FIELD AND FARM. QUICK WORK IN HARVESTING. I Rarely has progress in the harvesting of the corn crops been as rapid as it has been in the early dis- tricts of England (says the "Agricultural Gazette ") this season. The reaping machine has cleared a maximum of area in a day, and has very seldom been interrupted by rain. Then the corn and the ground have been both so dry that shock- ing has been dispensed with to a great extent, the sheaves being left where they were thrown by the machine till picked up and loaded on to waggons. Since carting began in earnest there has been no stoppage at all in many districts up to the time of writing, so that not a few stackyards are more than half-full already. In too many cases they will not be completely filled, as the crops, as a rule, go into a small compass. As anticipated, the verdict of the markets on the new wheat is that it is of excellent quality. Barley, it is to be feared, will be somewhat steely." A shower or two after its ripening would have mel- lowed it, besides plumping out the grain a little. But it is a great advantage to get wheat and oats catted in perfectly dry condition, and without any waste from the blowing-out of grain, and with- out damage from rain to corn or straw. Crops in the late districts are ripening very rapidly, so that harvest will soon be general in nearly all parts of the Kingdom. If the dry weather lasts, we shall have one of the shortest harvests on record, counting from the start in the early districts to the finish in the late parts of the country. For many reasons, however, a break in the drought is I desirable. A drenching rain, followed by fine weather, would not injure the corn crops, while it would be of great value for roots and pastures. A CONTRAST, The difference between the harvesting conditions of this year and those of 1903 is as striking as it well could be. Last year, in most districts, the corn was nearly all flat on the ground, so that it had to be cut by hand at a great expense, and the work was very slow, even when it was not inter- rupted by rain, as it was frequently. Then the sheaves, after being set up, were knocked down by wind and rain repeatedly, and almost the entire crops of corn of all kinds were injured badly in colour and condition, the straw being as much damaged as the grain. This year, up to the pre- sent time, there has been nothing in connection with the harvesting of corn to cause farmers any anxiety. Work has gone on without break, or nearly so, and with half the expenditure which was incurred last season. The only trouble is that the yield of corn will be generally deficient. What has been grown is being secured with a minimum of loss, and all in marketable condition. If the weather remains generally fine, the money returns will probably be greater than those of last season's greater, but damaged, crops. CATCH CROPS TRIFOLIUM. No plant (remarks Prof. John Wrightson, in the "Agricultural Gazette") can better be described as a catch crop than trifolium. It is the earliest sown of all autumn crops for spring use, for now is the best time for getting it in. It requires the simplest of all cultivations, for it is only necessary to scratch the surface of the stubble with drags and harrows, wheel in 201b. of seed, and then harrow and roll the land. It is the che&pest of all the clover seeds, costing from 2id. to 3d. a pound. There is no difficulty in culti- vating it, for the above description includes everything that is needed, and yet such are the complications of agriculture that the subject cannot be left entirely without a few cautions as to possible causes of failure. In the first place, trifolium will not grow everywhere, and success depends upon sowing it upon the right soil and situation. Trifolium, unlike trefoil, is not suitable for thii white chalky soils. It ought to be sown upon loams, dark-coloured gravels, or any good land. Neither can it be successfully cultivated on high-lying poor land, like sainfoin, or ordinary mixed seeds. The area is restricted, and is best selected on the lower and richer portions of good sheep farms. It cannot be recommended for couchy or foul land, as the cultivation is too superficial and is not calculated to disturb the roots of weeds. If the corn stubble is foul it is quite practical to plough and clean it for trifolium, but the simplicity of the cultivation is then lost, and the prospects of the crop are not I improved, as no plant is more dependent upon a fine surface tilth and a firm sub-stratum. Where the cultivation is best understood sowing takes place from the.middle of August to the middle of September, and ought not to be much later. The work is often performed after rain on a damp day, when corn carting and harvest operations are stopped. It is then that the teams may be ob- served harrowing a cleared wheat stubble and the sower among them wheeling in the seed. Germina- tion is very rapid at such times, and in a very few days the surface is covered with the characteristic freshy cotyledons of the seedlings. Before winter the ground will be well stocked with a thick growth of trifolium, which will stand any degree of frost, and be ready to start rapid growth in April, and be ready for stocking with sheep in May. DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF TRIFOLIUM. I These are generally divided into early and late, the latter being white in the flower, while the former is of a beautiful carnation tint, from whence the name Trifolium incarnatum is derived. The lateness refers to the time of consumption rather than to the time of sowing, and a few acres of late trifolium will be fit for folding after the early variety is finished. TRIFOLIUM MIXED WITH VETCHES, &c. I Simple as the cultivation of trifolium is, it is not free from risk, as the crop is liable to be eaten off with slugs, and to damp and die off in early spring. In order to guard against these misfortunes it is desirable to sow early and to well harrow and roll the ground. It is also advisable to mix half a bushel of vetch seed and half a bushel of winter oats with the seed, reducing the quantity of trifolium to 12 or 141b. per acre. Such a mixture produces a very useful fold for sheep, and insures a plant, even should some of the trifolium die out. WEANING FOALS. I The season for taking foals away from their dams is at hand, and if the youngsters are strong and able to eat crushed oats there is no reason why draught mares should not help to secure the corn crop, rather then spend their days in idleness, while the remaining portion of the team horses are overworked with the various demands made upon them. In the days when arable land gave a better return for cultivating than it does now, farmers used to make a practice of working brood mares through the busy seasons, and shutting the foals in a loose-box meanwhile, but owing to the reduced acreage of ploughed land less workers are wanted, and the nursing mares are rarely called upon to help, although there is no reason why they should not if carefully managed, and the foal shut into a roomy and well-ventilated and littered box with a tempting bait of oats and beans, and a bucket of water placed in the manger. Just in the midst of harvest extra horse strength is often needed, especially if binding and carrying has to be pro- ceeded with at the same time, and a weighty mare comes in well for taking a turn in the collar, and if it is not desired to wean their foals till nearer Michaelmas the temporary separation will prepare them for a longer one, provided they are not turned to the foal in a heated state at midday or evening. Hitherto the pastures have not furnished the bite of fresh young grass which they usually do after being mown, consequently some foals may be lacking in slackness or bloom," as it is called, but the recent thunder-showers have altered ;.the brown appearance of grass fields. so that there is still time to make amends before mid-September, when foal shows and sales are chiefly held. Foals, like most other animals, like company, so that, if possible, at least two should me shut together; and when the actual weaning takes place a well-fenced yard is preferable to a box, for the reason that there is less danger of a cold being contracted when the youngsters are allowed their liberty again. Before leaving the daiii every foal should be taught to lead, and if a halter is slipped on and it is allowed a few short walks behind its mother the process is naote simple than at any other time, and a foal that will go where wanted in a halter is much handier than one which has had no training, especially in a show-ring, or when being boxed at. a railway station.
GARDEN GOSSIP. Philadelphus Microphyllus.-This distinct Mock Orange makes a charming subject for a. bed on the border of a lawn or for a group in a shrubbery, and being of small stature is well fitted for gardens of limited area. When mature, P. microphyllus grows to a height of four feet or so, though it is more ctften seen one foot lower. It forms a shapely bush three to four feet in diameter, composed of a large number of small, twiggy branches which are dark brown in colour and clothed with small oval leaves, the largest of which barely exceeds half an inch in length. The flowers are three-quarters of an inch across, pure white, and deliciously fragrant. They are borne singly or several together from short growths from a majority of buds on the previous year's wood. In the hands of the hybridist it has proved a valuable acquisition, and between this and P. coronarius a number of useful hybrids have originated. Of these, P. Lemoinei and the variety erectus are the best, and are now in general cultivation. Cuttings of P. micro- phyllus root readily in summer, and young plants quickly grow to flowering size. Escallonia Langleyensis.—This (writes D. L. More in "The Gardener") is a very pretty hybrid well worth growing, and in gardens in cold districts it is the sort of thing to be found a place on a wall. It forms a loose bush of considerable size, and flowers freely, the colour of the blossoms being bright red. The leaves are one-third to two-thirds of an inch long, deep green, and finely serrated. The inflorescences take the form of axillary and terminal racemes, the blooming period being June and July. For people who have gardens near the sea, especially those who live in the south, the Escallonias generally are to be com- mended, the one under notice deserving a special place. At Kew it flowers well in the open ground, but it is subject to injury in very severe winters, E. Philippiana being the only species that can be said to be perfectly hardy. it Vines.—The inside borders of houses con- taining ripe Grapes must not be neglected in the matter of watering, though the soil may be allowed to become somewhat drier than usual. Give a mulching of litter to prevent evaporation; this will also do away with the necessity for frequent waterings. Allow ample ventilation where Grapes are colouring, and if dull, wet weather is experienced, a little fire heat may be beneficial; this specially applies to Grapes of the Muscat class. It should also be remembered that pale coloured varieties need more light in finishing than black ones. Later houses with the berries swelling must be well damped down several times daily. Out- side borders should have thorough soakings of water during dry spells if, on examination, it is found these are needed. Where the borders are not planted with other subjects, much labour n watering may be saved by a covering of strawy litter. • » Tomatoes under Glass.—Fruiting plants under glass which are still unstopped should (says a writer in "Gardening Illustrated") be encour- aged to get some further bunches of fruit if they are undiminished in vigour and show signs of ability to continue fruiting. Such plants, if in a cold house and in pots, may be removed to warmer quarters on the approach of frost, where they will still further extend the season. Those plants grown specially for winter fruiting will now have received their final shift into 8-inch or 9-inch pots, and the sooner they are got into their fruiting quarters the better they will be, as it will be possible to acclimatise them to the closer atmosphere of the pit or house more gradually now than later. All the surroundings should be kept perfectly sweet and as airy as may be, while watering will need to be done with caution, an overdose from now onward being fatal. < Castor-oil Plants.—It is questionable whether there are any plants so beautiful in foliage that make such rapid growth as do the Castor- oils, or, when fully developed, are more effec- tive. We may sow seeds in heat in April, and have well-grown plants fit either for indoor or outdoor decoration in July. One point as to their culture should not be lost sight of, and that is that they are gross feeding, and any neg- lect in the matter of soil is soon shown in poor specimens. Whenever, therefore, it is intended to plant them out, the ground should be deeply trenched, and plenty of good manure worked in, and if this is done the reward will be exuberant foliage. As it is necessary to give them a good compost when planted out-of-doors, so is it de- sirable to see that they do not suffer in this re- spect when grown in pots, and in a cool conser- vatory associated with other plants they form an attractive feature at this time of the year. # » The Salpiglossis.—For keeping up a supply of bloom, the Salpiglossis can be recommended, and whether the plants are grown in the open air, or in pots for the decoration of the greenhouse, or as one now finds them sometimes in window- boxes, they are sure to please by the profusion of prettily-marked flowers, they yield. They are, I think, best grown massed together, as then their brilliant colours are most effective. It is rather surprising that many people who grow Petunias should ignore these equally ahowy blos- soms, as in the Salpiglossis we have a plant that requires almost the same treatment, it being just as easily raised from seed in spring as are Petunias, but possessing even more variety in the colour of its blossoms, some being pure white and yellow, others orange and purple and crimson. The Salpiglossis likes a light soil and a warm, sunny situation. It is one of the pret- tiest of our hardy annuals, and can be raised with ease on a hot-bed in a frame in April, being planted out in the open ground towards the end of May. The plants grow about 2 feet in height. but if they are pinched once or so during the season, one may have them almost half the size, and this is a point to be borne in mind if they are planted with other things in a window-box. < Autumn Propagation.—Wherever bedding plants are grown, it is always an advantage to propagate in the autumn, as whatever may be said in favour of spring-struck plants they can- not be so robust, nor can they be expected to bloom so early, as those that have had a start months before. This rule applies to such sub- jects as Pelargoniums and Lobelia, two often used in the garden. In the case of Lobelia, it is well known that plants propagated from cut- tings are preferred to those raised from seed, because one cannot always rely on seedlings coming trie, and a few pots of cuttings taken now will soon root and form the nucleus of a stock from which, in the spring, one may strike many others. It may reasonably be asked, why cannot old plants be lifted and potted in the autumn, and on the face of it this seems a simple way, but the fact is, after Lobelia has been in flower for months it refuses to be cramped in a pot, and in nine cases out of ten where it is tried it damps off. In August and the early part of September it is possible to ob- tain many suitable cuttings from beds of Pelar. goniums, and these should either be potted or boxed at once, and stood in the open. Only the ripest shoots should be selected. Now is the time to increase one's stock of Ivy-leaved Pelar- goniums. Roses will also strike "now from cut- tings of ripened wood if put in a bed of sandy soil, shading the cuttings for a few days, and placing them where a hand-light may be put over them during the winter. Twelve months ago I was in a garden where a number of cut- tings of Teas were being put in, and 'in visiting the same garden a few days ago I saw some of the young plants in flower, most of the cuttings having taken root.—Leahurst.
One reason why the little Japanese soldier can march twenty-five miles a day with a burden of lOOlb. is that his lung-power, and hence his whole physical system, is developed by habitual deep breathing. Attributing her long life to the use of tobacco, Mrs. Judith Moyer, of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, declares, at the age of ninety-six, that she smokes twenty-four pipes of tobacco a day.
OUR SHORT STORY. THE MAHARAJAH'S CIGAR. I A TRAGIC TALE. In plain words," interrupted Osmund Kievo- vitch, and to use one of your English phrases, YOU are hard-up. Is it not so ? A temporary financial embarrassment." was the term which Alfred Oldshaw had used. He nodded assent. "It is my invariable practice never to lend money," continued the other quietly and with per- fect composure. For a swift second, pride and a crying need strove with Oldshaw for the first word. He said decisively; Very good; we will not refer again to a subject which is so unpleasant to you." Patience, my friend. You English resemble flints. You are hard and cold yet, but touch you, and how the sparks fly ? What sum of money do you want ? A couple of thousand pounds." Ah, what a lot. You need it badly ? "Just now it is more precious than breath to me. You may take that quite literally." "I am sorry. I cannot lend you so large a sum, and for the simple reason that I have not got it." Oldshaw bit his lip. He knew that the other had lied to him, and the lie rankled the more since he had called this man his close friend. Here is Miss Hardy come to look for you," said Kievovitch. He bowed to the girl who had entered the room, and he quitted the apartment. Oldshaw crossed over to the window, drew aside the dark, heavy curtains, and revealed a snow- covered landscape. The white fields, the pale, laden clouds, appeared to reflect a livid gleam upon the face of the master of the house. Though he was conscious of the woman standing behind him, he did not turn, but stood there, biting his lip, haggard, and with eyes of despair. Alfred Oldshaw had been entertaining at dinner his three friends whom he loved best in the world: Esther Hardy, the daughter of a neighbour; Rebson Douglas, a Harlev-street specialist; and Osmund Kievovitch, a wealthy Russian exiled from his country. The owner of the country mansion carried that night a secret which none suspected. He was face to face with ruin, and he bad arranged this little dinner party that he might spend one more and final evening with his chosen friends while he might still stand as their equal. And after ? Oldshaw had not answered that ques- tion which suggested to him the most terrible thoughts. He heard Esther's voice speaking to him. They sent me to fetch you, Mr. Oldshaw. We are all in the drawing-room, and waiting for you to make a fourth at whist. Will you come ? The other turned slowly, and by one of those heart-wringing efforts which make us great while they make us shams, forced a cheery laugh. They sent you!" he echoed. Ah, they know who can best persuade me." He offered his arm to Esther, and they descended the stairs together, chatting lightly. She was the world to him its light and its beauty. Had she guessed that sweet secret ? He hoped she had not. As they entered the drawing-room the voice of Robson Douglas, the London specialist, sounded in raillery. For shame, Alfred Here, I have dis- covered, on this sideboard, a box of what I vow are the choicest cigars that money can buy; and I know something about the subject. You have been hoarding them up—and from me ? With a cry of alarm Oldshaw sprang forward. You have not smoked one," he exclaimed, almost snatching from the other's grasp the box of fragrant cheroots. Why, no. But what is the matter. You turned quite white." And so will you when you hear how narrow a shave you have had. One of these cheroots con- tains a virulent poison. A dozen puffs, and the smoker dies-heart, nerves, brain paralysed past mending." Good heavens! Which one ? "I cannot tell. The story, however, is simple. I was in north-east India twelve months ago, and at the Court of the Maharajah of Payrana. Ah, Kievovitch, do you know his highness ? I saw you start. You do ? That is singular. Well, I heard there a yarn that the prince possessed cer- tain cigars imbued with a most subtle poison, which he occasionally offered to those whom he desired to remove from an evil worid. I was on terms of great intimacy with his highness, and I asked him if there was any truth in the story. He amiled and ordered one of those cheroots to be given to me. He remarked, I should not smoke that, my friend, unless you find life too long and too wearisome for you.' I knew then the thing was poisoned. fl On returning home, there was an Indian fellow on board the ship whom I had noticed at the palace of the Maharajah. He endeavoured to be very friendly. I did not return his advances, for I did not altogether care for his looks or his manners. To my surprise he mentioned the matter of the poisoned cheroot, and from hinting that I might give it to h:m, he went on to offer me quite a large sum for it." Oldshaw was interrupted in his narrative at this point by Kievovitch remarking: That was singular. A mure cheeroot "You forget that it was poisoned," replied Oldshaw. "I li&,re no doubt that the scoundrel wanted it for a bad purpose." "Ah, I never thought of that," said Kievovitch, who seemed strangely excited. Pray continue." Well, this fellow landed with me. I went straight to town, and ran across him there, once or twice. I even had an uncomfortable idea that he was fond of me. Yet nine months have passed and I have not seen him." It was now the specialist's turn to interrupt. I could have sworn," said he, that two hours ago, while I was taking a stroll round the ho-, but go on, Alfred. After all, I am not certain." Continued the narrator-" I brought home with me many boses of good Indian cigars. On opening ( one of these I was struck with the exact re- semblance in size, shape, and colour of its contents with the poisoned cheroot. I took the trouble to compare them, had an accident, upset the whole tot, and the fatal cigar amongst them. There it is now. You will find a hundred and one cigars in that box. One'hundred are delicious to smoke, the odd one is death. I suppose that I ought to fling them all away, but I don't. The situation rather fascinates me." As Oldshaw finished his curious story, Osmund Kievovitch took a cheroot, and began to light it. You madman said the specialist. A chance in a hundred is a long chance," was the composed answer. I am a fatalist. If this thing is t. kill me then it will. You perceive however, that it will do nothing of the kind. It is, magnificent. What flavour! I really should try one if I were you." And the speaker leaned back in his chair and puffed serenely. No man, even a fatalist, has a right to tempt death." said Oldshaw sternly. Then he shuddered, grew pale, and turned away. Bah! retorted the Russian. "I will smoke ninety of thew, if you will permit me." The long-ascending road, frozen to an iron hard- ness, rose to where the crest of the hill cut sharply the night sky that was almost blue in the glare of the white moon. The silent fields were white and cold and dead in the grip of the December frost. Our mutual friend, Oldshaw, was not pleased to learn that you had sent back your carriage and accepted my escort home," said Kievovitch to Esther at his side. I believe that he is jealous. Perhaps I have. given him cause, for The other interrupted him quickly. You wished to spea.k to me on a matter of importance con- cerning him ? "Exactly. Shall we walk faster? I do not want you to catch cold. It appears, my dear Miss Hardy, that Alfred Oldshaw wants money, and that badly. In fact, he spoke of it as being more precious to him than breath. I believe that he is on the brink of bankruptcy. Such a man will not faee dishonour lightly. He asked me to lend him a couple of thousand pounds. He said that that would certainly carry him over his difficulties." Esther stopped in her walk to fix a pair of earnest eyes upon the impassive face of her com- panion. And you told him--? said she. That—well, that I would consider it. Two thousand pounds is a large sum of money." "But you will not refuse him ? The voice was almost pleading. Ah," replied Kievovitch in a tone of emotion that was indeed rare with him, "you wish it, then ? The girl drew back. "You are his friend," she said coldly. And yours. Believe me, I can ill spare this money; but if yoicbid me make the sacrifice, it is done." For a moment they looked full into one another s eyes then Esther replied earnestly, Certainly I bid you make this sacrifice." Say no more," said Kievovitch, with equal earnestness. I will return to him with the money—to-night. See how you have enlarged my sympathies, warmed my charitable instincts. Ah, we are walking fast enough now!" -?* # Old shaw's guests had been gone two hours, yet tho master of the house had not retired, but with restless footsteps paced the library and brooded on the ruin which must overtake him before twenty-four hours had passed. And the thought of the impending shame paled his cheek; and the thought of the friend who had failed him made him bitter; and the recollection of the woman whom he loved and must lose filled him with despair. On a table in the centre of the room was a box of Indian cigars. Oldsbaw muttered to himself, which is th6 greater shame—dishonour or self-inflicted death ? Thought of the first frightens me, consideration of the other is immensely soothing. Yet, that is the coward's way, I know. At any rate, at any rate, I will try-just one." He drew aside the window curtains and flung up the window. The biting night breath fanned his heated forehead as a cool breeze. The sky was studded with flashing stars. Oldahaw chose a cigar from the fatal box, and dropped into a chair by the open window. With fingers that shook a little he proceeded to strike a match, and was on the point of applying it when an electric bell hummed through the house. Who can that be ? mumured Oldshaw. As all the servants had retired, he went downstairs him- self and admitted—Osmund Kievovitch. The two men proceeded to the library. Pardon the lateness of this visit," commenced Kievovitch. I wanted to say something to you which I could not mention before the others. Also I have been home for some money." Pray sit down," said Oldshaw, crushing his emotion. Thanks. Ah, I see that you have fetched that box of cigars. What were you going to do with them ? Nothing, nothing," replied the other, but he flushed deeply. Of course, you were not about to play with death after the little reprimand with which you favoured me. Most excellent cigars May I try another ? No ? Very well, then, I will get to the business in hand. I have changed my mind. You are my friend. It is my duty to help you." No, no. It is not a question of duty. If you help me it will be a noble, unselfish deed." But it is our duty to be unselfish absolutely unselfish, and if I assist you you will under- stand that I have been influenced by no one. Pardon me, would you mind closing that window ? What a horrible draught; Listen. I I am about to lend you the sum which you named. I have brought the money with me in notes." Oldshaw began to pour out expressions of grati- tude. Wait a minute. There is one small-very small—condition attached." Never mind. What is it ?" I should like .that cigar which was given to you by his highness the Maharajah of Payrana." What an extraordinary request! By all means. Only, my dear Kievovitch, how can we discover it among these others ?" That should be easy." I confess-" Have you a pair of scales used for weighing letters ? Good. We will proceed to weigh each cigar in the box. It is not likely that the parti- cular one that I need will weigh the same as the others. It will probably be a iittle heavier." How do you reason that out ?" Never mind. Bring the scales." Oldshaw obeyed the command. Kievovitch at once began to put each of the cheroots to the novel test. The forty-eight which he took from the box was distinctly heavier than any of the others. The Russian looked at it critically. I will wager anything that this is the poisoned cigar," said lie. How did you know that it would differ in weight from the others ?" May I have it ?" requested Kieyovitch, ignor- ing the question, and drawing a roll of bank notes from an inside pocket. By all means," replied Oldshaw. Only for heaven's sake be careful what you do with it." I shall, indeed," answered the other, with the shadow of a smile. He drew a cigar case from his pocket and was placing the mysterious cheroot amongst its contents when Oldshaw uttered a loud and startled cry. His companion spun round just in time to per- ceive, pressed against the window from which the curtains had been drawn, a swarthy brown face with glittering eyes, and white teeth revealed by a smile of deadly cunning. The next moment the figure disappeared, and there followed the thud made by a falling body. The effect of this startling vision upon Kievo- vitch was electrical. He rushed to "the window, Rung it up, and was about to leap out when he shrunk back, evidently alarmed by the prospect of a big drop. Then, rapping out an imprecation, he ran from the library, down the stairs, and Oldshaw, lost in astonishment, heard the hall door slam with a crash behind his hastily departed visitor. ? Oldsliaw's first impulse was to follow the others, but he controlled the inclination, for a problem had suddenly presented itself to him, a riddle which brought a vague misgiving. That evil-looking brute again," he said audibly; the fellow from the Maharajah's Court who came over with me in the ship. So he has found me out, then ? I should recognise him amongt a thousand. What his motive is I cannot imagine. And why should Kievovitch be so upset ? He acted as a madman." Oldshaw proceeded to gather up the bank notes upon the table. He felt as a new man. His eyes sparkled he laughed softly to himself. Clearly I did Osmund an injustice," he murmured. "He is an unselfish fellow the loan of this money may well have strained his resources. If he were not I so attentive to Esther I should like him better; yet after all even that may be my jealous imagination. Now, what on earth could ho want with that cheroot—ah, that is a reminder. I had clean for- gotten the Maharajah's letter." The letter in question had arrived during the evening, and Oldshaw had been too preoccupied to open it at the time, but had placed it on a writing-desk. He now took up the communication bearing an Indian stamp and postmark, broke the seal, extracted the letter and began to read as follows:— MY DEAR FRIEND.—On the occasion of my most reluctant parting with you, you hinted in jest at a certain mysterious cigar which a vulgar rumour declares that I offer to such as incur my displeasure. We laughed together at this idea. But you will remember that you were pleased to I accept from me one of a special brand of cigars whicn, I informed you, I invariably offer to my friends when they complain of being tired of this life. Observation has inclined me to the opinion that above all things poverty is most potent to make a man despair. My friends light the fragrant cigar, prepare to die, and then agree to live, blessing my name. The reason for the change 'is simple, and I will tell it to you. since I cannot imagine that circumstances will ever drive you to so desperate a resource. If you will open the cigar which you received from me, you will find concealed therein a diamond, an emerald, and a ruby. The stones are large I and exceedingly beautiful. Accept them from me as a gift of friendship. This little deception with which I amuse my- self is known to three of my Court only. One of j these three disappeared when you departed. I suppose that you have not- I Oldshaw read no further. He started to his feet, crimson with indignation. H Kievovitch knew— must have known—guessed the truth-he said that it would be heavier-he has outwitted—ah, a dirty I trick—! The game of-of a rascal. Of course, he told me to-night that he he knew the Mahara- jah, who must have enlightened Jiim Hark! my soul! what was that ? It sounded like a scream, over the fields there." Oldshaw rushed hatless from the house. Day- break was still far off. A tense silence lay upon the whitened country. Not a bare branch stirred. The cold was frightful. Oldshaw ran underneath the library window, and from there commenced to follow the footsteps in the snow. As he walked quickly onward a gathering misgiving gripped his mind. He had not the smallest doubt that the Indian who had tracked him so persistently was aware (t the nature of the prize which he coveted, which He clearly meant to obtain. Suddenly in the open space by a field gate were revealed signs of a struggle. The snow was trampled down as if the men had wrestled there. Oldshaw proceeded another step or two, and he saw a terrible stain on the white ground-a red stain which appeared to spread even as he gazed, horrified, at the sinister spectacle. Slowly he raised his eyes. Then he sprang forward only to recoil with a loud cry. In the shadow thrown by the frost-bound brier hedge lay the body of Osmund Kievovitch. The open eyes reflected the stars which they could not see the clenched hands gripped the earth which they could not feel. He was dead, murdered-for a cigar case The assassin who had but a short start of justice, found it insufficient. He was captured within twelve hours of his crime. Alfred Oldshaw regained the jewels which he had so nearly lost. They were worth a very considerable sum, and relieved him of all embar- rassment. Not long after he confessed his love to Esther Hardy and found it returned. They were married. They seldom speak, and then only in hushed tones, of Osmund Kievovitch, who in a single night made a bid for love and fortune, and lost both.
A MILLION TELEGRAMS A DAY. About a million messages are sent over the world's telegraph lines every twenty-four hours. According to some returns recently issued, the number of telegrams despatched in all countries in 1903 reached the enormous total of 364,848,474. Great Britain heads the list with 92,471,000 de- spatches. The United States is second with 91,391,000, and France comes third with 48,114,151. Germany, Russia, Austria, Belgium, and Italy follow in the order named. It is sixty years since the first telegraphic message was sent by the Morse system from Baltimore to Washington.
WILL JAPAN BUILD HER OWN WARSHIPS. Discussing the cost of the Japanese Navy, "Engineering" says that in the case of the Akashi, the Japanese third-class cruiser, about £ 80,000 out of the total cost amounting to about £ 119,000 is for the materials; the remaining £ 39,000 shows the average wages per man to be 93.1 sen (about lOd.) each per day. The cost of material is 67 per cent. of the total cost. The ship was launched in 1897, and the average wages have increased since that time to 58 sen (Is. 2d.) thus, even supposing the price of material to remain the same as seven years ago, the Akashi, if built now, would cost nearly 16 per Q,ent. more than the figure given above, and the charges for materials would equal about 58 per cent. of the total cost. With ships built in England the case is different; in unarmoured ships the material costs only 45 per cent., and wages about 55 per cent. of the total; but in ships fitted with armour the cost of material is greater; it amounts to nearly 69 per cent. of the total. An unarmoured ship of 3,000 to 6,000 tons displace- ment, and of 21 to 22 knots speed, can be built in Japan, according to Admiral Sa-Sow's esti- mate, nearly 15 per cent. cheaper than in Eng- land the Japanese have not sufficient experi- ence of armoured ships to make a similar com- parison but he does not think it is possible to build cheaper in Japan as long as they have- to import armour-plates from abroad. Of all the materials used in the construction of the Akasni, 71 per cent. by cost, or nearly 47.4 per cent. of her total cost, had to be got from abroad. Thus, while Japan has to import the greater part of the shipbuilding materials from abroad, as they are obliged to do at present, nearly half the cost of home-built ships is really running out of the country; even supposing that they can get steel made at home, 28 per cent. of the total cost of material used in a ship like the Akashi has still to be supplied from foreign markets. The Go- vernment steel works at Yawata (or Wakamatsu) will be able to fulfil the pressing demand of Japanese shipbuilders in the near future and the Japanese are quite aware how important it becomes to promote other industries connected with shipbuilding, in order that Jhpan may drive out the foreign-made goods altogether from ships built at home.
DANGER OF EXTRAVAGANCE. I Although the system of repairing warships in private yards is more costly, the Committee of Public Accounts has had to call attention to the case of His Majesty's ship Express, in which a penalty of zC22,395 for late delivery was waived, and a reduced fine of £2,000 in lieu of £ 6,000 was inflicted for loss of speed. The Admiralty sub- mit that it is necessary to retain the power of inflicting dequate penalties, but that unless such power is used with great caution, and only in extreme cases, the tenders for contracts will be made at much higher prices, to cover the risk of penalty. No penalty can, however, be waived without the authority of the Treasury, and the Committee have been informed that that De- partment have in subsequent cases required the enforcement of penalties which relate to quality and speed. In the case of the Army and Navy votes, they say "the Department may, with the consent of the Treasury, spend in a manner en- tirely at variance with the grants as voted to the House of Commons, and they may eveii start a new service not contemplated when the votes were passed. This practice appears to us to be growing, and we think that the attention of the House of Commons should be called to it as seriously affecting the control of Parliament over the public expenditure."
THE CHINESE ARMY. I The Chinese Army, per se, is properly a force nominally of 300,000 men, descendants of the Manchu conquerors and their allies), officially termed the Eight Banners. The force is com- monly maintained on a footing of about 100,000 and 40 ner cent. of those are kept in Northern China and near the Court of Peking. The National Army, called also the Green Flags or the Five Camps, is an independent organisation or series of organisations. It is divided into eighteen corps, one for each province, under the Governor or Governor-General. The nominal strength of this force is nearly 700,000, and of these the most important contingent is the Tient- sin Army Corps, which has been made a thor- ougniy efficient fighting force.
VICAR'S PREACHING RECORD. I The Rev. A. Tighe Gregory, LL.B., vicar of Bawdsey and curate of Ramshott, Suffolk, has for fifty-seven years taken three full services with sermons every Sunday..Even now, at the age of eighty-five, he cycles or drives seven miles to his second church- He is the author of several well-known hymns. His income is £ 150 a year. He was instituted to Bawdsey in 1847-
Some interesting tales are told of Lord Kel- vin's discoveries, and how the ideas of them have come to his quick mind. For instance, this is said to have been the way in which he found the mirror galvanometer. He was puz- ling over the difficulty of perfecting the or- dinary telegraphic apparatus used on overhead wires, which was not suited for the varying current passing along cables. The lagging of the electric currents had the effect of making them run together into one bottom current, with surface ripples which correspond to the separate signals of the message. The problem was how to invent a means of interpreting clearly and easily all the delicate fluctuations. One day Lord Kelvin's eyeglass fell off and swung in front of the magnet, reflecting its movements, and instantly the idea of the mirror suggested itself. So a monocle has had a diratt effeet on science.
EPITOME OF NEWS. A girl of 16 has astonished the Glamorgsa Assizes by showing a wide knowledge of lawr and by declaring her hope of becoming a rister. The projected railway to connect Southamp- ton and Winchester and provide a new through route from Southampton to London, has been abandoned. Two lads in Birmingham fought a revolver duel for the right to court a girl with whoBlO both were in love. Neither was hurt, and sum- monses have been the sequel. The Master Barbers' Association of New York State expresses the hope that all members of the association will steadfastly refuse to sharpen razors for amateur shavers. Mr. Harold Hamel Smith writes to the "Times" on the importance of the advantages of London being realised as the centre of dis- tribution for cocoa from West Africa, instead of Hamburg. It is stated that the King was, by his own desire, supplied at Marienbad with a detailed report on the naval manoeuvres, with special reference to the part played by submarine boats and torpedo craft. The German Emperor has ordered his navy to make experiments in the disembarkation of naval forces on the German coast, for com- parison with similar tests which British ships- are to employ on the English coast. An old Frenchman before passing to the other o world asked his daughter not to bury him, but to keep his dead body with her in the house. This she promised to do, and hence the dis- covery of a "mummy" at Caux. By order of the King, two fine specimens of heads of domesticated oxen, of the breed used in Spain for purposes of draught, have been sent from Osborne House to the Natural History Museum. These oxen differ from the fighting breed, of which the Museum possesses an ex- ample. A young man who got on an Odessa goods train fell between the cars, and hung by one foot from the coupling. In that position he was bumped along for ten miles. He is recover- ing from his injuries. Phineas Greatheart, of Big Gully Springs, has been acquitted in a murder charge by 81 Montana jury. He said he had shot the wrong man, and promised to apologise to the dead man's wife for his hasty conduct. Charged with cutting telegraph poles and wires near Galveston, Texas, an unsophisticated' Mexican pleaded that he watched them for months, saw nothing go over them, and con- cluded that they were of no use. When two officers of the Bristol County Court attempted to execute a warrant on some relatives of Hester Morgan, she attacked them with a pair of tongs. She nearly pushed one bailiff downstairs, and tore the other's coat. Melrose Park, a suburb of Chicago, has started a "pig club." The tie that binds the members together is a common liking for pork. "We shall hold meetings each week," the pre- sident says, "and pork will be the only meat served." Among the latest fads of the American "sum- mer girls" are sunburned initials on their arms. Initials are cut from black court plaster and affixed to the arm. The sun will do the rest, leaving the letters in pink and white on the sunburned skin. A young sailor named Vernon Nunn, while visiting his parents at Fobbing, Essex, went out to shoot rabbits. He was found by a search party shot through the heart. The trigger of the gun was locked in the brambles of a hedge through which he had apparently tried to pull it. Frederick Kunhol, an enterprising Nurem- berg blacksmith, called as a witness to give evidence against a burglar, stole the magis- trate's bicycle before he left the court. He was brought back and summarily sentenced to six months' imprisonment. The other burglar was acquitted. The following advertisement appeared in the "Morning Post" the other day:—"I do not know everything, but I will undertake anything, anywhere, any time. I know America front pork-yards to the hub of culture; Australasia. from Kauri to Bottle-tree the Continent taught me French, German, and other things; familiar with all stocks, deeds, and lawyers' genial ways;1 can draw and plan to scale reviewers say I can write; thirty-five and tough." Five cases of beri-beri have occurred on a. Norwegian barque lying at Liverpool. A resident of Orange, New Jersey, says hef has discovered a process for converting the silky fibre of asbestos into a cloth like silk. A small bronze cannon has been fished up. in the harbour at Trieste. It is assumed to have belonged to the French frigate Danae, which was blown up there in 1812. Mr. Thomas Burt, the Labour-Liberal M.P. for Morpeth, is about to take a trip to South! Africa for the benefit of his health. Captain Browne, of the 6th Royal Fusiliers,, has been appointed Assistant Resident in Nor- thern Nigeria. The War Office authorities are desirous of communicating with three ladies-Miss M. C. Bakkes, Mrs. Rutherford, and Miss M. B. Horswell-with reference to the services per- formed by them as nurses in the Boer Refugee Camps in South Africa during the period 1901- 1903. Any information as to the present ad- dresses of these ladies should be addressed to the Secretary, War Office, Pall-mall. Mrs. Robert Goelet, of New York, who is at present staying with Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Martin at Balmacaa.n, arrived in her great steam yacht, the Nahma, bringing a party of other Americans with her. The Nahma is now lying off Clachnacarry, where her immense pro- portions and luxurious fittings attract consider- able attention. Her tonnage is 969, and she, carries a .crew of seventy. Mme. Aejane, who is at present staying at her villa near Trouville, related in the course of an interview an amusing incident whichi happened to herself and her company during a trip to Rio Janeiro. They stopped at Dakar, on the coast of Africa, and an obliging Colonial üfficial took them to see the King of Dakar, who received them with great solemnity. His Prime Minister, behind the royal chair, made signs to the visitors that a "tip" or two would not be out of place. One of the company handed the Minister a piece of silver. He promptly held out his hand for more, and the visitors in turn contributed. "Seeing this," continued Mme. Rejane, "I took out a large five-franc silver- piece, and handed it to the King himself, who took my hand and gave it a vigorous squeezes by way of thanks." Professor Dexter, of the University of Illinois, has been investigating the effects of weather upon morals, and finds that the desire to fight rises with the thermometer, but stops at 8Meg., and declines after that as the mercury rises. Assault cases are, therefore, commoner in summer than in winter. Drunkenness, however, lessens with. summer and increases with the coming of cold. Suicides are at a minimum on bright days with. a, high barometer, and increase as the wind rises. An unusual spectacle was provided for Black- pool visitors on a recent Saturday afternoon, when three members of the Baptist Chapel were baptised in the sea, in the, bay between the North Pier and the Hotel Metropole. An enormous crowd assembled on the promenade, beach, and the Nort Pier to witness the interesting cere- mony, which was conducted by the Rev. H. C. Waynell, the pastor. The yakamik, a species of crane, is said to be one of the most intelligent birds known. The- bird is used by the natives of Venezuela, South America, in the place of shepherd dogs, for guarding and herding their flocks of sheep. It is said that, however far the yakamik may wander with the flocks, it never fails to find its way home at night, driving before it all the creatures entrusted to its care.