THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1888
The boldest speculations of medical science are being utilised by novelists at present to throw a tinge of freshness over some of those threadbare plots which have been passed down, from hand to hand, until our romancers themselves appear to be reluctantly acknowledging that they require renovation. In "The Man with a Shadow" (Ward and Downey), Mr. G. Manville Fenn's latest contribution to the circulating libraries, we have a mild development of this tendency of the present day novelist. He introduces us to a young scientist who is urged by an exacting damsel to distinguish himself in knightly fashion, but with lancet instead of lance, and in healing ways rather than wounding. The idea subsequently occurs to him that many accidents resulting in seeming death have hitherto been rashly pronounced fatal. If, speculates this gentleman, bent on winning a fair lady by a somewhat gruesome process, he could get a nice, freshly-killed man, with a broken neck, for instance, he thinks he might develop his theories and astonish science over and above the satisfaction of leading an admiring and blushing bride to the altar. The chance comes when the squire of the neighbouring parish is practically murdered by his younger brother at dead of night. On fire with love and zeal, the young doctor bribes and drugs the sexton, and spends a useful if not altogether cheerful evening in the vault with the dead man. The whole run of the story is, it will be seen, sensationalism of no very high order, and, of course, the final chapters are in keeping with the earlier ones.
Lovers of the marvellous, and everything seems to suggest they are as numerous to-day as at any time in the world's history, will find the collection of "Weird Tales," in three volumes, published by Messrs. William Paterson, much to their liking. They will be able, with the help of these collections, to employ comparatively idle moments of travel, or those reclusive minutes when the midnight candle burns low in its socket, in the reception of mental shocks from these literary batteries of thrilling horrors. If any critical acumen mingles with a student's taste for such fare, he will be able to study the ghostly folk-lore of each kingdom separately, since the compiler has give a book each to English, Scotch, and Irish tales of marvel and dread. He will thus find an additional pleasure in noting how the peculiarities of race shine even through their distinctive fears. But to the utterly superficial, who delight in the marvellous for its own sake, these little volumes should prove attractive pocket companions.
POLICE CONVALESCENT FUND. - Yesterday a joint meeting of the West-end and Mansion House Committees of the Police Convalescent Fund and Metropolitan and City Police Testimonial was held in the saloon of the Mansion House to consider the best manner of applying the fund to the purpose for which it had been collected. The Duke of Norfolk, K.G., presided, and there were also present the Lord Mayor; Mr. T. C. Baring, M.P.; Colonel Howard Vincent, M.P.; Colonel Sir James Fraser, K.C.B., Commissioner of the City Police; Colonel Bushby; Mr. Alderman Cotton; Rev. J. F. Kitto, vicar of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields; and others. It was stated that £6,406 had been collected by the West-end committee, £2,653 by that of the Mansion House, and £1,025 by Sir C. Warren, making in all £10,085. The negotiations for acquiring a home at Dover had fallen through. After a discussion it was resolved, on the motion of Colonel Howard Vincent, M.P., seconded by Mr. T. C. Baring, M.P., "That the funds be handed over in trust to Colonel Sir C. Warren and Colonel Sir J. Fraser, and their successors, as Commissioners of the Metropolitan and City Police, and the income applied for convalescent purposes for the injured and sick members of the two police forces as occasion may require, and at the discretion of the trustees." It was further resolved, "That the trustees should report annually to the Lord Mayor for the time being as to the distribution of the money during the year." Messrs. Cox and Co. were appointed bankers to the trust, and it was expected that the fund would be increased by the receipt of additional donations.
Last night an "indignation meeting" was held in the Abbey-street School Hall, Bethnal-green, for the purpose of protesting against the conduct of the local vestry in the recent prosecutions of ratepayers and others in respect to Sunday trading. The chair was occupied by Mr. Charles J. Walton, candidate for the representation of the South-West Division in the London County Council.
The Chairman explained the history of the disputes between the vestry and the costermongers and small tradesmen of the parish as to the right of exposing goods for sale on Sunday mornings.
Mr. GEORGE HAY moved: "That this meeting is of opinion that the prosecution by the Bethnal-green Vestry of shopkeepers and stallkeepers for exhibiting their goods after eleven a.m. on Sundays is deserving of the severest censure."
In the course of this gentleman's speech a large red flag was raised at the farther end of the hall. Mr. Hay at once asserted that that was not a Socialist meeting, and requested the owner of the flag to retire. The request being disregarded a scene of some confusion ensued, but ultimately the will of the majority was allowed to prevail, and the flag was seen no more. Later in the evening a Socialist rose and desired "to make a few remarks." A chorus of "Out with him" was promptly followed by the ejection of the obnoxious visitor.
Mr. J. ISAACS seconded the motion.
Mr. KEY, a member of the vestry, in supporting the proposal, argued that the necessity for Sunday trading in the poorer parts of the metropolis was the direct consequence of the iniquitous system of Free Trade. (Cheers, and cries of "No politics.") This system flooded the country with articles of German manufacture which the working men of London were quite able to produce themselves. (Hear, hear.)
After some remarks from Mr. EDWARDS,
Mr. HICKS contended that if men were unable to earn sufficient for a livelihood during six days of the week they should be permitted to trade on the seventh. He denounced the vestry for having robbed the costermongers, and urged that if force were resorted to by the authorities the street traders should adopt similar means for their own protection. In the memorable words of Lord Randolph Churchill, "By heavens, your rights are worth fighting for." (Cheers.)
Mr. MYERS recommended the meeting to put their principles into effective operation at the next election of vestrymen.
Mr. SMITHERS, a member of the vestry, denied that pious motives had induced that body to put down Sunday trading. There was not a pious man on the board. (Cheers and laughter.) The fact was the vestrymen who were now suppressing Sunday trading for the good of the never-dying souls of East-end costermongers had themselves made their money by carrying on their businesses seven days a week. (Cheers.) Mr. Montagu Williams deserved a vote of thanks for recently ordering a coster's barrow to be given up free of expense after prosecution. If the Lord's disciples were permitted to appease their hunger on the Sabbath by plucking ears of corn, surely the poor traders of London should be allowed to live on that day too. (Cheers.) It was an awkward fact for the upper classes to deal with that railway companies, whose shares they held, traded regularly every day of the week all the year round.
Mr. BEDFORD, chairman of the Streets Regulation Committee of the Vestry, who was listened to with great impatience, maintained that the conduct of the vestry had been consistent throughout. Very few of the itinerant traders belonged to the parish of Bethnal-green. Most of them came from adjacent districts.
Upon the CHAIRMAN rising to put the resolution, a dispute arose between the platform and the body of the meeting as to whether it really included costermongers. A gentleman, standing on a chair in the centre of the hall, declared that Mr. Hay had distinctly stated in private that it was not his intention to embrace the cause of the coster.
Mr. HAY, amid groans and general hooting, emphatically denied that he had ever made any such remark.
Ultimately sufficient order was restored to enable the chairman to put the resolution, which was carried with three dissentients. A vote of thanks to Mr. Walton for presiding followed, squabbles continuing in various parts of the hall until the gathering finally dispersed.
Mr. J. B. Kyffin, member of the Streets Regulation Committee, writes: "There are two streets in Bethnal-green where a large trade is done on Sunday morning. One is Brick-lane, where a legitimate trade is done in the necessaries of life by both tradesmen and costers, who sell at a low rate meat, fruit, vegetables, and fish; the other is Sclater-street, where, out of some eighty houses, sixty are devoted to the bird fancy trade. In the latter none of the necessaries of life are offered; but the street is thronged with a crowd of, for the most part, well-dressed artisans and lads out for a stroll, whose hobbies are birds, rabbits, pigeons, &c. There you will find ranged along the footway scores of men and boys from miles round, with all sorts of live stock in cages, trying to do business. There are also numberless vendors of whelks, cockles, ices, ginger beer, &c., who occupy the crown of the road with their barrows, making it impossible for any vehicle to pass. They claim their stand as a freehold, because they have been undisturbed for many years, and do a roaring trade in every sense of the word. Last, but not least, there are the usual accessories of such fairs - gambling, dice, and card tricks. Even little boys are seen gambling with men for small coins. Added to these are the inevitable quack medicine vendors, racing tipsters, Socialists, gospel preachers, and others; in fact, the place is a perfect pandemonium. This street, which is not only a scandal to our parish, but a curse for miles round, is the heritage left us by the culpable neglect and criminal negligence of our forefathers. Some two years ago the voice of public opinion compelled the vestry to give some attention to this crying evil. As soon as the Streets Regulation Committee got to work (which was not till May of this year) they felt that their first consideration must be for the very poor, who through poverty or unsanitary dwellings were compelled to do their marketing on Sunday mornings; and also for the costermongers, who were often, through bad weather, unable to clear out their perishable wares on Saturday night. After consulting with these men and their customers it was found that eleven o'clock would meet the case without inflicting any hardship on anyone, and I am proud to say they have loyally carried out the regulations of the vestry, which they acknowledge are for the benefit of the whole community. They say they are glad to get home at an earlier hour now that all are served alike. I trust I have stated sufficient to show that, instead of the sanitary authorities being charged with 'monstrous proceedings' and 'high-handed and cruel actions,' they deserve the support and well wishes of all law-abiding citizens."
Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Teck, who was accompanied by the Princess Victoria, yesterday visited Albert-street, Spitalfields, in order to open the King Edward Institute and Schools, which are situated close to Hanbury-street. The streets leading thereto from the Whitechapel-road were gaily decorated. An address was read by Mr. Charles Montague, the hon. secretary, which gave the history of the work carried on in the buildings since 1846, when they were erected and opened as ragged schools and refuge by the late Lord Shaftesbury. Since 1872, until June last, the premises were used for an industrial school for girls, who have now been transferred to a more commodious home at Cambridge-heath. The block in Albert-street has been adapted for the purposes of an institute and schools in connection with the mission in King Edward-street. Thirty-eight distinct operations are carried on for the benefit of poor children, young people, and adults, and it is intended to add to these cookery and technical classes for girls; carpentering, turning, carving, drawing, and other classes for boys, besides providing popular lectures and a free library. Her Royal Highness was conducted through the various rooms, which she afterwards declared open, expressing the hope that they would be a blessing to the neighbourhood. - Mr. S. Montagu, M.P., in moving a vote of thanks, said the generous consideration for the East of London displayed by members of the Royal family was recorded in the hearts of the inhabitants. Her Royal Highness had brought sunshine into Whitechapel at the period of its greatest gloom and depression. The poisonous influences of squalor, vice, and crime were at work in the district, but antidotes were provided at the institution, by faith, hope and charity. - Mr. H. R. Williams, the treasurer, seconded, remarking that there was no comparison between the squalor which existed in 1846 and that which was to be seen to-day. He had heard it said that her Royal Highness must be a brave lady to venture into Whitechapel at the present time, but the family to which she belonged never shrank from duty. - Sir T. Fowell Buxton also spoke. - Subsequently Sir James Tyler opened a science room for young men; Mr. Williams, a girls' work room; Mr. F. A. Bevan, a young women's class room; and Mr. S. Montagu, M.P., the carpenter's shop, these departments having been fitted up respectively at the expense of the gentlemen named. Mr. John Kirk, Secretary of the Ragged School Union, was in attendance in his official capacity, and Dr. Tyler and Mr. C. Sheppard were also present.
GREENWICH. - FOUR SPANIARDS CHARGED WITH STABBING. - Four Spanish seamen, named Mordano Bilboa, 23, Johan de Y. Turce, 26, Casair Sarcancia, 25, and Juan Jose Madrigara, 32, of the ship Colon, lying in the Surrey Commercial Docks, were charged, the first with assaulting Emily Spicer, a married woman, of 3, Mysteer's-buildings, Rotherhithe, and cutting and wounding George Cheal and John Perkins; the second with attempting to stab Cheal; the third with stabbing Edwin Thomas Haines, Edmund Gregg, and Perkins; and the fourth with cutting and wounding Perkins, in Rotherhithe-street, Rotherhithe. - Mr. Ruddle prosecuted; and Mr. J. T. Davies defended for the Spanish Consul-General. - The evidence was to the effect that Mrs. Spicer went to look after her husband on the night of Tuesday week, when the prisoners followed her into Rotherhithe-street. She was caught by Bilboa, and screamed. Her husband made his appearance and then ran into a public-house close by for assistance. There were a number of men in the house, and upon their rushing out a fight took place between them and the Spaniards, during which, it was alleged, the Spaniards stabbed Cheal, who was said to have received some severe wounds. The Spaniards went towards the dock gates, and when the other prosecutors heard that Cheal had been stabbed they followed the prisoners. Another fight then took place near the dock gates, in which it was alleged that the Spaniards stabbed the other men. Eventually the police came to the rescue, and the prisoners were arrested, the wounds of the injured men being dressed by Dr. Jaynes, at the Rotherhithe Police-station. - Perkins said he saw no knives, but Haines deposed to seeing a knife, about 7in long, in the hands of each of the defendants. - Mr. Fenwick at this stage remanded the accused.