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-I TOWN TOPICS,

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I TOWN TOPICS, (From Our London Correspondent.) I Our King and Queen's visit to Ireland, coming 110 comparatively soon as it has done after the earlier one of their Majesties to what it was for long the fashion to colloquially can" the dis- tressful country," is anticipated ir. Court circles to furnish throughout a striking testi- mony to the feeling of personal regard which is entertained by the Irish people as a whole for the King and Queen Alexandra. This view, it is understood, prevails at Dublin Castle as markedly as at Buckingham Palace, and O'Connells' old idea of "the golden link of the Crown uniting the two countries severed only by the sea, is thus being held to be realised m a fashion of which "the Liberator" never dreamed. There is a further point about the event which is being made the matter of pleased comment ha various quarters, and that is the proof which it affords of the continued deter- mination of their Majesties to fulfil to the highest point the duties of sovereignty, for it is no light matter for them to undertake this fresh journey so soon after their visit to Denmark. The King simply revels in work of various kinds; and when the time comes for the inner history to be written of the very interesting period through which we are passing, it will be found that even in the midst of what have appeared to be excursions of pleasure, his Majesty has been strikingly contributing to the progress of State affairs. In regard to the point of excursions o-f pleasure, one phase of Queen Alexandra's visit to her father's home has indicated how very keenly her Majesty is interested in everything which contributes to the prevention of disease or the healingof the sick. One day, accompanied by the Crown Prince and Princess, and Prince Waldemar of Denmark, her Majesty visited the State Serum Institution, near Copenhagen:; and in this displayed a concern for the suffer- ing which has been strikingly exemplified in our own capital by her visits to the London Hospital in the Whitechapel-road. It is a practical as well as a philanthropic interest which her Majesty displays in such iciatters, and practical interest, indeed, is one of the it notes" of modern Royalty. The German Emperor notably shows it; and a significant indication that his eldest son, the Crown Prince, is being trained in the same ideas is given by the fact that a few days since he paid a visit to a studio in which are some pictures that are to be sent to the St. Louis Exhibition, and that among the most noticeable of these was a paint- ing representing the blast furnaces at the Bessemer Works, and others in which the artist has depicted the forging of a cannon and the rolling of an armour plate at Krupp's factory. One of the hardy annuals of the private bill side of Parliamentary life is the discussion of some scheme or another for placing an efficient service of steamboats "between bridges" on the Thames, but that river has so long justified the old poetic title of the silent highway" that no very sanguine hope can be entertained of what is really a stigma being speedily re- moved. This year the question is once more being thrashed out before a committee of the House of Commons and, seeing the wonderful consensus of opinion in favour of the establish- ment of a regular and reasonably rapid steam- boat service, it seems surprising that so much delay has taken place in setting one up. Previous failures in this direction have been sought to be accounted for in all kinds of ways, from the state of the tides to the charges of the Thames Conservancy Board but the main point is that the experiments have not suc- ceeded. There are tens of thousands of Londoners and many more dwellers in the country occasionally visiting town, who would gladly avail themselves of such a means of transit if it were effectively provided and they must continue to live in hope that some day it may be accomplished. It is very interesting to learn that the Con- valescent Home for Naval and Military Officers, which occupies a large portion of Osborno House, the Isle of Wight residence of the late Queen Victoria, is proving a success. Within ten days of its very recent opening with sixteen patients, officers in both services invalided from different parts of the world, applications for admission come in to the Navy and Army Boards so continuously as to promise that every room will be occupied by the end of the pre- sent month. That those officers who have al- ready entered should be charmed with the ar- rangements is, of itself, excellent hearing; and it needs very little imagination to think that the good Queen Victoria, who has gone, would have been deeply satisfied to know that her favourite English home would for all time be put to a use so congenial to her warm- hearted love for her sailors and soldiers. It was one of the happiest thoughts of the many which our present monarch has manifested and the boon conferred upon the officers of the navy and army is unmistakable. Extensions of the club system in London are constantly being effected, and one of the latest is proving not to be the least successful. That is the establishment of a club specially designed for the larger number of women employed in the City as secretaries, shorthand writers, and clerks; and its efforts so far have been eminently satisfactory. Not only is there provision made for a 4comfortable meal for hundreds of City employes for whom there used to be none such, but a convenient centre is fur- nished for rest, recreation, and social inter- course for the many women engaged in clerical work. Nor is this all, for the institution has & library of some six hundred volumes, it pos- sesses a piano "for musical Monday evenings, and it has attached to it a most useful employ- ment bureau. In the West-end, of course, there are various ladies' clubs, which appeal to dif- ferent sections of society, and some of which are specially intended for women workers in the fields of journalism and art; and, there- fore, the further progress of this City effort will be regarded with the more interest and good- will. The completion by the Baroness Burdett- Coutts this week of her ninetieth year, the venerable lady having been born on April 21, 1814, has naturally been the occasion for much congratulation among her innumerable friends and admirers. It has properly been recalled how, in the midst of her varied philanthropic activities of the present, she forms a very strik- ing link with the past. The ordinary man can scarcely realise that we have still among us the daughter of one who was once sent to the Tower for a political offence, and who was accompanied on the way thither by thousands of his admiring countrymen. It is also a very striking fact that this same lady. is named in an early poem of Thackeray, before that great writer was in any way known as a novelist, as having been present at the coronation of the late Queen Victoria, an event which occurred as long ago as the June of 1838. But, of course, it is not simply as an impressive link with the past, striking as is that connection, that the Baroness Burdett- Coutts has endeared herself to the vast community of the English-speaking woria. Her benevolence, while discriminating, has been most marked throughout her very long career; and when the signal honour was paid to her thirty years ago of being created a peeress in her own right-one of the most distinctive and unusual honours which the Sovereign can confer upon a subject—there was not one among us who did not recognise how thoroughly well it had been deserved. Partly because the Prime Minister is so well, known a performer at the game, golf has el 3ate* • years been specially identified with Parliament In the public mind. The House of Commons, however, if it is to retain a shred of its reputa- tion in this particular, will have to do decidedly better than it did in the sixth annual match with the Ranelagh Club, which it played a few days since. The Ranelagh team not merely proved successful for the fourth consecutive year, but it gained about the easiest victory in the history of the contest by totalling nine and a half points to nothing; and it may have been because the cares of State were for the moment weighing too heavily upon them that the Premier and the Colonial Secretary were among the most marked of the losers. This experience is scarcely an encour- aging one for the revival of the House of Commons cricket team for the coming season, or for the renewal, which has been more than once suggested, of the rifle match between representatives of the Houses of Lords and Commons, which was at one time a striking social feature at Wimbledon and might be made again so at Bisley. But better things may surely be expected in the future. R.

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