SUMMARY OF PASSING EVENTS.
The chairmen of the various railway companies continue to reply to the
circular recently sent to them by the President of the Board of Trade.
There is a certain similarity in the tone and argumentation of all the
replies. In none is there an admission that the comments and censures of
the circular were in any way deserved. The chairmen of the Scotch companies
resemble, in this respect, those of the English. On behalf of the Glasgow
and South Western, SIR JAMES LUMSDEN remarks that, during the ten years from
1863 to 1872 inclusive, eight accidents were reported upon against that
company, not one of which resulted in the loss of life to any passenger.
This is even better than the Brighton and South Coast, the virtues of which
were set forth in the circular of MR. SAMUEL LAING.
With regard to the block system, SIR JAMES states that the company are fully
alive to the advantages of it, and also of the concentration and
interlocking of signal and point levers. He adds that these have already
been applied upon various portions of the line, and that the extension of
them is being proceeded with as rapidly as the heavy traffic and frequent
trains will admit.
Of course the necessity of keeping railway lines always open for traffic
makes the introduction of improvements a gradual process; but what CAPTAIN
TYLER complains of is that the companies are much too slow in extending the
On the question of the unpunctuality of trains, which was remarked upon in
MR. FORTESCUE's circular, SIR JAMES states that the trains which are timed
to run at the slowest speed, and stop at the greatest number of stations
keep the worst time, and this circumstance he attributes to such accidental
traffic as an excess of luggage or putting off horse-boxes.
The chairman of the North British Railway Company, who also replies,
declares that over their system, which extends to 836 miles in length, the
principle of interlocking has been largely adopted, and that it is being
carried out wherever practicable. The block system, we are likewise told,
is being extended to those parts of the line where the trains are numerous,
the gradients steep, the line curved, or where other local peculiarities
No doubt some of the railway companies can make out a pretty good case for
themselves as respects careful management; but the best of them will be
none the worse for being waked up by CAPTAIN TYLER's report and the circular
of the Board of Trade.
There is no end to the ways in which the public are being victimised at
present on all hands. Adulteration is an art in which the utmost ingenuity
is shown, and it may be doubted if we can purchase a single article, under
the heads of necessaries or luxuries, which can be called perfectly genuine.
The householder who imagined that now at last he was getting pure milk, when
the cow was brought to his door, and process of milking went on under his
eyes, made the melancholy discovery one morning that there was water in the
pail before the milkman commenced operations on the cow.
The dishonest ingenuity of the milkman has, however been rivalled by a
dealer in turkeys in a county which is famous for its breeds of these
popular Christmas birds. It appears that a gentleman who had ordered a
number of turkeys for distribution among his friends, had one also sent to
his own house, when it was found to contain more than 4 lbs. of pork fat,
which is considerable cheaper than turkey flesh. On discovery of the fraud
the indignant customer put the matter into the hands of his solicitor, and
the dishonest dealer was glad to refund 6s. for each turkey he had supplied
in order to escape being dragged before the magistrate's court and punished
according to his deserts. Very likely he had successfully carried out his
fraud in other cases and pocketed a good deal of money. It is quite
possible that this process of turkey-stuffing may have been going on for
some time, and if the county referred to is to retain her renown for fat
turkeys, the honest dealers must expose the men who bring discredit on their
It is high time for the public to declare war against the adulterators
in thorough-going fashion, and summon into the courts all the fraudulent
fellows who stuff turkeys with fat pork, or water their milk, or mix
magnetic oxide and iron-fillings with tea, or make up the holiday cigars of
the million with poisonous refuse.
The sharp practice of the London magistrates, in doing what they can to put
down the adulteration of milk, might be followed advantageously in other
places, and with reference to other articles.
INTOXICATION AT CHRISTMAS. - It is curious to observe how very slightly
the number of persons who are locked up in large towns for being drunk at
Christmas, vary from year to year.
For instance, the number of persons locked up in Liverpool bridewells last
year was 126, while this year again the number was 122, or a difference of
four only. It would almost seem that the same persons get drunk each
Christmas when the numbers run so closely.
SCENE IN A SYDNEY THEATRE. - During a recent performance of "Hamlet", at
Sydney, an accident behind the scenes caused some alarms.
"Whilst Polonius was delivering his sublime admonition to his son" (says the
Sydney Morning Herald of November 3), there was a loud explosion as of a
blast in a mine, followed by a concussion of the air that extinguished every
light in the house, which was of course plunged in darkness.
Great was the consternation that ensued. Prolonged screaming proceeded
from the feminine portion of the auditorium, and there was a general rush
for the doors. This would probably have resulted in some serious accidents,
but, with great presence of mind, the stage manager caused the foot lights
to be lit, and hastening with MISS GREEN and others upon the stage, assured
the terrified people that there was no danger.
MR FAIRCLOUGH also appealed to them to retain their seats. This had the
desired effect, and after the house had been re-illuminated and a short
interval allowed to permit the smoke that had gathered upon the stage to
clear away, the piece proceeded.
The report, whch was distinctly heard all over the neighbourhood,
resulted from the accidental explosion of some gas, but, fortunately, no
damage was done."
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SUMMARY OF PASSING EVENTS.