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SEEN AND HEARD. Nothing extenaate, nor net down autrht in malios. SEt,.xgsrxkux. Now that Halley" has gone from our skies, star-gazing is in abeyance, and the excuse which viewing Haney" gave for a claim to nuptial indulgence in the mat- ter of late home-coming, is no longer available. For the sake of domestic peace, a substitute for this celestial phenomenon is urgently required. Apart from his historical distinction, Halley" made a poor show contrasted with the grand lightning display on Tues- day evening. Much of its magnificence was, doubtless, lost by its over-awing effect upon many people, but those who calmly viewed the rapid succession of kaleidoscopic-like flashes from midnight, on, were rewarded with a spectacle per- haps hitherto unequalled of its kind. I have witnessed thunderstorms under various conditions, from the valley and the mountain top, but nothing ever surpassed the unutterable grandeur of this mem- orable night. One was reminded of the working of a cinematograph, only the il- luminations were infinitely more brilliant. It was as if a thousand full moons were concentrated upon the earth. After all, it. may have been but the last whisk of Halley's tail in a final good-bye to the present generation. There are two questions commonly asked after a severe thunderstorm—why are the destructive effects of lightning greatest in rural districts, and why is it dangerous to shelter under a tree ? In the open country, men and animals and property are more exposed than in towns, where chimneys, lightning conductors, and telegraph and telephone wires ward off the electricity. Why trees are so commonly struck by lightning is that their sap renders them better conductors than the surrounding air, and it is the sudden expansion of the sap that, may tear the tree to pieces. And as the animal body is a better conductor of elec- tricity than a tree, a discharge may pass from the tree to the body of the per-on sheltering under it, and so cause death. If there is no other cover from a thunder- storm than a tree, then it is well to stand as far as possible away from the trunk. Again, many people who do not trouble to read, and are content to glean most of their knowledge from inquiry dictated by the circumstances of the moment, have the haziest notion of what lightning is. Since- the days of Franklin, who showed that lightning was a discharge of electricity, it has been customary to explain the phenomenon by the electric spark. That great American, observing that. lightning possessed all the properties noticeable in electric sparks, sent up a kite during a thunderstorm, and by this means was able to lead down some of the electricity which the cloud contained. Solids and liquids we know can only be electrified on the surface of their substance, but the gases and vapours of the atmosphere, being com- posed of many particles, can receive a bodily charge. The rolling thunder is due to the prolongation of the sound by echoes from clouds and hills, as well as to the fact that, as the path of the lightning flash is long, the sound has to travel from points at various distances from the listener. Sheet-lightning is thought to be the re- flection in the atmosphere of a flash too distant for the thunder to be heard, and ball or globular lightning, which in the form of a ball moves slowly along and then suddenly bursts, is admitted to be real. Female claimants for old-age pensions are, I am told, decidedly more ingenious than mere man. In one instance, an old lady, fairly well off, was cross-examined regarding the quantity of stock on her holding, the pension officer having men- tioned that she possessed 40 sheep Oh, but," says she, there's 20 of these sold now," and finally justified her claim on the old Book, which she declared "tells us to ask and we shall receive." How many of us lament the unfulfilment of this hope in mundane things. So, too, does this trustful old dame. A- housewife ,nites :-H Liberals say that living is cheap under Free Trade. Why is meat going up to such a high price? I think we should have a change." The reason for the increase in the price of beef is a shortage of supply. Would the price be reduced by aggravating that shortage with a protectionist duty upon every ox that lands upon our shores ? My housewife correspondent should try to learn the alphabet of economics from her school children. I am told there was much visible pout- ing" among the female portion of that Kerry congregation before whom, last week, the Rev J. G. Williams anathematised ribbons, feathers, and other falderals of dress as the inventions of the devil." Nut a few of the ladies, so report states, were arrayed in headgear specially chosen for the occasion, and one can imagine how they fidgetted under that scathing re- proach. In my opinion, the castigation was almost absurdly severe. Without ex- ercise in Christian giving, I admit that we cannot train ourselves to a right sense of our obligations, neither can we develop the finer issues of character. Stinginess to- wards our churches creates a hardening and narrowing of the character. But I should not like to believe that our Baptist friends are so black as this divine would paint them. The woman who loves a dainty feather or ribbon may be a generous giver, while her more sombre dressed sister is a parsimonious individual. Man- kind does not like the gaudily decked female, but a little tinsel has its charms. Certainly, slaves of fashion are to be pitied, but a little variety is refreshing. The poverty of churches largely arises from the need- less multiplicity of sects, or, at any rate, the superfluous number of churches. Friday will determine the public fate of some Welshpool worthies. Then the Council meets either to climb down or to re-assert its defiance of the communal will. Obstinacy and disloyalty have exhausted the utmost limits of patience. A spirit of independence is creeping over the people of Pool. LuxE SHARPE.