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IJlettopoUt.tn Gossip

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IJlettopoUt.tn Gossip BY ocr coaRBSPONORtrr. 1 (The remarks under this head are to be regarded as the expression of independent opinion, from the pen of a gentle- wan In whom we have the greatest confidence, but fcr which we nevertheless do not hold ourselves responsible.] If London generally, and LcndonTtradegnu-n par- ticularly, have had till lately resscin to complain of a dull season, the last week or two must have made amends for almost any amount cf dulnega, We have, in fact, been rather dissipated of late, and pleasure has be- m the order of the day and the night. So great has been the amount and variety of gaiety that the daily papers have been fairly beaten in their attempts to ketp pace with it; it has in fact, impossible to record a tithe of it. Among the last of the great events that have occurred, have been the Sultan's reception at Guildhall, and the splendid ball given to him at the India Office (unhappily marked by a strik- ing and terrible instance of sudden dearth), the visit of the Belgians to Miss Coutts's charming mansion and grounds, and the ball given to our Belgian friends at the Agricultural Hall, followed by a grand concert the next evening. Of one of these—the visit to Holly Lo(l, e —I can speak from experience, and a pleasant ex- perience it was. The residence of this wealthy and charitable lady, and the grounds which surround it, are charming in the extreme. Close to the spot where Dick "Whittington heard the chimes of Bow Church, the place is nevertheless characterised by a, sylvan beauty which we might only expect to find far from the smoke of London town. But that we missed the presence of the Sultan and the Prince of Wales, and but that the weather now and then slightly marred our pleasure, there was nothing to prevent the day being a most enjoyable one. What I most admired about the whole affair was its homely, hearty character. There was no more formality than was absolutely necessary to preserve order, and aristocracy and commoners, Belgians and English, xringled toge- ther with a freedom and yet a mutual respect which were pleasant to witness and participate in. I have mixed a great deal with the Belgians during their visit to us, and am happy to find that they are generally delighted with their reception. Many of them already had friends here, but many more have made friends during their stay. One effect of their visit, I should say, would be to create a desire to learn French, for these international visits will now become annual, and, it is to be hoped, permanent. Comparatively few of the Belgians who have been on a visit to us could speak English, but still far more proportionately understand our language than out of a similar number of English volunteers there would have been found those who spoke French. This is not very creditable I to us as a nation. French is supposed to be taught at our schools, but it is comparatively rare that it is ac- auired there, and even when it is, as it was in Chau- cer's time, "Frencheof the fscliole of Stratford-atte- Bowe." The public will have noticed, I think., (that the Lancet usually issues only those statements which are reliable as to the health of the Royal family—a sub, ject about which we outsiders know very little. It is rather remarkable, therefore, that your professional contemporary should now tell us that it has good reason for stating that "the absence of the Queen from public evening festivities is really due to the fact that agitation, over-worry, or much talking in the evening is followed by restless nights, most distressing sick head-aches, and severe and great exhaustion. one will regret that this shouM be the case, but the thought will naturally occur that there has not been much agitation and over-worry during the last year or two arising from any public evening festivities. To oppose a non-professional opinion to a professional one may be rather presumptuous, but stilJ the prevail- ing opinion is that if her Majesty is unhappy in this nervous state it is far more likely to have been induced by a too rigid seclusion, and that consequently a return to more public society—which need not involve many public evening festivities "—would be very beneficial to the Queen'd health, as it would certainly be pleasing to her subjects. e I see that Her Majesty's commissioners for in. quiring into the standards, weights and measures, held a meeting a few days ago, at No. 7, Old Palace-yard." I wish her Majesty's commissioners joy in their task. They have frequently met before, and it would seem that they will have frequently to meet again before coming to any decision. I do not look confidently for any happy conclusion of their labours, simply because they meet to decide questions on which everybody has his crotchet. Were one mind alone to be brought to bear upon it, a reform of our present conflicting weights and measures could ba asily effected. Such a man as Mr. Cobden or Michel Chevalier would singly have been able to have proposed a rational and simple system; and we have men now living who could do it, but a commission will probably result in an elaborate report which will never Ire .carried out. Whatever may be the r;si-ili-, I hope that at all events we shall be spared any permissive-" legisla- tion. Any reform to bo worth anything must be com- pulsory. The permissive element would only make confusion worse confounded. And it is to be hoped, too, that our law against false weights and measures may be made more stringent and more easily workable. It is no joke even for Royalty to entertain Sove- reigns for we see it is affirmed that in consequence of the expense attending the reception of the Sovereigns and Princes in Paris, the imperial civil list has exceeded its ordinary budget by some millions The Emperor, it is said, intends to provide for this excess of expendi- ture by payments spreading over two or three years, without having recourse to p, lcpn. It is said that the cost of the entertainment cf Sovereigns and Princes will exceed the sum of two millions sterling This reminds me, too, that should an Eastern, poten- tate wish to ruin a man, he has only t" do him the honour of sending hire, as a present, a white elephant, which being regarded as a sacred animal, must never be killed, but fed sumptuously every day and what- ever hope the person thus signally honoured may have once entertained of leaving a little ready mcney behind him for his poor relations, should ha have any, he need give himself no further trouble on that score The eminent naval architect, Mr. Oliver William Lai;g, died on the 21st inst. at Blackheath. Mr. L;, nS, was the son of the builder of that fine paddle-wheel frigate Terrible, and was himself regarded by Sir John Pakingtivn and others, as the most clever designer of ships of the present day. The last ship the coiistr c- tion of which he superintended was the Achilles. which, next to the Minotaur, was the largest armour- clad ship at the late naval review. Mr. Lang's health has been fading for the last two years. He then received a severe'shock by the death of his eldest son, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, who was killed on fclie west coast of Africa while in the execution of his duty.

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