LOCAL AND GENERAL.
The paragraph that sent the editor ol the " Berlin Volke-Zeitung "to prison was : — " It Bismarck lives five years longer free press and free Bpeecb will be unknown m Germany." There was a good attendance at the Somerset Lodge of Freemasons last night. The question of forming a Grand Lodge of New Zealand was considered, and it was unanimously resolved not to join m the movement. The interobange of messages between the Premier and Mr Blame on the Johnstown disaster was remarkable for ppeed. The New Zealand message left at _ 56 p.m. on Thursday, and the answer was reoeived at 11.66 a.m. yeeterday, nineteen bflurs m all. The two messages had to be repeated about forty* four times, and were handled by eighty-eight operators The Mount Somers distriot Lioenßing Committee meeting was held m the Mount Somerß Boad Board office on June 11. Three members were present, and Mr Peaohe took the chair. Sergeant Pelton and Mr Oolyer, Clerk to the licensing Bench, were aIBO m attendance. The Chairman asked tbe polioe if there were any objections to the lioenses being granted to the Mount Somers and Alford Forest Hotels. The Sergeant said tbat there were not, and the licenses were therefore granted. By a letter read *at the Timaru Hospital Board yesterday, it was Bhown conclusively tbat the sending of one of their charitable fiid eubjeota to Melbourne, some days ago, has tqrtrpd ojffc rnpflt successful. The husband met his one time erring wjfe wifch ppen anne, and tbey mutually agreed to forgive ans forgot. The writer oonoluded the letter by sending heir respects to the members bf the j Board. Tbe latter were muoh amused at the letter, and as the writer eno'osed her address, no doubt tbey wI U heartily rsturt) ber Oppplicoeptl, ,
The " bad times " m Auokland don't appear to be lifting muoh. According to an ezohange misery and destitution were revealed at a reoent meeting of the Oity Sohool Committee. No lobs than soventy-four applications were I reoeived for the position of oleaner of the J Wellesley street Sohool. Tbe salary offered was £60 a year. Many of the letters were of a pitiful nature, oaloulated to exoite com* pa6Bion. In some instances there were wiveß de.erted by their husbands and left to support families by their own labor. There was one widow whose husband had been drowned, another's had been burnt; widows with as mnny aB nine ohildren to support ; wives with invalid husbands to maintain as well aB their children. The members ot t_e Committee recognised that tbey had a hard job betoro them to make a suitable seleotion, and over an hour was spent m reading applioations and testimonials m order to discover whioh was the most deserving oase. An extraordinary story is going the rounds, on tbe authority of the companion of Mr Ingram, the son of the proprietor of the "Illustrated London News," who was recently killed m Egypt by an elephant. Shortly before his death Mr Ingram purohased a mummy, amongst tbe wrapß of whioh he discovered a papyrus covered with writing. Translated, this proved to be a solemn malediction on any person who disturbed the oorpse, accompanied by an assurance that the dsaeorator (whether man or woman) should die a violent death within three moons (monthß), and his or her body should be soattered to the winds of heaven. Mr Ingram's death took place just within that period, and only a thigh bone oould be found when his friends attempted to reoover tbe body. This is not a traveller's tale, we are told, but solid fact. The Ashburton Caledonian Sooiety held its first Ingleßide of the present season m the Oddfellows' Hall last evening. There was a large attendanoe, and the gathering was of a most eajoyable nature. The arrangement. made by the officials were of the best and were to the satisfaation of everyone. Songa were contributed by Miss Butler and Messrs Kersal and Nixon i Miss Simmonds played a violin solo, and a Highland danoe was given by ; the President, Mr D. McLean. Musio for : the danoes was provided by Misses Jamieson and Holloway, and Mr Gates (piano), and Messrs Ward, Jamieson and A. McKay (violin). Messrs A. McKay and G.Robinson . supplied pip. musio for the Sootob. danoea. The Ingleside this year was muoh above the Btandard of its predecessors, good as they were, and ihe Committee, we are given to understand, are determined to spare no pains to render those to follow as pleasant as oan 1 bs desired. In sending m his report of the disaster at Samoa to the United States Government 1 Admiral Eimberley requested the appoint* ment of a oourt of Enquiry. The Seoretary i of the Navy has replied that the department deems such a oourt unnecessary. The department is satisfied that " the offioers and men did their duty ; that the hurrioane waß 1 one of those visitations of Providence, m the , presence of whioh human efforts are of little ; avail : that the measures actually taken were all that wisdom and prudsnoe oould dictate, and that it was due to these measures that 1 so large a proportion of the crews were saved ; \ that the one step whioh might have averted . the oataßtrophe— namely, to have pat to sea before the storm developed— could only have been justified m view of tbe grave responßi--1 bilities resting npon you at Samoa by the , fleet, whioh oould not then be foreseen ; tbat . you rightly decided to remain at your poßt, and that the department, even m tbe faoe of the terrible disaster whioh it involved, 1 approves absolutely your decision, whioh has i set an example to the navy that should never t be forgotten." 1 The ancient Japanese oustptn of Hari Kari i or Happy Despatch has reoeived its death* . blow. For centuries it has been usual for . any exalted Japanese dignitary who may have mortally offended bis sovereign to > reoeive a polite offioial intimation to tne ' effeot that his euioide will be pleasing to the i authorities ; and until reoently, it has been ( the unvarying praotioe for the offender to acqulesoe reaignedly, and, after summoning \ his relatives around him, to formally disem* ' bowel himself m their presence. If the ) oulprit happened to be ol exceptionally high L rank, the sovereign would, as a mark of honour, send him a jewelled sword with whioh ' to operate upon himself. But all these • things are now of tbe past. Not loDg ago the ( Mikado was grievously hurt by the words and oonduot of a high offioial. The man was an ' old and very valued servant of the Grown ; • but his crime waa unpardonable. Next day, t therefore, an officer brought him the fatal j sword, a magnificent weapon, with a blade inlaid with gold and a handle enorusted with 1 diamonds, together with a sympathetic in> < timation . that his early death would be f regarded as a benefit to the empire m general l and to the Mikado m particular. The oulprit reoeived the sword with proper respeat, but, sb soon as the emissary had departed, the < wily Japanese— in whose mind European > habits of thought had evidently taken firm root — walked down to the quay, went on board a mail steamer that was bound for ' Havre, and upon reaching Paris incontinently ' sold the sword of honour for £6000. Mr James Mills, m his interview with the representative of the " Sydney Morning Herald," msde the following statement with regaid to the Union Company:— The fleet consists of forty-five steamers, tbe Mararoa, Manapouri, and Wairarapa being the fineßt ships of their size afloat. The aggregate tonnage is 38,500 tons, and the oombined strength of their engines 86,000 horse-power. Last year tbe ships steamed 1,490,000 miles, burnt 140,000 tons of ooal, of whioh fully one-half waß quarried m New South Wales, and oarried as oargo 70,000 tons of ooal, all of whioh oame from Newoastle. Their employees afloat number 1872, of whioh 804 were navigating offioerß and engineers, 684 seamen and firemen, and 584 stewards and 000-B. All these people ware Europeans, and very many of them Australian born, a number m all departments being natives of New South Wales. As the years go by, and the younger men displace the elders, the proportion of Australians peroeptibly inoreaßes. Then there is staff ashore, 15Q hands at least bqsy with books and figures, and an army of meohanios and laborers dependent upon the Company. £250,000 sterling teproßents the annual wages list, and 1000 tons of meat, equal to 83,000 sheep of 601 b eaoh, iB the annual consumption of meat on board tbe j Union Company's ships,
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