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TOWN TOPICS

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TOWN TOPICS (From, our ZoK<?oM Correspondent..) Since the return of the Princess Christian from South Africa she has been several times privately received by his Majesty the King at Buckingham Palace, in order that he might hear an actual verbal account of present con- ditions in that part of his dominions. No member of the Royal family possesses more in- telligence and sympathy than the Princess Christian, and her interest in what she saw and heard in South Africa has enlisted the sympathy of the King. He has already surprised his Ministers by the knowledge he possesses of South African affairs, and his practical sugges- tions regarding the future welfare of those possessions have been of great service to the Cabinet, and especially to the Colonial Secre- tary. The King intends to be as much as possible in town during the winter, partly in order to be in constant touch with his Ministers while foreign complications are feared, and partly to see for himself how the alterations and improvements progress in the new" Route du Roi," as the new avenue from Charing-cross to Buckingham Palace has been called by a French journalist. No description could give one an idea of the elaborate transformation of that part of London lying to the east of the Royal residence <md along the broad avenue that will connect Tra- falgar-square with the magnificent new" Route du Roi/' I have just seen the drawings of both the sculptor of the memorial to Queen Victoria and the architect who has been responsible for the new avenue. Nothing of the kind has ever been seen in England before, nor has such a gigantic scheme of architect"jal improvement in such a vast city been heard ef to my know- ledge in this country. A new dance, called" La Veleta," has been introduced into fashionable London society, and it is said that the King, disgusted with the ridiculous posturings of the cake-walk and other savage dances, has given it his approval. The principal feature of it is that the male dancer holds the left hand of his partner with his right on a level with his chin while marching around tha room, and the march is now and then interrupted with a few turns of the waltz,. Sometimes the dancers hold castanets in their disengaged hands, with which they accompany the dance. A disaster which would have aSected thousands of people in every part of the kingdom has happily been averted. When it was known that the London and Paris Exchange had stopped payment there was considerable excitement in financial circles, and much sympathy expressed for the ma,cy persons in humble circumstances whose investments were at stake. The measure of satisfaction was, therefore, all the greater when it was announced í that the crisis had been surmounted, that all claims would be paid in full, and that the Exchange would reopen its doers. The directors of the Exchange will probably exercise greater discretion and caution in future, as a second } episode of the same nature might not be survived. A statement was made the other day in a London paper that the race of City apprentice had become almost extinct, and that the cells at Bridewell were of no further use or necessity for the purpose of punishing refractory or indo- ¡ lent apprentices. As a matter of fact, the last "idio apprentice who was summoned before the Chamberlain (Sir Joseph C. Dimsdale, Bart., M.P.) appeared at the court in October ¡ last. Consequently, it will be seen that I the Chamberlain's Court is still in active existence as a place for the exercise of summary justice. It is interesting to know that the extreme punishment that can be meted i out to rebellious apprentices is three months' ) Imprisonment. The term usually imposed is ) aevan or fourteen days. During their incar- ceration at Bridewell the youngsters are main- tained by the Governors. of Bridewell Hospital, medical attendance being also provided, if necessary, while their spiritual needs are placed under the care of the vicar of St. Bride's, Fleet-street. One of the Bridewell regulations is that not more than two prisoners shall take I their meals together. The Metropolitan Borough of Holborn is I showing the way with regard to the movement I for securing the franchise for limited liability companies. That borough has ascertained that 28'53 per cent. of its rates is contributed by persons not on the register of voters. In the City the proportion is probably far greater. Consequently, there is point in the contention that the matter calls for very close considera- tion. He who pays the piper, it is said, has the right to call the tune. Surely, then, they who coatribute to the rates ought at least to be placed in a position to excercise some influence m the selection of those who have the spending of the money. This is only simple justice. The estate at Six-Mile Bottom, near New- market, which Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan has leased for nve years, is regarded by many high authorities as the best partridge ground in all England, and during recent years has been more closely associated with Royalty than almost any other sporting property in the country. For almost a generation the shooting over the estate was leased by the late Duke of Cambridge. A keener sportsman or a more hospitable host than the soldier duke did not exists, and his thooting parties included, at various times, most of the principal shots of the kingdom. King Edward was almost as much attached to Six-Mile Bottom as his august relative, and frequently shot over the estate, both before and after his accession to the throne, while the pre- sent Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal household also have shot there on many occasions. It is felt to be somewhat of a disgrace to the capital of the Empire that it possesses no memorial of Shakespeare, with the exception of the statue in Leicester-square given by the late Baron Grant. A movement, supported by many eminent names, has been set on foot to remedy this, and a public meeting will be held early in the new year, when a committee will be appointed to take the necessary steps to raise a Shakespeare Memorial. It is proposed that this committee shall consist of leading men from all parts of the Empire, American repre- sentatives. and distinguished foreigners. Dr. Furnivallhas accepted the position of chairman of the provisional committee, and Lord Avebury has consented to act as treasurer. While the object of the promoters will be generally approved, I venture to think that the scheme has been brought forward at an inopportune time. There is at present a genera.! scarcity of money which is felt in every rank and grade ef society. Retrenchment is the order of the day, and the great majority of people find a diS- culty in making both ends meet. They have therefore no money to spare even for such an exceMent object as a National Shakespeare Memorial, to bring f orwtl--i such a scheme at the present time is to risk failure, and the pro- moters would be well advised if they were to postpone it until trade is better and money more plentiful. T. I

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