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j VANITY FAIR.  From "Vanity Fair." I MEN OF THE DAY.-WILL CROOKS, M P Fate has buffeted Will Crooks; but he has emerged an optimist. The hardships of his early life never engendered in him the suspicion that abuts the door of the heart in the faces of all man- kind Instead, they blessed him with a sympathy I that is rather trying to the ratepayers. He was born in the grey, dreary High-street, of Poplar, almost within the shadow of the Union Workhouse. The terror of the great building entered into the child. At eleven he was at work to satisfy the needs of the family larder, and at fourteen he was apprenticed to a cooper. He was a clever craftsman, but employment was not regular, He tramped the country for work, at one time walking to Liverpool. His soles were gone long before he reacbd that port. When he returned to Poplar, dejected, penniless, and grief- stricken at the death of his child, his chance of success in life seemed so small as to be almost unobservable. But the tide turned work came to him, and more than work. His honesty and common sense became recognised by masters and men. He was called upon to settle a small trade dispute. He acquitted himself so well that his services as unofficial referee were often required, He read hard by night. He appeared upon a platform, and was found to be a speaker of interest. London labour became familiar with his name. Finally, he became Chairman of the Poplar Board of Guar- dians, and upon the County Council a career was opened before him. I In 1903 came the Woolwich election, and his return to Parliament. His tact and common sense served him as well in the House as they had done in settling labour disputes at Poplar. By never debating any subject but those of which he has special knowledge, and by his perfect good temper and modesty, he became one of the men whose politics arouse no personal animosity on the other side. He has a deep voice, well under control, and despite his stolid demeanour, a humorous twinkle in his eye. He can tell a good story, which is none the less amusing for his Cockney dialect. He blends determination with his sympathy, and ambition with his social reform. The Labour Party are fickle in their admiration. Distrust of leaders has ever been the canker that destroys them. But they have an honest man in Will Crooks, if they will only keep him. JEHU JUNIOR. JEHU JUNIOR. HARD CASE, No. 1.468. A, a wild young man of good quality, went to America, married a Western girl and was sub- sequently divorced by her for mutual incompatibility of temper. A comes into a large fortune by the death of relations, returns to England, and at thirty marries the prim daughter of an evangelical bishop. At a function in London which he attends in company with his wife he meets the former Mrs. A, who advances towards him with a smile. He has never mentioned his escalade to his English wife. What should A do ? THE WONDERFUL DUCHESS. The death of the Dowager Duchess of Abercorn is likely to have rather a disastrous effect on the London season, as it places about a couple of hundred people in deep mourning. Montagu House, Hampden House, and Sunderland House will be closed. Lansdown House may possibly be opened for the necessary official entertaining, but the King's visit to Bowood in June will in all probability be postponed. The late Duchess was a picturesque survival of the days when English great ladies were not a practically extinct species. Her innumerable children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren were all devoted to her and chere grand mere," as she was affectionately called, took a great interest in and kept in touch with them all. It has been said of the Abercorns that they had no room for people outside their own family but this is scarcely to be woBdered at considering that they are as the sands of the sea in number. AN UNWELCOME GUEST. The presence of the Kaiser at Gibralter Is. not to put too fine a point upon it, unwelcome to the British nation. There are special reasons why members of the German General Staff should not be allowed to observe the emplacements of the gnus. upon which the defence of the harbour and the shipping depends. The principal guns at Gibraltar are purposely hidden, and their mountings are masked by painted canvas representations of the rough grass and brown rock by which they are surrounded. It is to be hoped that no considerations of hospitality to the German Emperor will induce I the kindly and generous-hearted Governor of the Rock to give facilities to the Kaiser's Staff to supplement their knowledge of the secrets of our I defences. In a short time Gibraltar,will be handed over to the naval authorities, as it is now properly recognised that Gibraltar is primarily a naval station, and that the succour and refreshment of the Fleet is the reason for its existence as a strong Dlace of arms. ROUGH ON MR. HEWLETT. I They are telling an amusing- story about "The Queen's Quair," Mr. Mauri00 Hewlett's great novel. A well-known author wan interrogated at 1\ a dinner party the other night as to h'.s opinion concerning it. "Don't you think Mr. Hewlett was rather, er—improper—in 'The Quwn'.s Qua-r ?' was the question. The authicr pointed out tho manners and' morals of the time, and Mr. Hew- lett's desire for accuracy. The conversation had drifted to other subjects, when all elderly gentle- man sitting next to the author, "I beg your par- don, Mr. but what did Mr. Hewlett do in Queen's Square" KING LEOPOLD'S REPARTEE AND I COURAGE. There are varied opinions of the reign and ad- ministration of tho veteran King of the Belgians, whose birthday occurs this we?k. The following notes I have received from Sir Hugh Gilzoan- Rcid, who is a personal friend of that Monarch, He writes:—"King Leopold is a brilliant and fascinating conversationalist; an hour's talk with him alone is indeed a liberal education. He is apt in repartee. I once introduced an English deputation at the Palace at Brussels, to each of whom some fitting remark was made with, quick perception of what was needed. One little man tremulously said, 'Your Majesty, I come from the town of Wellington, which gavo its name to a great General.' 'Yes,' His Majesty scftly whis- pered. 'the Duke was one" in Brussels!' I have seen him receive the representatives of seven or eight different countries, and address each group freely in their own tongue. Far-sighted, keen to perceive the main chance-, he in always first in any business transaction even with the 'cute in- tellects of the Kaiser and Cecil Rhodes he could, on critical occasions, hold his own. Hard ar.d Exacting, a masterly financier, and daring specu- lator, he combines qualities of tenderness and generosity rare among men. His courage :t; boundless. When shot at by an insane* foreigner not long ago. on a Sunday afternoon, in ths streets of Brussels, he drove serenely home to Ideken. lunched with his family, and some leiirs later was to bo sclen, with only the chaffeur, motoring past the very spot to take a ticket for the country at a roighbouring railway station. When afterwards congratulated on the escape by the Ministers of State, the fatalist respond was: 'I do not know how long I may live, or how long they may allow me to live, but I shall go on till the end comes serving my pcopfe.' AN EPISCOPAL MENU. It is always difficult to reconcile the directions of the Prayer-book, which contemplate a. social condition so greatly differing from our own. Perhaps this is why a certain Bishop, who ha.s asked his clergy to meet him at a dinner on one of the Church's days of abstinence should have permitted a menu to be prepared which includes hare soup, roast mill ton. Lciled bacon, and other venal delights.

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