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TOW A TOPICS.

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TOW A TOPICS. (From our London Correspondent.) The sudden change in the plans of the Prince and Princess of Wales, who have post- poned their Easter visit to Erogmore, is. due to the fact that the drainage at that place has been found to be defective, and a case of diphtheria has occurred there. The Royal family have suffered so much from typhoid in past years that every precaution is now taken to guard against a recurrence of the danger. It may, perhaps, not be generally known that L, whenever Royalty piays a visit to any country house a sanitary inspector is always sent clown beforehand to make a thorough examination of the drains and sanitary arrangements. i The London County Council have committed themselves to an expenditure of £1,700,000 for a municipal palace, or county hall, on the Surrey side of Westminster Bridge. As this sum has to be borrowed, and interest paid on it for sixty years, the total OGst to the rate- payers will be about £ 2,700,000. This de- cision has been come to at a singularly inop- portune moment, when tradesmen find it very hard to pay their way, and when the burden of taxation is driving great numbers of people into bhe distant suburbs. The London County Council undoubtedly require more accommo- dation, but, under existing conditions, it is not likely that the ratepayers will approve of a gigantic scheme which, at the very least, nieans an additional farthing per pound on the rates for the next sixty years. A deputation which waited upon the Metro- politan Asylums Board the other day, in order to urge the need of a sanatoria for the treat- ment of consumptives, stated that the deaths from phthisis in London alone amounted to between seven and eight thousand a year, one- ,third of which occurred in the Poor Law in- stitutions. There were between 40,000 and 50,000 cases of tuberculosis in London, every year. Of that number it was safe to say that some 7,000 or 8,000 were in the early stages of the disease. These, if dealt with promptlv and properly, could, no doubt, be restored to 'health. It was not suggested that a palatial sanatorium should be erected, but one or two plain commodious buildings to hold about four hundred patients each. In this way it is ex- pected that some thousands of consumptive persons yearly will be restored to health and enabled to become useful working members of rtlhe community. cl It seems to be an exploded notion that any- thing and everything can be insured at Lloyd's. The underwriters have of late years fought very shy of performing animals and freaks. Mr. Sydney Lee, the illusionist, who ihas just finished a four weeks' engagement at the Palace Theatre, has been anxious to insure, his wonderful trained duck for £ 300, but has up till now met with no success. The under- writers do not seem very positive as to the longevity of ducks, and in this case not only wanted to know the date of its being hatched, but also its pedigree. These questions com- pletely posed the clever young conjuror, and so the bird on which so many valuable con- tracts depend will continue its nightly quack- ing uninsured. Time was when the end of April saw tihe London hotels filled with American tourists on the way to pleasure resorts on the Continent, but it is different now. Although many Americans are coming to Europe now, very few are passing through London at present, London hotel managers are jealous of the new service of steamships plying direct between New York and Naples, whioh, they say, is affecting very seriously tihe profits' of hotel keeping in London. Formerly Americans bound for the south of Europe invariably stopped on their way thither in London. Now, however, they prefer the direct line to Italy, thus avoiding all trouble and expense of stopping at Liverpool and London on their way. No great influx of visitors from the United States is expected until after Easter, when American visitors from Italy and the Riviera will come to London for a few weeks before returning home. When the world's biggest diamond, recently arrived from South Africa, was taken to Buckingham Palace for the King's inspection shortly before his departure for the Continent, las Majesty wished to have the stone taken to feis private apartments by a Court official, but ite custodian, who took it to the palaoe, re- spectfully refused to allow it out of his sight. The King was much amused and rallied his etrftourage on the suspicion evidently enter- tained of their honesty. "It is a great curi- ostfty," he said to the custodian, after examin- ing it carefully and holding it in different lights to make it flash, "but I should have kicked it aside as a lump of common glass if I had seen it in the road." Recently the tram officials of the London County Council have been subjecting their drivers to an optical test for colour blindness, owing to the many different coloured lights now in use on the electric cars. A rumour had gone round tl!at on this account drivers of 16 and 17 years' service have been dis- charged wholesale. Inquiry, however, elicited that that is not the case two men only have been debarred from driving on account of defective colour vision, and places have been found for tihem as pointsmen at the Elephant and Cattle crossing. A case of "spofced fever," the strange 'disease which has caused such consternation in New York, has occurred in London. The sufferer is a coachman about thirty years of age. His illness began with severe headache and pains in the loins, and it was at first thought to be a case of influenza. At King's College Hospital, however, it was diagnosed as eerebro-spinal meningitis. At present the patient is progressing favourably, but. the disease may take three months or more to run its course. The doctors say that there is no danger of an epidemic of ",spotted fever." in London. An expert defines the disease as an intense inflammation of the covering of the brain and the spinal cord, generally attacking people under middle age, and more often met with among women than men. The mortality from it is very great. Both Church and State are the poorer by the death of Lord Stanhope. Although he did not bulk largely in the public eye, his influence was widely felt, and his advice was frequently sought by men of all parties. He -tfas averse to the din of party strife, and had many friends on both sides of tfhe House, whom he delighted to entertain at his beauti- ful Kentish residence, Chevening, near Seven- oaks. His lordship's tastes were scholarly, and he was greatly interested in the cause of education. The library at Chevening is one of the finest private collections in the country, and it is interesting to know that it was there that the late Earl's distinguished kinsman, Lord Rosebery, when a youth, laid the founda- of the wide acquaintance with literature I ■which has enabled him to write and speak so fluently on many subjects. T.

* MR. CHAMBEBLAXK AND LEGISLATION.

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