15 APRIL 1882, Page 1

Great importance is attached on the Continent to a story,

which is believed without any evidence, of a defensive and offen- sive secret alliance between Germany and Sweden against Russia. The Swedes are to assist the Germans by tea and liner and in return to regain Finland. The Russians are furious, and correspondents are at the pains to tell English papers that Fin- landers are quite content. There does not seem to be much in the story. The Swedes always banker for Finland, and always dread Russia ; and they would, no doubt, join Germany, if she gave them a guarantee, just as in 1856 they agreed to join France and England. But the King would hardly embarrass himself by a secret treaty before war was in direct prospect, and so incur needlessly the steady enmity of the only Power which could ever threaten to attack him by land. The Swedes can never quite forget their ancient military place in the world, but they know enough of politics not to tie their hands before a necessity has arisen. According to some authorities, how- ever, Prince Bismarck is seeking allies everywhere, and has encouraged the Porte to accumulate the large—almost menacing —corps d'armee now stationed in Tripoli. That is to invade Tunis, when the Swedes bombard Cronstadt,—quite a pretty plan.