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SCHOOL BOARD EXTRAVAGANCE

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CITIZEN in a previous issue directed attention to the excessive salaries being paid to the teachers employed

by some of our School Boards. He is, however, evidently labouring under some misconception as to the real position of educational matters in Bradford. As the right hon. gentleman who introduced the Education Bill to the House of Commons is one of the representatives of Bradford, a few particulars as to how the Act has been worked under his influence may not be uninteresting to many.

Before the Act was passed the denominationalists in Bradford had provided ample accommodation for the education of their children. If that duty had been neglected by anybody it was

by the

very people who impoverishing the ratepayers by the erection of palatial buildings for the use of children educated under the direction of the School Board. As soon as Dissenters could get schools erected at the cost of the ratepayers, they were not slow in availing themselves of the privilege. Those schools have been erected as rival establishments to denominational schools, and it has naturally followed that large sums of money have been expended in building them in localities where there was already sufficient accommodation. Since the passing of the Act nearly £300,000 have been borrowed on the security of the rates for School Building purposes, and thereby other burdens were imposed besides those we had undertaken for the preservation of our own voluntary schools. At the present time the expenditure of the Bradford School Board exceeds the income by twenty-six thousand pounds a year, and to provide that money it has been found necessary to add eightpence in the pound to the borough That demand is

than double the sum Mr. Forster told the House of Commons would be required for School Board purposes, and yet we are still building! “A Citizen,” in his very candid article, remarked

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that “the example of the Bradford Board in establishing a higher school for the town is one which is not at all to be deprecated; but the attempt of the London Board to raise the qualification of every teacher, and the standard of education for the children, has resulted in an enormous drain upon the pocket of the ratepayer, and no appreciable increase in educational results." The latter part of the argument applies as strongly to Bradford as it does to London ; but with regard to the former, “A Citizen " seems to be unaware of the fact that when Mr. Forster opened the Warmingham Higher School a few weeks ago there were already four Higher Board Schools within the borough. During the past year those schools have been used for the education of the children of the middle and upper classes who formerly patronised private schools, and after taking into account all the income and expenditure there is a dead loss on the year to the ratepayers to the tune of £1,500. This in the main arises from the limitation of the school fee at ninepence; but as Higher Board schools were not contemplated by the Act, why should not the fees in such schools be increased to something like a fair sum according to the education given ? Bradford takes the credit for having a most efficient and elaborate municipal arrangement, besides being possessed of a magnificent Town Hall. The salaries of the whole of the officials, including town clerk, but excluding ordinary policemen, amount to about £16,500 a year. The Corporation has been considered a costly institution, but for salaries according to numbers it is not to be compared to the School Board. Last year the salaries of the teachers employed by the Board amounted to no less a sum than £15,485 5s. 11d. Whoever, in Bradford, imagined 10 years ago that an educational machine like this would spring up, and that the burgesses would have to pay nearly sixteen thousand pounds a year for teachers? The whole arrangement is wrong.

never contemplated by the Bill when it was, through the House of Commons, laid before the country. If such an elaborate scheme had even been hinted at in the debates there are good grounds for believing that Mr. Forster would have failed to upset the opposi. tion which would have been brought to bear against it.

W. H. HATTON.

It was

THE THEATRE.

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HERE is no longer any want of pabulum as regards

theatrical criticism. All the houses have been dusted,

and all the curtains have gone up. The difficulty has been to find the time to see everything at once.

The weather seems to have affected everything on both sides of the Channel, for the novelties on the Paris stage are not a whit more successful than those in London. At present, save Jonathan at the Gymnase, played in a most consummate fashion by St. Germain and Lolotte, and Le Petit Abbé at the Vaudeville, in both of which Céline Chaumont fascinates all who see and hear her, there are no fruits but Dead Sea apples. La Venus Noire, about which so much ink has been wasted in the Parisian press, and by which so many instructive lessons of geography, ethnology, and practical discovery were to begiven, is a crude combination of aimless scenes, in which positive ignorance of the country, and direct aberration from known data, produce a moral nightmare, where nigger ballets from Philadelphia, oxen from Hindostan, Bactrian camels and Persian greyhounds, with a Brazilian monkey and an English governess thrown in by way of local colour, join with French chauvinism to make confusion worse confounded.

At another house English Pantomime (represented by the Hanlon-Lees), adapted to French comedy, is drawing all Paris. There is a scene in a section of a sleeping car from which much fun is elicited ; a screaming chase by Douaniers after the servants, who have secreted brandy and cold chicken through all the compartments and over the roof, down the lamp-holes and up the funnel ; the shifts to which a newly-married couple are put to get a wink of sleep, and the final explosion of the engine, with the smashing-up of all the cariages, form one of the liveliest pieces of absurdity yet produced by pantomimists on any stage. This is Le Voyage en Suisse so much talked about, which has driven little Chaumont to seek the hospitality of the Vaudeville.

Here in London there is no great decided success yet. At the Adelphi a foolish rechauffé of old melodramas tacked on to a scene called “sensational,” representing a harrowing accident, or what might have been an accident, to an express train of a locomotive and carriage-size, some three feet by two. At the Court Theatre, now under Mr. Wilson Barrett's guidance, Victorien Sardou's Fernande met with such a chilling reception as to necessitate its withdrawal before these lines will appear in print. The piece was principally remarkable for a magnificent Japanese boudoir, which was very nearly excellent, and only wanted a little more knowledge of Japanese art to have been perfection. Mr. Charles Coghlan has not improved during his stay in America, and Miss Heath was too much occupied with the ménage of her dress to devote sufficient thought to her words. The piece is an unpleasant piece, and ought never to have been done into English.

At the Lyceum the popular Henry Irving has produced that melancholy drama, The Iron Chest, about which enough has been written lately to fill the largest ever constructed. There is no denying that the part suits the actor, but there is no female interest in the play, and we cannot think it is destined to run.

The new St. James's Theatre has been opened with drums and trumpets, and colours flying, flying all over the place. We could have wished that the decorations so well commenced in the Hall had been carried through the passages and into the house. The combination of colours in the auditorium is not happy, and there is not that richness of style, nor elegance execution, in the furniture and upholstery of the house which we might have reasonably expected from sogood a management. The curtain, however, rises on an interior which is a great improvement on any set we have yet seen in London. There is so much care in the artistic work and appointments that we are surprised to detect a Louis seize table figuring among the furniture. The picture of Monsieur le Duc is certainly not worth its setting. Putting aside an objection which has been made at the idea of a father making illicit love to a girl who turns out to be his own daughter, the part of the fascinating and seductive Richelieu, premier gentilhomme de la chambre' to his Majesty Louis the Fifteenth of France, certainly does not find a

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representative in Mr. Hare. The honours fall to Miss Grahame, who has only to unlearn a provincial tendency to exaggeration to become a great addition to the London stage.

In the Queen's Shilling Mr. Hare is at home as the Colonel, a British martinet who with all his strict discipline and military etiquette is still under the impression that he is sufficiently attractive to win ladies' hearts and captivate an heiress. The part could not be better played. The rigid demeanour, irreproachable make-up, and testy temper, aggravated by the insolence of the young Lancer, his rival, attain the highest perfection in the ensemble here represented, and the piece is well worth seeing for the second act alone. All concerned, Mr. Kendal, and his talented wife, Mrs. Gaston Murray, and Mr. Terriss, play well into each other's hands. though verging on caricature, is very amusing, and produces hearty laughter.

At the Alhambra an opera of Lecocq's has been produced, which might have been allowed to join oblivion in France, where it is almost already forgotten and not likely to be revived. The plot is extremely feeble, and what there is of story is so enveloped in fog that the lights of Messrs. Reece and Leigh do not succeed in more than indicating an outline. There is a Countess in different disguises, who, however, has only to retire for a minute into the Hôtel de Ville to re-issue in her own robes, attended by four ladies of honour kept on the premises for the Countess's use. There is an officer of Musketeers who takes leave of his regiment when he pleases, in order to appear as a butcher-boy with a comic calf's head. There is a tavern keeper's pretty wife, who wishes to fight everyone, and her husband who has no wish to fight at all ; and there is a very pretty ballet, in which Rigadoon is danced to the prettiest music of the piece. Miss Constance Loseby is at her best in the Countess, and sings the scena “Quaking, shaking,” &c., with great effect. Miss Emma Chambers is as pert and clever as usual, baring her bonny little biceps on every opportunity as the pugnacious Madame Taboureau. Miss Alice May sings and acts better than she has ever yet done, in the part of a butcher's wife, but what she has to to do with the piece is by no means as clear as her

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