I COUNTRY NOTES. THB OAK AND TOT ASH. People who are weatherwise, or otherwise, May this year be confronted with a curious problem, for a folklore rhyme asserts, with con. flicting vorianiø: If the oak is out before the ash "Twill be a summer of wet and splash But if the ash is before the oak, Twill be a summer of lire and smoke. By some perversity both trees appear likely to burst into leaf simultaneously. But the oa-k and the ash are alleged to vary the dates for donning their foliage according to the moisture or dryness of the preceding season. And during this so-called spring these conditions have been equally divided, for the wet January and February were followedlby a dry March and ApriL THE JAY. Few birds have obtained such unenviable notoriety as the jay. Equally with the magpie abhorred by the husbandman, farmer, and game- keeper, the jay, in the reign of George 11., was considered such a desperate character, that an Act of Parliament was passed empowering cer- tain authorities to pay a reward of threepence per head for every slaughtered1 bird. Doubt- lee tthie. had the effect of lessening the number, for although the jay is still common to almost all paxtr, of En,gland, ift is not what may be termed plentiful. This, too, is because, like most of the tribe, jays show a preference to cer- tain localities, though without any apparent reason, as the regionis they affect are generally low waste lands, without the means of subsist- ence that a neighbouring fertile locality would obviously afford. This peculiarity is more noticeable in the jay, inasmuch as its food is of a more vegetable chara.cter than the rest of the decidedly pronounced Ccxvidie family. f Tb, home of the jay is generally pitched in woods, or in plantations known locally as copses, shaws, or spinneys, and from these vantage-grounds this bird lays all the surround- ing country under tribute. The food includes, besides insects and worms, the eggs and young of small birds, fruit, such as cherries, peas, and such like vegetables, anything in the shape of corn or grain; indeed, keepers of preserves have ,to he especially watchful to see that the Indian corn and other food' placed for the game is not eaten by the jays in the neighbourhood. When taken young the a nice pet, for his plumage is more beautiful than that of any of its genus. Even the magpie cannott vi.a with the jay in delicacy of colouring or effective contrast. The crest upon the head of this bird is a striking characteristic, as the feathers, which are greyish-white, have a streak of black along the ehafit, whilst the ends are 'tinged with purplish-red, and these, being elongated, can be elevated at will, and may denote- either pleasure or fear. From the base of either lower man- dible is a broad streak of black, giving the ap- pearance of a moustache. The wing is excep- tionally beautiful. The white feathers upon the lower part of the back are particularly notice- able in flight, which is duU and heavy. REMARKABLY DUTIFUL. A naturalist has made .the following observa- tions. ae to the amount of work performed by a. pair of sparrows in a singte day during the nesting season. The mother bird left the nesi at 3.50 a.m. to find worms, and the search wae continued by both parents* throughout the day, 180 journeys to and from the nest having been made up to 7.50 p.m. Food was brought back nearly every time, though some of the tripe eeem to have been made to furnish rand- 01 grit for grinding the food. Soft-bodied! cater- pillars were the most abundant element of food, but crickets, flies, and doubtless many other in- tsects were also taken. STRANGE NESTING PLACE. Two robins have chosen a strange nesting place at Fletton, near Peterborough. Close to .,he back door of a house in that place a garden I IN A WATERING-CAN. I watering-can hangs on a nail, and in this they have made their home and the hen bird has laid her eggs. A cautious visitor may see the birds sitting. THB SLOTH AT HOME. The sloth is born among the branches of the trees, and in all its life never, unless by accident, descends to the ground. His body hangs bacli downward from the under-side of a branch, around which his powerful curved claws are firmly fastened. Sleeping or waking, this is the only position in which he ia ever found. When he has stripped one branch of its leaves he shifts to another. If the tree is a large one he will sometimes spend his entire lifetime in a single tree, the leaves on one side being renewed by the time he gets through with the cither. The long, coarse, shabby hair hanging dowm from his back becomes of a greenish colour from the presence of a minute vegetable growth, thus giving Mr. Sloth all the appear- ance of a fine moss-grown branch. This htClpi? to protect him from the attacks of beasts of prey, and the great snakes with which the forests abound, so that he has no objection to being known as a "moss-back." When the sloth and his mate have entirely exhausted the leaves of the tree in which they are living, they actually muster up enough energy to grasp the branch of some tree Immediately next their own, and move a few feet into the tree, where they remain until they have stripped it of its leaves, or until they have died of old age. A gigantic species of sloth, called the Megathe- rium, existed ages ago. Its skeleton remains show it to have been adapted for walking on the ground, and the shape of its hinder limbs and powerful tail show that it was accustomed to sit on its hind legs and tail like a three- legged stool, while, with its claws and tongue it puHed dowa the branches on which it fed. Seated thus, its head was reared not less than 15ft. from the ground.
GAPON'S BODY FOUND. The establishment of Father Gapon's death became known in St. Petersburg, where leaflets were posted saying that his body was found in a cottage that ho rellteti W, Oeerki, half an hour's journey from St. Petersburg on the, Finland Railway. There was a return ticket for St. Petersburg, dated April 9, in a pocket of his clothes. The corpse wae sxispended by a rope, but. the feet rested on the floor, and other circum- stances, including, stabs, marks of .blows, and an eye gashed' out, showed that he was mur- dered 'before the body was made to appear as if hanged.
MR. A. CHAMBERLAIN ENGAGED. The engagement is announced of the Right Hon. J. Austen Chamberlain, M.P. (eldest son of the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, M.P.), and Ivy Muriel, daughter of Colonel H. L. Dun&as (late East Yorkshire Regiment, and Chief, Staff Officer, Gibraltar), of Byrness, Datchet, Bucks. Mr. Austen Chamberlain, who is at present in Algiers, recovering from a severe attack of sciatica, is 42 years old. He has had a brilliant political career, and has held the posts of Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Civil Lord of the Admiralty, Postmat-iter-General, and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is member for East Worcestershire, which he has repre- s-eiited, sinoo his election to Parliament in 1892.
At a meeting of the Isle of Wight Education Committee Alderman F. Baker expressed the opinion that if they could catch all the denomi- nationalists and chain them up for twelve months with a gag in their mouths, they would get a first-class national education Bill passed for the benefit of the public at large. In successfully taking objection to a pro- posal to let the Lime-street entmnce to Leaden- ball Market as an advertising station at £ 75 a year, a member of the Court of Common Council said it it were agreed to, the walls of 1he Mansion House might be let for a similar purpose.
I HUMOUR OF THE WEEK. I "DON'T SHOUT." Don't shout at him. Go and whisper in hii ear," said Judge Selfe to counsel, vainly try- ing to make a deaf witnessi hear him at Bromp ,ton County Court. The Court laughed, but th hint proved highly successful. I "THEY HAD GOT HnI." At the Shoreditch County Court, a gentle, man stepped into the box, and said that h< aPPfared on behalf of the defendant. The Judge; Why does he not come here him- eeltT-I expect he wishes he could. Very few defendants have wished for that?— 5 but we were walking peaceably together when I suddenly missed, him from mJ side, and on looking round I found they had col him. Who? Please don't talk in riddles.—Th< bailiffs; he's now in Wormwood Scrubbs. When will he be -out?-fhave had a wire this morning. (Handing a telegram to the judge.) The Judge"(afetr perusing it): This, looks more promising. It says: "Make things all right Shored^fch. Tell Amy see her -this afternoon." Defendant's representative (in confusion): Please excuse me, that is the wrong wire. The Judge: It will serve my purpose. I I "I'M: THE LAMPLIGHTER." Mr. was for the time being all urbani^ and affability. He had, decided to become a candidate for a seat on the Borough Council ■"■u *iav,e he said sweetly, to the mar with the threatening aspect, "to know if I maj count upon the honour of your vote at thi ensuing election. I 11 "'Arf a. moment," growled the free and inde- pendent elector, in a voice like a woundiec church organ, "I want to arsk you somethink, Are you in favour of this 'ere. electric lightine scheme?" "I am," said the candidate proudly. "In fact, I think I may say I am one of the prim movers in the improvement." The man rolled up his shirt sleevee, and shook a fist that bulged, like a savoy cabbage. "Then git orf my doorstep!" he cried. HGii orf while you're all in one piece! I'm the lamplighter!" I THE ARCHDEACON'S GAITERS. I Among the many letters of congratulation which Canon Scott, of Tunbridge Wells, hM received on his appointment as Archdeacon oi Tonbridge, he greatly prizes the following Limerick from an eminent dignitary of tfos Church: — There was an archdeacon who said May I take off my gaiters in bed? The Bishop replied:— "You could not if you tried, They are riveted! on till you're dead, r AWKWARD PHRASING. The members of the Basford Board of Guar- dians ha.ve been twice thrown into a state of hilarity during their meeting by slips of the tongue made by two speakers. I did not say what I said I said," wao the awkward phras- ing of one gentleman's argument; whilst the chairman, interrogating an inquiring member, turned his sentence upside down thus: "You want the suspended! orders standing 1" F GOOD rAy. 1 A Bristol bankrupt, applying for his dis- charge, said that since his failure as a builder he had been working as a carpenter in Canada, where he had1 received 14s. per diay. "That's good pay," said a well-known solicitor; "Can you give me the address ?" The bankrupt laughingly shook his head. When aeked why he wanted his discharge, the 'bankrupt said be hoped to go back to Canada "for a couple of fears" and then come back to start in business again. I CANDID j James Horgan, stated by 'the police to be the associate of well-known thieves, was caughi: in the early morning climbing the railings of S>i. Augustine's mansions, Bloomberg s reet-, Westminster. A policeman said he should take I him into custody, and Horgan answered, "Yes —if you knew as much as I do you would have bad me, long ago." (Laughter.) I CONDUCTOR GOT A SHOCK. The tram-conductor nerved himself for the approaching battle. "Madam," he, said, step- ping alongside the elderly passenger with the aggressive nose, thin lips, and sharp chin, "you'll have to pay fare for that boy." "Cer- tainly," she answered, opening her purse and taking out a coin. "I expected to pay for him, sir. Do I look like a person that would "rrv to rob the company of a halfpenny ?" "Madam, he gasped, "you do! That's what beat me I" I POLICEMEN AND MILK. j During the liearing of a charge against Bel- fast missionerB of receiving money under alleged false pretences, a witness deposed to various Tell us, asked Mr. Bates, what they were. Mothers' meeting (laughter) replied witness. I wouldn't call those entertainments, said Mr. Bates. (Laughter.) Witnees cross-examined as to summer out- ings. igivien )Lo children, said there were upwards of a hundred there, and a. band and two police officers. (Laughter.) Mr. Graham: What more than that do you want. (Laughter.) Mr. Bates: How much did you pay for the police. (Laughter.) Witness: They came free. Mr. Graham: What was served out at the picnic ? Witness r They got tea. I remember the two policemen stood in the background, and Mr. M'Lelland called them over and gave them milk. (Loud laughter.) Mr. Bates: Milk for the babies. (Laughter.) WHO OWNS THE BACON. I In discharging a working man who had been charged with being in the unlawful possession of aibout 71b. of bacon, a London ma-pst,rate inquired if an owner had: been found for the bacon, and oh receiving a reply that no owner could be found, observed, "Then it will remain in the hands of the police." The. Clerk: To be dealt with in the usual way ? A Voice: To be fried or boiled ? (Laughter.) WANTED HIS MONEY BACK. 1 An unrecognised genius was playing in a country town, and before the performance had lasted half-an-hour the box-office man was aroused from a nap by a sound of sobbing. Looking out of the box he saw a little boy crying. "What is the matter, my little man?" he asked. "I want my money back," gurgled the boy. "Why do you want your money back?" queried the box-office man ini surprise. "Be- I cause," sobbed: the boy, "I'm afraid to sit up in the-gallery all alone!" I ADAM AND WASHING. I In a dispute, thrashed out in the King's Bench Division of the High Court, between two laundrymen, the plaintiff suggested' to die- fendant's solicitor, who was cross-examining plaintiff about work done previous to the dis- pute, that he should go back to Adam. "No," was the solicitor's reply, "khere was mighty little w,ashing in Adam's time. 1 NO THANKS. I f Heardr a.t Keighley: —The Mayor (to defen- dant) There ,i» such a conflict of evidence thai we shall dismiss the case. Defendant: I'm not going to thank you, your Worships, because its only a just sentence. (Laughter.)
I STRANGE & WONDERFUL 1 I TOMBSTONE FOR A RABBIT. ) There is now on view in a provincial monu- mental mason's ithop an elaborate white marble tombetone to the memory of a pet rabbit. It con- sists of a horizontal rectangular kerb"about 5ft. long by 3ft. wide, with an upright cross 4ft. high on a square pedestal in three stages. The inscrip- tion is as follows In loving memory of DARDIE, I March 20, 1906. May God restore thee to me, My precious little darling. So prayeth Mary-. No man, or woman fair, Or child, or God above, Can never draw such love From me again. The lady who has ordered this extraordinary record of affection for a pet had provided expen- sive housing accommodation for the rabbit whilst it was alive. She belongs to an old country family, and is well known in the neighbourhood as a vege- tarian and lover- of animals. f AN OLD BLACKJACK. I We know of the blackjack as a dangerous weapon in the hands of the policeman or the enterprising footpad. It is usually made of a piece of lead, padded and wholly covered with leather, to which the flexible handle is attached. The leather is black, and an enthusiastic applica- tion of the blackjack will cause unconsciousness. It might have been named in irony, as the original blackjack was a drinking mug made of leather, and a too frequent application of which caused coma, providing the ale was heady. The one here shown belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Let us not suspect that he filled it with ale, but, better, with clear, cold water, in keeping with his austere character. I THESE FISH HAVE LAMPS. I Below a depth of some 1,200ft. no ra,y of light penetrates the ocean. Below that level is profound darkness, everlasting night. But for the benefit of those creatures who dwell in these gloomy realms Nature has provided some of them with light-giving organs. One particular species carry what might be termed bull's-eye lanterns which they are able to turn on or off at will, while another has luminous fins. The light is sometimes employed to attract their prey, and no doubt one of its uses is toprevent them from becoming blind, for where there is no light the eyes gradually die out, as in the case of the eyeless nsh of the caves of Kentucky. I AN ARTISTIC WATCH. In the beginning of the nineteenth centurj watches were made in a great variety of forms, which were designed to make them look as little like watches as possible. They were, in fact, [ merely beautiful exampies of ornamental jewellery. taking the form of miniature guitars and ma.ndo- lines, tyres, drums, sea shells, skulls, &c. Here- with is illustrated a curious octagonal watch which was very popular at this period. A FAMOUS TREE. The eldest tree in the world is said to be the famous dragon tree of Teneriffie, which is esti- mated to be from 4000 to 6000 years of age. This wonder of the plant world was 70ft. or more in height until the year 1819, when during a terrific storm one of the large branches was broken off. A similar storm in 1867 stripped the trunk of its remaining branches and left it standing alone. This tree derives its common name from a reddish exudation known as dragon's blood, found in the sepulchral caves of the Guanches, and supposed to have been used by them in embalming their dead. It is said to have been at one time an im- portant article of export from the Canaries, and has never fallen entirely into disuse. STRANGE HEADGEAR. The headgear of the women of Palestine in the olden times consisted of large and small coins arranged in rows on their heads. This money would be given her by friends at her wedding, and was considered sacred, and only in very extreme eases, such as famine or redemption from death, would the coins be expended. Itwas considered a crime to use the money for ordinary expendi- ture. Some of these head-dresses were very valuable, and, needless to say, of great weight. WONDERFUL CLOCK. I Perhaps the most-wonderful clock ever made is that which is now working at Schenectady. It was made by E. watchmaker named J. Steiner, and has never been wound up. It was started by Steiner giving the pen- dulum a swing, and will continue to go, says he, until" the magnets lose their magnetism." The works consist of only three wheels. The clock itself is in the form of a pendulum, weighing 401bs. The pendulum rods are made of different kinds of metals to allow compensation in contraction and expansion. It is said that the clock is not affected by jar or vibration, and keeps perfect time, the swing of the pendulum being regulated to beat seconds.
THE CLUB WINDOW. I Lord Roberts ia said to be rather supersti. tious, and he strongly believes in "lucky days." Bobs's" lucky day, on which he has experi. enced most of hie good fortune, is Tuesday. Sir Edward Clarke, whose health has been causing some anxiety of late, plays a goodi game of billiards. 4 Mr. Arthur J. Balfour says that he considers football useful in developing patience, edbriely, courage, temper, discipline, and subordination. Mr. Andrew Carnegie in his youth was very fond of amateur acting, and was considered an cceHelli performer by his friends. Denmark's Kings for 384 years nave all been named Christian or Frederick. It is the law of Denmark that Christian must be succeeded by Frederick and Frederick by Christian. To at- tain this, every Danish Prince, no matter what other names he may receive, always has Chris- tian and Frederick among them. King Edward adores plovers? which he generally eats spread! on a slice of Mack bread, called Russian, bread. When dining with the Prince Bariatinaky al Biarritz, his Majesty was agreeably is-urprised to find his favourite diieih on the menu. Plovers' eggs were rather raxe just then, and the hostess bad ko send to Paria for them. < < Prince George, who wao the ruling spirit of the Olympic games, is a man. of giant stature and immense strength. He can bend pennies between his thumb and forefinger. He it is who intervened) between the Czar and a fanatic's knife during the tour in China some eight or ten yearc,, ago. He brought his stick down on the Celestial's pate juist in the nick of time, crushing it like an egg-shell. Prince George is certainly the most popular member of the Greek Royal- Hoftiise. « A tt I An occasional contributor Sldts, the Church Family Newspaper" the following:—"A golf stall is becoming a very popular feature of bazaars. Many men who will buy nothing else will purchase golif clubs or balls. And others finct such purchases a. useful means of avoiding the purchase of useless articles. The profes- sionals at the local golf clubs are usually will- ing to provide the clubs and balls on s.a1ø or return, and some enthusiastic lady golfers, can generally 'be found! to toke charge of the stalls." Mr. W. G. Leigh ton, of Ruabon, is the proud possessor of an interesting relic of the Iron Duke, which he picked up at a local sale for 32s. 6d. It is a French clock of elaborate de- sign, which was given to a Mrs. Eliza Norman by the Countess of Momington (the Duke's mother), as shown by the inscription on the base. Mrs" Norman in turn left the -clock to the Rev. T. L. Griffiths, the owner of Penynaut. The Duke was a frequent visitor to. this neigh- bourhood:, and! as a boy at Eton spent his holi- days at Biynkinalt, at that kime occupied by foie grandmother, Viscountess Dungannon, Dr. BrowEe, the Bisliop of Bristol, confessed at a meeting heM at the Church House to form a Church Music Society, that he had a top note. It is only one he recognises. "There is," he said, "one note I know by sight, and when I see it I let myself go, but I am careful the choir do not hear me." Perhaps no crowned! head1 in all Europe bears BO many titles does the youthful King of Spain—and) titleis whose very utterance brjngs crowding: faults alii European history since the Middle Ages. Here they are-as borne by the motorist and sportsifian in the Madrid! palace: His Most Catholic Majesty Don Alfonso XIII., King of Spain, of Castile, of Leon, of Aragon, K of the two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, of Navarre, of Gibraltar, of the. Western, and Eastern In- dies, of the* Oceianic Conftinent, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, of Brabant and Milan, Count- of Hapsburg, of Flanders, of tine Tyrol, and, Grand Master of the Golden Fleece, » « Persons not hardy enough to risk the rigours of Alpine climbing are now enabled! to mount to the summit of the Hammet-Schwandi Moun- tain, 3,600ft. above sea-level, by meanc,, of the longest lift in the world, an elevator 600ft. high. The elevator is located not far from; Lucerne, where is a grotto in which the elevator shaft is hidden. The elevator is operated by elec- tricity. The cage is 12ft. square, and only seven passengers are carried each trip. The ascent is made in 3min. < "The old outdoor preacher of Victoria Park," was the description which the Bishop of London applied to himself recently. He ha,d given away many tracts, he said, and he always used to. say, "Now, don't light your pipe with that, but put it in your pipe and smoke it." The Bishop of Ripon has performed a sympa- thetic and thoughtful act. His lordship con- ducted a confirmation in the parish church at Arthington. One of the lady candidates was taken ill, and had to be removed tal her home. Being told of this, the Bishop at once offered to confirm the candidate in her home, although lie was due at another service shortly after- wards. The only other person who witnessed the ceremony was the girl's sister, but 'the ser- vice lost none of its impressiveness through being performed in humble surroundings. « If you "owned all the world," and couldl con- vert your possessions into gold, you would have enough of the precious metal to build a fleetof j fifty battleships, each of 9,400 tons dead weight. With your gold you could raise as a monument to Mam mom a pillar 50ft. long an d nearly. 44ft. jwid'e, which would to:wer &q -high M the croiss on St. Paul's. CalWlral; with; gold comsa. Toadwåj" on which you could drive 1ft dozen carriages, abreast all the way from Brighton to John o'Groats and you could make a golden pathway 2ft. 5in. wide round the world. < t T'ere are, indeed, few wittier men than the fereat "Westminster" Bridge as he is called to distinguish Sir Frederick from his brother, who is organist at Chester Cathedral. He tells am amusing story in which a pianola was the. chief performer. He was staying one day at a country house, and entering the drawing room saw some ladies lis,tening to another lady playing upon the piano. Everybody said "S-s-sh!" and he saw by the expression on their faces that they Were listening to a great classical piece, but he failed; to make out the music. He whispered to one of the ladies, "What is it?" And the answer was "Bach's fugue in G minor"; but he discovered that the reason why the music so Mystified him was that-it was being played back- ward's, the perforated paper having been put in upside down. There is a large club in the metropolis known 88 "The Burglar's Haunt," in consequence of the propensity of its, frequenters for the goods and chattels of others. Another big club is called "The Moneylenders' Home," by virtue of the many "gentlemen in the West-end)" who write on the club note-paper that they will loan- "sums from Pb to 9500 on note of hand only." I 3 The recent cases of ragging will bring to recol- lection an instance of military ragging sworn to in evidence in the great Tichborne trial. When the real Roger Tichborne was stationed at Cahir, in the county of Tipperary, as a sub- altern in the Carbineers in the early fifties of the last century, he was somewhat of a butt with his fellow-officers, who on one occasion got the foal; of a donkey, and having tied its fore feet and'hind feet securely, placed it in Roger Tich- "orne's bed. When he saw the donkey's head appearing out of the bed-clothes he thought it a* Satanic manifestation, and for the moment his senses. He seized his sword, which he oranQighed wildly, wounding some of the prac- tical J-okers, and was with the utmost difficulty disarmed or quieted
I PARLIAMENT. I MONDAY. j IMILITIA AND COMPULSORY SERVICE. 1 Compulsory service in the Militia was one of several questions connected with national and Imperial defence which were raised by the Earl of Wemyss in the HOUSE OF LORDS. His ques- tion and criticism elicited from the Earl of Portsmouth a detailed statement which indi- cated that the Government, while recognising that the Navy was the first and only reliable de- fence against invasion, desired that the Militia should be made an effective reserve for the Army, and the Volunteers enabled to take a prominent and definite place in any scheme of national defence. The sitting of the HOUSE OF COMMONS was devoted to the consideration of the Plural Voting Bill, the motion for the second reading being met by an amendment, proposed by Mr. H. W. Forster, declining to consider a change in the franchise unaccompanied by a scheme to remove anomalies in the distribution of elec- toral power. On a division the amendment was rejected by 308 votes, and the Bill was read a second time.
THE ROYAL WEDDING. It is stated in Madrid that Princess Ena will be accompanied to the Church of St. Jerome on the royal wedding day by Princess Henry of Battenberg and Queen Maria Christina. They will ride in the Crown coach, the upholstery of which is embroidered with pearls. The coach was used by Queen Maria Christina on the day of her marriage to the late King. The procession from the church to the Palace after the ceremony will be an imposing spec- tacle. Palace cuirassiers and halberdiers will form the advance guard. They will be followed by eight mounted heralds, four trumpeters in gold gallooned black velvet costumes, carrying green switches, a kettle-drummer, the equerry to the royal stud, four red-robed mace bearers, mounted, and four magnificent Spanish steeds caparisoned in Oriental style. Six royal ser- vants will follow, leading six reserve horses, the heads of which will be adorned with red and yellow plumes. To these will succeed twelve out- riders and trainers of the royal stud, led by the riding-master. The Bronze coach, conveying four kings- at-arms in mediaeval costumes, will follow. The vehicle, which dates from the time of Ferdinand VII., will be drawn by four black Spanish horses, with silver-mounted harness. Then will come the Amaranth coach, dating from the time of Charles III., upholstered in white and ama- ranth-coloured silk; the Cypher coach, built for Queen Marie Louise Fernanda and the Gold-foil coach, drawn by six Spanish horses. These three coaches will be occupied by the court marshal, the acting mistress of the robes, the maids of honour, the court chamberlain, and other high officials. The Ducal Crown coach, drawn by six horses, and escorted by lifeguards, will convey the Infanta Isabella and the Infanta Eulalie, King Alfonso's paternal aunts. The Tortoise- shell coach will be occupied by the Prince of the Asturias and the Infanta Maria Teresa, the King's sister, with her husband, the Prince of Bavaria. A MAGNIFICENT CAKE. Princess Ena's wedding cake, which was made by a London firm, has been despatched to Madrid. It is in three tiers, the total weight being upwards of 3cwt. The bottom tier, which is about 36in. in diameter, is divided into eight panels, which are separated by Corinthian columns, surmounted by small Cupids in various disguises (messengers, archers, etc.). The space between the panels is decorated with artistic sugar work representing trailing vines, in compliment to the world-famous vineyards of Spain. Each panel carries a festoon of orange- blossoms, white heather, myrtle, and whita roses, these flowers having been chosen by her Koyal Highness for the general floral decoration of the cake. The base is surrounded by a beautiful wreath composed of the same flowers. A second tier of cake is divided into four panels by shorter Corinthian columns, in the centre of each panel being a shield with the monogram in silver surmounted by the Spanish Royal (Drown. The base of the second tier is also encircled with a wreath of the same flowers. The third tier is divided into four panels, the principal ornament of each panel being exquisite sprays of orange-blossoms, myrtle, white heather, and tiny white roses. The superstructure is crowned with a beautiful group of children supporting a vase in white parian, containing a magnificent bou- quet, from which depend four very long trails of flowers reaching to the lowest tier. The large silver salver on which the bride cake stands is the property of Princess Henry of Battenberg, and was used for a similar purpose on the occasion of her Royal Highness's own wedding. The cake knife, which is of silvcr-gilt and beautifully chased, is two feet in length, the handle being a solid tusk of African ivory.
EXPLOSION OF A BALLOON. A remarkable balloon explosion has occurred at Stagsden, a. village near Bedford. A balloon carrying one man descended in a field behind the village, and a number of the inhabitants went out to watch the operation of emptying the bag of gats. It is supposed that somebody disregarded! the aeronaut's warning against smoking in the vici- nity and lit a pipe, for the balloon exploded, and ten persons were severely injured. A boy named Henson had) all his ha.ir burned off, and his face scorched. He and six others were burned so severely that they were taken to the Bedford County Hospital for treatment.
I INTERESTING ITEMS* At the close of the last year an American seer predicted that during 1906 two cities on the Pacific coast of the United Stages would be destroyed. Since the San Francisco disaster he has remained in hiding, and says he will not emerge until the excitement subsides. At the annual dinner of the Newspaper Society, the Poetma.ster-General said it was almost, certain that an international conference to deal with the question of wireless Press mes- sages would be held. The report of a recent earthquake at La Palma has been traced to the story of a woman who saw smoke and smelt sulphur while cross- ing the AndLenes Hills. The smoke was from burning shrubs, and the sulphurous smell Was purely imaginary. The death is announced of Mr. George Unwin, senior partner of the firm of Unwin Bros., of the Gresbam Press, who took a lead- ing part for many years in the affairs of Con- gregational institutions. He was the brother of Mr. Fisher Unwin, the well-known pub- lisher, and brother-in-law of Mr. Albert Spicer, M.P., and Mr. Evan Spicer. In a Parliamentary paper Mr. Haldane stated that the cost of the official history of the war in South Africa would be at least £ 27,000. Between 800 and 900 men were thrown out of work by a fire which destroyed the winding- engine, house at the Prince of Wales Colliery, Abercara, near Newport. Asking the Secretary of War to relax the vaccination regulations' in the Army, Mr. Lup- ton, M.P., states that while 1149 cases of small- pox occurred in the Army with 113 deaths among 69,751 vaccinated men during nine years. only 447 cases occurred with 31 deaths at Leicester in the same period among a popula- tion of 165,415, largely unvaccinated. Mr. Justice Bargrave Deane granted leave to Mrs. Kate Pollard to apply within three months of the date of her decree nisi to have it made absolute. The King's Proctor offered no objection. The visit of a deputation of Lincolnshire farmers to Germany to gain information about the cultivation of the beet and the manufacture of beet sugar has resulted in a site being pur- chased near Linoolin for the erection of a beet- sugar factory. Great hopes are entertained in official circles of the birth of an heir to the throne of Holland in the near future. The Court physician statee that Queen Wilhelmina's health is satisfactory. The Postmaster-General has been informed that mail communication with China and Japan by way of San Francisco has been restored. The regular despatch of mails for these coun- tries will accordingly be resumed, and the regu- lar mails for Australia and New Zealand will be sent by way of San Francisco on and after May 19. A fine for stealing eggs imposed at Hack- thorpe, Westmorland, worked oust at £4 an egg. If ever an earthquake-proof house is evolved the Chicago Tribune" says it will be built oi indiarubber, A Christian Scientist stated at a meeting at Clifton, Bristol, that he cured rheumatism by slapping the knee and telling the rheuma- tism to be gone. Mayor Tom L. Johnson, of Cleveland, Ohio, has invented a motor that in reoent tests de- veloped the theoretical speed of 400 miles an hour, says the "New York Sun." The Rev J. H. Jowett, of Hull, declares that a vicar in Staffordshire described undenomina- tionalism as "spiritual skilly," and said that he did not think there was enough Gospel in it to save the soul of a tom-tit. A man was found dead on the live rail on the Liverpool and Southport Electric Railway near Freshfield Station. This is the third fatal accident at Freshfield Station within six weeks. The following advertisement appeared in a morning newspaperBridge at-homes LieleS three afternoons weekly by lady; 5d. to Is per hundred points; Is. 6d. including afternoon tea; morning practice classes and private lessons. The end of the world was fixed for either 1929 or 1931 at a gathering of prophets in Exeter Hall. Art, dealers and decorators think that the decline of interest in modern subject picttlres is due to the fashion of stenciled walls and French decorations, which leave no place for paintings. The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths has presented £ 5000 to Cambridge University for the purposes of the library. The fishing vessel No. 323 of Calais has been foeiz.ed by the Customs authorities at Oetend with 400 gallons of smuggled spirit on board. The Rev. William John Brookes, vicar of Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd, near Halifax, died suddenly from apoplexy in the vestry of the church. He was sixty-two years old. I Mr. Arthur James Lane, a well-known sports- man, died at his residence in Brighton, aged 90. Among gunners he was known under the nom de plume of "Twenty Thousand Shots," as he had fined 20,000 trial shots at marks. Mr. Lane wae also a gifted painter in water-colours and a clever musician. It is stated that the Cabinet has refused to accept the Labour amendment on the Work- men's Compensation Bill, and that a isharp con- flict between Liberals and Labour teiemibeTS must follow. The pit brow lasses from the north, accom- panied by the women cotton workers, iron workers and many others are coming to London to interview the Prime Minister on the- subject of women's votes, and to hold a demonstration in Hyde Park. The coaching season has begun, but the number of coaches running out of London is only five, as comared w.ith twenty a few years ago. The coach has been ousted by the motor- omnibus. As the result of a, ma-tch being dropped on some. petrol a. gas engine shed at a motor works at Haywards Heath was wrecked, and a man was .seriously injured. Having found what he believed to be. a friend's pet dog, a citizen of Berlin called up his friend on the telephone, and applied the receiver to the dog's ear, with the result that the animal barked joyfully and wagged his tail. It is reported from Paris that 23 British officers from the staff college at Camberley have arrived at Meltz to make an inspection of the battlefields of the Franco-Prussian war. Mrs. Anne Harwa.rd Harvey, who died at Newport, Isle of Wight, on January 14, aged 160, and remembered pinning on the cloak: of the. Duke of Wellington, left property valued at £598. Owing to the increasing number of rooks in, agricultural districts, the Board of Agriculture suggests that farmers and others 6Truing nookeries should take energetic action to the birds within limits. Whilst the Wormwood Scrubbs prison var- was waiting at Clerkenwell for a load of TH soners am unknown man mounted on the W and drove the van away, but on being pursued he jumped down and made his escape School 5of Camberwell for tbi T IK iiaE: def-:S»<ed an artistic badge tb* of which i t-ation of the words,, "Labour, the world °r shove1' is the 3ieart cf In the boxes of a woman who baG reoentlv become chargea-ble to the rates of Lambeth, £ llo in cash was found and a Post Office bakings Bank Book showing a credit balanos of £ 117 14s. 8d. "Don't the published list of teetotal M»P,'<s," paid "Jr. T. Whittaker, M.P., at Exeter Hall. "1 often see alleged teetotal members sitti a: dinner with a bottLe of wine beside them."