TOPICS OF THE DAY.
[From. Cue SpeCiai. CoRREffIfONDENT.j
London, August 6l TUB KING OF SIAM A3 MARROW.
A cricket match was in progress—between two “ houses” of the school—and the King had consented to witness the gafoe. It Was not brilliant cricket, certainly, and there was no enthusiasm among the few spectators. Once when a ball was missed His Majesty exclaimed. “Ab, he didnt catch it.” Bnt the Royal interest was not really aroused. Anon, turning to Lord Harris, he ssfid—whether by a marvellous instinct of with a foreknowledge 1 cannot say Do you' understand cricket? Yes? Do you ?” His Lordship somewhat modestly confessed thtti he had, in the past, taken some little interest in the game. After we: bad seen a couple of wickets fall, the King of Siam had hod enough of this department of school life. Next His" Majesty made a cursory inspection of the school buildings. First we went to the Vaughan Library, which it was thought would interest the Royal, bookworm and student. But not a bit of It. He merely took a perfunctory look round. Among the many objects of interest in the building the King singled out a glass case beneath which a look of hair was mounted. “ What’e that r-eh ?” demanded His Majesty of the headmaster. Mr Welldon informed him that it was a memento of the English Pretender. The explanation apparently did not convey much information to the mind of' the Ring/ who immediately.broke off with the same inquiry, uttered in a more determined tone: “ What’s that—eh ?” It was an odd situation. This time His Majesty was pointing at one 'of the masters, who, with hat in hand, was deferentially standing beside the bookcase. “That,” said Mr Welldon, without moving a muscle, “.that is one of our masters. Allow me to present him; Mr “ What?” loudly demanded the Royal visitor. Mr Welldon repeated the name of the master,whose hand the King thereupon seized, shook, and released with great suddenness. Then came the business of the school rollcall. The boys mustered on the parade ground, in accordance with the practice on half-holidays, so that a master, by ticking off the names in a little book, might learn if any scholars had absented themselves. When His Majesty and suite came in at the big gates about twenty boys in the front row produced detective cameras from under their blue jackets and took snap-shots of the King. His Majesty ascended the steps and the affair began. As each boy heard his name he stepped forward, said “Here, sir,” touched his hat, and passed on. After ‘ The Geisha,’ one can imagine His Majesty did not find this performance very exciting. When about one-fortieth of the school had filed by, the King cried “ Enough ! I don’t want to see any morel” which somewhat scandalised the nlaster who was calling over the names, to judge by that gentleman’s face. Puffing at a large oigar, the Royal visitor afterwards inspected several school buildings. He also passed along the terrace, and found his way, by pretty paths, to an al J'rtKo tea. “ Isn’t the Ring going over the class rooms?” I asked Mr Welldon. “ No,” was the reply, “ he has not expressed any wish to do so.” The last item on the programme was a visit to the speech room, to hear a concert given by the boys. They played anti sang in a very creditable manner, but. the King was not a demonstrative auditor. CHDLALONKORN AND - THE COMMONS.
_Co Tuesday Siam’s miuiature monarch visited the House of Commons (after a lengthy interview at Buckingham Pa'ace with Lord Salisbury), and was shown round by the officials. They proposed (according to Mr Lucy) to straightway take him to the Ambassadors’ Gallery ; but His Majesty was not going to waste opportunities like that. “ Westminster Hall may I see Westminster Hall Of course there was no sort of objection. So into Westminster Hall he was conducted —he and his two spns. Prince Chira and Prince Purachatra (for Harrow School has broken up), together with members of the suite and Lord Harris. Some of the King’s history is very recent history, as evidence this question : “ Where was the dynamite explosion ?” Fancy such a domestic detail of our country’s, fortunes lodging in the memory of the King of Siam J They showed him where the thing occurred, and then, if you please, His Majesty wanted to know where the crypt might be. They ushered him to the entrance, but—whether deterred by the musty smell or the forbidding gloom I cannot say—he refrained from descending. Very soon the King was comfortably seated behind the clock, in the presence of the Commons of this realm. They gave him a copy of the “ Orders of the Day,” and he engaged in the perusal of that document with infinitely more zeal than than ever I would bring to the task. I was not surprised to learn that the sight of the Chamber surprised him. So this was democratic government, was it—a number of gentlemen sitting listlessly on benches, and some leaning right back with their legs crossed? "Does the roof leak that they keep their hats on ?” was, I understand, one of the conjectures that crossed the royal mind. After he had mastered the Orders of the Day—or abandoned as hopeless the endeavor to understand them—he directed his'attention to what was going on below. For a bit he was all eyes and all ears. The House was at the interesting game of questions and answers. Someone at the back rises, touches his hat, and mentions a number, and then someone near the table rises and says something rather indistinctly. It must be all double Dutch to a king; only the reporters understand. So it was not remarkable if His Majesty’s interest began to flag, and if he looked up aloft wondering where the light cam.e from. But at length questions and answers came to an end, and Mr John Dillon rose to make some remarks about Crete. The King was equal to five minutes of Mr Dillon, but no more. “ When,” he asked, “ when will Mr Curzon speak—eh ?” The fact of the matter is, he and Mr Curzon are old friends. Their intimacy did not have its beginning on the previous day, when, the Under-Secretary called at Buckingham Palace and received the promise of a Royal photograph. Mr Curzon once travelled to Siam, and then it was that the two learnt to know and like one another. They told him Mr Curzon would not be speaking yet, so away went the King. Oliver Cromwell’s signature.
Captain Butler and Mr Williams volun
teered to show the way to the Upper House. The journey thither was not unproductive of interest. They called in at the Moses Room, where committees of peers are wont to sit. You cannot enter the apartment without being struck by Mr Herbert’s pictures— ‘ Moses Bringing Down the Tables of the Law to the Israelites ’ and ‘The Judgment of Daniel.’ He looked long at the canvases, but the subjects represented, I gather, hardly came within his intimate knowledge. There are time limits to his historical knowledge. Then a call was made at the Princes’ Chamber, and Lord Kimberley, the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Lathom, and Lord Balfour of Burleigh were presented to His Majesty. Afterwards the Queen’s Robing Room was visited, and after that the Library. In the latter place the King of Siam had a great treat. He was shown the death warrant of Charles I.—“ the other one,” as His Majesty had called him on the previous day at Westminster Abbey. “This is the real warrant?” Yes; that, he was told, was the real warrant. “And this,” said His Majesty,, touching the venerable document with a Royal finger, “ this is the signature of Oliver Cromwell ?” I thought it was very smart of the King ; at any rate the question showed knowledge. He was quite right—it certainly was Oliver Cromwell’s signature. It seemed as though the little monarch would never unglue his eyes' from the potent warrant; but at length he remembered his constitutional studies, and hied him to the House of Lords, where they accorded him the great distinction of a chair near the Throne. How His Majesty passed the time in this situation is told in another column. I need merely say that their Lordships were discussing a Scotch Bill, and that His Majesty did not stay long. Back to the House of Commons, where, lo and behold! Mr Dillon was still talking. “ The same speech ? ” inquired the monarch. “Yes, the same speech,” was the reply. Here, then, was a remarkable sidelight on democratic government. But Mr Dillon’s speech did come to an end. Then Sir Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett addressed the House, and, as if this were not enough, there followed a
speech from Mr Flynn. lam surprised thati? ■ thei King.should bo so critical; but hev-l couldn’t stand it. “Wheb,” he again de- fl manded, “ is. Mr. Curzon going to speak?”': I “Not just yet,” was the answer; so he 1 agreed to kill time on the terrace. A nice ]1 little tea was provided, and His Majesty was 11 presented to Mr Balfour and Mr Chamber-.' I lain, of both of whom, it is satisfactory to 'I be ablo to record, 'he had previously heard..- "I But he seemed almost as interested in the sluggish barges and in the “ big building ” -i. across the river as iu the Colonial Secretary. The police were bidden to give word when Mr Curzon had risen. They faithfully performed the duty, and when the glad tidings came the King well-nigh ran from the terrace. I hope he was not disappointed by the right hon. gentleman's speech if he arrived in time to hear it. THE AUSTRALIAN SWIMMERS; The contest for the Half-mile Swimming Championship of England, which took place: ... at Southport last Saturday, was .looked! forward to with exceptional interest, owing; to the fact that the likely competitors in-- ; eluded J. H. Derbyshire (the 500 yds champion/, J. H. Tyers (the holder], Percy/ Cavill fthe Australian champion), and A. A. ■,' Green (the South of England swimmer who ‘ has bean giving such an excfellent account of' himself of late). The amateur champion- ' ships last year were practically little more than walk-overs for Tyers,'and the advent of Cavill, with his time of 13mia 27 2-sseo for the half-mile, was the main redeeming factor in this contest this year. On the day Tyers refused to compete, but; besides Gavill, Green,.and Derbyshire there worst fiv'e aspirants for fame in J. Stevens, BL: Robinson, W. Platt, N.' Potter, and Tyldesley. In the drawing Green secured j second, Gavill fourth, and Derbyshire eixthi place. v..
.On the giving of the signal GavlL' touched tbb water first, and after making the first; turn held the lead with Derbyshire* bob. when half the distance had been covered the latter was leading, by twelve yards front Tyldesley, who was some three-quarters off a length ahead of Cavill. Gavill had heem. steeriog most erratic, and although hei pulled up on Derbyshire after the htd£distatfce,- it was seen that he cou&l. not winU Green, who* had improved his/position,,. rapidly challenged Cavill a short distance before the finish,.and in-the spurt I?*mw gained second place, being six inches abend of the Australian, while the pair were fully ten yards behind Derbyshire. The winner’s time was ISrain 38 4-sseo.
Percy Cavill was naturally very much disappointed at his display, and there is not the> slightest doubt but that had he not swerved all over the course he would have been close; up to Derbyshire at the finish. The latter was however not much distressed on emerging from the water, and, bad he been pressed, might have been able to do . considerably better than he did. Green, of the. Otter S.C., swam in great form, and wa& deservedly applauded for bis successful set to with the Australian over the last of the course.
Owing to a misunderstanding of some description, Ernest Cavill was left in tbs lurch by the Antipodeans who had undertaken to put up the stake of £2OO for the match with Joey Nuttall, However, the stake has be°A guaranteed by Mr R. Topping, and the race? will be decided some time in September either at Bound hay fark or the Doncaster Baths on the Leger night. At present Cavill is in Perth, having received an engagement at the instance of the ex-amateur champion of Scotland, James Bissland, who is the superintendent of the Corporation Baths at Perth.
As I have already stated, Jack Helling* and Percy Cavill take part in the West of England matches. Their further move-, ments have been so far decided as to ra&kv it pretty safe to say that they will afterwards visit the Jersey Club , carnival andl then journey to Scotland for a number of matches with Messrs Marlin and Bussell* the Scottish champions. Percy Cavill wilK meet the latter in distances over a quartermile, and Hellings will be matched against Martin io races up to 100 yards. There if some talk of a gala being organised as a sendoff for the Australian swimmers should they have to return to New South Wales before October 2, the date on which the 100 Yards Cuampionsbip will probably be decided. Hellings and P. ; Cavill wish to be back home in time to make the trip to New Zealand, where the Australasian championships will be held this year. There is a suggestion to have the 100 Yards Championship of England early in September, so as to ensure Hellings as a competitor.
The other New South Wales amateur swimmer now on this side of the world-—V. Lindberg, I mean—leaves England tQ<day for Sweden, to take part in various FHBBP organised by the Swedish Association*
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TOPICS OF THE DAY., Evening Star, Issue 10435, 2 October 1897, Supplement
TOPICS OF THE DAY. Evening Star, Issue 10435, 2 October 1897, Supplement
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