From the South China Morning Post this week in: 1905 On Bond Street in London, a charwoman destroyed a $60,000 Turner watercolour and a painting in oils hung beside it. The owner pointed to the painting and said: 'That picture is dusty. Rub a damp cloth over it.' But the charwoman by mistake rubbed her damp cloth over the watercolour, turning it into a smudge and thus the finest Turner disappeared. In the first gambling case of its kind to be tried in the colony, his worship Mr F.A. Hazeland convicted three defendants for being keepers of a common gaming house. They were each ordered to pay a fine of $75, in default of 14 days' imprisonment with hard labour. The rest of the 60 defendants ... will each pay a fine of $5, in default of 14 days' jail with hard labour. The gaming house was discovered on October 8 in a back room on the first floor of 39 Gough Street. A Chinese constable gave a full account of the scene he found. In the room were two small bowls, each containing a fighting cricket, on a table and a small wooden tub. He heard someone say, 'Fight for 50 catties.' Another said: 'I fight for 30.' Two others said: 'Ten catties.' The third defendant, who was two feet from the table on the west side, held a piece of paper, a pen, a small basket and envelopes. When people shouted how much they would fight for, he wrote it down and asked their surnames. The constable saw money pass. A man in the crowd counted out $5 in 20 cent pieces and handed them to the third defendant. The crickets were placed in the tub and started fighting, which lasted five to six minutes, and the one on the west side won. As the crickets were valuable insects they were returned to the owner. The money and the implements were forfeited. The captain of an American sailing ship visiting Hongkong recalls this story. The captain was very fond of split pea soup and before leaving port he would always put in a good-sized stock of split peas. On this occasion, however, his negro steward got whole peas and so the soup that the captain called for on the first day was thrown away. The next day split pea soup was again served and this time the captain, after having eaten a hearty meal, said to his steward: 'That's the kind of soup I like; we'll have some just like it tomorrow.' 'Fo' de Lawd's sake, cap'n,' exclaimed the steward, 'ma jaws am so tired chewing dem whole peas dat ah just can't chew no mo'.' The captain never asked for pea soup again. Russia is in a terrible state of disaffection. The railway workers strike at first confined to certain centres in the north has now spread to other parts of the Empire and has led to traffic being absolutely crippled. St Petersburg is in a grave situation, with people leaving in panic and the proclamation of martial law imminent. All railways in Russia have ceased and business is at a standstill. Count de Witte, who was appointed Russian prime minister only a day ago, and Prince Khilkoff, Russian Minister of Public Works and Railways, are striving to bring about a settlement of the strike. No cattle train has arrived at St Petersburg for two days ... there is only one week's supply of meat in Moscow. Two days later, telegrams from all parts show the strikes have spread to every trade and profession. A despatch dated October 27 states that the czar, recognising the seriousness of the situation, has retired to his country home and has left the government entirely in the hands of Count de Witte. The czar appreciates the frightful importance of the conditions in Russia and fears that he will be submerged in the overflow of popular indignation.