THE ENGLISH NEWS.
The present mail is not likely to cause half so much satisfaction as the one we re- ceived last month. By commercial men it will be regarded with quite an opposite
feeling, for none of the local staples appear to have been doing well during February. The spring wool sales commenced on the day before the mail closed (February 26) with a catalogue of 117,000 bales, or about ten thousand in excess of last year. The atten- dance was full both of home and foreign buyers, but the opening rates barely sustained those of the previous November. As the sales advanced there was no improvement but rather a contrary tendency, and our special telegram speaks of an unsatisfactory close. In the copper market a check has been experienced, of which we had a forewarning from the late telegrams of last month. It had not grown into a positive reaction, but quotations at the middle of March were decidedly weaker than at the opening of the year. The latest account we have of Wallaroo makes it £83. The general dulness has extended to Mark Lane, and wheat has lost several shillings per quarter during February. The Aus- tralian brokers, Messrs. Burrows and Perks, attribute the fall to two causes— heavy arrivals of foreign wheat, and the splendid prospects of the home crop. No South Australian cargoes had yet reached the
market ; but the City of Adelaide had passed Plymouth on the 23th February, and would consequently be the pioneer of the wheat fleet. In the absence of positive transactions the value could only be estimated by analogy with the most similar classes of foreign grain, which were then hanging dull at from 56s. to 58s. per quarter. Messrs. Burrows & Perks men- tion that the advices from San Francisco would have a depressing effect on the market, forty-four cargoes being on the water for English ports. The quotation of 52s. for best foreign in our late telegram indicates that this prediction was being but too truly realized. Royal speeches and openings of Parlia- ment form the gist of the political news. Mr. Gladstone met the new House on the 16th February, and on the thirteenth day of the session (March 1) he submitted his Irish Church scheme. The second reading appears to have been delayed till the 18th March, and Mr. Disraeli improved the interval by producing a rival policy. The debate was to begin in earnest on the 19th, and by this time there may no longer be any Esta- blished Church in Ireland. The new Ministry have exhibited a relish for work, and will set the reformed Parliament a good example in that respect. A series of important measures have been announced to follow the Irish Church Bill, namely, a new Bank-
ruptcy Bill, a measure for improving the financial administration of counties, an Edu- cation Bill for Scotland, and a further instalment of electoral reform. On the Continent the Turco-Greek ques- tion has prematurely solved itself, and the Parisian Press in its dearth of excitement has been driven to the stale expedient of bullying Belgium. The pretence has been a railway concession, which the Senate would not allow to be transferred to a French Company. The Napoleonic honour was speedily involved, in the petty squabble, and Brussels has evi- dently had to knuckle down to the Tuileries. Very small game this to follow so soon after Sadowa. In America the centre of interest has been Washington, and the great man of the hour there has been the new President, General Grant. In his inaugural he has announced a sterling straighforward policy, but he has had difficulty in finding in- differently honest Ministers to execute it for him. His Cabinet had to be reconstructed within a week, and the latest advices give a shaky account of it. His first dilemma will be the Alabama Convention, which Con- gress has begun to kick against with some petulance and ostentation. But their kick- ing has little chance to frighten Ulysses Grant. COMPANY DRILL.—An order has been issued from the Staff Office authorizing Captains in the volunteer force to call out their men for company drill as often as they think necessary, the only limitation being as to the total number of drills. THE HOSPITAL BOARD.—We understand that Dr. Gosse has been elected Chairman of the Com- mittee of Management of the Adelaide Hospital, in place of Mr Thomas Graves, who having left the colony for a time has ceased to be a member of the Board. A COLLISION.—On Monday evening, April 13, a collision took place at the corner of Hindley and Morphett streets between two horses and carts, driven respectively by John Frearson of Kent Town, and James Baird, of Bowden. There were five individuals in the two carts at the time, all of whom were thrown out, and several of them slightly injured. THEATRE ROYAL.—On Tuesday night Mr. Bellair treated his patrons to a high-seasoned romance a la Russe, in which a countess falls in love with a serf, who is disguised as an artist, but is in reality, and without knowing it, a nobleman. Both the serf and the countess have to undergo a series of incredible adventures before the truth brings them back to each other's arms. But we shall note only the successive situations. The first is in Paris, where the countess, having been insulted at the opera by a certain Count Karaleff, her artist lover avenges her by throwing the offender out of window or somewhere into space. The Count sends a challenge to him through Prince Khovalenski, who recognises the serf, and exposes him to his friend. This induces the Count to change his mode of vengeance. He refuses to meet Ivan, and humiliates him before the Countess, he having to submit under pain of further exposure. She perceives that a mystery has been hatched, and at his request grants him a month to explain it. The second situa- tion is at a Russian village on the estate of Ivan's master and friend, to whom he has hastened to ask his freedom. The old gentleman has been so inconsiderate as to die a month before his arrival. Worse than that, he had previously contracted a second marriage with a widow, the mother of Count Karaleff, and the widow has succeeded him. Shortly after Ivan's arrival Karaleff appears among the serfs as their young master, and now he recognises with greater interest the ex-artist, who is now his property. A third wonderful surprise occurs within the half-hour, when the Countess de Mauleon drives over from St. Petersburg on a hurried visit to Princess Barialinski. She has a tremendously dramatic interview with her two lovers, one of whom pre- scribes for the other a dose of the knout, and only recalls the order at her urgent request. The next situation smells horribly of conspiracy and gun- powder. Old Khor, a patriarchal serf, whose wife
had been seduced many years before by his late master, had ever since nourished a scheme for revenge. It is nearly rife for execution when his son Ivan returns, and he presses him to become the leader. After repeated failures he obtains from him a promise to head a rising of the serfs as soon as the Countess de Mauleon has quitted the estate. A signal bell is to be rung on a certain night ; the castle is to be blown up with gunpowder which lies stored in the vaults, and the serfs are to turn their hatchets against their masters, shortly before the hour for the signal the Countess returns to the Belvidere, where Ivan awaits his father. He tells her to fly for her life; she invites him to join in her flight; but while they have been discussing the point in lover like style some mysterious agency has been locking all the doors and windows. The old man returns to give the signal, the son endeavours to prevent him, the noise of their struggle brings a crowd to the rescue, among whom is an excitable Parisian, who fires at the first man he sees, who happened to be old Khor. The finale is a romantic death-scene, in which Khor confesses that Ivan was not his own son, but his late master's, and that he had brought him up as a serf in revenge for the seduction of his wife. Ivan takes his place among the Cossack nobility, and by the side of his romantic French Countess. Love levels all ; but, like Mr. Disraeli's reform, it is levelling up. The company made as respectable acting of the piece as it admitted. Mr. Bellair made a brusque manly Ivan, but it was a portrait which exceeded in breadth rather than delicacy of colouring. As usual, he expressed intensity of feeling by sheer force of declamation, without any of the artistic accessories with which an actor can sometimes spare his wind and muscles. Mr. Bellair can make a respectable figure in almost all styles of acting, but he does not give much variety to any of them. Miss Juno had a heavy rôle in the Countess de Mauleon, and she played it under the drawback of hoarseness, nevertheless she has seldom succeeded better in the same line. Her function was to speak epigram- matically and with dignity—two qualities demand- ing great self-possession, fluent diction, and readiness. She failed in no one respect, while in some passages her declamation was more impres- sive than it has ever seemed to us before, she more than once achieved the rare success of forcible expression without appearing to strain at it. Mr. Musgrave's old Khor had to be well disguised to conceal the peculiar Musgravian features. Its highest merit is that it occasionally caused these to be forgotten. Certainly Sir Peter Teazle would have been difficult to detect under the fur coat and patriarchal beard. Mr. Musgrave concluded a very vigorous impersonation with a tough "die," necessitated, we presume, by the absurdly long speech the dramatist had inflicted upon Khor after sending a bullet through his lungs. Mr. Lawrence is not falling off in his villianous rôles as Count Karaleff will testify. Last night he exhibited a new phase of villainy—the half tipsy kind. He cannot, however, have been so well satisfied with the result as the audience was, for his slight tussle with Ivan suddenly sobered him. He ought, for the sake of effect as well as of con- sistency, to have continued drunk at least to the end of the second. The miscellaneous serfs and serfesses were picturesque, and the scenic artist had furnished a fine snowy background to display them upon. The appointments of the piece were, generally speaking, good, and altogether the audience obtained from it a large amount of vague satisfaction. Though it is not so easy to see through as one of Dion Boucicault's, the intention of being sensational is plain enough, and that itself is a great deal for the gods to know. "The Serf" having made the audience critical, the ballet which followed it, in which the "Magic Statue" played a prominent part, perhaps received scant justice. To enjoy a pantomime or a ballet as it is represented on the colonial stage one's sense of the ludicrous must be wrought up to an ungovernable point. Begin to criticise and the illusion vanishes ; fun and humour become strangely like unadulterated silliness ; the most vehement efforts of the pan- tomimists to create laughter produced an impres- sion of superlative stupidity. The ballet which closed the dose of amusement provided for the audience last night was no worse than usual ; the dancing of Mons. Massartic and Miss Sally Lloyd even placed it a trifle above the ordinary run ; but it was not a success. For one thing it did not commence until nearly 11 o'clock, and before that even the groundlings had had pretty well enough of it for one night. SULTANA RAISINS.—Mr. Geo. McEwin, J.P., of Glen Ewin, has succeeded in producing Sultana grapes from a graft supplied to him by Dr. Schomburgk last year. His letter to the Curator of the Botanic Garden, describing his method of treatment and the results, will be read with interest. The Doctor has reason for gratification that he has obtained so opportune an evidence that a description of vine which he has been instrumental in introducing to the colony is likely to take kindly to its new home. Enclosed in the letter were several partially-dried raisins made from grapes which had apparently been taken from the vine before being quite ripe enough. The letter is dated Glen Ewin, April 13th, and reads thus: "I have very great pleasure in forwarding you herewith enclosed a sample of Sultana raisins, which I have dried from a small bunch produced on a lateral branch of a fine healthy plant grown from the small graft which you were so very kind as to send me in August last. You will perceive at a glance that it is the veritable Sultana grape, and I hail the illustrious stranger, so long confined to Central Asia, as a most important event, although I feel sure not more warmly than you do. I have no doubt it will be extensively cultivated in this colony, and will before many years hence form an article of export. I am sure the colony is much indebted to the Board of Governors and yourself for the trouble you have taken in introducing this most valuable variety of grape vine, which seems so well adapted to the colony. "The plant I have succeeded in growing has sent up two stems from the graft, each 3 inches in circumstance at the base, and 8 or 10 feet long, with numerous side-branches. The bunch of fruit did not show itself till late in November, and it was the Christmas week before it came into blossom, yet notwithstanding this unseasonable- ness, the berries were thoroughly matured by the 1st of this month as early, in fact, as my ordinary crop of grapes ; and I regard this fact as a proof that it will ripen its fruit early—a matter of great importance where the fruit has to be subjected to the drying process. 'The stock I selected was a four-year-old Fron- tignac vine. I dug away the soil from around the stem to the depth of about six inches. I then cut over the stem with a sharp saw about two inches below the surface-level, choosing a clean straight piece in which to make the slit for the insertion of the graft, which must be pointed like a wedge, rather fuller on the side to face outwards. My stock being stout (about two inches in diameter), it did not require bandaging, the spring being suffi- cient to keep the edges of the graft and stock quite tight and close together. I simply covered it round with some well-tempered grafting clay."
THE GAS QUESTION.—The polling with regard to the gas question commenced at 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning, and was continued until 4 o'clock. The issue raised was decidedly a complicated one. The affirmative proposition was that it was desirable to light the City, and for this purpose that a three- penny rate be adopted ; the negative that it is not desirable to impose a special rate for this special purpose. The question was not, therefore, put as between gas and no gas, or lighting and no light- ing, but between a rate of threepence and no such rate. There is no discretion at all left in the hands of the Corporation to make arrange- ments for lighting the streets for a less sum than a threepenny rate would realize, and scores of citizens who would have willingly voted for lighting if it could be got at a reasonable figure, refused to vote for a threepenny rate to secure it. The voting was brisk, especially on the side of objectors to the rate, and both they and their opponents had writers engaged. Mr. Councillor Raphael acted as Returning Officer, and Messrs. C. Balk and G. F. Hussey as scrutineers. The result was declared as follows:—For the threepenny rate, 1,631 votes, by 436 citizens ; against, 2,374 votes, by 732 citizens. Majority against, 743 votes. NORTH ADELAIDE YOUNG MEN'S SOCIETY.— On Tuesday evening, April 13, the monthly meeting of this Society was held in the schoolroom of the Congregational Church, North Adelaide. There was a good attendance, and the chair was occupied by Mr. B. A. Tarlton, who introduced Mr. R. Wells, who read a paper entitled "North Australia Thirty Years Ago." In consisted of extracts from the notes of Mr. G. W. Earl, one of the party who settled at Port Essington under Sir Gordon Bremer about 30 years ago, and referred principally to the customs of a tribe of natives residing inland from Port Essington, who were stated to be of a very tractable disposition, and of considerable intelli- gence. The paper was very interestingly supple- mented by the reading of a number of humourous poems, written in the dialect spoken by many Germans in America, commonly called "Yankee Dutch," the productions of Mr. Leland, an American of German extraction, selected from the "Hans Breitman's Party and other Ballads." After the usual vote being accorded the meeting was brought to a close by the members' roll being called. THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.—On Tuesday, April 13, a deputation from the Royal Agricultural Society, introduced by the Hon. J. Baker, waited upon His Excellency Sir James Fergusson, and requested him to become Vice- Patron of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society, the position of Patron having been accepted by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Sir James cordially consented to occupy the position, and expressed his readiness to do whatever lay in his power to forward the iterests of a society of such importance to the community. THE FORTHCOMING RACES.—A deputation from the South Australian Jockey Club attended His Excellency the Governor on Tuesday, and invited him to be present at the races to commence on Thursday next on the Old Adelaide Course. They also expressed a hope that Lady Edith would honour the Club by accepting a similar invitation. His Excellency, in reply, promised that both him- self and Lady Edith would be in attendance. We believe that Lady Edith is to be accompanied by other ladies, and that the appearance of the Grand Stand will be not less attractive than on the Duke's Day—a day well worth recording in ruby red in the racing calendar. If it be not sacrilege to refer to other matters in connection with the viceregal patronage, the public will be glad to hear that the Cup horses—or a majority of them—are in splendid form. Old Cupbearer, who has been rather neglected for younger and more brilliant competitors, looks as well as he ever did before his most decisive victories, and it will be a surprise if muscle and good jockeyship do not land him there or thereabouts. Norma promises well, and Prætor goes through his trials in a style calculated to win all hearts. With his trifling weight it will be singular if he does not lead the dance. But there are seven or eight chances against his triumph, which are by no means to be despised. At any rate the race will be worth seeing. WEST ADELAIDE RIFLES.—On Tuesday evening, April 13, the West Adelaide Rifles (No. 1 Com- pany) held a dinner at their orderly-room, the London Tavern. The company's funds having accumulated to a considerable amount, it was decided to absorb a portion of them by a dinner, as the time for which many of the members enrolled will expire in a month or two. About 40 sat down to a capital spread by Private Blinman, including several invited guests and a number of the Regimental Band. Captain Scott, the respected head of the company, presided, sup- ported on his right by Major Baker ; and on his left by Mr. A. Cunningham, late lieutenant of the company. Ensign Moore acted as Vice-Chairman. Dinner being concluded, the Captain read letters explaining the absence of Dr. Mayo, late Lieute- nant-Colonel of the Regiment, and Major J. Howard Clark. The usual loyal toasts having been honoured. Mr. Cunningham gave "The Army, Navy, and Volunteers,'' remarking, with respect to the latter, that more seemed to be expected from them by a great many people than they could pos- sibly do, and a feeling of dissatisfaction prevailed with regard to them ; but they could not expect a volunteer, with his many hours of business, to equal the regulars. He thought the time was not far distant when military movements, as far as the volunteers were concerned, would be very much simplified, and which, whilst doing away with many now very useless movements, would enable them to be more effective. As far as the reorgani- zation of the force went, he thought it depended a great deal upon a judicious selection of officers by the Government. (Hear, hear.) The Chairman gave "The Health of the Governor," which was heartily received. Corporal Fiveash gave "The Ladies," on behalf of whom Private Pink- stone returned thanks. The Chairman, in pro- posing "The Health of their late Lieutenant- Colonel," alluded in eulogistic terms to that gentleman's zeal in the service. He expressed his regret that he was not able to attend their dinner, as his presence would very much have enhanced their pleasure. It did not seem likely that Dr. Mayo would again enter the force, so all they had to do was to take leave of him with regret. The Vice-Chairman gave "The Health of Major J. Howard Clark," who he said, next to Capt. Scott, was the oldest member of the force in the colony. Seigeant-Major Austin proposed "The Health of Major Baker," and in doing so expressed the hope that as that gentleman was appointed to the vacancy of Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment, he would prove himself to be as good a man as he was a captain of the old company. Major Baker, in response, said he was not Lieut.- Colonel of the Regiment, but if he ever held that position he hoped he should do the same as he did whilst Captain of No. 1, viz., make himself as proficient as possible in his duties, and ensure discipline and efficiency in the members. (Cheers.) He regretted the late resignations, and especially the fact that on account of ill-health Major Clark was obliged to decline the promotion to which, as an old officer, he was justly entitled. (Cheers.) He hoped, however, and believed that that gentleman would not leave the force, but would improve in health and be able to take a more active part in matters connected with them. It was not right to allude on such occasions to unpleasantnesses that had arisen, but they all regretted them, and at a proper time in another place he might allude to them. (Cheers.) He hoped with respect to some of the resignations sent in that the late officers would feel inclined to withdraw them. If they had decided in the heat of the moment to leave the force, they would on reflection see that it was an honourable course to adopt to again offer their services to the Govern- ment. (Hear, hear.) In conclusion, he trusted that No. 1 Company—officers and men—would all stick together, and maintain the character they had gained for stability and efficiency, let what might occur. Mr. T. Bates proposed "The Parlia- ment," and expressed a hope that when the mem- bers met they would treat the volunteers better than they had been treated hitherto. He was pro- ceeding to speak of the action of the Parliament towards the volunteers, when the Chairman called him to order, and said that was a social meeting merely, and he wished to be careful that nothing should be said which could be construed into in- subordination. Corp. Reid proposed "The Health of late Lieutenant Cunningham," remarking that they were sorry to lose him, and he believed that in him they would lose a good officer and a good volunteer. (Applause.) Mr. A. Cunningham, who was received with considerable applause, returned thanks, remarking that although he was out of the company he should always feel an interest in its welfare. (Hear, hear.) Private Attwood next gave "The Visitors." Mr. T. Bates, a late member of No. 1 Company, briefly returned thanks, and expressed a hope that No. 1 would still continue to be No. 1. Although he was not now in the company, he still felt as great an interest in it, and would always do all he could to assist it. (Hear, hear.) Mr. A. Cunningham also briefly returned thanks. Sergeant-Major Austin then proposed as an additional toast "The Health of Corporal Lamprel," one of the best non-commissioned officers in the company, who was about leaving them. (Applause.) Corporal Lamprell briefly thanked the company for having so cordially drunk his health, and remarked that it was with sincere regret he left them, but work took him to Melbourne. If, however, he should return and the Volunteer Force was in existence, he should join them again. (Applause.) Sergeant-Major Austin next proposed "The Press" in a short speech, which having been acknowledged the Chairman gave "The Band," which was heartily received and responded to on behalf of the Band by Private Vincent. Major Baker proposed "The Health of Captain Scott" in eulogistic terms, remarking that there was not in the volunteer force a more zealous and efficient officer than Captain Scott. (Loud Applause.) The toast was drunk with loud applause and musical honours. Captain Scott, in responding, said he deserved no praise for what he had done, as it was no more than his duty. "The Host and Hostess" was then proposed by Sergeant Pine, "The Vice Chairman" by Sergeant- Major Austin, and "The Non-Commissioned Officers" by Private Attwood, which having been acknowledged the health of "Sergeant-Major Austin" was produced by Private Allen, and duly responded to, after which the proceedings of a very pleasant evening were brought to a close about mid- night by the Band playing the National Anthem. [From yesterday's Evening Journal.] SERGEANT-MAJOR McBRIDE.—We are informed that Sergeant-Major McBride has been constituted Keeper of Ordnance Stores, in addition to his other office of Artillery Instructor. MADAME ANNA BISHOP.—From our Melbourne telegram it will be seen that this gifted cantatrice has had a crowded valedictory concert, and pur- poses coming to Adelaide in the Aldinga. We shall be perfectly safe in predicting a warm recep- tion at her farewell entertainments in Adelaide. RIVER NEWS.—A telegram received in Adelaide yesterday notifies that the Murray has risen five feet at Euston through the Murrumbidgee waters. The Darling floods were expected down in two or three days. PICNIC ACCIDENT.—A serious accident was reported at Strathalbyn on Monday afternoon as having happened not far from Bletchley. Drs. Ferguson and Blue were called to the scene to render such medical or surgical assistance as might be required. A wagon laden with mothers and their children left Bletchley to proceed to Wood- chester to a picnic ; but on the way, by some means the particulars of which have not yet been ascer- tained, got overturned, and several of the occupants were seriously injured, one, a little boy, being, it is understood, very dangerously hurt.