"IMPARTIAL, NOT NEUTRAL."
TUESDAY, MAY 29TH, 1855
MARIA AND MR MURPHY, AT TOORAK.
We should, perhaps, be suspected of want of want of gallantry towards the fair, were we to publish, and pass by, without comment, the second letter of "Maria." Only about six weeks back, our at once gentle and severe Geelong Correspondent, addressed us in her first epistle to "the Herald," wherein she complained that Sir Charles Hotham had not returned the Geelong festivities in a style, and with promptitude which might have been reasonable expected from his promises and his pay. Since then, Maria had had her ball and supper and still she appears to be dissatisfied as ever. Notwithstanding the natural and acquired fascinations of the officers, - "most gentlemanly men," Maria freely admits, -Sir Charles's "dips," and his large investment for his company's behoof, in Mr Murphy's apparently anti-constipative mixture, seem to have completely disturbed the, - we trust, - naturally sweet temper of "the better half" of the officer of the Geelong Rifles. What little things, - or rather, what apparently little things, for they are not in reality little when we consider the results, - will suffice to make or mar a man's reputation or fortunes. We think it was Dr Johnson who acutely observed that the gentleman who gives half-a-crown to a footman, is voted a munificent patron amongst the knights of the shoulder-knot, whilst the man who gives two shillings is regarded by the same constituency as a scurvy felly; and yet there is only a wretched sixpence between two such opposite reputations, and two such different judgments. In like manner, Sir Charles has saved some fifty pounds upon the item of champagne, - or (which comes to the same thing) upon gooseberry, - and has set some four or five hundred tongues at work, - Maria's, rely upon it, not the least efficient, - upon the curiously aperient entertain-ment at Toorak, on her Majesty's birth-night. "The supper," Maria and others say, - we can only speak from report, not having been there, - "was good;" but Murphy hand the guttering "dips" appear to have marred all. Sir Charles does not care about spoiling a ship for a "ha'porth of tar." But we certainly think that he has allowed to pass by the happiest opportunity, of a social character, he has yet had for partially retrieving his wan-ing, if not lost, popularity. He has saved £50 - say fifty pounds, as dealers express it - and he has lost - what? He has lost, or missed the difference between the moral effect of two very different speeches. To wit: "Well!" (we here assume some fizzing liquor, and popping corks) "they may abuse Sir Charles as they like, but he's a liberal, frank, fine, 'old English' host, alter all that's said and done;" and, "Well! this is, it cannot be denied, a most small beer Executive, in all its branches, social, moral and political." And either speech, if it proceed not from the bottom of the speaker's heart, at any rate comes from the bottom of another organ, quite as sensitive an organ in an Englishman's constitution.
For aught we know, Sir Charles might prove a very Nelson, when fighting a ship. What we do know is this: that no man can prove himself a highly successful Governor of men, unless he have some knowledge of human nature. In this article of knowledge Sir Charles appears to be as yet singularly deficient. Men are principally moved through their brains, their hearts and - although last, perhaps not always least - their stomachs. Sir Charles has not as yet much moved the colonist through their brains; he has not won their hearts; his last change he willfully lost the other night, and al the Marias and their husbands and brothers are down upon him, as any man of the world might have expected.
We shall not pause here to do the didactic or the philosophical. We shall not express any disgust at people who appear to be more excited by a bad supper than by a bankrupt[t revenue, and an imbecile administration. Sufficient for one article, is the principal topic thereof, and that principal topic at present is "beer." That birth-night ball might have been made the rallying point of much of the finer social feeling in the colony. What a patent instrument for the management of men, and women, is a flowing and graceful hospitality.
Who understood this great fact better than poor Sir George Gipps? What marvels did he not effect with his piquante dinners, his elegant and never beery "at homes," his frank "How d' ye do," his genial and warm-hearted squeeze of the hand. How many opponents did he conciliate? How many friends did he knit to him in "chains of perdurable toughness?" Not a few were there, who, whilst they condemned his measures, could with difficulty be brought personally to oppose himself. He was indeed a man of too winning a manner to please the sterner colonists, who wanted acts, and not graces. Like the "fenders" let down between ships, many a collision did he break, and soften off, between colony and Downing-street misrule.
But "Revenous a nos moutons." let us return to our dips and beer. Amidst all the storm of indignation, disgust and diarrhea which this manifestation appears to have produced, no one seems to have had any consideration at all for the feelings of Mr Murphy. That highly respectable brewer and M.L.C has been spoken of in every direction as if he and Sir Charles had been se-cretly plotting together in some dark conspiracy against the insides of the general colonists. Was any thing even more irrational? Was is Mr Murphy's fault that his economic beverage was not champagne, or the best sparkling moselle?
Is he to answer for the "upturned eyes" and "thunderstruck" expression of Maria's vis-a-vis, at the supper table, the gentlemanly officer who "took her in," and very nearly "did for," - himself? We think not. Nor was it, we wont, any part of Mr Murphy's contract to find Toorak in brandy sufficient to carry off the effects of the more drastic liquor. In nothing, as it appears to us, has he been to blame, save in one particular, - he ought not to have allowed his beer to enter Toorak supper rooms at all. His beer is very good beer in its proper place, - in the "dura messorum ilia," the hard and defiant visvera of reapers, and of other who live by the sweat of their brow. No colonial beer better, as we believe, - and much imported beer worse, - and therefore he ought not to have periled the reputation of his manufacture, upon such sensitive stomachs as assemble at birth-night balls. It is not the first time we have known delicate Marias improve the occasion of a rout supper, but taking in supplies of pigeon pie, custards, lobster salad, turkey, and ham, tipsy cake, tarts, and trifle, (the very sight of which operation would give an ordinary man, a bilious attack,) and then fasten the next day's consequences upon as innocent as agent as Mr Murphy's beer. We shall not however, further pursue this delicate inquiry. Suffice it to say, that from some cause or other, as we have been credibly informed, a very large portion of Sir Charles's guests kept their beds on Saturday, and many-tongued rumour was busy during the whole of yesterday, to the effect, that the medical profession were about to subscribe for a piece of plate as a testimonial to Sir Charles, a Delphic Jug, or Delf-ic may perhaps be the word, typical of the composition of the vessels from which the liquor was drunk, - with a portrait of Mr Murphy on the one side, and the figure of his Excellency, like a reduced Bacchus, bestriding a "small-beer" barrel, on the other.