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TOWXT TALK. BY OUR SPECIAL COBRHSPONDENT. « Our readers tuir understand that we do not hold ourselves revpon j Bible for our able Correspondent's opinions, j --+-- THE proposed abolition of imprisonment for debt continues to be a subject of talk, and the more the question is examined the more objec- tionable does it appear to be. On the one hand, there can be no doubt that, to treat all debts as crimes would be the height of cruelty; while, on the other hand, to provide that no debts shall be treated as crimes, or be visited with any more un- pleasant consequences than compulsory payment, is, to my mind, the height of weakness and folly. Suppose a really bad case of seduction, or slander, or malicious persecution, where the juries have awarded damages proportioned to the nature of these offences; under the new Act, should it be- come law, all that the offender will have to do in order to escape payment and punishment will be to resist payment till he is made bankrupt, and then, if he has no property which can be proceeded against, the only harm that can happen to him will be that his certificate will be suspended for six years. In the cases here put (which are by no means of rare occurrence) the damages would be awarded by way of punishment as well as com. pensation, and yet the criminal would escape both in person and purse. This might be remedied by giving power to the judge, before whom the case was tried, to sentence the offender to a term of imprisonment if he became bankrupt before paying the damages. Then, again, take a case of extra- vagance, in which debtsare incurred by a person who knows that he has no means of paying them, but who, like Mr. Micawber, trusts that something will turn up" to enable him to do so. A fine example of this class of cases has just been furnished by Lord Nigel Kennedy, a Scotch nobleman, now before the Bankruptcy Court. For the last seven or eight years (I quote his own statement) he has had no income of his own except a sum of .£250 a year allowed Mm by a lady named May, for the support of his three children. On this allowance he has lived at the rate of X2,000 per annum, and now owes upwards of £ 11,000. Against this sum creditors hold security for about -EGOO. His lord- ship is indebted to several jewellers, and amongst others £ 400 to a Mr. Thomas. Some of the jewellery he generously gave away, and some he "s bought, on purpose to give away." Under the present Act, Lord Kennedy will, in all pro- bability, wipe off his debts altogether, while under the proposed Act, not being able to pay 6s. 8d. in the pound, his certificate would be delayed for six years. Can any one say that this pauper lord, who has lived at the rate of £2,000 a year, should be allowed thus to escape -til liability? To me it seems that he, and others like him, should have time allowed for a little wholesome reflection in a clean cell. WITH the view of robbing the public by causing a fall in the funds, some one du ing last week sent forged telegrams to the Times and the Telegraph announcing disturbances on the Conti- nent, and the refusal of Austria to take part in the Conference. Since then some one—perhaps the same person-has attempted to hoax the Daily News and Morning Post. The proprietors of the latter paper have offered a regard of .£20 for the detection of the miscreant. I hope the offender or offenders will be discovered, and that before undergoing penal servitude, he or they may be condemned to stand in the pillory under a shower of rotten eggs. THE unprotected female may be looked upon as a thing of the past, the "unprotected male" having taken her place, especially when he takes his seat in a railway carriage with only one of the gentle sex to keep him company. A gentleman the other day stepped into a railway carriage, and was followed by a lady." When he stepped out again he was given into custody on the charge of having attempted totakeindecentliberties with her. It camp- out at the Police-court that the lady" was married, but separated from her husband, that there had been proceedings in the Divorce-court about her, that she had lived in the demi-monde quarter of St. John's-wood, and was then living in a derfA-monde quarter of Pimlico, that she had had several opportunities of making complaints to the guard when the train stopped, of which she did not avail herself, and that the accused while he was making fierce and repeated attempts on her virtue was smoking all the time. With very great reluctance she admitted all these circum- stances, and the magistrate at once dismissed the charge. The gentleman concerned in the matter was well knwn to Mr. Lewis, who appeared for him, and who was prepared to go into the witness- box, if necessary, to swear to the respectability of his client's character. He has had a very narrow escape, for charges of this kind are easily made and are not easily refuted. In the present case the com- plainant stepped out of the carriage with perfectly unruffled plumage, but had she taken the precau- tion of letting down her hair, tearing her dress, and otherwise disordering herself, the result might have been very different for her unprotected male" companion. Innocent and unsuspect- ing young men should take warning by this j < frightful example," and always avoiJ travelling in a railway carriage with only a female for a companion. WHEN I referred last week to the meeting of the Pcor-law Guardians in St. James's-hall, I had not before me a speech of one of the guardians. I think you will agree with me that it ought to be preserved as a curious specimen of eloquence. The guardian in question warmly sympathised with the St. Pancras Guardians as to the "laying out" case of the infant while it was still alive. He said that he himself had been twice 'laid out, and found the sensation rather agreeable then otherwise; and he knew, at least, of a score of persons to whom the same accident had happened, and had never heard a complaint from them about it. Of these twenty cases he particu- larly instanced one, that of a suburban rector, who was laid out and his bed curtains closed. His mourning daughter was sitting in the room, and the bells of his own church were solemnly tolling. Suddenly opening the curtains, the supposed corpse exclaimed, "For whom are the bells tolling, my dear Elizabeth?" "For you., dear papa," was the answer. The concluding j burst was as follows .—While the public will be S tickled by nothing but sensationalism, sensational j paragraphs must be supplied, and thus the elevating I mission of literature is lowered to the business of villainy, and fast young ladies, slang young gentlemen, and prurient old greybeards, feast on the garbage of society as George I. did on putrid oysters and coronets and archbishops lead the chorus in these worse than Bacchanal orgies, and drag alike the aristocracy and the Church into a position of ridicule and contempt." This gentle- man evidently makes a great mistake by remaining in this rotten old country; with such a power of eloquence he should go to the United States, and stump V it like Mr. Dickens's Elijah Pogram, who was "onspoiled by the witherin' conventionalities of society. Rough he might a' been, so air our bars; wild he might a' been, so air our cats. But he was a child of Natur' and a child of freedom; and his boastful answer to the tyrant and the despot was, My bright home is in the settin' sun/ THE death of the Dowager Lady Truro is an- nounced. She was the wife of the first Lord Truro, late Lord Chancellor, and daughter of the Duke of Sussex; consequently, first cousin of the Queen. But the House of Lords-in conformity with the Royal Marriage Act, which prohibits any member of the Royal family from marrying a British subject, unless with the previous consent of the Sovereign—declared the duke's marriage with Lady Augusta Murray to be invalid there- fore his daughter, instead of being a princess of the blood royal, became simply Miss D'Este; and her unfortunate mother, so much did the un- favourable decision prey upon her mind, died of a broken heart. THE French horse, Gladiateur, having won the gold cup at Ascot, has terminated his brilliant career on the turf, and will now retire to the stud. I HEAE that the stakeholder in the late fight for the championship, has refused to let Mace have his share of the stakes, X400, unless he delivers up the champion's belt, which by his conduct he has forfeited. At present the subject is in dispute. Both Mace and Gross are now disqualified from again contending for the championship. Z.









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