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I ACROSS THE TABLE. No doubt the Post Office will be roundl^r abusiMl by the losers of the large qiianiiiy of Christmas parcels, including hundreds of turkeys, geese, pheasants, ducks, plum pud- dings. and other perishable things, which were undelivered in Christmas week; but, as an official of the Returned Letter Department explained to the n-ewspaper reporters, the senders are to biame for despatching parcels with tie-on tags so insecurely tied on that they come off in the post. The proper plan, of course, is to use gummed labels or to write the address on the cover of the parcel itself though that, too, is useless if, as happened, moist things are wrapped in thin pieces of pap,er. which are soon so saturated that th& address is undecipherable. People are amazingly careless in such matters. Xow that we are apparently in the toiils of another Anglican controversy, which has JUan" the name of Kikuyu famous, it may be recalled that on New Year's Eve 330 years ago died Tbonras Erastus. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Erastus. says the Manchester Guardian, is that he would be the most surprised of men if he could revisit. the earth and find that his name has been given to a theory which he never discussed at all. Erastianism nowadays means, roughly, the doctrine of the -supremacy of the State over the Church in ecclesiastical and doc- trinal matters. But Erastus himself never considered the relations between Church and State at all. The pith of his seventy-five theses and1 his six Books of Confirmation was that the sins of professing Christians should be punished by civill authority, which is ft long way short of modern Erastianism. They are telling the story about town of how a Jewish gentleman took to supper at. the Ritz Hotel a wife who was so pretty that a man at a neighbouring table stared at her all through dinner. At last the Jew became to indignant that he walked over and said, Haven't you got anything else to do but stare a.'t my wife?" No," was the astonish- ing reply. A true story of a Christmas present. A benevolent doctor lately bought several thermos flasks to give as useful Christmas, prselllts to some of his patients. One of these-an old lady—received the gift with in- 8truction-s how to fill it with hot tea, which the doctor thought would be a comfort to her in the dark early mornings of winter. Next day. when he came, he inquired after the efficiency of his present. You can take the silly thing away, doctor!" said. the old lady, ungratefully. The tea inside it may be all right—I haven't tried it-but the bottle's no good at all. I had it to my feet, and they were just like ice all night!" Having the coloured supplement of a well- known religious weekly on hand on New Year's Eve, writes a correspondent, I thought I would brighten up the kitchen with it. when the maid rushed up to me and be- sought me to desist. It'll bring us had luck all the new year," she said. What possible ill-luck a rather farciful picture of a BOther and child could bring us I failed to mm, a" I said so. The girl took the picture ia ker hand and examined the margin carefully, tven turning it. over, then handed it back to me with evident re lief. Oh, that's all right, a-ie ev?,. O,?-iit re l ief. e-ir." she said. You can 'ang that up anolt welcome. I thought it was an Oldminick.' 't After-inquiry failed to elicit any reason for auspectinig misfortune because a new year calendar was erected before it was due, but the fear was undoubtedly present strongly m the girl's mind, and is to be classed, on* supposes, with the superstition that forbids a bride-to-be to triflt with her married name before the ceremony has actually been performed. The youth had an eye which waa decidedly black. Got it at our Boxing-Day match," he explained to a friend. The chap who gave you that got ordered off, didn't he?" said his companion. "Ordered off! Why, it was the referee gave it me because I told him he'd no more idea of offside than a blind pig." Into a 'bus on the Bavswater-road entered haughtily a rather over-dressed woman, tread- ing heavily on the toes of a demure little lady in the corner, who, however, slightly raised her eyebrows and drew her small feet further in. Noticing this, the dressy woman remarked il: in injured voice. WelJ, I couldn't help it." The little lady, smiling sweetly, glanced meaningly at the speaker's well-developed feet and said, Of course, I see you couldn't." Mr. P. P. Howe, in the Outloolc, tells an excellent story of the late J. M. Synge during his stay on the Aran Isles. One Sunaky morn- ing b8 met the local priest. Ah, Mr. Synge," said the priest, "did you go to Mass this morning?'' "I did not," said Synge. Ia it reading your Bible you've boon r" "I have not," said Synge. Well, begob," said the priest, if ever you go to heaven, Mr. Synge, it's a great laugh you'll have at us." The articles left behind in the ieats of pic- ture-theatres by absent-minded members of the audience are both numerous and varied. A few days ago a Liverpool theatre probably achieved a record in this respect, when at the conclusion of a performance the attendants discovered that in one of the seats some care- less person had mislaid a baby The mother had been so carried away by the pictures that she left reflecting so deeply on what she had seen, and quite forgot her offspring. She did not realise her loss until the second house was nearly full. The management afterwards put a notice on the screen to the effect that they would be obliged if ladies, after witness- ing the performance, would not forget to take their babies with them, as the attendants had quite as much as they could do to look after their own. The trick cyclist was talking. Been twenty years in the business and I'm still learning," he boasted. "And may I ask," said the inquisitive pessimist, what you've got for your pains?" Certainly," replied the velocipedal expert; "arnica." The other evening, days a Daily Sketch Writer, a Jewish friend, with whom I waa playing bridge, told me a story of a co- religionist who was exceedingly lucky at cards but very unfortunate on the Turf. Hia wife wondered and complained. Why is it you always win at poker," she asked, "and always lose when you back horoes? "Well, my dear," came the genial reply, "I don't shuffle the horses. Officer, isn't there a whispering gallery here somewhere?" asked a young womajt visitor from the country of one of the Houses of Parliament policemen. The policeman wam quite equal to the occasion. "No, miss," he replied, "that's up at St. Paul's. We've/ only a talking shop here." At the Alhambra the other night I heard two gorgeously garbed "nuts" discussing the question of dress clothes, says a gossip in London Opinion. The first nut," with a yawn, remarked: "That dress suit he was wearing cost him twenty-five guineas," a price which seemed rather to startle Nut No. 2, who indignantly suggested that his friend must be making a mistake. I tell you I'm not making a mistake," was the reply; "and if you don't believe me I can prove my words—I can show you the summons. The tailor grew confidential as he made those mysterious chalk marks on the cloth. "Looking forward to a good New Year?" queried the customer. The New Year used to mean a lot to us, sir. It was the custom of most gentlemen to settle all thei.r accounts and get square with the world at the end of the year. And now they take no more notice of it than if it were an ordinary month-end. I don't like to see these old-fashioned customs given up; do you, sir?" But on this point the customer maintained an armed neutrality.