It would appear from the business notes published in the
Times that the recent rise in prices, more especially of iron goods, has reached its limit. Dealers are alarmed, and from all sides the report is " no orders." Prices therefore may be expected to decline, to the great relief of the public, which, however, is about to be taxed for its bread, its vegetables, and its fruits. Wheat is rising steadily, partly from the short harvest in Southern Russia, and partly from the wretched weather, the storms perpetually beating down the corn and preventing the machines from work- ing. From many districts it is reported that the disease has ap- peared in the potato, while there will scarcely be any fruit at all. The heavy frosts of early April destroyed the wall fruit, and ruined the plums, and thinned down cherries and apples, till nothing is plentiful, and prices are asked in London of which the very fruiterers are ashamed. Fruit is rather a luxury than a necessity, and there is no need to pity the fruiterers, who within certain limits distinctly prefer a bad harvest, but the loss in pota- toes will be a very serious one. Fortunately, rice comes to us from so many countries, that it seems almost independent of local disaster, and would protect the poor if they could cook it, and could like it when cooked, from the fluctuations in the root. They have never, however, learned even the cardinal fact so well understood in the East, that rice is no more to be eaten alone than the potato is to be eaten raw, its use being to receive and absorb flavours, whether from gravy, vegetables, or prepared condiments. Some day, we suppose, we shall teach cooking in the national schools, and so save a few millions a year, but at present the only thing to do is to work harder, and face the dearness that way.