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r OUR LONDON LETTER. —— — [From our Special Correspondent.] A few weeks' trial ought to show whether the rationing scheme is being worked on right lines. The first week is a time of get- ting used to things. The problem that has exorcised a great many minds is th-t of the people who take one or more of their daily meals away from home. To leave the meat- card at home and have meatless meals in the City so that the family joint may be larger, or to take a meat luncheon as usual, that is the question which has wrinkled many brows. Some people are putting the matter to the test of experiment before making up their minds for good; but a large number of City caterers, in restaurants, as well as some of the clubs, are giving up meat alto- gether. They will serve their customers with fish and egg and vegetarian dishes. In. creased demand will perhaps lead to a scarcity of fish and eggs, but let us hope not. The hmching-out difficulty is, of course, largely confined to London, whereas the rationing scheme now in force applies also to the counties of Middlesex, Hertford, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, and Kent. The number of people affected is ten millions, and any of the millions outside who intend to pay us a visit, and want meat at hotel or restaurant, must bring their Registration Cards if the visit is a temporary one; if they are staying for a longer period or permanently they must bring any food or meat cards issued to them under local rationing schemes outside the area. The success of the rationing scheme depends, of course, upon the adequacy of the supplies. Lord Rhondda, while making it plain that he cannot gua- rantee the supplies, says he has every reason to hope they will be sufficient to provide the ration, which has been arranged. He hopes a little later on to provide a larger ration of meat for those engaged in hard manual labour. At present all adults are rationed alike, though it is obvious that those en- gaged in sedentary occupations do not need as much meat as manual workers. The food situation was one of the princi- pal matters discussed at the recent Inter- Allied Conference in Paris. There have been railway difficulties in America due largely to very severe weather. The position has improved with the weather, but the check waa serious enough to make a difference to 118 on this side of the Atlantic of tons of foodstuffs. From various reasons we are de- pendent for imported food chiefly on the United States and Canada, and even a tem- porary dislocation of the system on land or sea which brings the supplies to our porta is a serious matter. The War Cabinet, hav- ing considered the position, has decided that food shall come before all other war demands upon shipping. Only essential food- stuffs are to be given cargo space, even cattle food being prohibited. This means leas meat, milk, and. butter, but the period of such shortage should not, it is stated, last longer than a couple of months. Political organisations are beginning to bestir themselves in view of the new register and the coming General Election. The Labour Party was the first to make a move, issuing its manifesto months ago in the hope -that it might commend itself to some of the new millions of voters. Now the Liberal Party is beginning to get ready, and Mr. Asquith has addressed a meeting of the party agents upon the party's future. Agents of all parties, of course, will be hard at work for some time in connection with the new Register, which this year will be an enormous undertaking. Opinions vary as to the length of time necessary for the com- pletion of the Register. It has been said that if all passible energy were devoted to the task it could be ready in a few weeks, but that estimate is probably too sanguine considering that many of the men experi- enced in this kind of work are serving with the Forces. Another estimate gives Novem- ber as the earliest date at which the Regis- ter can be made available. If that should prove to be anywhere near the mark, Mr. Henderson's prophecy of a summer General Election would be upset, as nobody now thinks of an election on the old Register. It looks as though the Germans have found that poison gas does not pay-them. Everybody remembers their first employ- ment of the device three years ago, and the feeling of almost incredulous horror with which we read the news. Poison gas gave the enemy an advantage, but not so great an advantage as they had hoped, and not for long. The British and French were compelled to adopt the new weapon, and they have, from all accounts, used a better gas, and used it more effectively, while they score by the fact that the wind on the Western Front blows much more frequently towards the. German trenches than the other way about. The German Government seems to have come to the conclusion that some- thing must be done about it. And so they begin in characteristic German fashion by talking very loudly of a new and much more deadly gas which they have ready for use. But they would much rather gas were not used by either side. (Of course they trould.') They have suggested, .through neu- tral countries, that its use should be for- bidden. Well, after all, it was forbidden in 1915. Germany employed it then in defiance of all law. Who could trust her to remain bound by any agreement now? Familar items made up the programme of Saturday's symphony concert at the Queen's Hall, and there was a large audience. The Symphony was Brahm's in F, of which a very line performance was given. Miss Irene Scharrer was the brilliant soloist in the Schumann pianoforte concerto, one of the best known and one of the most beautiful of all the concertos. The other soloist was Mr. Gervase Elwes, justly a grent favourite at th ese concerts. He sang a T; ch aria as only he among the singers of -day oan, or at any rate does, sing Bach..Ie gave rare plea- sure. Sir Henry Wood's very clever version of Monosorgsky'a "Pictures from an Exhibi- tion" was admirably played, and works by Wagner, Dvorak, and Chabrier completed an admirable programme. A. E. M.


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