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----'--.--_..---EPITOME OF…

----+..-.--OUR LONDON LETTER.…


+. OUR LONDON LETTER. [From Our Special Corretpondent.] A great deal of interest is being taken in the re-arrangement of the Cabinet which will be made owing to the appointment of Mr. Herbert Gladstone as South African Gover- nor General, and many, people have been in- dulging in the pastime of Cabinet-making. At one time Mr. John Burns was a hot favourite for the post of Home Secretary, but he seems now to be rather out of the run- ning, though he will very likely obtain pro- motion. The next name mentioned as Mr. Gladstone's successor was Sir William Rob- son, the present Attorney-General, but there is a strong belief now that Mr. Ltwis Har- court stands a very good chance of becoming Home Secretary, but Mr. Birrcll does not lack backers. This prophesying is an inte- resting game, and the more names given by the prophets, the greater their chance of heing right. There seems to be a pretty general opinion that Mr. Birrell will be given a and Mr. Winston Churchill is mentioned as his probable successor at Dublin Castle. That would be an interesting appointment, and as the coming Session will probably be in a special sense an Irish Session, Mr. Churchill would be in the limelight pretty often. That, one may suppose, would be no drawback from Mr. Churchill's point of view. It was at one time suggested that there would be changes both at the Admiralty and the War Office, and one paper announced that Mr. Haldane would be appointed to preside over the NaTY. Latest information, however, is to the effect that both he and Mr. McKenna will retain their present offices. I Oxillg to the necessity of passing another Bud jet as soon as last year 's Bill is di&posed j of, it is hardly to be expected that the t King's Speech will contain very much legis- lation for the coming Session. Whatever happens, there must be some announcement with regard to the House of Lords, and the Government will probably find their hands pretty full without putting forward many new and controversial measures. Talking of the King's Speech reminds me of a capital story which appears in this month's ,cStrand." It is told of George IV., when Prince Regent, that he once made a bet with Sheridan that so little attention was paid to the verbal character of the King's Speech in the Hoyso of Lords that he could make any interpolation he liked, undetected. Sheridan took the bet, and the Prince agreed to intro- duce the words "Baa, baa, black sheep" in the middle of the Speech. He was to lose if j anybody smiled or looked startled. Accord- ingly, at the close of an allusion to Welles- ley's difficulties in Spain, the Regent cleared his throat, said "Baa, baa, black sheep" hurriedly, and went on with the Speech. Nobody apparently noticed it. Sheridan afterwards remarked upon it to Canning, who said he heard it, "but as his Royal Highness looked you full in the face at the time I took it as a personal allusion, and my delicacy forbade me to think more about it." The Central London Railway, the original "Twopenny Tube," has no occasion to regret having adopted a system of penny fares for any three stations. It was introduced with fear and trembling, but experience has ) shown that it was a wise move. In a very short time, said the Chairman at the meet- j ing of the Company the other day, they were carrying double the number of passengers at a penny compared with those previously carried at twopence. The improvement con- tinued, until now two and a half times as many penny passengers are being carried as twopenny ones before. It is surprising that I the alteration was not made earlier. After all, it is difficult to see any reason why people should pay twopence to go by tube a journey which they can take above ground for a penny. It is the nimble penny that tells. It will be welcome news to many people that the Central London is proceed- ing with the preliminary arrangements for the extension of the tube from the Bank to Liverpool-titrect. In the process of improvement which is always going on it London old landmarks and interesting buildings are continually vanishing. The latest to be doomed is the Fortune of War, the old City inn in West Smithfield. The old building has nothing particularly attractive about it, but it is famous as the house standing on the spot where the great Fire of London burnt itself out. On the wall of the house is the following in- scription: "This is Pye Corner, where the Great Fire of London ended, after burning night and day from the 2nd to the 10th of September, 1666." On the front of the For- tune of War stands the gilded figure of a boy, as fat as butter. He is intended to represent the infant Bacchus, and it is said that he was put up there as an awful warn- ing to the people of London against the sin of greediness. The curious fact that the great fire began at Pudding-lane and finished at Pye Corner, led some superstitious people to conclude that the disaster was a terrible judgment on gluttony. Originally the fat boy bore an inscription pointing the moral. An interesting scheme is about to be in- augurated in the West-End with the object of firing the tradesman who has only one line of business. si, better chance of competing against the great stores which cater for every conceivable want of every possible customer. The idea is to have one great emporium on the lines of the stores, with every con- venience in the way of refreshment-rooms, reading-rooms, and similar luxuries, while the available space on all the floors will be let to approved tradesmen. It is claimed that the tenants will have all their business ex- penses covered by one inclusive charge, which will be considerably less than they would incur in small shops of their own, while they will also enjoy other advantages. The scheme certainly has some attractions, j but it is possible that the competition of the I stores with the small shops is somewhat ex- aggerated. At any rate, there are a good many small shops still which appear to do very good business. The new variety theatre which is to be opened in September is going to lick crea- tion. It is to be called the London Palla- dium, and it is now being built near (Oxford Circus, on the site where Hengler's Circus formerly stood., It will be the biggest variety theatre in the kingdom, and is de- signed to seat an audience of fivt thousand. Yet so complete is the system of exits that the whole house can be chared in two minutes. Among, the novelties in the con- strtiction, of the house will be one which it is hoped will solve the problem of the late arrival nuisance. This is to be attempted by means of a sybt$uancan corridor. 5 A. E. M.