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,OUlt LONDON LETTER. I . I

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,OUlt LONDON LETTER. fFrom Our London Correspondent.) Mr. :-Brvee having himself jtnnounoed that Tie would be compelled to give up his seat for South Aberdeen, in consequence of his ap- pointment to the British Embassy in the United States of America, there was no longer room for doubt as to who would fill Sir Mor- timer Durand's place, and the seal is set by the announcement tha* the King has approved of the selection of Mr. Bryoe. The first defi- nite news of Mr. Bryce's appointment was made by the Daily Express oil December 13, but evidently the Liberal papers are not kept well informed as to the movements of members of tho Cabinet, for the Daily News the next day referred to it. as a belated revival cf a rumour which a month before was "authoritatively denied" in their columns, and added, There is no truth in it whatever." Subsequent events, However, have proved otherwise. It follows as a matter of course that there must also be some truth in the rumour about Cabinet changes, which also were denied by some of the Liberal papers. Who will suc- ceed Mr. Bryce as Chief Secretary for Ireland is the question of the moment. Mr. Winston Churchill has all along been looked upon as íi the man, but now it is stated that, for reasons of their own—which are said to be mainly personal—the Irish members have ex- pressed so much hostility to his appointment that the idea of giving him the post has been dropped. From Ireland it has been whispered that Mr. John Redmond would be appointed, which would pave the way for the Govern- ment's scheme of partial Home Rule; but the statement is now made that it has been prac- tically settled that the new Chief Secretary will be Mr. Birrell. We shall be. seen in the throes ot quite a miniature general election, for there are already four seats vacant, and Cabinet ap- pointments must of necessity cause more. It is rumoured that Dr. Macnamara will succeed Mr. Birrell at the Board of Education, and this will cause a contest in Camberwell. Then there is a successor to Mr. J. E. "Ellis as T nder-Seeretary for India to be announced, end this again is almost certain to be given to a member who has not yet held an office. The sad death of Mr. A. W. Black in the dreadful {railway disaster at Arbroath renders a by- election necessary in Banffshire, and the other contests pending are Mr. Bryce's seat in South Aberdeen, North-East Derbyshire (rendered -vacant by the death of Mr. T. D. Bolton), and Mid-Cork, where Mr. Sheehan has retired. A notable figure and a venerable link with the ptist has been removed by the death of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, who breathed her last on Sunday morning at her house in Picca- dilly. In every respect she was a, most re- markable lady. Shoe had completed hex 92nd year, and had met and known many impor- tant and interesting people who are the merest names to the present generation. Among her many suitors were Napoleon the Thifd, and the Baroness might, it is said, had she so chosen, have become Empress of the French. There was also a rumour at one time that the great Duke of Wellington coveted her hand, and in this connection the following anecdote is narrated: "I said," remarked the, Duke, that she deserved to be a Duchess, not that I would make her one." When the Baroness heard of the speech, she said quietly: I think the Duke should have said could,' not would.' It was her grandfather, Thomas Coutts, the banker, from whom the Baroness inherited iter enormous wealth. He was famous for his eccentricities, and wore such shabby clothes, passing himself off among strangers as a ne'er-do-well, that on many occasions he wis offered alms, which he at once accepted. At the age of 86 Mr. Coutts married Harriet Mellon, the celebrated actress, and owner of Holly Lodge, High gate, which was the favour- ite residence of the late Baroness. Mrs. Coutts subsequently married the Duke of St. Albans, but when she died in 1837 she left everything she was entitled to dispose of to Miss Angela Georgina Burdett, who then as- sumed the name of Coutts. The Baroness -was. a great favourite of Queen Victoria, and <sbe appeared in 1851 at a ball at Buckingham Palace in a dress which was worth £ 250,000. It P,as in 1871 that the peerage was conferred "upon her, an honour which the country re- ceived with delight, and in 1881 she married Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett, her private secretary, who then took the name of Burdett-Coutts. "What the deceased lady has done with her ammeTi.se wealth is well known, and her name amisfc assuredly be written in Leigh Hunt's k of gold as one who loved her fellow-men. A short time ago prominence was given in Z, sail the papers to rumours concerning the Iheaith of Mrs. Eddy, the founder and leader of the Christian Scientists, who was said to fbe suffering from cancer, and lying almost at death's door. The Earl of Dumnore, one of the most notable of the English followers of •the lady, has now written from Boston, Massa- chusetts, which is only two hours by rail from 3ier home, at Concord, that he was invited over to see Mrs. Eddv, and he remarks that he was perfectly astounded at the remarkable differ- ence in her appearance, for she looked ten years younger than she did when he last saw her in the same place two or three years pre- viously. She talked with Lord Dunmore on •various subjects, and he was as much struck "with the extreme vigour of her mind and in- tellect as he was with her extraordinary memory, as she recalled incidents that too.k place seven or eight years before, on the occa- sion of the first, interview he had ever had with her. Although eighty-six years of age, 1 Mrs. Eddy, he savs, is as vigorous and healthy as a woman of half that age, and she takes a keen and lively interest in the leading topics of the day. t, It is not surprising to find the report that the Duchess of Buccleuch will shortly be suc- ceeded as Mistress of the Robes by the Mar- chioness of Lansdowne has assumed a, definite form, for it is well known that for some three years the Duchess has been anxious to resign the post that she has held for a considerable time, and in two reigns. Lady Lansdowne -would be a very natural successor to the post, fboth by reason or the high place she occupies in Society and at Court, and because she is the Duchess of Buccieuch's sister,both being daughters of the first Duke of Abercorn. The suggestion, that 'the Government will 110" raise any objection to the appointment is peculiar, for the post of Mistress of the Robes is not Ministerial when there is merely a ueen Consort, and the Duchess of Buccieuch t a L •retained the position when the Government changed a twelvemonth ago. The Duchess of ,B -ac,,ielich was a most stately figure at the ■Coronation with her splendid jewels and at- ,tendant pages, and she went through the duties of her office with incomparable grace and dignity. By the way, I believe no defi- nite announcement has ever been made as to whet11er the Duchess recovered the bracelet ■with the miniature of Queen Victoria which she lost in the Abbey at the Coronation, and wbich caused so great a sensation at the time. c Ninety-seven years ago, on Saturday lest, Sir. Gladstone was born, and the occasion was seized to decorate the statue erected to his revered memorv in the Strand, at the eastern end of Aldwych. Thus the Liberals emulate the Conservatives with the decorating of Beaconsfield's statue on Primrose Day, though there is this difference—in the present in- stance the day of Mr. Gladstone's birth is celebrated, while with Beaconsfiehl it is his death. There were wreaths of well-berried hollies all round the stone plinth, and facing the Strand several beautiful floral tributes were placed. The League of Young Liberals sent a large wreath, oomposed of Iceland moss with white ribbons, with the inscription, To the memory of one who, born to eminence, laboured for his country, and wen the hearts of his people." There was no public ceremony, but, notwithstanding the inclement weather, hundreds of people visited the statue to show their respect to a great man, while there were also many visitors to the tomb in Westminster Abbey, where the remains of Mr. Gladstone and his wife rest together. S.J.

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