THE CYCLIST SOLDIER.
Our cablegrams announce that a Cape Colonists Cyclists' Corps 300 strong has been formed, and that, employed as mounted in- fantry, it is proving most useful. Some years ago, when the idea of the formation of cyclist corps was taken in hand, it was anticipated
that this arm of the service would be of great value, for on account of its extreme mobility it was specially qualified to perform certain duties. Also, by reason of its speed in moving from place to place and its power of quickly taking cover, a cyclist corps was in some ways to be preferred to a body of cavalry. But in spite of possessing these advantages the cyclist corps was not utilised to any great extent. It figured in parades, but in active service it was not called upon to show what it could do. Now, however, it appears to have been given a fair chance, with the result all along anticipated, that it has proved to be of the utmost efficiency. The Boers have taught us many lessons, and this one of the use of military cyclists is among the num- ber. At the beginning of the war one of their first acts was to commandeer all the best bicycles in Pretoria and Johannesburg. These they employed for scouting and de- spatch work, and the facilities they showed for becoming possessed of knowledge of the British whereabouts and movements were in
large part owing to the successful use of this
Previous to his leaving England for the Cape Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell made some valuable suggestions in reference to the various ways in which the bicycle could be
used in time of war. He said that for pur- poses of raiding, when it became necessary to
make a rapid movement into the enemy's camp, cycles would be more valuable than horses. He also instanced the case of scout- ing and reconnaissance, where cyclists would always be useful, especially where there was a deficiency of cavalry. He preferred their employment as mounted infantry, and it is in this manner that the recently formed South African Corps is being used. Baden-Powell touched on a novel phase of the subject when he expressed the opinion that there was exceptional scope for the cyclist in transport work. Prefacing his remarks with the statement that this depart- ment of the subject had not been sufficiently considered, he sketched out a scheme whereby thirty cyclists, each carrying 112lb. on his machine in addition to himself, would be able to cover from five to six miles an hour over average roads, and in so doing would be equal to a waggon and four horses. It must be confessed that this utilisation of the corps is not likely to commend itself to practical cyclists. Such a scheme might be possible, but it certainly does not put cycles to the best use. A cyclist body could ad- vantageously be used as signallers, tele- graphists, and topographists, but its real work lies in the direction of scouting, despatch- bearing, and attacks requiring secrecy and speed. In this way it should prove superior to horsemen, and be capable of splendid work. Those who wish to understand what a highly trained cyclist force could accomplish should study the article on " The Cyclist Soldier "
in the current number of the " Fortnightly Review," by Mr. H. G. Wells. His chief object in writing is to expose some of the provisions made by the War Office for the conduct of cycling corps, but incidentally he sketches the outline of a thoroughly efficient corps. After describing the composition and equipment of his force, he says :—" Such a unit as this would be in itself a very serious item to reckon with. So long as there was one within 20 miles radius of a small marching force, that force could be kept unhappy. The cyclist section could creep like a noiseless snake all round the outposts, and make a spluttering of shots here, and anon a spluttering ten miles away —it would, for all practical purposes, be a twenty-three barrelled Pathan sniper in seven-leagued boots. And in further ex- position of its powers, he adds :—" It could hide as no cavalry could hide, do evil, and presently get away faster than ever cavalry rode. No cavalry, you know, could ever stick its horses under hay, or conceal them in a ditch. . . . . You would always feel its eye upon you." All this is true, and much more. What we have been waiting for is the military commander experienced enough to recognise the might of such a force, and to use it to the full.
Here, so far, we have no military cycling corps, though it has not been for want of initiative on the part of cyclists themselves. In this State the military authorities have been approached with a requisition from a number of riders desirous to enrol themselves. For some reason the request was not acceded to, and the project fell through. Now we hear of a fresh attempt that is to be made by local cyclists to bring about this step. It is difficult to see what reasonable objection can be made to so practical a proposal. It is true that the roads in Australia are not good, but our cyclists are able to ride long dis- tances at a fair rate of speed in spite of this disability, so that this circumstance fails to constitute a valid argument against the formation of military cyclist corps. The subject is one of some importance and de- serves to receive more attention than it has
had in the past. We have the example of European armies to show that good work can be done by forces thus equipped, and in re- cent army manouvres in England the effi- ciency of various cycling corps excited much comment. Cycling has taken a strong hold in Australia, and has drawn to its ranks many fine athletes. A military cycling corps would undoubtedly prove popular, and by its means a strong body of efficient men might be enrolled whose services would be of great value. With the example before us of the success of the South African experiment, a more in this direction should meet with a ready response.
Our Next Serial.—We begin next Saturday the publication of " Fyander's Widow," by M. E. Francis, the well-known author of " Yeoman Fleetwood," " The Duenna of a Genius," "Miss Erin," " Mamie of the Corner," " The Story of Dan," " A Daughter of the Soil," and other excellent stories. " M. E. Francis '' is the pseudonym adopted by Mrs. Francis Blundell, who has been writing now for the past eight or nine years. Born in Ireland, Mrs. Blundell has been able to impart to her interesting novel that touch of wit which people associate with her nationality. For the most part she writes about country life, choosing Dorsetshire generally for her scene. " Fyander's Widow," the first chapter of which will appear next Saturday, is beyond all question the most de- lightful of her stories. It is wise and witty. It describes country life in Dorset with a fulness and an agreeable adherence to detail which will ensure the reader's attention from the first page to the last. Indeed, there is not an uninteresting chapter in the whole story. Fyander himself is a fine character, and so is his old bachelor friend. With the " Widow " everybody is sure to fall in love, and her constant struggles against the per- tinacity of her friends are amusing in the
Our London Letters.—In his chronicle of Life in
London, published to-day, Mr. Henry Lucy writes about the new war cloud, the responsibility of the Ministry in regard thereto, Cabinet pensions, and other matters. In Australian and Imperial Topics our London correspondent deals with the depression caused by the aspect of the war in South Africa, the Queen's message to the militia, yeo- manry, volunteers, and colonial troops, the interest taken in London with regard to the Common- wealth Government, the Pacific cable, and the Imperial Institute.
Our Letter from China.—We publish to-day an interesting letter from our special correspon- dent with the New South Wales naval contingent in China. It describes the present position, the work of the contingent, and the inconvenience which the cold is causing many of the men. It will be found on page 7.
Postal Arrangements for To-day.—The Govern- ment having requested that, owing to the death of the Queen, the holiday proclaimed for to-day should not be observed by the public, the Post- master-General notifies that postal and telegraph business will be transacted as on ordinary days, with the exception that the clerical branches of the General Post Office will be closed to the public.
The Cable Service.—The Postmaster-General yesterday morning received the following notifica- tion regarding the delay in the cable business :— " Banjoewangie advises that a considerable amount of homeward traffic has been sent via
Padang Medan and every possible endeavour will be made to get some of the outward traffic through to-day." Later in the day the follow- ing message was received :—" Singapore- Banjoewangie and Singapore-Batavia lines interrupted. The work is passing slowly via Medan. Expect restoration to-morrow." The Postmaster-General also received the fol-
lowing message from Brisbane :—" Bundaberg
cable now advises : New Caledonia land line in- terrupted between Voh and Noumea since the night of the 23rd ; no business done with New Caledonia since then. The interruption was pro- bably caused by bad weather."
Message of Congratulation to the King.—Mr. Barton (Federal Premier) states that it is his in- tention to forward a cable to London congratulat- ing the King upon his accession to the throne, but he will not do so until after the deceased
Earl Beauchamp's Homeward Voyage.—Cap- tain S. G. Green, marine superintendent of the
E. and A. Company's Line, forwards the follow- ing :—Before leaving Hongkong Lord Beauchamp, who travelled by the steamer Australian from Australia, expressed in a letter to Captain P. T. Helms his appreciation of the kindness and atten- tion he had received, and said he had experienced a most comfortable and interesting voyage.
The Mail Steamers.—The China will berth to- day at the P. and O. Company's wharf after the departure of the Himalaya. In the outgoing list of passengers by the Himalaya are Mr. Valentine Heaton and Mr. Edward Heaton, of the firm of Messrs. Heaton Brothers, and Dr. John Dono- van, Q.C. The steamer is to leave the company's
wharf at noon.
The San Francisco Service.—The R.M.S. Alameda, of the A. and A. line, left Auckland at 4 a.m. on Thursday, in continuation of her voyage from San Francisco, via ports. She is expected to reach port to-morrow afternoon or early Mon- day morning next, and will berth at the Margaret-
Volunteer Corps of Scouts.—In the " Defence Force Gazette " issued yesterday, it is notified that the Lieutenant-Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, has given authority, under the 5th section of the Volunteer Force Regulation Act of 1867, for the formation of a Volunteer Corps of Scouts, to be designated The New South Wales Border Scouts, to be under the volunteer reserve system, and to be subject to the above- cited Act and to the regulations made thereunder, and to be supplied with arms and accoutrements, and an annual capitation allowance at the rate of £5 per head for the purpose of providing uniforms, &c.,—to take effect from December 1, 1900. The peace establishment is to be as follows :—Lieu- tenant, 1 ; troop sergeant-major, 1 ; sergeants, 2 ; trumpeter, 1 ; corporals, 2 ; troopers, 18. Total, 25.
Shopkeepers and Footpath Encroachments.— Speaking yesterday on the subject of the deputa- tion of shopkeepers who complained to the Colo- nial Secretary that they were harassed by the police for exposing goods for sale on the footpaths of the city, the Mayor remarked that, having looked into the matter, he found that the bylaws of the council prohibited such practices. Hence the police were only performing their duty when they summoned shopkeepers for transgressing the law. Recognising, however, the element of reason upon the side of the shopkeepers, it is the intention of the Mayor to suggest to the Colonial Secretary that, with his concurrence, the City Council would be prepared to allow shopkeepers to expose goods in front of their shops, provided they did not extend beyond 9in. from the building line. Permission for the privilege of doing so would have to be obtained by applying to the City Coun- cil, but that permission would not extend to the display of food or edible matter that might decom- pose and become offensive to pedestrians, or would be liable to pollution by means of street dust or refuse. The Mayor added that in the event of the suggestion being approved, the 9in. space would be marked on the footpath in front of the shops of those who obtained permission to expose their goods, so that the police would be able to see at a glance if there was any encroach- ment upon the space reserved for pedestrians.
'Bus Routes and Traffic Regulation.—The In- spector-General of Police has given permission for the terminus of the Glebe Point 'buses to be changed to Wigram-road, Glebe, and in future they will ply at penny fares. It has been de- cided to run a new line of 'buses from Newtown Bridge to Circular Quay at penny fares. An application to run a 'bus between Newtown Bridge and Hurstville has been granted and permission has been given to run an extra 'bus along Edgecliff-road, between the cable tram and the steam tram in Oxford-street. A 'bus will in future run between Darling Point and Circular Quay. The traffic department has now commenced to enforce the by-laws which were recently framed for regulating the traffic of the city. At the Water Police Court yester- day a number of drivers were proceeded against. One driver was fined for wilfully pulling up his 'bus in front of a tramway waiting-room in Elizabeth-street, and another was fined for forc- ing his way through foot passengers at the rail- way station in defiance of a constable.
Portrait of Mr. Nioholson.—In Continental centres it is not unusual for the portrait of the founder of a great commercial house to be placed on the business premises, and visitors to Messrs. Nicholson and Company's will shortly be made aware that the head of that firm has followed the
European practice. There was quite a gathering of artists and journalists at Mr. Tom Roberts's studio yesterday at noon, when the finished paint- ing of Mr. J. C. W. Nicholson was first exhibited to view. The strength of Mr. Roberts's painting lies in the fine lighting of the head, and the effec- tive manner in which the flesh tones have been contrasted. The subject is shown in a characte- ristic attitnde, the left hand partly in the pocket, the poise of the body thrown back a little to allow for the advance of the right foot, the whole effect being marked by individuality and animation. The artist has made something of a departure in the half-tone of the grey back-ground, and the subdued green of the carpet adds a touch of pic- turesque colour to the composition. The work was much admired yesterday, and both the artist and Mr. Nicholson himself were warmly con- gratulated upon the vivid nature of the likeness so felicitously achieved.
Monument to the late Ernest Giles, Explorer.— In a recent issue the " South Australian Re- gister " thus describes the unveiling of the monument erected to the memory of the late Ernest Giles :—" In the Coolgardie Cemetery, on December 23, the ceremony of unveiling a monument, erected by the Government, to the memory of the late Ernest Giles, the explorer, was performed by the Mayor, in the presence of a representative gathering. The monument consists of a draped vase of marble resting on a square column of same stone, with a bluestone base, the whole standing nearly 10ft. high, and surrounded by a neat railing. The subscription on the stone is as follows :—" This stone was erected by the Government of Western Australia in recognition of the meritorious services rendered as an explorer of the interior of Australia from 1872 to 1876, in memory of Ernest Giles the Australian explorer, gold medallist of the Royal Geographical Society of London. ' Ob- terras reclusas.' Born at Bristol, in England, July 20, 1835, educated at Christ's Hospital, London; died at Coolgardie, in Western Australia, November 13, 1897. ' Brave and enduring.' " Previous to the unveiling the monument was draped with the Union Jack and the Australian flag. The municipal council, the Australian Natives' Association, and the Coolgardie Club sent wreaths, all being suitably inscribed. Addresses were given by the Mayor, the Ven. Archdeacon Griffin, and Mr. W. T. Eddy, in which references were made to the great intellect and intrepidity shown by the deceased explorer, and the immense benefit gained by Australia as the result of his explorations."
Death of Mr. John Robyns.—We have to record the death of Mr. John Robyns, which took place at his late residence, Wyuna, 32 Duxford- street, Paddington, on Wednesday. The deceased, who was 62 years of age, was well known in mining circles throughout Australia. He was prominently identified with mining in the adjoin- ing colony of Victoria, and was manager of various important goldmines both at Clunes and Ballarat. Mr. Robyns was for some time managing director of the Australasian Coal- mining Company in the Newcastle district. He was for a time editor of the " Australydd," the first Welsh paper published in Victoria, and he also won the first prize at the National Eisteddfod in 1893, for an essay upon " The Natural Resources of New South Wales." The deceased, who was only ill for a few days, leaves a widow and family to mourn their loss. The funeral, which took place at the Waverley Cemetery on Thursday, was well attended. The service at the grave was conducted by the Rev. Dr. For- dyce, M.A. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mrs. Charles Kinsela.
Death of Mr. A. McFarlan.—The death occurred on Wednesday of Mr. Archibald McFarlan, at his residence, The Bungalow, Cary- street, Drummoyne, after a short illness. The deceased gentleman was a well-known business man in the city in the early days. He after- wards went to Balmain, and on retiring from business, eight years ago, took up his residence at Drummoyne. He was 71 years of age at the time of his death, and left two sons (Messrs. W. B. and C. McFarlan, financial agents, of this city) and one daughter. The deceased was a large pro- perty-owner in Balmain, Surry Hills, and other suburbs. The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon, the interment being made at Rook- wood. The Rev. J. C. Cosh, B.A., B.D., read the burial service. Amongst those present were Alderman E. F. Sutton, Alderman R. O. Maders, Dr. G. Menzies, Messrs. J. C. Sutton, Goodsir, Macintosh, and Suttor. Messrs. Wood and Co. carried out the funeral arrangements.
Death by Poisoning.—The adjourned inquest into the circumstances connected with the death of Mrs. Jane Agnes McAllister, who died suddenly at her residence, Spencer-street, Summer Hill, on
Saturday, was concluded yesterday at the Coroner's Court. The jury found that death was due to poisoning by cyanide of potassium, self- administered in mistake for quinine.
The Saturday afternoon excursion previously an- nounced to be made by the Newcastle Company's steamer to-day will not be run.
To-day there will be a special excursion by rail and boat to the Hawkesbury. The train will leave Red- fern at 9.20 a.m., arriving at the Hawkesbury at 11 a.m., and excursionists will then join the steamer General Gordon, Captain Murray, for a run on the river, returning to Sydney at 6 p.m.
By advertisement elsewhere Messrs. David Jones and Co. announce that their establishment will be closed to-day.
We understand that, in compliance with the wishes of the Government, the offices of the Australian Gas- light Company will not be closed to-day, as adver- tised in our issue yesterday.
We are requested by the St. John Ambulance Association to draw attention to an advertisement in to-day's issue requesting holders of tickets for Major Holmes's lecture to return them to the association's office, 21 Equitable-building.
An announcement appears in our advertising columns regarding a series of lectures on business subjects being delivered by Mr. Percival R. Waddy, barrister-at-law, at Messrs. Stott and Hoare's Sydney Business College.
We are requested by Lloyd and Co., tea merchants, to state that their stores will be open to-day as usual.
We have received from the J. J. Miller Printing Company, of Melbourne, " An Australian Souvenir of the Birth of Our Nation." It lakes the form of a neatly-bound diary and date book for the years 1901
In the list of successful candidates at the recent Sydney Technical College examination published in the " Herald " on Thursday last the following suc- cessful candidates should have been credited to the North Sydney branch, Technical School :—Second year perspective : Honours, Marion I. Ferrier.
First year perspective : First grade, Harry L. Fry and Mary C. H. Studds. Second year geometrical drawing : Second grade, Marion I. Ferrier. First year black and white drawing : Second grade, Maud