28 APRIL 1894, Page 17

A rumour has been current all over the Continent that

the -Czar, dissatisfied with the promise of his eldest son, has con- templated excluding him from the succession in favour of his brother, the Grand Duke Michael. This was done, it will be remembered, in the case of the eldest son of the Emperor Alexander I., who was superseded by his brother Nicholas. The project, however, if ever entertained—of which there is no evidence—has been abandoned since the Czar's recent /illness, and the Cesarewitch has now been permitted to marry. His betrothal to the Princess Ala, daughter of the late Grand Duke of Hesse and our own Princess Alice, was formally announced during the recent marriage festivities at Coburg, and the marriage will be celebrated early in August. The /bride, though Lutheran by education, agrees to be converted to the Greek Church. The German Emperor and Queen -Victoria are reported to be highly pleased with this betrothal, which helps to break up the segregation of Russia from the rest of Europe. The French are equally displeased ; but of course have no ground for offering any protest, and content

themselves with annoyed silence. We do not know that since the days of the Family Compact among the Bourbons, royal alliances have mattered much in politico, but there is no know- ing what influence an Empress might exercise in a Court like that of Russia. It will be, in particular, more difficult with a. German lady at the head of society to ostracise the German people, who recently have suffered in Russia something very like persecution.