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TOWN TOPICS. I (From our London Correspondent,) Seldom has London had so busy and eventful a week as last week. We have had two State visits by the King and Queen-the first to lay the foundation stone of the General Post Office extension, and the other to open the new thoroughfare of Kingsway-while the members of the Paris Municipal Council have been the guests of their confreres of the London County Council, Nelson's Centenary has been cele- brated with great enthusiasm, and the remains of the greatest actor of modern times have been laid to rest in Westminster Abbey. Any one of these events, standing alone, wouid have made the week a memorable one, but, coming together as they have done, there can be no doubt that the one which has over-shadowed all the others has been the centenary of Trafalgar. It aroused an amount of public interest and enthusiasm such as has been rarely witnessed in the present generation. The Mecca of all pilgrims last Saturday was Trafalgar-square, where Jselson's monument proudly rears its head high above all other buildings in the vicinity. With the Union Jack and ensign floating from the top of the column, with two lines of gay signal flags spelling out Nelson's famous message to tho fleet, England expects that every man will do his duty," and with its wealth of wreaths and festoons of laurel, the Nelson monument in Trafalgar-square presented a brilliant spectacle. During the day it was visited by thousands of people, and so dense did the throng become eventually that the police formed a cordon about the statue and suffered the spectators to pass around it in orderly procession only. The visit of the Paris Municipal Council to London was in every way a great success. The sun shone brightly every day, and agreeably disappointed those Frenchmen who had been taught to believe that London in October was a place of constant rain and fog. The visit, of course, has far more than a municipal signi- ficance. It sets the final seal on the great compact of friendship between ourselves and the gifted nation across the Channel. While the French legislators who were entertained in London last summer represented the legislative and governing classes, the visitors of thepast week may be said to have come on behalf of the people. In a sense, they are a more important body than those who preceded them, for it is precisely amongst the great mass of the French nation-the bourgeoisie and the ouvrier class— that it is most desirable that there should pre- vail a better knowledge of British institutions and British sentiments. For this reason the brilliantly successful functions which London has just witnessed may well be regarded as of quite national importance. They will, we may be sure, even without the assurances of our guests, have a permanent and beneficent influ- ence on the relations of the two countries. Some surprise was occasioned recently when it was announced that the Hon. William Walsh, son of Lord Ormathwaite, had been appointed private secretary to Mr. Whitelaw Reid, the American Ambassador. The way in which it came about is. interesting and peculiar. When the engagement of Mr. Walsh and Lady Norah Spencer-Churchill, sister of the Duke of Marlborough, was first announced it was under- stood that the Earl of Derby, on whose staff Mr. Walsh was when the Earl was Viceroy of Canada, would help the young couple. The Duchess of Marlborough was naturally interested in the welfare of her sister-in-law, and the earl, with a little pressure, offered Mr. Walsh the post of sub-agent with a good house on his Lancashire estates. But the Countess of Derby, on think- ing over the matter, discovered that, as daughter of a duke, the wife of her husband's steward would go in to dinner before herself at any party they might attend together. The posi- tion would, of course, have been impossible, and so Mr. Walsh was informed that the proposed provision for him was impracticable. The Duchess of Marlborough set to work to find something better for the young couple. Eventu- ally, by clever management and the work of influential friends, Mr. Whitelaw Reid was persuaded that Mr. Walsh was just the sort of man to suit his purpose. The suite of rooms occupied by Mr. Walsh and his bride at Dor- chester House is very comfortable, and includes a private study for the secretary and a chaim- ing boudoir for Lady Norah. Mr. Winston Churchill has now comploted th9 life of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, and it will shortly be published. His book is looked forward to with the keenest interest by all classes of society. A competent judge who has read the proofs of the first volume tells me that he has been eminently dignified, thoughtful, and almost judicial in treatment of his father's career. The domestic- relations of Lord Randolph are necessarily only glanced at. the son concerning himself wholly with his father's public career. The rumour is revived that Mr. Churchill has become engaged to Miss Muriel Wilson, the reiguuig beauty of many London seasons, but is name has been coupled with so many eligible and beautiful young ladies that I give the report with all reserve. A new sort of enterprise has been started in London through the incorporation of a com- pany which undertakes to personally conduct hunting parties to the wild forests of West Africa. Parties are made up consisting of three, five, and ten persons, and each expedi- tion is to be absent three months. Each of the ( persons joining the hunts will pay his travelling expenses and £500, which amount is reduced when large parties can be made up. There is no limit placed on the number of wild animals each hunter is permitted to kill, but the num- ber of elephants, zebras, rhinoceros and gazelles will be limited to two of each for each man. Sir Hiram Maxim, the inventor of the Maxim gun, has of late turned his attention to more peaceful and amusing contrivances, such as merry-go-rounds and flying machines. He has just completed a model "magic sphere," which nas been patented in this country and in America, and will probably be seen at Earl's- court Exhibition next year. Sir Hiram declares that he believes it will prove one of the most amusing illusions of modern times. It will make people imagine that they are walking or standing, not "right end up," but with their feet against the wall, and their » bodies leaning outward in mid-air. The sphere will be 50 feet in diameter, which means that it will be a globe as high as a tall dwelling-house, and it will be raised 20 feet above the ground on a pedestal or shaft, on which the sphere will revolve. Outside it will resemble a small earth, with the oceans and lands painted upon it, like the geographical globe used in the schools. Inside the earth the weirdest of illusions will be produced by the simple process of making the sphere revolve on its pedestal. The door having been shut on the people who have been admitted inside the "earth" will begin to revolve, gradually gaining in speed until every one is being whizzed around at 15 or 20 miles an hour. "This will give the necessary centrifugal A force to counteract the law of gravity," Sir Hiram explained. It will illustrate a new law of nature which, I believe, I have been the first to discover. Five years ago at Boston, I began to wonder why we always see things right side up,' as, of course, on our earth they never are. The only reason is the law of gravity. We have no sense which would enable us to tell whether a thing is vertical or horizontal except through the law of gravity. If we divert the pull of gravity by another force-centrifugal force—the effect is that, instead of seeing things horizontal, we see them vertical, which produces the most amusing illusionary effect. That is what the I rasgic sphere' does. But the strange and amusing thing is that they will not know that they ate revolving," said Sir Hiram. It is the sphere that will revolve, and they with it, like people on the surface of the earth, and consequently they will think they are stationary. The cen- trifugal force of the revolution of the sphere will enable them to stand on the wall, as it were, with their bodies leaning horizontally. Each will appear to all the others to be walking like a fly, while every person in the globe will be convinced that he is standing perfectly erect and will constantly change his position to feel ;■ the effect of the strange positions apparently adopted by all the others, yet will apparently never adopt those positions." Some idea of the arduous apprenticeship to which the old school of actors had to submit may be gleaned from the summary of parts played by the late Sir Henry Irving, which appears in the current issue of the 11 Stage." The list extends to three columns, but no fewer than 428 of the parts were played during his three years' engagement at Edinburgh. Exclud- ing Sundays and the periods during which the theatre was closed, the young actor had, on an average, to take a new part every other day. T.