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.......-OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT.

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OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT. The celebration this week of, the sixtieth tmniversary of the coronation ofc the Queen in Westminster Abbey has notllaturally served to recall various aneedttea concerning her Majesty's early years. Some of these have to be taken with more than the proverbial grain of Bait, while others cannot be accepted at any price by those who know the facts. One such is just now in circulation to the effect that it was only by an accident, and at the very last moment, that the infant Princess was called Victoria at all. It is related with circumstance that her father, the Duke of Kent, wished her to be called Elizabeth, and that her uncle, the Prince Regent (afterwards George IV.) pre- ferred the name Georgiana; and that it was when the latter was objected to, the Regent insisted that she should be christened Alexandrina after the then reigning Czar, and that it was only when at the font that, upon the officiating Archbishop pressing for a second name, that he hurriedly gave permis- sion for one of the names of the babe's mother to be added. But this tale is sheer fantasy, for, in point of fact, it was at the father's express wish that the name Alexandrina was given, this so much annoying the Regent that he would not allow Georgiana to be placed second, and hence it was that the present Queen was called after her mother. Most people, by the way, follow the usual text-books In thinking that her Majesty's names are Victoria Alexandrina," but the order in which they were given at her baptism was, as is now stated, "Alexandrina Victoria," and it was because she was always called Victoria in the home circle in her childhood that that one name has now, and for all time, passed into history. The more stirring events which within the past few days have taken place at the Cuban seat of war have very considerably revived public interest in every phase of the Hispano- American struggle. One result of that struggle promises to be similar to that which followed upon our own melancholy experiences during the Crimean war a thorough overhauling of the Commissariat Department. That branch of the military organisation, as far as the United States are concerned, would decidedly seem to be in need of reform, if we are to accept as a well-founded the grumbles on the part of some of the American soldiers which are now beginning to filter through to London. At one Virginian camp, both the quantity and the quality of the food are being adversely criticised, one of the men being quoted as say- ing that the chain gang in Albany is better fed than this," while another is credited with the remark, This kind of food takes a lot of the patriotism out of the man." This latter must decidedly be a feather-bed kind of a soldier; and it seems that the complaints chiefly come from the New York regiments, which, from the time of the Civil War, have had a reputation for not being particularly tractable. It is said that hitherto the trouble has been to distribute the supplies properly, in consequence of the enormous amount of red tape with which the allowance of the men has apparently been tied up but this is an allega- tion which at various times has applied to more armies than one. Those among us who can remember Charles Dickens as a reader of selections from his own works are steadily decreasing in number, and are beginning to verge upon age; but there remain enough to be keenly interested in a tetter of the great novelist, written to his pub- lisher just exactly forty years ago, which was sold in a London auction-room this week, and which seems to indicate that he had consider- able anxiety at the outset as to the probable results of the policy of giving such readings. i After sketching his programme for London, the Eastern Counties, the West of England, Lan- cashire, Yorkshire, and Scotland, Dickens observed The question I want your opinion on is this: Assuming my hopes to be well- founded, would such an use of the personal (I may almost say affectionate) relations which tubsist between me and the public, and make my standing with them very peculiar, at all affect my position with them as a writer? Would it be likely to have any influence on my next book? If it had any influence at all, would it be likely to be of a weakening or of a strengthening kind ?" What was the pub- lisher's reply does not appear, but, if he could accurately have forecasted the future, he would have advised Dickens not to give public read- ings. That he was a magnificent reader every- body knows; that the effort brought him many thousands of pounds is as well attested; but there is equally little doubt that the strain entailed shortened his life by years, and was one of the causes of his sudden death. Nothing would seem to moderate the anxiety which possesses the female sex to secure posi- tions either in the Post Office or some other branch of the Civil Service. At the four last examinations in connection with the female side of the former department, an average of thirty- two applicants presented themselves for each vacancy, the number of applicants for each position at the latest having risen to thirty- i ur. This is by no means an unusual experi- ence, for no Civil Service female clerkship is offered for competition which does not attract at least thirty competitors, While, at the early examinations for the Post Office Savings Bank, the candidates for each vacancy frequently numbered forty. It would, therefore, appear that the answer of an immense number of .parents to the increasingly-pressing question -e i" What shall we do with our girls p". is Make Poet-office clerks of them"; but it is easier in this matter to ask than to have. So great is the total of candidates that the examinations are being made more and more stiff; and many a clever girl, who has gone into them with the brightest of hopes, has been "ploughed" because of a stumble over some wholly un- expected question. It is a sign of how extremely dull, from the news point of view, is the present sum- mer that there has been started, well in advance, of what has been accus- tomed to be called "the dead season," a controversy in the London Press as to the rights or wrongs of smoking on the tope of omnibuses. Twenty years ago there would not have been the slighest occasion for such a controversy, seeing that only men then ventured upon the « knif eboard by means of perilous ladders of narrow strips of iron; but, the in roduction of garden-seats on the omnibus-tops and improved stairs to reach them has revolutionised 'bus-riding, and upon a bright summer day more ladies than men are to be found on an omnibus in the metropolis. These ladies-or, at least, a portionof them- object to cigar and pipe ashes being blown in their face, and a certain amount of sympathy will be extended to them; but it has in fair- ness to be remembered that. the cigar or the pipe is a considerable comfort to many a man after the worry of his day's business m the City, and that, as the ladies always crowd inside if it be rain, they might make some allowance for the other sex in fine weather. One way out of the difficulty would be to adopt the plan which is in use in some Conti- nental towns, and that is to reserve the two or three seats at the rear for smokers; and that is, perhaps, what will yet be done. Although it still seems a far cry to 1900, active preparations are already being made in various quarters in London for the Inter- national Exhibition in Paris which is to mark that year. The Royal Commission which, under the presidency of the Prince of Wales, is to organise the resources of the United Kingdom for that occasion is now at work, and there is a keen hope displayed in commercial circles that it will be placed by the Treasury in a position to do its task thoroughly and well. In another direction preparations are being made which indicate that a very large number of British visitors may be expected to attend. Already many persons are beginning to subscribe a small sum weekly to enable them without appreciable pecuniary effort to visit Paris during the Exhibition period. The trip, under ordinary circumstances, would be more costly than usual, because it may be taken for granted that the hotel-keepers will follow the precedents they themselves have established in previous Exhibi- tion years, and raise their tariff fifty per cent It is this kind of thing which makes the Englit h visitor exclaim, as did Punch in 1867, Exposi- tion Imposition! but the hotel keepers declare that the price of food is so greatly in- creased at such times that the additional change no more than covers it. However th: t may be—and one has his doubts—there can no mistaking the fact that those who visit Paris in the summer of 1900 will find it both costly and crowded; but those who do not mind the latter point and who can afford the former will of a surety enjoy themselves. R.

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