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OUR LONDON CORRESPONDINT.

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OUR LONDON CORRESPONDINT. No soonor has Parliament1 nettled- down to work after the Whitsuntide Recess than mem- bers. of the House of Commons have commenced to discuss the probable date of the Prorogation. Mr. Balfour, as the leader of the House, has, virtually pledged himself to bring, fgrward no new contentious business this Session; and our legislators, therefore, know with some precision how much work is expected from them before they are allowed to depart: for their autumn holiday. That being so the calculation is already being made that the date of the Proro- gation will be either August 5 or 12; and it would be Especially curious if the latter were to prove the one, because it would precisely fit in with the old theory that Parliameqt. must rise by the Twelfth,* the date fixed by statute for the opening of the grouse-shooting season. Some years ago, the House of Commons, autumn after autumn, worked so late as to violate this rule; and it came at length to be believed that it would never be restored, but we are returning in this Parliament to the old manner, and all but the most arid politician rejoices. There is no drearier place than the Palace of Westminster during a July and August unmarked by sensational legislation; and as this Session, even up to now, has been the dullsst of any that the most experienced press representative In the Gallery can. remember, the prospect of its silting beyond- the end of August would be well-nigh appalling to those who are forced to attend its deliberations. The unexpected, of course, may happen, as it is apt to do at West- minster; but it will be surprising indeed if the Commons be found to be sitting after August 12. > The one touch of brightness that is given to the Palace of Westminster during the Bummer months is the presence of ladies; and although" tea on the terrace" has not the fashionable vogue it had five years ago, it is again being sufficiently pnjoyed this season to constrain the Speaker to issue a-regulation con- cerning it, which involves a certain amount of restraint. The present occupant of the Chair has been warned, however, by the fate of his predecessor, and has not, ventured to carry the restraining hand too far. Lord Peel, when Speaker, tripd to limit the time during which ladies come to the" lobby ëftber" to or from the Terrace; but, stètrl: disciplinarian as he was when he had to deal with mere itien, thfr^iadiiig were too mugli^for hiw }àr_ they caWrily trampled upon the"new regulation as if it had never been made. But, as complaints have for years been heard that the throng of .ladies in certain of the corridors was, so great as to seriously hamper the movement of members on their way to the division lobby, Mr. Gully a few day&since formulated a rule that ladies should approach and leave the Terrace by a corridor wnich will not give- occasion for such com- plaints; and as a-special door has been made in the wall for the purpose of securing their com- fort/this regulation is likely to have a more permanent result than the famous and now almost-forgotten one of Speaker PeeL I All interested in tlie development erf tech- nical education will be glad to know- that good progress is l56ing made by the'City and Guilds of London Institute in,all the three main de rtanevlts=at the Central and Finsbury Colleges and in the technological examinations held throughout the .country. The rapid increase in the number of young men studying electrical engineering at the Central College at pouth Kensington has rendered necessary fur- ther space in the phyeica department; and the qualified students both there and at Finsbury appear to have no difficulty in finding respon- sible posts. What appeals to a wider circle of iitudents than can be accommodated at these two colleges in London is, however, the system of examinations Conducted by tliQ institute. It is declared by e^pert^ organisa- tion displayed in these examinations is )nost admirable; and much praise is given to the care and knowledge displayed in the selection of ;questions. adapted to jnodern practical requirements. One striking refenlt of this endeavour to secure that the cer- tificates of these examinations should carry imeli. weight as to be of substantial value to their owners, is,that the. Post Office authorities have decided that a double increment of salary thall be given, under. Certain conditions, to telegraphists, holding the Institute's certificate in telegraphy and telephony. A discovery was made at Hampton Court a few days ago which will. giYL additional inte- rest even to that most interesting historical palace. It appears that in the course of the excavations for the effluent pipe of the new Thames Valley drainage along the towing-path fay the Palaee gardens, the foundations of the old water gate, or water gallery," built by Henry VIII., were cut through. The walls or piers are of immense thickness, being no less than twenty-five feet wide, and constructed of the hardest chalk, faced with stone; and. the opening through which the State barges used in old days to pass is now clearly discernible. This is a discovery of the kind that would have greatly rejoiced the heart of Harrison Ains- worth, whose love for our old historic buildings waS se strikingly reflected in various of his historical romances; and it will give pleasure in a different degree to any who have even visited Hampton Court. The Palace, which Dutieb William loved so well, is never likely again to be a Royal residence; but there is nothing niore certain than that, "for a very prolonged period it will be a popular resort; and anything there-" fore that adds to its historic interest or. pic- turesque charm is to be noted and welcomed. Although the full accounts cannot be known for some days, there appears reason to- hope, that this; year's "Hospital Sunday in London has been more successful than has recently been the case. The amount realised has been dwindling during the last few years, for whereas just over -260,000 was raised in 1895, this sum fell to k46,000 in the next ?ear, and to something less a twelvemonth ago. he fact that the street Collections, Hospital Saturday have been done away with, as far as London is concerned, is believed to have had some effect in increasing last Sunday's offer- ings; and there will be some curiosity, there- fore, to learn the exact amount raised. It may be taken as certain that,- if the immense good "^hospitals accomplish could be brought home to the heart and mind of every London resident, there would be not the slightest doubt of the success of these collections. The misfortune is that the ordinary householder takes the hosjV 8 0r Sra^ed, and comfortably assumes that they are well provided for. To a certam extent this used to he the case for Gnv's Bartholomew's St Thomas's, and'other of the long-established hospitals possessed splendid endowments. But the wisdom of our ancestors ordained that these should be invested in landed property; and the depreciation in the value of land has been so continuous and «o prolonged that even those foundations which were once so rich are now comparatively poor1. How immense a sum of money can be raised in a charitable cause, if only that cause is well explained, is shown, however, by the "record" collection of one hundred and thirty-four thousand pounds, announced at the Albert Hall by the Prince of Wales, as the Grand Master of English Freemasons, on the occasion of the centenary festival of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys. The previous "record" had been secured, being fifty-one thousand at the centenary festival, ten years ago, i ^°yal .Masonic Institution for Girls; and, although it had been conjectured that this year s figure would distinctly exceed that sum, the enormous total secured almost took away the breath of the vast audience that had asaemblwd-to -greet the heir-apparent on-tho öccasion:Th,-se who were present at the scene are nevetf- likely to fbrglgt *-it., The' sheer immensity of the Albert; Hall always makes it effectiver even when filled only by an prdinary concert audience in evening dress; .but, at this special function, the spotless i papery-of the, dinner .tables, which filled arena,' ptalls, boxes, and' gallery set o.$T to wonderful •advantage the red hangings, and showed up with almost startling* effect the regalia* worn^ • by the myriad "brethren of the mystic -tie." 'Collars of purple and of gold, of scarlet and (of blue snowed with brilliance against so novel a background; and the ladies in the balcony, all in resplendent evening attire, gave th8 one Remaining touch of colour to the.scene which gendered it as memorable as it was full of beauty. -■ R. ,¡

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