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r, OUR LONBOM LETTER. I ,?

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r OUR LONBOM LETTER. I ,? '1 -— < (From Our igpecial Correopmagnt I I There is a great deal of discussion where- ever business men most -do con.grega.te about the after-the-war attitude towards German trade. It is assumed by quite a number of people thai, the whole question will be t-ett!cd at the foriihcomnig conference in Paris, and that a dt-tinite line of trade policy for ourselves and our Allies is to be determined upon. This, however, is a mis- take. Our representatives, Lord Crewe has now stated, will attend the conference with- out any instructions, except tlie general in- structions to keep open eyes and open mind. and to assist as far a., possible in exploring the subjects brought before the conference. The conference is, in fact. to be held for the purpose of considering the whole matter, and the representatives will return without having committed the Government to a'.iy detinite course of action. However dis- appoiming this announcement may be to those who had expected some hard and fast policy to be framed and adopted at once, it may easily be seen that no decision is pca- sibl'e at present. From a statement issued by the National W, Savings Committee it seems that the small investor is not doing so badly in the way of helping to nuance the war. During a fortnight 5;3,000 applications were made for bonda at the various post oinces in the kingdom, and the total number of applica- tions already received is about half a mil- lion, the purchase money amounting to .tl6,600,000. These are the Exchequer Bonds, -which are not issued for lower amounts than five pounds. More easily available to the general body of working people are the War :avings Certificates-£1 for 15s. 6d. For these no less than 55:3,305 applications were received in a fortnight, and altogether the applications number already something like two millions. The small investor is doing his bit, but he can certainly do better still if he tries. Managers of theatres mean to make their patrons pay the tax. There is nothing un- nsual in such an attitude; taxes are things that most people would" paso on" if they could. In this case, moreover, it is clearly just that the patrons should pay. The in- tention is not to tax theatrical managers or proprietors or players, but playgoers, the people who have money to spend on amuse- ments. Probably the tax will not much affect the prosperity of the theatres, for theatre-goers will not deprive themselves of a:i evening's entertainment for the sake of a few pence extra which is to be spent in the rational cause. The problem of the collec- tion of the tax offers some dimculties, which 'will, however, doubtless be settled amicably between Mr. McKenna and the thea.triaal managers. H Your classical type of absentee land- lord," was Mr. Balfour's reference to the late Lord Clanricarde on one occasion. That remarkable man, certainly the best hated Irish landlord of his time, was said never to have visited his property in Ireland since the death of his father in 1874. For many years hard things were said about him by members of all parties. Disagree as they might about Ireland and the Irish question, they were all of one mind about this absentee who delegated his responsibilities to agents and resisted to the last any attempt to interfere with what he considered h; rights. The Congested Districts Board b,Iit his Galway acres at last for .S2J3.000. and Lord Clanricarde, in London, went on buying pictures and old china, as though nothing else in life was worth a moment's thought to a man of taste. He Ii 2d almost the life of a miser. For forty 'voars he was a resident iu the Albany, and his personal expenses must have been insig- nificant. He M (stated only to have had a cab once a vear, when leaving town for his sr.:nmer holiday. Pictures and china were h. only extravagances, and he was such an excellent judge of art that his treasures arc probably worth a good deal more than they cost him. News of happenings in enemy countries is very carefully censored before it is allowed to reach the German people. Mr. McKenna's speech in introducing the Budget was sub- jected to very drastic treatment before being finally published in the German newspapers. It was too striking a proof of the financial stability of the British Empire, and the abiUty of its citixens to bear even heavier burdens to be aUowe 4 full publication in Germany. The German authorities took care. to v cut out among others that part of the speech which stated that the financial provision of the year would cover interest and sinking fund on all our War Loans, be- sides providing a substantial margin to- wards current expenses. To publish that fact in Germany would be to condemn by con- tract German financial methods; for the finance Minister in Berlin can only raise a fraction of the War Loan interest he re- quires. If Mr. McKenna's statement were published in Germany the nnsoundness of Dr. Heincrich's policy would be evident. So the censor was set to work, and the German people, on this point as on many others con- nected with the war, know only what the German Government wishes them to know. I wonder whether the appeals of the War Savings Committk'è'to women on the subject of dress have had much enect. I rather dc.ubt it. In the West-End the women seem to be as well and as expensively dressed aa ever. To the eye ul one who does not pre- tend to be an expert, it appears that all of them are wearing new clothes. Certainly none look conspicuously out of the fashion. Perhaps the ladies have acted upon the omcial recommendation to those who must buy a new dress, to get one suitable for all occasions; and perhaps they dine in the drcases in which they walk in the park. But I doubt it. There was an interesting para- graph in the papers the other day which bhows how they deal in Germany just now -with women who are extravagant in matters of dress. The police of Munich have power of arrest in such cases, and one lady whose taste did not please the authorities was de- tained at the police headquarters for some hours, and then told to go home and to wear simpler clothes in future. If the police in the West-End had instructions to arrest evejv woman who is expensively dressed thcv would be kept pretty busy. A E. M I

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