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GOSSIP FROM HOME., Issue 10451, 22 October 1897
GOSSIP FROM HOME.
[Fbom Our Special Correspondent.] London, September 4. A GHOST STORY. It is a thousand pities that a respectable committee of persons interested in supernatural research, and warranted proof against the ordinary spirits of commerce, could not come across a really nice ghost and bottle it up for exhibition. Unfonunately whenever a well-constituted and clearminded body of eager psychologists arrive on a spot reputed to be haunted the ghost quietly vamooses the ranch till the searchers leave, and so as years go on alleged visitations from spirits are getting more and more generally attributed (0y all except those to whom they occur) to disordered digestion or to a too lurid imagination, stimulated by frequent nips of alcohol. Still, from time to time a story of a ghostly visitation is told, and stoutly stuck to by the narrator. The latest has been causing a little storm in a tea cup among the folk of Halton Holegate, a small village near Spilsby, in Lincolnshire. The house whore it is alleged unnatural goings on take place is occupied by Mr and Mrs Wilson and a man-acrvant, and is situated a little way back from the road. Mrs Wilson's story, as told to a ' Daily Mail' reporter, runs thus:— We came here on Lady Day last. The first night or so we heard very strange noises about midnight as though someone was knocking at the door and walls. Once it scorned us though someone was moving all the things about iu a hurry downstairs. Another time the noise was like a heavy picture falling from the wall, but in the morning I found everything as right as it was the night before. The servant man left, saying he dared not stop, and we had to get another. Then about six weeks ago I saw something. Before getting into bed -rny husband having retired before me—l went downstairs to see the cow, and just as I was about to go up again I saw an old man standing at the top looking at me. He was standing, as though he were round-shouldered. How I got past I can't say, but I darted past him into the bedroom and slammed the door. Afterwards I felt that someone was behind me. I turned round sharply and there again stood the same old man. He quickly vanished, but 1 am quite certain I saw him. I have also seen him several times since, though not quite so distinctly.
Mrs Wilson then conducted her interviewer to the sitting room, where a gruesome discovery had been made. The floor in one corner had been very uneven, and a day or two ago Mrs Wilson took up the bricks with the intention of relaying them. No sooner had she done this than a moat disagreeable odor was emitted. Her suspicions being aroused, she called her husband, and the two commenced a minute examination. Three or four-bones were soon turned over, together with a gold ring and several pieces of old black silk. All these had evidently been buried in quicklime. Asked what her own opinion of the affair was, Mrs Wilson confidently asserted her belief that; at some time or other foul play had taken place. She was fully persuaded in her own mind with regard to the apparition, and, though it was suggested she might have been mistaken, she disdained the idea as being benoath notice. Dr Gay, a local medical man, to whom the bones have been submitted, states that they are undoubtedly human, but he believes them to be nearly 100 years old. A NARROW ESCAPE A story of narrow escape from premature burial is going the rounds of the Press just now. It runs thus :—Edward Zipan and his brother Charles (a paralytic) occupied the same room in their mother's house in a Parisian suburb. Edward was taken suddenly ill, and died. On the evening of his death an undertaker took the measurements for his coffin, and later on hi 3 mother, with the assistance of a friend, transferred the corpse to Charles's bed, and the paraiytic to that which had been occupied by his brother, thinking the position u, better one for the invalid. On the day of the funeral the undertaker suggested that Madame Zipan should leave the room till the body had been placed in the coffin. She complied with the suggestion, and he and faia men then proceeded to remove what they supposed to be the remains of Edward. The poor paralyticcomprehendedhisdrcadfuleituation, faatterrorand hia physical condition deprived him of the power of utterance or movement. He was just about to be placed in the coffiij when one of the undertaker's assistants remarked : " Hallo, there are two corpses !" " No," said the head man, "that poor fellowover there is a paralytic ! " The young man looked closer at the supposed invalid, and then exclaimed : " Paralytic ! Why he's dead, and his body is decomposing ! '■' The undertaker saw at once that there was a blunder somewhere, and drew aside the shroud which had been placed rouud the unhappy Charles. The invalid's eves were big with fright, and his face writhing with endeavors to speak. The story may be true, but one suspects that it is merely a dullseason sensation manufactured by an enterprising "special correspondent." Certainly the methods in vogue in England in the treatment of dead people would render such a blunder impossible. ABOUT RHODESIA. The difference of opinion about the commercial value of what is generally termed Rhodesia, which includes Matabeleland and jMashonaland, are quite irreconcilable. Some persons regard it as a country overflowing with milk and honey, and able to support a large European population from its agricultural resources alone, while otheis assert that the very utmost that it will ever do is to become the grazing ground for a few hundred thousand cattle. About its mineral wealth the most contradictory statements are made. Some persons assert that it was from the old workings, which are everywhere visible, that the ancients derived their supply of gold, and that with modern machinery and appliances Rhodesia will be a perfect El Dorado. Others are equally coniident that the " ancients," whoever they were, took all the gold that it will ever payto take away, and that the cheapness of their labor, which was that of slaves, more than compensated for any advantages that may be desirable from the employment of machinery. An interesting paper on the subject has been read by Mr Selous at the meeting of the British Association in Toronto. He dealt exhaustively with the climate and resources of Rhodesia, and declared that the highlands are admirably adapted for settlement and for development by a hardy and enterprising race of people. la view of the rapid increase of the British rase, new areas of land available for colonisation were necessary, and Great Britain owed a debt of gratitude to Mr Rhodes for security this territory, which, but for him, would have passed into the hands of the Germans. Mr Bryce, M.P., commented favorably on Mr Selou3's address, and said the picture drawn by him was accurate and faithful. He deprecated the efforts of European Powerß to establish oolonies in the more central parts of Africa, and expressed a doubt whether it would be worth- while to attempt the colonisation of countries the settlement of which was attended with so much danger. The importance of the?e statements is considerable, as upon the value of Rhodesia depends the future of the Chartered Company.
THE VALUE OF LARGE BRAIXS. It Is a fortunate coincidence that during Jubilee year and at a time when the feeling of community between the various parts of the Empire is greater than it has been at any previous period in its history the British Association should hold its annual meeting at Toronto. Canada is doing her utmost to ahow her appreciation of the honor which has recently been paid to her representatives in London, and the people of the Dominion are exerting themselves to show not only their appreciation of the hoisor which has been paid them by the British Association in visiting the capital of Ontario, but their feeling of gratitude for the policy which, in the interests of Canada, has denounced the Belgian and German treaties of commerce.
Amongst the more important papers read during the session since the address of the president (Sir John Evans) has been one on the 4 Labor Problem' by Mr Bryee, M.P. Mr J. Scott Keltie, LL.D., secretary of the Roval •Geographical Society, urged Canada to take an active part m the exploration of that part of the North American Continent which lies within the Arctic circle, and Professor Marshall Ward dwelt at considerable Sength upon the importance of bacteriological investigation, and pointed out that the subject of fungus epidemics was of world-wide interest, inasmuch as the animal losses tl agriculture caused by the diseases of plants amounted to millions of pounds sterling. j Sir William Turner, president of the
anthropological section, read a paper on | ' Some Distinctive Characters of Human I Structure,' and made a moat interesting comparison between the comparative weight of brains, which was 490z to 50oz in European men and" 440z to 450z in European women. In new-born children boys had larger brain? than girls. In the case of men of great ability the brains weighed from uo.z tu COoz, and in a few exceptional cases, an in that of De Abercrombie, the weight had been more than COoz. it was, however, only fair to state that very large brains were sometimes found in persons who had shown no sign of intellectual eminence. The result of his investigations was summarised as follows : First, that the average animal capacity, and consequently the weight and volume of the brain, were markedly higher in the civilised European, than in the savage races. Secondly, that the ra:;ge of variation was greater in the former than in the latter. Tuirilly, that in an uncivilised man the proportion of male brains having a capacity equal to the European man's (91.5 cubic inches) was extremely small. And, fourthly, that, though the capacity of men's skulls was greater than that of the women's, there was not quite the difference of the sexes in a savage as in a civilised race. There was something like a full-dress duel between Protectionists and Freetraders on the'23rd nil. Mr E Iwin Caonan, of Balliol College, Oxford, read a paper on 'National Policy and International Trade.' He supported Freetrade, holding that skilled labor was the formal essential in a nation's importation of the most ingenious and cheap produets of other countries. Some Protectionists present joined issue with the lecturer, and objected to several of his statements. Mr Bryce, M.P., who was in the audience, supported the lecturer. He declined to acknowledge Germany as an instance of the advantages of Protection, and maintained that her industrial and commercial success was due to the fact that scientific methods had been applied to manufactures earlier than in the United Kingdom. He considered Pvussia afforded a better example of the re3ult3 of a Protection policy. Mr Bryce's speech, which was a strong argument in favor of Freetrade, was vigorously opposed by several opponents of that policy. THE RUSSOFRENCH ALLIANCE.
President Fame's viait to the Russian capital commenced rather badly. The indifference of the Parisians, when he drove from the Elysea to the Gare du Nord, was only partially compensated for by the warmth and cordiality of his reception at Arras and Dunkirk. A bomb exploded just after the President had passed by the place where it was deposited ; and the Bruix, one of the ironclads which formed the escorting squadron, broke down when she had enly proceeded sixty miles on her voyage, greatly to the disgust of the French public, who cannot understand an accident to any of their ships. But the reception at St. Petersburg made up for all the desagremens of the start. The Pothuu, on board of which ths President made the passage through the North Sea and the Baltic, was met at the entrance of the Neva by Russian warships and by the Czir in person. The guest was theu driven to the Imperial Palac?, where there was a luncheon in the White Room and a, banquet in the Hall of Peter the Great. Illuminations followed, and the President retired to rest in the Czir's Palace. Next day was devoted to drives through St.. Petersburg, the reception of deputations, the opening of a new bridge, a visit to the tombs of the Cz-.irs, and a dinner at the Fiench Embassy. A review at Krasno Selo aud a gala performance at the theatre were the principal events of the third day, and on the fourth, after a naval" review at Cronstadt, the President took leave of his Imperial host. Compared with the exuberant reception of the French President, the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York to Ireland has been rather commonplace, but their Royal Highnesses have met with an enthusiastic welcome from all ranks and parties, and there is no reason to doubt the presence of the future heir to the throne is very gratifying to the Irish people, who arc always profoundly influenced by sentiment, THE MANCHESTER CANAL. The financial position of the Manchester Ship Canal shows very little improvement. At the half-yeaily meeting, held on the 24th ult, Mr Bytheil.'ehairmau of the directors, seated that- their gross revenue had improved by £10,115 and the net by £0,535. The present debit to net. revenue was £476,82!), but us the Manchester Corporation did not exact payment of the £500,250 due to it for unpaid interests the company had still on hind £29,421. The chairman spoke at soma length about their efforts to attract traffic, but he maintained a wise reticence about the indifference and greed which has nipped in the bud the plucky attempt made by Australia to open up direct communication with Manchester. THE DIG FIRE IX PARIS. The trial of the three persons charged with being responsible for the fire at the charity bazaar in Paris, by which so many persons lost their lives, has been concluded", and it is to be hoped the world has heard the la3t of this terrible catastrophe. Baron De Thackan, who was the originator of the fete, has been fined 500fr for omitting to take proper precautions, and M. Bailae and M. Bagrachoff, the persons who worked the cinematograph, which was the cause of the fire, have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment. But as all these had exerted themselves to the uttermost to save life the Berenger law was put into operation, and the defendants ultimately got off scot free, as the first sentence remains in abeyance until a second offence has been committed. It seems very doubtful whether the men in charge of the cinematograph were really guilty. They asserted that the vapor of ether caught tire from the receptacle being in too close proximity to the incandescent chalk rod. The Court seemed to consider that the proprietor of the lamp should have warned the person who organised the bazaar of the dangerous nature of the lamp. A QUESTION OF LONGEVITY. The United Kingdom Alliance has made a very remarkable statement; no less than that the average duration of life amongst teetotallers is 8.72 years loDger than among moderate drinkers. The formation for this statement is based upon the experience of the Independent Order of Reohabites, a teetotal working men's benefit society, with an adult membership of 142,000 and a juvenile membership of 76,000. It has been in existence for sixty years, aud is very prosperous. Its experience, as calculated by Mr Neison, the eminent actuary, is that at eighteen years Reohabites have an expectancy of life of 50.62 years, while the expectancy of all males is 41 90, aDdof healthy males of the Well-to-do classes 43 69, bo that the advantage of Reohabites over the general community is 8 72 years, and over exoep. tional males 7-02 years. Other Rechabite societies in the Isle of Man and Australia have had experiences just as favorable. Mr White, the secretary of the Alliance, admits that " the coneo ness oi these figures will be fiercely and tenaciously denied," but he insists that they wil bear any examination. PROFITABLE WHILE IT LASTED. The proprietor of one of the periodicals which exist by the profits from prize competitions has been convicted of fraud at the County of London Sessions, and remanded for sentence. The defendant (Walter King) advertised that he would give £7O in prizes to those purchasing a publication called ' Phunny,' and who correotly solved certain puzzles relating to well-known seaside resorts. They were asked to pay Is Id for the publication and postage. King expended £650 in advertising, £225 in printing*34,OoO copies of ' Phunny,' and divided the sum of £7l amongst the purchasers, all of whom contrived to send in correct answers—the puzzle was simplicity itself—so that each prize-taker got a half-penny stamp. There was no attempt to show that the defendant did not carry out his promises, although there was a general opinion that the literary merits of ' Phunny' were rather inconsiderable, and that it was a very dear shilling's worth. King Beemed to make a good livelihood by such enterprises, and the counsel for the prosecution said that it was r part of the duty of the Public Prosecutor to'protect fools. The jury considered that the enterprise was fraduient, and the judge was of the same opinion. SUBMISSION OF BENIN. The King of Benin, who treacherously murdered a British expedition some months ago, has surrendered. Preceded by a messenger with a white flag, and accompanied
by 100 unarmed men, ten of his chiefs, and twenty of his wives, he presented himself before the Acting-Political Resident and made his formal submission. The ceremony took place before tho "Palaver " house, and there, in presence Of his suite, the fugitive monarch rubbed his forohe.ul three times in the dußt. He had previously asked that tho ceremony might take place in private, but was told that it was impossible, though it is easy enough to understand that an aristocratic savage, whose strongest point was his sense of personal dignity, would feel that humiliation io the presence of his wives and henchmen was trebly bitter. The next question is the punishment which should be meted out to the King for his cruelty. The probability is thai, lie will be deposed and perhaps banished, for the maxim that kings can do no wrong will be held to so far extend to West African potentates that his life will be spared.
TAKING THE WATERS. I The Prince of Wales has gone to take his annual cure at Marienbad this season, and Homburg is disconsolate. One of the reasons is said to be that .the Heir Apparent doea not want to meet his nephew the Kaiser, as their relations are somewhat strained. But lam informed on good authority that the Prince has begun to think that life at Homburg is so much like life in London during the height of the season that the " cure " is a mere figure of speech. The German town is crammed with English and Americans. Brilliant entertainments, smart dressing, and high living are the order of the day and night, and the majority of people go away rather more tired and jaded than they came, and with their digestive organs in a terrible conditio!). The truth is that feasts and festivities are more harmful at Homburg than they are at London. The waters, which are taken in the morning, make the stomach extremely sensitive, and the slightest infringement o"f temperance in eating and drinking bring greater evils in their train than when people are leading their normal life. At Marienbad and Carlsbad people are serious. The 1 visitors confine themselves to one dish for each meal, with perhaps some stewed fruits to wind up with, and half a bottle of wine. This rfyime, apart from the waters, is decidedly recuperative.
GOSSIP FROM HOME., Issue 10451, 22 October 1897
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