TOPICS OF THE DAY.
Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume IV, Issue 169, 28 July 1908, Page 7
TOPICS OF THE DAY.
LONDON, June 12. "THE SPIRIT OF THE HORDE." A very notable thing about the Whitsuntide Bank Holiday in London was the sobriety .--nd good-temper of the vast crowds in the parks and the pleasure resorts. "The spirit of the horde," which Mr John Bums denounced the other day, is not without its good pointe. A wonderful change for the better has come over the London crowds in the last decade or so. Until recent years a bank holiday was merely an excuse for a drunken orgy on the part of a great mass of the people, with the usual accompaniment of brawling and general rowdyism. But London is changing in this respect. On Whit Monday it provided the soberest holiday crowd on record, and it is significant to note that in a crowd of 100,000 at Hampstead Heath there was only one arrest for drunkenness, while not a single case of foul language was reported to the police. Compared with the hooligan of fifteen or twenty years ago, the London holiday-maker is a sober, orderly, and decent citizen. No doubt the spread of education has had a good deal to do with the improvement of the crowd, but another very potent factor is the cheap electric municipal tramcar, whieh carries the people away from the crowded areas into the woods and valleys outside London, where the attractions of the gin palace can be forgotten amidst the unfamiliar delights of the oountryside. Mr John Burns looks to the development of the tramway . system all over Greater London to diffuse the population and counteract "the spirit of the horde." In an interesting speech on Whit Monday he foreshadowed in ten years' time a uniform penny tramway from Barking to Barnes and from Hampstead to Hither Green. The best antidote for the mob spirit, he said, was a good home and a good garden, and the best way to get these was to transplant the people out of Central London into the outskirts. The "Right Hon. John" proceeded to denounce in characteristic fashion the modern tendency to move and think in crowds. Instead of playing games themselves, English people . assembled in vast crowds to see a few other people play. "The effect of this upon our people," he said, "was that we now cried in companies, smiled in battalions, spotted in divisions, holidayed in armies, and married in mobs. The spirit of the horde was being developed, and whether it be in exMbxtions, meetings, sports, games, or legislation, the individual was becoming less and less, and the mass, the mob, was becoming more and more. This was a dangerous tendency, and one that we had got to do our best to resist, divert, and check, and, he hoped, some day to finally demolish. . . . The great city, the* large factory, the newspapers with the largest circulation and the worst news — all these megalomaniac tendencies were affecting the English people. These tendencies should be chastened by rational recreation. We wanted to take the people back to the individual happiness and the joyous pleasures of the old English games, when it was less to win a prize, when there was no betting or gambling, but more to play the game for the game's sake." "'More rottages and fewer publicbouses," is Mr Burns's panacea for checking the m_b spirit, and it is gratifying to Think that the movement towards improvement is advancing steadily on these lines. Families are leaving the central boroughs of London at the rate of 13,000 per annum, ahd this is really a very healthy sign. But there is a vast scope for the reformer before the over-crowding of the Londoners is appreciably diminished. Not until the land -question has been faced and solved on national lines can the mass of the people expect emancipation from ugly homes and sordid surroundings. ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION. The only exploring force at present working in the South Polar regions is the party wintering at the western end ol** Ross's great ice barrier under the leadership of Mr E. H. Shackleton. In a few months' time, however/ will be sailing Dr Jean Charcot, who, with the assistance of a substantial grant from the French Government, has organised an expedition for the renewal lof the work he commenced in 1904-05 off the west coast of Graham Land, to the south of Cape Hornf Recently Dr Charcot, in company with Captain Robert Scott and one or two other officers of the Discovery expedition', has been carrying out Some interesting experimente with motor sledges in a region of the Alps where the ice and snow conditions corresponded as nearly as possible with those on the surface of Ross's great ice barrier. Dr Charcot is inclined to think that the barrier is not a unique feature of the Antarctic regions, and that he may- encounter similar ice-fields in the region south of the Pacific Ocean bfetween Graham Land and King Edward Vil. Land. The motor sledges worked very satisfactorily in the recent trials, and high hopes are entertained that by their aid the expedition will succeed in penetrating far within the natural defences that guard the approaches to the ! Southern Pole. Dr Bruce'6 programme for the expedition, of which he recently announced the plans, is mainly concerned with oceanographical research work in the region south of the Atlantic Ocean. Extensive additions to knowledge in this field were secured by Dr Bruce, as leader of the Scottish Antarctic Expedition on board the Scotia, and among other results a considerable stretch of coast was laid' down on the maps under the name of Coats Land. The extension of knowledge of this coast, both eastwards in the direction of Enderby Land and westwajrds towards Graham Land, also* enters into Dr Rruce's programme. , This in itself, in view of the ice conditions, is a considerable piece of work, and Dr Bruce may well be satisfied- if he can carry it into execution without the addition of the journey he suggests across the supposed Antarctic continent to the Ross Sea, -a, distance o'f something like 2,000 males. THE REVIVAL OF PAGEANTRY. The record of modern pageantry is short, beginning as it does with Mr Louis N. Parker's experimental, production at Sherborne three years ago, when he was astonished with his own success, and the quiet little old-world Dorset hamlet was overwhelmed by an incursion of some 40,000 strangers, many of whom came from Canada, America, and Australasia to witness the revival of the story of our race. The success of the Sherborne show roused the spirit of emulation in other historic towns of the Old Country, and during the past two years "pageants" have fouricl great favor with the public. This year " pageantitis " (if it is permissible to com such a word) has broken out 1 all over England. The ancient town of Dudley has already given its inhabitants and visitors from all parts a picturesque review of its history for a thousand years in the grounds of Dudley Castle, ' but the real pageant season lies before us. It will commence on June 25, when both Winchester and Chelsea commence a week's indulgence in living picture lessons in'their history. A few days later Cheltenham follows suit^and k little later still ' the ancient little town of Pevensey will see its story developed 'xwn the days of the Druids onwards to
'the time when its inhabitants roused themselves to resist tbe Armada. Then' Dover is to have its pageant to mark the entente cordiale and emphasise the important part it has played in history as the gate of England. There are many other minor pageants in course of preparation, but these will be the shows that will appeal chiefly to colonial visitors to the Old Country. They will all be well worth seeing. Apart from their educational influence, the combination of art and history that go to make the modern pageant has irresistible delights for ; the senses in its brilliant color effects and its grand choruses of hundreds of voices. As a mere spectacle it cannot be surpassed when seen in the light of the sun, with green sward for stage and ancient buildings, summer foliage, or silver sea for background to heighten the effect. The interest taken locally in the preparations for the pageants presently to be presented at Dover and elsewhere is truly remarkable. Thousands of people who didn't seem to care a jot whether their town had a history or not are now working enthusiastically to make their pageants a success, and folk of every degree are working and rehearsing together with an esprit de corps that should have a very beneficial effect on the social life of the pageant-affected localities. Possibly the most interesting of all the pageants promised this year will be that at Dover, which will have an international, character. It is to be produced with French co-operation, a group from across the Channel having undertaken the entire production of an episode representing the arrival of Henrietta-Maria at Dover as the bride of Charles I. The scene has been written by the French poet Louis Tiercelin, who gets a good deal of fun out of the language difficulty between the Royal lovers. In one of the episodes will be shown the actual building of a ship by the men of Dover, inspired by Hubert de Burgh to resist invasion. There will be some fine scenic effects in the French scene, and in tbe meeting between Henry VIII. and the Emperor Charles to make preparations for the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In. the opening episode of Legendary Dover will appear King Arthur. His chivalrous spirit is intended to pervade the entire pageant, and to be reinforced from time to time by the Knights of the.Jlound Table, who as chorus are supposed to see history unfold itself before them while tbey wait for King Arthur to come again. Side by side with the clash of chivalry, ecclesiastical pomp, and regal splendor, the production will convey much of the ordinary life of the common folk, for Mr Parker, who is responsible for the pageant as a whole, fully recognises that while the splendid figures of history are only of occasional appearance, the individual and collective struggles of the people go on always, and that in them* lie the foundations of history. NEW ZEALAND FRUIT. IN LONDON. A display of New' Zealand apples and pears is the feature of the Royal Horticultural Society's colonial fruit show, held at their hall in Vincent square, S.W. Indeed, but for the arrival of the New Zealand exhibit it is doubtful whether the show would have been held at all, for there is little else in the exhibition beyond some preserved fruit from the Cape, some limes from the West Indies, and a few cases of apples sent by a South Australian grower. When* I visited the show yesterday there were not half a dozen people in the building. To send an exhibit all the way from New Zealand to 6uch a show seems to me sheer waste of time. Besides, unless New Zealand is prepared to supply the London market regularly with fruit, what object is served by exhibiting it in London? The New Zealand consignment of fruit arrived by the Mamari on June 6. It comprises thirty-three cases of apples and pears, of which about three-fourths come from the South Island and the Test from the North. There are over 300 varieties of apples and twenty-two varieties of pears. The exhibit is a Government one, but two private firms are represented by a display jof preserved fruits — viz., Messrs Clarke. I Bros. (Whangarei) and the Hokianga Cooperative Preserving Company (Rawene). Mr E. Blakeway, of Christchurch, exhibits an assortment of apples. The show ends this evening, and the Produce Commissioner, Mr EL C. Cameron, has been instructed to transfer the New Zealand exhibit of fruit to the cold storage chamber lin the New Zealand pavilion at the Franco-British Exhibition. But as the Exhibition! authorities continue deaf to all appeals for electric power, the New Zealand pavilion has not got its refrigerator in working order, arid the fruit will consequently have to go into cold storage elsewhere in the meantime. In the awards granted by the Royal Horticultural Society at the colonial fruit show the New Zealand Government secured one of the two, gold medals granted, and two other medals went to New Zealand exhibitors. Mr E. Blakeway received the silver gilt Banksian medal for his display of apples, and Messrs Clarke Bros., of Whangarei, the- silver Knightian medal for their preserved fruit. Through an oversight the name of the Hokianga I Co-operative Preserving Company was. not included in the list of exhibitors sent over from New Zealand, and consequently this firm's display of preserved fruit was not entered for competition. It figured, however, in the New Zealand exhibit. THE BATTLESHIP NEW ZEALAND. Captain F. C. D. Sturdee, of H.M.S. New Zealand, wrote to the High Commissioner s Office a day or two ago asking for some music associated with INew Zealand for the use of the battleship'6 band. Mr Campbell, the librarian, sent him a copy of the song 'God defend New Zealand,' the words of which were written by Bracken. Captain Sturdee is having band parts made, and proposes to adopt ' God defend New Zealand' for hi6 ship. He has also accepted with thanks an offer of books of illustrations of New Zealand for the ship's library. "We are anxious," he wrote, "to identify the ship in any way possible with the great Dominion she is named after." WHAT MAY COME. The June * Empire Review ' contains an article on 'Tariff Reform' by Mr W. A. Porter, secretary of Nelson Bros., Ltd. He starts by making the condition that a tariff to be acceptable must not disturb the flow of trade or injuriously burden the consumer. Mr Porter suggests a light duty — about sto 10 per cent.— on foreign food and manufactured articles — very light on foodstuffs; he exempts raw material and colonial imports. His great' point is 'that such a duty only represents a fraction of the ordinaTy^wholesale market fluctuations, which he puts at 5 to 25 per cent., and therefore that it would not be felt by the consumer. Mr Porter's light tariff is estimated to yield £20,000,000 gross. I THE PAN-ANGLICAN CONGRESS. ' The social side of the Pan- Anglican Congress has been well developed. The accredited delegate of the remotest diocese or humblest of native churches is assured of a welcome, private hqspitality (unless he or she prefers a hotel or boardinghouse) ; and- the opportunity of seeing some df the most famous houses in London. Local reception committees were formed at Liverpool, Plymouth, Southampton, Tilbury, Dover, and Glasgow, nnd, no
matter at what hour the vessels arrived, members of these committees came to the wharf and piloted the stranger through the Custom-house to the right train. Invitations came from all quarters to the visitors to stay at private houses for the entire duration of the Congress. There are forty bedrooms in Fulham Palace, add the_Bisnop of London has placed them all at the disposal of visiting delegates. Many of the London clergy, as well as the laity, have followed his example. Then a series of great entertainments have been arranged for the visitors. In one way and another there is any amount of hospitality, both private and public, aiM it will be strange indeed if any visitor from overseas goes home with the impression that London is inhospitable.