder- ful spectacle of Britain's naval might such as few landsmen ever get the opportunity of seeing. And all London is out to see the show. There the ships lie, just so many rather queer-looking ships; it needs the eye of imagination to see the inner meaning of the pageant and its tremendous importance. But it is a wonderful show, and it has given Londoners a keener interest in the Navy than they ever had before. As the discussion of the Budget clauses -an- winds its slow length in the Commons specu- lation as to what manner of treatment will be meted out to it by the Peers becomes keener. Will they accept it as it leaves the Commons, in accordance with precedent in '-he case of Bills of a financial nature, or will they amend it according t6 their ideas, re- jecting those parts of it with which they dis- agree entirely? To be or not to be, that is the question. A speech delivered by Lord Lansdowne a few nights ago is significant on this point. The Opposition leader in the Lords says that if he cannot say what the House will do he can at least say what it will not do. It is not at all likely, he says, to declare that it has no responsibility for the Bill and is therefore bound to swallow it whole. Then Mr. Churchill, in a week-end speech at Edinburgh, put the Government view that the Peers must swallow it whole. "No amendment, excision, modifying. or mutilating," he says, "will be agreed to by us. We will stand no mincing, and unless Lord Lansdowne and his landlordly friends choose to eat their own mince up again Par- liament will be dissolved." It will be men, therefore, that important issues hang upon the action of the Lords. Though, on the whole, the all-night sittings over the Budget are conducted with marked good humour, there have been one or two indications lately that tempers are worn pretty thin when it gets past midnight. It is a good long time since there was such a scene in the House of Commons as that in which Earl Winterton and Mr. Will Thorne were the principals the other morning. Labour members have their passions, even as other men, and Mr. Thorne, everybody admits, was justified in resenting Earl Winterton's very injurious and mistaken imputation. The House of Commons showed its sense of this by agreeing unanimously that the record of Mr. Thorne's expulsion for using an "un- parliamentary" expression to the noble earl should be expunged from the journal of the I House. This was not by any means the first. time that one member has called another a liar in Parliament. Many members who wit- nessed the scene the other night recalled another, in which one of the actors was a much greater man than either Earl Winter- ton or Mr. Thorne. Mr. Chamberlain was j speaking, and Mr. John Dillon let fall a remark about traitors. Mr. Chamberlain broke off, and said grimly, "The hoa. member should be a good judge of traitors. Mr. Dillon, in a white heat of passion, re- torted, "The right hon. gentleman is a —— liar! The minute recording Mr. Dillon's expulsion for that little speech still stands upon the journal of the House. ] What a rush there would have been for | places on the Council steamers this week if they were not being sold by auction' at scrap- iron prices! With the Fleet in the Thames probably a great many Londoners are now regretting the absence of the steamboats more acutely than they ever did before. But the regrets are vain; the boats are being dis- posed of, though very slowly. Five more were sold the other day for 92,70&oue going at E705 and the other four at the ridiculous price of E500 each. Whatever one may thiiik ¡ as to the wisdom or unwisdom of the Council running a service of steamers on the river it is certainly pitiful that these boats, which cost the ratepayers £ G,50G each, and are. still in excellent condition, should be sold for such absurd prices. Sixteen more remain to be got rid of. There was not a single bid for one or two of these, and the bidding for the others did not reach the reserve. They lie, a most embarrassing burden, upon the hands of the Council, and at this rate there will probably be some of them still left when the new Council takes over the duties and re- sponsibilities of the present one. An interesting experiment is to he made on a Sunday in August or September, when, if the committee which has the matter in hand can possibly arrange it, there will, not be a horsed vehicle in the whole of Westminster. Since motor-vehicles have become 80 nume- rous and popular the prophecy hae been fre- quently made that the horse will soon disap- pe ar altogether from the streets. There are, j however, still a good many hanaom cabs and horse-omnibuses. The "homeless Sunday" us designed to show that the traffic of London can quite easily and conveniently be worked by motor-vebielea ionly. Among the advan- j tages claimed tUtt t( gain m. cleanliness, less noiae, and a more aniform rate of travelling and ooneeqaently ggefter mfcty for the tnblJfi TImm p, f auy be .,j6 o i good deal of detail work to be done before a "horseless Sunday can be achieved, but the committee lias a faith which ought to move mountains. Horse 'buses, it believes, will be induced to turn back when they reach the boundaries of the area of experiment, and passengers will change into motor 'buses; hansom cabbies will drop their fares, who will then step into taxicabs, of which a larger number than usual will be available doctors who still cling to their carriages and horses will be induced to try motors for the day, and BO on. The result of the experiment will be 4waited with interest. Women's Labour Day at Earl's Court gave those who looked on plenty to think about as to the part which vsomen take in the work of the nation. There were no less than 70 trades and professions represented in the de- monstration, from domestic servant8 to women doctors and novelists. Most interest- ing of the many items in the programme were the exhibitions of the various kinds' of work in which women are engaged in these days, and naturally the Sweated Industries Section secured a great deal of sympathetic attention. In this section were represented match-box making, tailoring, chain-making, and various other kinds of labour at which women slave day after day, earning barely enough to keep body and soul together. There was a young girl, for instance, whose awful drudgery at chain-making for a week brings her in only six shillings for two cwts. of chain, and from that beggarly sum a deduction of two shil- lings is made for fuel. In Kingsley's "Three Fishers" it is men who must work while women weep, but the women who earn their bitter bread in these ways must work and weep too, more's the pity. A. E. M.






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