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OUR LONDON LETTER. I [From Our Special Correspondent.} It is the fashion to speak of London at this time of the year as being empty. A stranger receiving the information, however, and landing from an aeroplane somewhere near Piccadilly Circus, would certainly wonder what room there would be for anybody to move about when it is full. The fact of it is that the season is over, and a few thousands that the season is over, and a few thousands of people have gone away to the Continent I and the country. The thousands have gone and left the millions behind, while the places of those who have gone are more than filled by the visitors from America, from the Con- tinent, and from the Provinces. Really Lon- don is very full just now. The hotels are doing excellent business, and the streets of the vVest End are alive with people making holiday. The number of Americans this year is very large, and one sees hats of Trans- atlantic shape and coats of Yankee cut every- where. August, of course, is always thfe favourite holiday month, and the great railway termini are crowded day and night with people going off for their annual vacations. The number this year seems to be larger than usual, and this is probably due to the fact that many people who generally go to' the seaside earlier have put off their holidays on account of the wretched weather from which we have been suffering. Hope deferred, however, maketh the heart sick, and, despairing of getting a s spell of fine weather, they are rushing off at last to try and find some favoured spot where the sun will shine for more than ten minutes at a time, and where it does not raitt morn- ing, noon, and night. It must be a short summer now, at any rate, but a fine August will compensate for much. It would appear that the popularity of grand opera must be growing, for the season at Covent Garden, which closed last week, was the longest on record. Altogether eighty-six performances were given during the fourteen weeks. If the number of per- formances may be taken as the measure of popularity of an opera, then Saint-Saens* "Samson et Dalila" must be awarded the palm, for it stands at the head with seven presentations. This is the work from which the ban of the Censor, under which it had lain for years, was suddenly lifted, in conse- quence, it is said, of the special desire of her Majesty Queen Alexandra. There has been no Caruso this year, but Madame Tctrazzini has been a great attraction. Music-lovers will not long have to lament the cessation of the season at. Covent Garden, for in a few days Mr. Charles Manners well begin another short season of grand opera in Eng- lish at the Lyric Theatre. At Queen's Hall there will be music of another order, for Mr. Henry J. Wood's Promenade Concerts also start this month, and there is no doubt that;, the wonderful concerts given by his magnifi- cent band will prove more popular than ever, It has been a weary waiting time for the Suffragists outside the House of Commons, who have not yet succeeded in catching hold of Mr. Asquith's coat-tails. The Premier ia a solid and substantial personage enough, but during these long weeks that the deputa- tion has been waiting he seems to have been gifted with the quality of invisibility. Now and then some advocate of the ladies in the House of Commons calls the Prime Minister's attention t the fact that the deputation is still waiting to present a petition to him. Mr. Asquith replies impertubably that he has nothing to add to what he has already said tita this subject. The patience of the ladies is wonderful, but it must surely be giving out. It looks as though they must make another move of some kind. How would, it do to kidnap Mr. Asquith and refuse to re- lease him until he promises to bring in a Bill giving votes to women? Not all the ad- vocates of women suffrage resort to militant methods and subject Ministers to personal annoyance, and the Premier has consented to receive a deputation from this section if they can submit to him any new facts. But can they? Many people spent a very anxious time while the coalowners' and miners* repre- sentatives were debating through long hours j in, the endeavour to arrive at an agreement [ which should avert the calamity of a na- t tional strike of miners, and the feeling of j relief with which the news of a satisfactory 1 settlement has been received is very real and heartfelt. When one considers what an im- I portant part coal fills in our industrial j economy it is easily seen that a stoppage in { the supply continued for any length of time would be an almost irremediable disaster. That such a strike would have taken place, without some such conference as that whick was called by Mr. Churchill there can be no doubt, for the overwhelming majority of the men had voted in favour of it, and they had given evidence of strong determination. All things considered, the settlement, though it does not achieve complete pacification, must be regarded as quite as satisfactory as can be expected at the present time. The main thing is that there is now no danger of a national strike. There are, it appears, to be steamboats on the Thames this year, after all. Hie County Council has got rid of the steamers, but fourteen of them have been acquired by a private company, and it is stated that in a fortnight or less Londoners and country cousins may be able once more to see the wonderful panorama of London from the river: It is well worth seeing, and the sight of the busy wharves, the mighty docks, and the river it- self, thronged with vessels of all sorts and sizes, gives an entirely different impression of this Imperial city from that which one gets from walking about its streets. From Chelsea to Greenwich, which will be the limits of the service,* there is something in- lee teresting to be IleeAia evors foot of OM journey. The fare will be twopence between I those points, and probably there is no better twopennyworth of steamer trip anywhere. We English came in for a rare basting the other day from Mr. H. G. Wells because other nations are ahead of us in the science of aeronautics. If anybody doubted it re- cent events have shown it to be true. How- ever, if we cannot lead, we have no objection to following a good example, and, in Lon- don, at any rate, it will soon be possible to learn how to become a complete aeroplanist. Two institutions have decided to give in- struction in aeronautics, and have ac- quainted the Education Committee of the County Council with their in- tentions. The Committee recognise that f this is a matter in which they ought to show some interest, in view of the possibility that before long aeroplanes may become as common as bicycles, and we shall all be inde- pendent of railway trains and tramcars. However, it has been decided to leave the j matter to the institutions at present, and in the meantime the Council will consider it in all its bearings. A.E.M.





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