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TO WN TALK. BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT. 0Iw readers void understand that we do not hold ourselves respon- ssbiefor our able Coivesponde'tit's opinions. THE proverbial "dark days before Christmas" have this season rolled themselves forward into the new and during the past week a dense fog has shed a gloom over London. Nevertheless, 1:1 there has been some lively talk anticipatory of the coming season. Notably-and all good lieges will be glad to hear the rumour-it has been said that her Majesty will preside over the Court ceremonies once again, and the official organs state that the Court next season is to take up its residence at Bucking- ham-palace, not only for a fortnight, but for a considerable period and that the rumour is true I think there can be little doubt, for on several oc- casions recently her Majesty and family at Osborne have listened to the dramatic readings of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Wigan. Taking this for granted, let us hope there will be an end to the arrogant attempts of some portion of the daily press to render the illus- trious and good lady unpopular. Did we desire another proof how constantly, during her retire- ment, the Queen's influence is felt for good, even in the humblest quarters, let us refer to Satur- day's proceedings at the Hospital for Sick Children," in Great Ormond-street. Yes, Satur- day was the annual highday and holiday for the poor little invalids, and of the sixty-two at present in the building, three-fourths were suf- ficiently convalescent to be in the large play- room, to laugh or wonder at the magic-lantern and other entertainments provided for them by the managers of the institution. How pleasant it was to witness the temporary sunshine playing about their little wan faces as they watched the amusements or played with the ingenious speaking dolls, rocking-horses, farmyards, metal soldiers, and other toys which, having once amused Queen Victoria's children, had been given by their Royal Highnesses to the little invalids. You know, for some years past it has been the custom for the juvenile members of the Royal Family to present toys to the inmates of this excellent institution. This year, however, they have sent to the destitute little creatures good substantial clothing instead of toys. With the exception of some speculation as to what is to be and what is not to be in the Budget, there is very little talk about the coming session; but then, you see, the Parliament is fast dying out, and people, like courtiers, turn their eyes from the "setting" to the *"rising" sun. True, it is whispered that Ministers de- termined that their Parliament shall die with eclat, and, Phoenix-like, leave a new one of their own in its ashes-intend proposing a new Reform Bill, one of the features of which, it is further said, will be the adoption of some of Mr. Disraeli's fancy franchises. Then the Budget is to be thoroughly Gladstonian, showing a continued surplus. Again, it is said that out of the great Colenso case will arise a bill to provide a new court of appeal in ecclesiastical cases, which is to be brought before Parliament by the Right Hon. T. H. Walpole. As for the Reform Billt-however, it is little more than talk, for members will think too much about the results of the general election in 1865 to de- vote more time than is necessary to any important measure in 1865. Talking of Reform, the old fogy" class of politicians at the clubs have not been a little taken aback at the news from Victoria. Bless us, what a revolution has taken place I Place aux dames, with a vengeance. Our antipodean cousins of the land of the kangaroo and opossum have granted the franchise to the ladies! yes, you need not doubt it, for Victorian ladies did vote in consider- able numbers at the last general election and- credat Judæus I-it is said that their votes were creditable both to their sagacity and their patri- otism—straightforward, womanly. In the face of daylight, without the ballot, those votes were given to educated candidates in preference to the ignorant but wealthy aspirants for political noto- riety. What will political Mrs. Grundy say to this ? A dangerous example, of course; for, having conceded them the right to vote for mem- bers, it will be scarcely logical to deny them the right to enter Parliament themselves. So, another work is to be added to the catalogue of Royal and noble authors. The Emperor of the French has for years past been at work upon the "Life of Caesar," that great precursor of a line of emperors. From what I can hear, it is a remarkable work-i.e., in style; and will appear simultaneously in French, English, and German- a wise, arrangement, for had it appeared first in French, certain unprincipled publishers would speedily have produced hashes in the shape of translatic)iis, that would have rendered the off- spring unrecognisable by its own parent. I can hear very little about the German edition but that the English edition will be unexceptionable we have every guarantee in the facts-first, that it will be translated'by Mr. Wright, the antiquarian and historian, who is equally a master of both languages; secondly, that the English translation will be revised under the Emperor's personal supervision; and thirdly, that it will be printed and published by Messrs. Cassell, Petter, and Galpin; who, by the way, have the exclusive right of reproducing the work in the English language. In legal circles I hear it rumoured that it is at length seriously contemplated that the Divorce and Probate—or, as it has been well named, from recent appearances therein, Re-probate Courts- shall not continue to be presided over by one judge. And wise will be the alteration for, as it now appears, the labours of no one judge—albeit a very Hercules—can ever clean out such an Augean stable as every day proves more and more to exist just beneath the crust of our civilisation to •wit, the Codritigton v. Codrington case, which lasted seven days, and the Chetwynd v. Chetwynd case, iwfcich occupied the Court ten days. While looking lie overburdened list of one hundred and fifty- six cases Sir James Wilde has now before him, it is curious to remember that such men as Lords Brougham and'Cranworth could not foresee more than eighteen ort,twenty cases a year. Why, during the first seven years of the existence of this new Court, no less than two thousand petitions have been presented and tried. Turning myIattention to the working classes —or that particular section of English people who are thus foolishly classified, as if, forsooth,, every man who has his living to get does not belong to the same category—I ask, how is it that, despite all that 'the legislative executive, and I may say the press, does to protect them, they will so foolishly permit themselves to be gulled by any rogue, or rogues, who choose to set up a mere brass plate" assurance office or friendly society ? Yet scarcely a week passes that the proceedings at the police-courts do not exhibit some such frauds. During the past week two singular cases have come before the public. A poor woman, who had insured her husband's life, regularly paying the premium, had much difficulty in obtaining the money on her husband's death. The secend case is, if possible, worse. A poor boardman—who, thanks to the illegal interference of the police, is deprived of the means of earning his pittance of eighteenpence per diem—remembers that, fortu- nately and prudently, he has saved some 11 1-a nice little sum to fall back upon under the circum- stances. But lo! the poor fellow had paid all his hardly-saved earnings into the hands of the secretary of a provident society, and, when he goes'to draw," finds the bird flown. Now these frauds upon poor people are very sad, and to warn others against the doings of these social rats, I give 11 9 them the publicity of this column. But cui bono ? you can't help people who wont help themselves. Z.









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