Shareholders of the Metropolitan Railway had a bad quarter of
an hour on Wednesday. Their new Chairman, Sir E. Watkin, told them that their high dividends had been more or less ficti- tious ; that the 1 per cent, now declared was more than he should have given ; that of /7,000,000 expended one million had been wasted ; that their contracts with the great Companies were mostly injurious, made as if their line were a bit of railway, instead of being, as it is, a vast continuous station, costing 11,000,000 a mile ; and that their prospects of rapid recovery were very poor indeed. Mr. Pochin, who had been appointed to investigate the affairs of the Company, confirmed the Chairman's statement, say- ing that if the line were well managed moderate returns might still be expected, but that the shareholders' idea of huge receipt& from surplus lands was a delusion. There is, of course, something further behind all this, which the new Committee of Investigation, one of whom is Mr. Vernon Harcourt, will search out very closely. Everybody allows that the late directors were not in fault, except. for carelessness, but still the waste must have enriched somebody, and the point is,—whom ?