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OtTIt LONDON LETTEB. -c: [From Our Special Corre,,pon dent.] An interesting but unprofitable occupation just now is the ,making of forecasts of the result of the General Election. It is always so, and the charm of the game is that all parties foretell their own success. Enough forccastd have been published to plea.se everybody. The Liberals prophesy a sub- stantial majority for themselves, and the Conservatives do ditto, while the Labour members are confident that the end of the election will see them with an increased re- presentation. You may take part in a dozen or so of guessing competitions as to the final state of the parties, and if you are lucky enough to win you may make quite a nice little thing of it. If you are lucky enough; for this forecasting business is the merest gii-Cfising. The same game was going on four years ago, and the result eon founded most of the prophets. It can'hardly do the same this time, for there are so many and so various prophecies. Anybody who has had any experience of Parliamentary elections will know how little value is to be placed upon party forecasts, unless, of course, a constituency has been faithful to one political party during a long course of years. But where the issue is at all in doubt, it will generally be found that the acntA of both parties are full of a cheer- ful confidence that there will be a majority on "the right side." At the last General Election, in a county division which I have in mind, which had been constant to one party for a score of years, the ageiit of that party was jubilant on the very night of the poll, in full assurance of victory. But the result showed an enormous turnover, and a big majority on the other side. There will b he many surprises like that during the next three weeks. The appointment of Mr. Herbert Glad- stone as the first Governor-General of United South Africa will necessitate a rearrange- ,c- ment of Ministerial offices, always providing, of couree, that the Liberals come back from their trip to the country with a majority. It is announced, unofficially, but with some show of authority, that Mr. John Burns will succeed Mr. Gladstone at the Home Office. It will be a great lift for the one-time Trafalgar Square orator and dockers' champion. Mr. Burns has the gift, in common with Mr. Winston Churchill and Mr. Lloyd George, of getting his full share of the limelight, and his doughty iieeds at the appalling fire in Clapham a few days ago have done his elec- tion prospects no harm. If Mr. Asquith comes back to power, John will have one of the great posts in the Government with a salary of X5,000 a year. He would have the latter, though, if he stayed on as President of the Local Government Board, as that office is now to be raised to the dignity and emolu- ments of a secretaryship of State. Mr. Winston Churchill, it is said, will go to the LocAl Government Board, and will be fol- lowed as President of the Board of Trade by Mr. Lewis Harcourt. As most people know by this time, the YXTV ■ i ■ I White City is to be the scene of a Japanese- I British Exhibition next year, and the ar- rangements are already well in hand. There is every indication that the undertaking will be a complete success, and that it will rival in interest the wonderful Franco-British Ex- hibition of 1908. The Government of Japan is keenly alive to the excellent opportunity which will be afforded by the Exhibition ad- vertising the products of the Empire of the Mikado, and an enormous sum has been voted for the Japanese section. It has been suggested that in view of the national cha- racter of the Exhibition, our own Govern- ment should follow Japan's example. Japan's pushfulncss is proverbial, and it is said that a great effort will be necessary if the British exhibits are to compare in point of excellence with those of our Par Eastern Ally. Until quite recently Mrs. Henry J. Wood had been appearing on the platform, charm- ing all hearers with her beautiful singing, and the news of her death came as a painful shock. Widespread sympathy is felt for Mr. Wood, the conductor of the Queen's Hall Orchestra, in his grievous loss. It was in 1897 that Mrs. Wood made her first public appearance as a vocalist in this country, and tsince then she had steadily gained in the favour of the public, and had become one of the most popular singers of the day. Mrs. Wood was a Russian by birth, having been the only daughter of the late Princess Sofie Ouroussov of Emilovka, Podolia. She married Mr. Wood, with whom she had previously studied as a vocalist for some years, in 1898. Like so many Russians, Mrs. Wood was an excellent linguist, singing equally well in English, French, German, Italian, and Russian, while her musical culture was wide and deep. From an examination of the report of the Medical Officer to the London County Coun- cil it would appear that the County of Lon- don has some very considerable claims to be considered a health resort. London is, in fact, one of the healthiest cities in the world. The death-rate for 1908 of 13.8 per thousand is the lowest ever recorded for the metro- polis, and it is onlv beaten by Bristol and Leicester among the great towns of the kingdom. It is a lower rate than that of any of the capital cities of Europe, with the ex- ception of Amsterdam. In infantile mortality, too, the rate is lower than that of the other great towns, but there are notable differences between the rates in districts well and badly circumstanced socially, a fact which sum- ciently indicates the resultB which might be obtained if the infants of the less favoured districts had extended to them the same care as that bestowed upon infants of the better favoured districts. In Shoreditch, for in- stanoe, the proportion of deaths was as high sus 199 per thousand, and in Bermondeey it mm IHi, wluki in Hampgt--wda OIL Al- gwa i; | hand, the rate was as low as 69, and in Lewisham it was 86. "Peter Pan" is the boy who never grew up, and the play is one which never grows old. It is now in its sixth year, but it is still as fresh, aB charming, and as delightful as when it was first put upon the stage. It does not matter if you have been so many times to see it that you know Mr. Barrie's fantasy by heart, you can still go again, and enjoy it thoroughly. There are, I have heard, some people who do not like "Peter Pan," but thev must be those who have 11."ft their childhood so far behind them n + they have forgotten they ever passed through that happy period of existence. Most of iki, fortunately, are only children of an older growth, and it is I to the child-spirit that we keep in us that "Peter Pan" makes bis engaguur appeal. His reception th s year at the Duke of York's Theatre was joyously enthusiastic. A. E. M.







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