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( OUR LONDON LETTER.t - CI

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( OUR LONDON LETTER. t CI [From Our Special Correspondent.) The King is home again. After severa. weeks at Marienbad his Majesty returned to London, looking immensely benefited by the change and rest. Dr. Ott, the King's physician, who has been responsible for the Koyal cure for many years, declares that the Kir j is in splendid health, and as well as a man ten years his junior could hope to be. This was apparent to all who stood, as I did, on Victoria Station a few days ago, and watched his Majesty alight. There was a glow of health in his face, and a sprightly ¡ briskness about his movements which showed he was not in the least fatigued. For one tiling the King, like his Royal mother, Queen Victoria, is a firm believer in fresh air. The weather at Marienbad has been varied and changeable, but whether storm or shine he has taken his daily walk on the Krefiz- brunnen Promenade. While other visitors have sought shelter from the rain in the stuffy eolonnades, the King' has cheerily con- tinued his way. He his a great apostle of the fresh air treatment. tinued his way. He his a great apostle of the fresh air treatment. The long-drawn out Session and the fre- quency of all-night sittings are beginning to tell on the sturdiest members of Parliament, and I hear that not a few of them are taking serious thought with the object of devising some method by which the business at St. Stephen's may be despatched with some semblance of celerity. Parliamcu fc to-day is not a time-machine but a urn e-wasting machine, and many valuable hours are fre- quently spent in discussions that the Govern- ment and the Opposition know full well will never bear fruit on the Statute iiüok. Both the hours and the days of meeting are assailed, particularly by the Labour mem- bers, who, whatever else may be said of them, show an example of business methods tii • each of the other partiek in the House— Liu-ral. Conservative, and Liberal-Unionist --would do well to follow. Mr. Keir Hardie has come straight to the point by proposing that the House should meet in the morning instead of at three o'clock in the afternoon, and that the Session shall begin in the late autumn and terminate in the early summer. The first point involves nothing revolu- tionary in Parliamentary methods. More than once the Commonwealth Parliament sat at six o'clock in the morning. The usual hour was eight, for which modern legislators would only be prepared when they have sat up all night. Charles II.'s ministers put the hour on to nine, and it gradually advanced until, in 1759, Speaker Onslow wrote that Parliament had begun to sit so "shamefully late as two o'clock. "I have done all in my power to prevent it, and it has been on of the griefs and burdens of my life." One of the difficulties of changing the hour is that many members at the present time count on having the greater portion of the day for transacting their business which is not Par- liamentary, and are only willing to devote their leisure hours to the business of the nation. But there is gradually growing up a feeling that the business of the nation should come first. Certainly it ought to come earlier, for late sittings are bad for health, and, if we properly interpret certain recent events, bad for manners also. In regard to opening Parliament in Decem- ber and closing it in June, I would point out that a proposal to this effect was made twenty years ago by Sir George Trevelyan, who rallied a good many members to his sup- port. Parliament has a party committee to discuss the Daylight Saving Bill, and then shows its lack of appreciation of daylight by spending the best time in the year discussing the intricacies of the licensing duties on the iniquities of the dukes. No one suggests that Parliament should be run in the eight hours system, or even on the ideal banking plan of "Hours, ten till four"; but it would certainly be an advantage if the dreariest months of the year could be spent in legis- lation and the brightest and healthiest months given over to holiday-making. In a few days at the most we shall be given a sight of Mlat sturdy little ship, the Nimrod, in which Lieutenant Shackleton per- formed the first part of his journey to the South Pole. A privileged few of us have al- ready had a glimpse of the vessel lying in the East Indian Docks. As soon as her cargo, was removed, preparations were made for taking down her masts, so that she might get under the bridges on her way to the place appointed for her on the Thames, opposite Temple Pier. This is always a necessary proceeding with craft of any size, and had to be done with the gunboat Buzzard before she could be placed at her present mooring at Blackfriars. The Nimrod is sure to attract crowds of visitors, especially as a hut is to be erected to show visitors what life was like in the Antarctic regions. But I cannot pro- mise them that Lieutenant Shackleton him- self will be there. He is hard at work on his book, and I should fancy that he needs all his time for that and to recover from the round of dinners to which he has been con- demned by the kindness of his friends since he returned from the South Polar regions. London is being transmagnified. New buildings are going up everywhere, the tram lines being extended in every direction, bridges widened, and new thoroughfares cut. One of the latest improvement schemes taken in hand by the London County Council is the completion of the Thames Embankment be- tween the Houses of Parliament and that section of Millbank known as Grosvenor- road. It is not a new scheme, for the plans were laid when the existing Embankment was laid out. When complete a new strip of embankment, 770ft. long, will be avail- able, forming a vast improvement on the ugly portion of Westminster which it will supersede. Visitors to London have of tea expressed Aurprise at the siulden changes is the character of the property to be ceen as one passes from one street to another. There you will see a noble building like the Houses of Parliament, a few yards away a. street of mean houses which might almost be called a slum. The Marquis of Carroway has a magnificent house in Mayfair; turn round the corner and you may find the little huckster's store where his lordship's undis- tinguished great-grandmother, not so very long ago did her Saturday night's shopping. London is certainly a city of surprises in this respect. Blackfriars-bridge, which for the last two and a half years has been a chaos of girders, scaffolding, and cranes, will be opened to the public on Tuesday next (September 14) by the Lord Mayor of London. It was feared that this important piece of engineering, by which the bridge has been increased in width from 75 to 105 feet, would not be cere- monially brought to the notice of the public, owing to the general emptiness of London at the present time, but the Lord Mayor came nobly to the rescue. The advantage to vehicular traffic is apparent, but the greater benefit of the widened bridgè is that it allows the tram lines being continued from the south side and linked up with those on the Embankment. One portion of the ceremony hext Tuesday will be the running of the first tramcar over the bridge, and the public will then have immediate use of the improve- ment. "Kerridge folk," as Oliver W-endell Holmes called them, do not approve of tram- cars, but unprejudiced observers cannot doubt their value in relieving the congestion and spreading the people out to the suburbs it the cost of a few pence. E. H. R.

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