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THE DECEMBER MAGAZINES.

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THE DECEMBER MAGAZINES. [FIRST NOTICE.] Blackwood's" for December closes another volume of that historic magazine in brilliant stylo. The political side, aö befit6 the pr<,scnt tltirring times, is strongly in evidence in t.he piquant "Musings Without Method," in "William Pitt," by Charles Whibley, and in "The Second Earl Granville." The place of honour in the number is deservedly given to an illumining and argumentative article on The Naval Officer -Pa6t and Future," by that well-known writer who distinguished himself as the author of A Retrograde Admiralty." Colonel C. E. de la Poor Beresford, late Military Attache at St. Peters- burg, writes a powerful essay on "The Frosty Caucasus." In lighter vein Andrew Lang bends to the task of reviewing Sir Herbert Maxwell's "The Story of the Tweed" as no other reviewer could aspire to do. Jack London's short story, "Love of Life," is full of grim realism and fascina- tion which are associated with that author's pro- ducts. In and ABout a German Town" is a pleasing sketch of the everyday life of our German friends. The position of ecclesiastical Scotland in the immediate past. and the future is treated in masterly stylo by the Very Rev. Dr. William Mair, ex-Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and will be highly appreciated on both sides of the Tweed. As a sample of the Earl Granville biographical sketch, the following anecdote of the Earl's maiden speech is worth quoting.— There is a curious anecdote of his maiden speech in 1837, the same session in which Disraeli made his historic failure. He sat in a little group behind the Ministerial bonch, next to Henry Bulwer, who muttered to his neigh- bouns his replies to orators on the other side and then mso to reply to Sir Stratford Canning. Lord Loveson, as he then was, claimed his prece- dence as new member, and Bulwer heard to his dismay all his points unfolded to the House and rewarded by its cheors. It is said that he enjoyed the joke as much as anybody, but the nonchalance and ready wit which could practice II. joke on the House in his maiden effort pre- saged tho future leader and ambassador extra- ordinarv. "The Connoisseur" is rich in illustrations this month, some of the coloured plates and repro- ductions of rare engravings being real works of art. The articles on Eighteenth Century miniaturists, on "French Furniture," Dolft Snuff Ja," and on "The Art of Decoration as applied to Architecture and Furniture" shew the I varied interest of the number. Among the repre- sentations of ancient 6ilver plate thcre is a photo- graph of a covered chalice of silver-gilt, nowin use in the Parish Church of Llanbadrig, Anglesey, who,e history is worth recapitulation. It was discovered some twenty years ago in the old church in a very battered and flattened condition, and was restored to its present state, and has since been u6ed as a communion cup. It bears the London pallmark8 of the year 1564-5. and the maker's mark, L.H., linked. Locally it was looked upon as a pro-Reformation chalice, and venerated as such, but- all doubt of its age is clearly dispelled by the hallmarks, which are unusually legible in a cup of this age. Probably its great interest lies in its peculiar and probably unique shape, apart from its unusual height as a sacramental vessel, its style not belonging to any particular cla<-s of the period of manufacture. There would, how- ever, seem to be no doubt that its original UN was as a domestic vessel, and not ecclesiastic. Its extreme height is 12in. t A portrait of Mr. Robert Fellowes. of Shotesham, forms the frontispiece of Magazine of Sports and Pastimes." This fine old sportsjnan. now in his 89th year, has "played the game all round and knew many of the most prominent men in the world of sport during the Victorian era. Among other contents of the magazine are Mr. Lowe's excellent article on Foxhounds; Mr. Lowe's ideal hound, he tells us. was George Carter's Solim. Mr. Hugh Hcrvey discusses the influence of sport on character. Then comes an entertaining and well illustrated article on Hunt Runners." a race of humble sportsmen fart- di"app0aril\ Borderer con- tributes an interesting and suggestive review of vol. xx. of the General Stud Book: it seems that seven sires foaled between 1850 and 1860 have produce still living: a noteworthy feature of the new Stud Book is the record of blood stock ex- ported to Japan. Exports to the Continent are decreasing, but those to America show a gr2:tt increase. Mr. Coates, writing n winning nire" of the season, urges inclusion in the returns of the value of Irish races, showing that this would materially affect the position of some stallions, no+ably Wildfowler. A writer on fox-hunting makee; the suggestion that a list should be kept of tho number of times particular coverts are drawn, and how often unsuccessfully: he thinks that this measure might induce covert owners or tenants to pay mare attention to fox-pre serving. Capta.in King-King continues his readable Half Century of Hunting Recollections": and Mr. Soarth Dixon reviews the Gimcrack Stakes front the inception of the race. In the December number of the Badminton Magazine," Mr. George Thursby, who rides on equal terms with jockeys, is the subject of the second of tho series of articles 011 Sportsmen of Mark." A valuable article on "The Importance of Leaving a Good Brooding Stock will specially oonsmend itself to all owners of shooting estates. Miss Lilian E. Bland contributes A School Across Country," illustrated by some of her re- markable photographs. In Some Ladies who Ride to Hounds" there are many portraits of the meet notable horsewomen in the country, in- cluding Lady Greenall, wife of Sir Gilbert Groenall. Bart, (the master of the Belvoir). The series of "Royal Homes of Sport in Germany" is concluded by a description of "Rominton." This series has boon written specially for the "Badminton Magazine" by the gracious per- mission of h's Imperial Majesty the German Emperor. "Some Motor Problems" are discussed by Major C. G. Matson, and an amusing story, "The Racknoy Hunt Poultry Fund," is the ninth "Strange Story of Sport." The "World's Work and Play" now enters upon its fourth year, and in the current number there is an illustrated "Birthday Article About Our- eelvee," shewing how this much appreciated magazine is produced. The number contains no fewer than 110 illustrations, and every one is ex- cellent. The editor, discussing current topics, sketches Count Witte with a graphic pen- Hore is a man who, whatever else according to his enemies he may be or not be, has at least this on his record: he placed Russian finance and commerce in a better position than it over occupied before; he opposed the war to the utmost of his power, and sacrificed his great office and all his prospects rather than be a party to it; he succeeded in making peace, after the disasters he had dreaded, on terms so favourable to Russia that. the whole world was startled by them; he accepted responsibility for order when every other Russian statesman ran to cover; he convinced the Czar that constitu- tional freedom was the only salvation for Russia; now against terrible odds, in weak health and virtually alone, he is trying to bring about domestic peace and national liberty. Surely, he deserves the sympathy and goodwill of all reasonable people in Russia and else- where. Tho "Cornhill" is an excellent number. A capital article by Mr. Joseph Shaylor on the history of The Christmas Book will be read with interest at this season. Mention should here be made of the Christ- mas issues by Charles Dickens, and of the great interest created by their publication. Lord Jeffrey thus wrote of thoir wonderful influence: "They fostered more kindly feelings and prompted more acts of bonoficonoe than can be traced to all the pulpits and confessionals in Christendom." The first of these was "The Christmas Carol," issued a few days before Christmas, 1843, at the price of 5s.. The book met with an immediate and prodigious success, u the edition of 6,000 copies being sold on the day of publication, though, to the disappointment of Dickens, it yielded only a profit of JB250. The general interest evoked was, however, so great that the work continued to sell during the fol- lowing year, and by the end of 1844, 15,000 copies had been sold, yielding a profit to Dickens of JE726. On November 3, 1844, Dickens wrote in his diary: "Half-past two, afternoon; thank God I have finished 'The Chimes.' This was his second Christmas book, and was more warmly received than "The Carol." A sale twioo as large as that of the previous issues fell to the lot of The Cricket on the Hearth," which was the third in the series. The Battle of Life" was the last Christmas volume published by Dickens, as it was found impossible to maintain the high standard that the first volumes had reached, and as the books were rather expensive the issue in the particular style was discontinued. Some years afterwards, in connection with All the Year Round," Dickens started a series of Christ- mas numbxjfs. The first, was "Dr. Marigold's Prescriptions," and within a week 250,000 copies were sold. "Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings" and No Thoroughfare were others. They all found a welcome among Dickens's many admirers, and at Christmastido they carried a brightness and joy into thousands of homes, which it is to be feared the present generation, with its many advantages, scarcely understands. Probably the most popular feature of the Christmas (enlarged) number of "The Captain" will be found in Mr. P. F. Warner's article on "Our Team for South Africa." The portraits of the South African crack players are given in favourite attitudes, and Mr. Warner sums up the prospects of the tour thus:— It must be remembered that the South Africans have made great strides in recent years. Their visits to England in 1901 and 1904, and the short tour of the Australians in South Africa in 1902, did them a tremendous amount of good, and there can be no doubt that they are a difficult side to beat in their own country, as the Australians themselves discovered. Still, touring teams, from constantly playing to- gether, have a way of welding themselves into a stronger and more harmonious whole than one expects to find them--the M.C.C. team in Australia affords a good example--and we ought to make our opponents go the whole way. though, in my opinion, it is just. a shade of odds on the South Africans winning two out of the three test matches. CHRISTMAS NUMBERS. An excellent collection of stories of the hunting field appears in the Christmas number of "Pearson's." We quote a story which will be new to many hunting men; it telle how a hunt was made to order one day, when scent was bad and chances of sport seemed nil:— In the days when Sir Richard Glyn was master of the Blackmore Vale, the famous huntsman, Press, did many prodigious things with his hounds—but nothing greater than his artificial hunt. Scent one day was very bad—it seemed there could be no chance of hunting at all. But Press was determined to shew sport. It happened that in the very first covert that was drawn, hounds chopped a fox with such suddenness that no one, save Press and one other member of the hunt, knew anything about it. Here Press saw his chance. "Don't brathe a word, sir," said he, as he sprang among the hounds, and took away the carcase of the fox. He stood upon his saddle, and deposited the fox High up on the branch of a tree. Then he sounded his horn, gathered hounds together, and rode away. Exerting all his great influence over the hounds, he cheered them on, as though they were running a screaming scent. For half an hour the pack led the field on a grand gallop, ran a wide circle, and returned to the starting covert, Press far ahead of the rest. Arrived at the tree where the fox was perched, Press threw him down before anyone could suspect a trick, and his "who-whoop" as t.he hounds took their reward deceived everyone into think- ing it sounded the fox's death knell. When tho field came up, Press modestly received the heartiest congratulations on the good sport he had shewn, in spite of the bad scent. Only one member of the field knew the trick that the huntsman had played; and he kept the secret. "'Twas our only chance of sport to-day," said Press in a whispered explanation, and I took it!" Tho Christmas double number of the "Windsor" has a strong list. of contributors, among them being Rudyard Kipling, Ellen Terry, Agnos and Egorton Castle, S. R. Ciockctt and Anthony Hope, the lafiter of whom commences a new serial, in which he makes a brilliant re- appearance in his own field of "Zenda" romance This array of talent, is in itself a guarantee of the, excellence of the publication. Miss Ellon Terry, writing of "Tho Green Room," says: — I may be prejudiced, but I find charm- and fascination in the very sound of its name! The theatre the stage, the- drama, the art of acting, the actor—all have their serious side and thoir serious history, but no one can tell you much of serious importance about tho green-room. Its history would be- better told than written, for it is above everything, intimate, familiar- perhaps I should add. scandalous! What is the green-room? To the outsider a kind of half- way house between illusion and reality. To the actor—alas! one can only speak of what it used to be to the actor, for his green-room, is rapidly disappearing as a fact, and as an idea. has long ceased to be an important part of theatrical life. But to the actor in my young days the green-room meant as much as tho stage itself. When new theatres are. built. the green- room is left out of the reckoning. In America only one green-room exists, at. Pittsburg. Hero and there in the provinces the older theatres notably Bath and Bristol) still have their green- rooms. but in many cases they are not. used, or used for other purposes, and in London it. is tho same, only more, so. Only the other da.y the green-room at. Druiy Lane was abolished or demohshed, and! it docs not srem that players wore either indignant or tearful at this wiping out of an old1 tradition. It is quite likely, as tome people think. that the institution has out- grown its uses, and that only the sentimentalist need mourn over it. Only the sentimentalist? It. is a good thing that we should be re- minded occasionally of somo losses and gains wh'ch have nothing to do with accounts or algebra or logic. The sentimentalist has his value. I admit that it is not so much the use- fulness of the green-room that I remember, as its charm. Among the pioneer Christmas numbers. "Amateur Gardening," 6d. (Messrs. W. H. and L. Collingridge, 148 and 149, A1 derogate-street. London) is one of the brightest, as it is one of the earliest. Independently of its literary merit, it in a work of art from beginning to end, as within its covers are contained a. profusion of exquisite pictures of horticultural and country- Bide scenes, viewed under different aspects, lid ftuch as cannot fail to find acceptance with all real lovers of our -homely English life. With the number is presented a double-page, highly- coloured plate of a vase of roses of great beauty. Che.rrbe-s"^ Journal" is a -,pecial Christmas n-i!) Among t-hpse who furnich complete vie are M y Stuart Boyd, Katha, lie Tynan, f .'dries Edwarue.-j and R. E. Francillon. In an ai-oiole entitled "Wanted: A Christmas Grocer," Kii.harine Bun-ill expresses the fear that the genuine old-fashioned Christmas grocer has ceased to exist. Stores, bo they ever so marble and gorgeous, can never be a Christmas grocer. To begin with, the popular prices are cut far too fine to allow of any conspicuous generosity at Christ- mas-time or any other time; also, the assictant46 and shop-walkers are merely owned by the management—they do not own the store. Now, the real old-fashionod grocer owned everything: his shop. his tea-chests (so fascinatingly Chinese), his biscuit-tins, his wife (who kept the books), and his sons who assisted him in the business. Did he choose to present you with a crimson-plush castle filled with French plums, who dared say him nay? Did he give the 6inall person a heaped-up packet of acid drops, and royally return the proffered penny, whose loss was it but his own ? When he pressed a box of gaily-coloured Christmas candles into the expectant hand of the customer's offspring, were they not his own candles to sell or burn or give away as he felt disposed? Generous all the year round with biscuits, with sweets, with crystallised ginger, at Christmas the old- fashioned grocer became positively prodigal, me showering his gift." upon his customers with a lavish hand. Looking back, we wonder how ho ever made a living at all! The Royal" is a double Christmas issue, Under the title of "An Army's Bloodless Victories," Mr. John Glenfield gives an interest- ing description of How the Church Army Helps the Outcast and Destitute." We extract the following:— It is part of our modern convict system to teach the prisoner a trade by which he may earn an honest living on his return to the outer world, but it is not in the pcaver of the authori- ties to insure that he will obtain a situation, for most employers of labour strongly object to en- gaging an ex-convict, and many men would refuse to work by his side. To meet this diffi- culty the Church Army takes him in hand for thrc-e months, at the end of which time he will have recovered his moral tone and be able to look his fellow-men in the face. Even when ho ha-s completed his stay in the Labour Home, there is still the danger that he may return to his old haunts. To prevent this lodging homes have been established, where a man may have a comfortable room and good food for a weekly payment of ten or twelve shillings, and be under the watchful eye of an agent of the society, who will assist him in any way possible. It has been found by experience that ex-prisoners well re- pay the trouble and expense lavished upon them, and in the majority of cases they resume their position as respectable members of the com- munity. The importance of this work will be better understood when it is stated that last year the society dealt with almost twothousaii(I ex-prisoners, and made the majority of them honest men.

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