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OUR LONDON LETTER. [From Our Special Correspondm&j No military appointment of recent years has caused more discussion than that of Lord Kitchener to succeed the Duke of Connaught as High Commissioner and Commander-in- Chief in the Mediterranean. It will be re- membered that the reason for his Royal Highness's resignation of the post was rumoured to be that he considered it a sine- cure, the expenditure upon which could not be justified. The acceptance of the position by Lord Kitchener, therefore, has occasioned no little talk, for the Commander-in- Chief in India is the last man in the Army to consent to adorn a merely ornamental office. It may probably be- taken for granted, either that there are great possibilities about the Mediterranean, command, or that something will be done to make it more important than it is already. Lord Kitchener's record, at any rate, affords sufficient grounds for the prophecy that be will not be content unless he finds his hands full of work. When he went to India, Lord Rosebery, with his gift of happy phrase, said .we had sent Hercules to the Hima- layas." Lord Kitchener's work in our Indian Emopir-e has been worthy of his great reputa- tion, and there can be little doubt that by his genius for organisation and administration his new post will, in the words of the War Office announcement, "assume increased im- portance." Having given the Finance Bill a fortnight's rest, the House of Commons returns to the consideration of that highly important mea- sure this week. During the interval fuller powers have been conferred upon the Deputy- Cliairii-ian of Committees, the result of which il8 expected to be to secure the more rapid despatch of business. Other things have ialso happened in the interval. Many mem- bers have tasted the joys of holidays and ffiner weather, and have returned to work with the feeling—common enough after a Jholiday-that they would like a little more. They are less inclined than before to spend long hours in heated arguments upon the merits or demerits of the Chancellor's Bill. Then there have been indications in some im- portant Opposition journals which seem to point to a change of tactics on the part of op- ponents of the Bill in Parliament. It is said that the Budget is popular, that the Govern- ment has regained in the country the strength which until a little while ago it seemed to have lost, and, finally, that the Bill will go through both Houses without much further trouble. There are still, how- ever, voices which say things quite the oppo- site of these. It is evident that the Budget fight is entering upon a very interesting stage. Since the assassination of Sir Curzon Wyllie some out of the large number of Indian students in London have found them- selves in an atmosphere tinged with distrust and suspicion, one result of which is a reluc- tance on the part of boarding-house keepers to take in young Indians of whomr they know nothing. Though the loyalty of the greater number of students is unquestioned it was in- evitable that the terrible crime committed by one of their number should create such a feel- ing, which nevertheless operates hardly upon those whose sole object is to study for the professions, and who are untainted by sedi- tionary influences. For these the scheme sketched by the Under-Secretary for India should prove a great boon. A Committee has been formed to formulate plans for introduc- ing lonely Indian students to families fitted to receive them, and the Government are also going to take a house in a central position where the activities of Indian societies may be concentrated in the students' behalf. Con- ducted on sensible lines such an organisation as this should be able to do much good. One of the Progressive members of the London County Council said not long ago that if his party are returned to power next year they will immediately set about the re- establishment of a steamboat service on the Thames. Probably, however, they will find private enterprise in possession of the water- way. It all depends, I suppose, upon the sue- tees or non-success of the experiment which is about to commence, for the private com- pany which has acquired a number of the boats abandoned by the Council is about to bring them into service. There is only the f ag-end of the summer for them, but if the: I present glorious weather lasts the boats aN pretty certain to do well, and to be plying from Chelsea to Greenwich again next sum- mer. If so, it is hardly likely that the County Council will buy and fit out a fleet of new boats to engage in the risky experiment of competing with those of the company. The Thames-lover, however, will not be disposed to complain so long as he can have his trip on the river again, which he has so long had to deny himself. Lieutenant Shaekleton's statement as to the financial aspect of his Antarctic expedi- tion will no doubt come as a aqrprize., to a good many people, who had the impression that the explorer had behind him the Government or one of the scientific societies. As a matter of fact, however, this expedition, the story of which will fill so many glowing, pages in the history of exploration, was a private one, and entirely unofficial. Lieu- tenant Shaokleton had to give his personal guarantee in order to raise the money neces- sary for the purpose, and he is in the posi- tion of having to discharge' guarantees amounting to £20,000 by July next. This, of course, (es not represent the whole of the expenditure iu connection with the expedi- tion. Tlw Australian Government eontvir-' buted £ 5v0QQ aad. that of New Zealand* £ 1,000 the application of Lieuttntftatv Shackleto«., but our contributed nothing, though it must De said iUpt Jlkkf .pmn sot asked to do m. It mmb 5 *0* mm. fmr tk«t 9mm which may be made from Lieutenant Shackietor.'s bock and lectures should have to be devoted to discharging liabilities in- curred in connection with the expedition. There seems to be a very good case here for a national fund, One of the greatest attractions of London in August for many people are the Promenade Concerts at Queen's Hail, which are about to begin again. There has been nothing more notable in recent years in the musical life of London than the success of these concerts. Considering the very high standard of the performance it is natural that. they should be enjoyed by the elect, but the surprising thing has been the discovery that the elect are a vastly more numerous body than was sup- posed a few years ago. The Con- certs have made their, own public, and it is a wonderfully intelligent public, whose taste in music is beyond reproach. When the Con- certs were started several years ago their speedy failure was prophesied. It was said that people in London would not pay to hear really good music. One has only to pay a visit to the Queen's Hall during the season, and to see the packed promenade, to realise how completely that prophecy is falsified every night. A. E. M.

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