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TOWN TOPICS. ! -I

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TOWN TOPICS. I (From Our London Correspondent.) I hear from the Marienbad that King Ed- ward appears to be thoroughly enjoying his "cure'' there, and now that the novelty, of his presence among them has worn off, the other visitors have repressed the tendency, rather noticeable in the first few days, to follow him about wherever he went. It was in order to avoid the fussy attentions and elaborate cour- tesies inseparable from the treatment of Royalty in a foreign country that his Majesty determined to adopt an incognito while at Marienbad; and it may be noted that this is the first time he has done so since his aA. sion. although as Prince of Wales he occasion- ally travelled as Earl of Chester. Queen Alex- andria in those days, when journeying in semi- pnvacy, favoured the designation of Lady Renfrew. The title of Duke of Lancaster now cnosen by King Edward is, of course, not a fictitious one. and.its use on the present occa- sion is a matter of some historic interest. As the King of these realms his Majesty receives the revenues of- "the Duchy of Lancaster, the annual amount paid over to him exceeding sixty thousand pounds, which is additional to the various sums he derives from the Civil List; and the'title itself, though merged into the Crow ;r, for over five hundred years, still belongs by right to the Sovereign. While on this subject I may also note that the Princess of Wales, who is now spending a quiet holiday ia Switzerland under the style of the Countess of Killnmev, has in her choice of an incognito paid a pretty courtesy to the Emerald Isle. Li ere, again,' the title used is not a mere chance assumption, seeing that the Prince of Wales was created Baron Killarney at the same time that the Dukedom of York and the Earldom of Inverness were conferred upon him in 1892. The late Queen Victoria, it may be remem- bered, sometimes called herself the Countess of Balmoral when on the Continent, this being a purely fictitious designation, selected only because cf its association with her Majesty's favourite residence in the Highlands. i G" the past week our wearied legislators have been enjoying their well-earned holiday, far away from the boom of "Big Ben" and the crten-unwelcome sound of the division bell. So far as public utterances are concerned there is a marked lull in home politics, but the period of immunity will be very much shorter than usual this year, and the autumn oratorical campaign, starting as is customary with the lesser lights of the political firmament, cannot be long delayed. Conscientious members of both branches of the Legislature are even in their time of holiday busily studying the latest information bearing on the great controversy of the day; and all the indications point to the near approach of perhaps the most stirring period of political activity which has been wit- nessed during the present generation, followed most probably by a speedy appeal to the arbit- rament of the ballot-box. No need for the newspapers to have recourse just now to the big mushroom and sea-serpent discoveries, which generally occur so conveniently and by a special dispensation of the Providence which watches over journalism at this season of the year; for although the public campaign is not yet come, the burning question is being thrashed out in the leader and correspondence columns and the genuine popular interest thug aroused needs no adventitious encouragement. Little by little the "lungs" of London are being increased in size or added to in number, the rate of progress in the last few years having, in a comparative sense, been quite rapid. Most of the credit for what is done is given to the County Council, but while anxious to acknowledge the action of that much-abused body in this respect, one should bear in mind that the Council as a mle only takes up schemes that have already been well supported locally and gives the remainder of the money required, which is usually one half of the total cost, though sometimes not such a substantial pro- portion. Supporters of the open-spaoe move- ment have long been wishing that a millionaire would arise to stand towards them in the same relationship as Mr. Andrew Carnegie now occupies towards the advocates of Free Lioraries hence their gratification at hearing that that gentleman himself has promised to contribute the last thousand pounds for the proposed extension of Hampstead Heath, a project than which none could be more accep- table to those who know and love what is in certain features the loveliest expanse of natural beauty which we Londoners possess. The idea is to obtain eighty acres to the north-west of and adjoining the present heath, which will not only prove a valuable addition of open ground, especially in view of the direct access soon to be afforded by the Tube railway from Charing Cross, but will also prevent the cele- brated view from Spaniard's-road being spoilt through the development of the land for build- ing purposes, a fate for which it is designed unless the public now secure it. The purchase price will be £ 48,000, and I am told that about twelve thousand pounds has already been sub- scribed, including the conditional donation from the great Pittsburg millionaire. Another im- portant open-space scheme in the metropolitan area—which has been successfully undertaken and carried out this year-comprises the acqui- sition cf over eight hundred acres in the neigh- bourhood of the expanding urban communities cf Romford and Ilford at the very low cost of thirty thousand pounds. The land consists of Lambourne Common, and the last virgin rem- nant of the historic Hainault Forest, and is separated from Epping Forest by the valley of tke river Roding. So rapid is the growth of the districts on the eastern confines of London that it is very desirable to furnish them with such a fine play-ground, both in the interests of public health and the people's enjoyment. The Fleet manoeuvres this year were con- ceived on bold lines, and the general idea being easily Liriderstanded of the people," the for- tunes of the rival Admirals were followed with a good deal of popular interest. Broadly speaking, two squadrons, separated by twelve hundred miles of ocean, were set to effect a junction, because while individually inferior, they were unitedly superior to the enemy's fleet. The object of the latter—represented by our old algebraic friend X-was to meet and defeat each of the two B squadrons in turn, and for this purpose he was placed at Lagos on the Portuguese coast, alraoct mid- way between Berehaven and Madeira, the re- spective positions at tha outset of B 1 and B 2 squadrons. But Sir Arthur Wilson, who was in supreme command of the B side, with Lord Charles Beresford in charge of the division at Madeira, managed to slip 'by the X fleet, under Sir Compton Domvile, and having joined forces with his colleague he immediately turned OE the enemy and successfully engaged him. The scheme as framed by the Admiralty experts was to reproduce a condition of affairs which might come to pass in war time, aiad which, as a matter of fact, has actually existed in British naval annals. The County Championship Competition re- mains in an interesting state, notwithstanding that the cricket season proper has only a few more days to run. The two outstanding fea- tures of the present summer are the high posi- tion of Middlesex and the wonderful batting of the popular Sussex amateur, C. B. Fry, who is credited with a phenomenal average, and whose decision not to go to Australia thin winter will produce general regret in the Com- monwealth, and must inevitably rob the visit- ing team of its representative character. Sussex, who were second last year, are likely to finish well up in the tables, but Surrey have gone down still further, much to the disap- pointment of their South London supporters. Yorkshire, exhibiting a typical North country strain of doggedness, have never despaired, notwithstanding their early reverses, and the struggle between the White Rose and Middle- sex (who have come up from twelfth place in 1902) hes lent an additional element of keen- ness to the closing stage of the competition. Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, and Hamp- shire are all candidates for the uncoveted "wooden spoon," which went last summer to Hampshire. R.

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