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r - OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT.…

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r OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT. The alacrity with which every part of the country is following the example of London and liberally contributing towards the various funds for the relief of the various sufferers by the South African war, is understood to be deeply gratifying in the highest quarters. The British heart has never been appealed to in vain in matters like this and at the present moment, whether it is for the Outlander refugees at the Cape, or the widows and orphans of the slain, or wives and families of the reservists at home, the response is highly creditable to the benevo- lent instincts of the nation. There is no such fear nowadays as that which possessed the earliest who suggested the raising of such funds that the monarch would regard it as a suggestion that the Royal care had not been extended to those injured in the nation's cause; and it is good for those who are fighting oui battles to be made aware in this practical fashion that our hearts are with them, and our hands are ready to aid. The largest sum will naturally be raised in London, but the authorities are especially pleased to note the establishment of local, and particularly county, funds, so that those dependent upon th* reservists or other soldiers of each district can be promptly relieved, for these local efforts will secure not only indivi- dual but immediate attention. Although many a sad sight is just now to be witnessed at the War Office as the list of killed and wounded in the successive encounters is first de-coded" and then displayed, the thanks even of the bereaved are to be I heard, because of the official arrangements for so speedily putting them out of their suspense. These have never been as complete as now, though a distinct approach was first made. to it during our diffi- culties in Egypt seventeen years ago and those relatives and' friends of our soldiers who cannot go to the War Office in person speedily learn that which they dread but desire to know from the enterprise shown by the news- papers both in town and country. Those out- side the world of journalism have no concep- tion of the enormous amount of pains and expense which are at this present time being taken by newspaper proprietors and editors in order to secure the very earliest information and the glib folk who talk as if war 41 pays a journal because a few extra copies may be sold, could be made to blush at the implied calumny if they once saw a balance-sheet after a war period. According to the gossip of the Law Courts, it is more than probable that the Long Vaca- tion which has just ended will be the last which will be held in its present form. A joint com- mittee of the four Inns of Court and the other legal bodies interested, it is understood, has given its adhesion to a proposed alteration by which the Long Vacation would begin on the 1st of August instead of the 12th, and the Law Courts would be reopened on the 12th instead of the 24th of October as at present. But, as this alteration would involve the rearrange- ment of the existing circuit system—the I y summer assizes now being timed to finish about the 12th of August and as, so far from shortening the Long Vacation, as is generally wished by the public, it would even lengthen it by a further day, one wonders whether either Bench or Bar will consider the game to be worth the candle. Impartial folk will certainly agree that, if the matter is to be taken in hand at all, it should not by a mere alteration but as a reform. Not only the authorities at Greenwich Obser- vatory, but every astronomer in the country, amateur or professional, will eagerly hope for a cloudless sky during those evenings of the present month upon which the long-expected November meteors of 1899 are tb be seen. The predicted time of maximum of these meteors is six o'clock in the evening of the 15th; and, as a similar shower may not occur again for thirty years, there should be a rush to see it. When the great shower of November 1866, took place, it was reported that the Queen and other members of the Royal family eagerly watched the phenomenon; and it is at once so marvellous and, to the ordinary mind, so inexplicable that its wonder never ceases. This time, owing to the immense development which has taken place in the, art of photography, a clearer record than ever before will be able to be kept: and the amateur photographer and amateur astronomer will be able to give each other mutual aid. f. Good work is being increasingly done, by the way, both in and out of London, by that de- voted band of amateur photographers who some two years ago formed themselves into the National Photographic Association. Sir Ben- jamin Stone, M.P., their president, has done a very great deal in and around the Palace of Westmiaster and at the Tower of London, while he has even gone to Rome in search of English historical objects for his camera, which he is presenting to the British Museum. Inspired by his example, other members of the association are active, while societies, either formed under its auspices or having kindred objects, are now at work in Warwickshire, Somersetshire, Leicestershire, and Rutland, as well as at Rotherham and Birkenhead, while similar efforts are being made1 at Croydoo and Redhill, as well as in Herefordshire and other districts. Posterity in this country wiH have great reason to thank those who are doing this work, for they will be the means of preserving the absolute likeness of much that would other- wise be lost to memory asj having either been greatly altered or swept away. The value of land in the heart of the City of London is so enormous that those unacquainted with the subject from any practical point of view are sometimes tempted to regard as fabulous the tales told concerning it. But the latest of these is only a few days old, and, as the transaction it embodies took place at the famous Mart in Tokenhouse-yard, there can be no dispute concerning it. About an aere near the Bank of England, the property of the City Corporation, was let on building lease for eighty years, and it was knocked down" at R18,000 annually, so that the amount paid in rent by the expiration of the lease will be £ 1,440,000. In employing tie old familiar term knocked down," by the way, one may run abme danger, for on the same day as this letting took place the President of the Auctioneers' Institute was complaining that the ignorant layman [imagined that an auctioneer still said; going, going, zone," when he sold an article. One certainly remembers having heard it said, and it is not obvious why it should not be said still; but, it the auctioneers themselves drop the old custom, the public will soon forget it. The latter half of November is accustomed by the ardent cyclist to be associated with the holding in London of the two great annual Cycle shows. Preparations for these are now actively afoot, but it is already known that the depression from which this trade has long suffered will make its influence felt, though an adequatedisplay can assuredly be counted upon. It is said that different descriptions of a free wheel" devices are likely to be the principal feature in cycle construc- tion that has not been seen at former exhibitions; and, although this can scarcely. be considered at this time of day to be » novelty, its latest developments will be eagerly scrutinised. There will also at both shows be a number of motor-cycles as well as motor-cars of various sorts, and in this direc- tion a continuous process, of evolution may be anticipated, for the motor, whatever its form, has certainly not as yet coma to the fullest of its capacity. B.

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