The following letter was omitted accidentally at the proper time but, as the topic seems to interest the public, we insert it now.
WHO PAYS THE (TOORAK) PIPER?
To the Editor of the Melbourne Morning Herald.
Sir, - For the first time in his official life in the colony, Sir Charles Hotham is about to give a bail, and something of a supper. The day chosen for this is the birth-day of her Majesty. It is evidence, therefore, that this is not at all to be regarded in the light of hospitable festivity; a sort of official re-union, or an attempt at reunion, under cover of the Queen's name, and, we suppose, at the expense of the Governor. Is it not so? The expense may not appear on the estimates in a definite form; but will it not be included in some allowance, or some secret service money? Why has Sir Charles never done this before? The inference is, because he would have had to pay it out of his own pocket.
One peculiarity in the form of invitation would lead us to a difference conclusion, did we not know from innumerable instances that his Excellency, though not a "good dancing Governor," is a "finished traveller", and a first-rate "dodger." It is thus the invitation cards are printed with "Lady Hotham, at home." We must all be glad to see this, at any rate, were it only on account of the surprising novelty. Many of the principal ladies of Melbourne and Geelong, and our environs, called at Toorak long since, but never once had the good fortune to find her ladyshop "at home." Visitors were told to leave their cards - That was all! This is the first time she has been able to receive anybody not specially invited; and the number of the latter has been rigidly confined to a small official clique of very incoherent qualities. A similar course has been adopted even in the selection of the guests on the present public occasional and if there be discovered here and there a "cunning exception," it will only prove the rule.
HER MAJESTY'S SUPPER.
ADDRESSED TO THE PEACOCK "AT HOME."
OH! spirit pure of malt and hops,
Retail'd at all the little shops, -
Whether pale Indian ale or stout
Of Guinness, Byass - worth a "shout" -
Or e;en good, wholesome, sound small beer,
I praise the comfort of your cheer!
But, oh! Sir Charles, what can we say
To damaged beer for the Queen's birth-day!
When gentlemen made strange wry faces,
And walked away with hurrying paces;
And ladies, bending double, strove
To smile, and twirl a careless glove,
While secretly they writhes and moan'd,
And, ere they reached home, fairly groan'd
At having drunk viceregal swipes,
And suffering all these loyal gripes!
For What? - In order to cow-tow, -
Receive a cold and haughty box,
And feel the eye's contemptuous dart
Strike ice into each generous heart.
Yes, - all were cut, - of each degree,
By apes of vulgar "quality!"
Heidelberg, May 28th, 1855.
THE OPEN COLUMN.
For the opinions of Correspondents expressed here we are not responsible; we give every phase of intelligently-expressed opinion a place in this column, refusing no useful letter merely because its sentiments differ from our own.
To the Editor of the Melbourne Morning Herald
SIR, - I mentioned, somewhat doubtfully, in my previous letter, that Sir Charles Hotham had not danced with any lady, in the whole course of the evening, at the late Ball. I am now enabled to assure you that it is not only a fact, but that Lady Hotham did not dance with any gentleman! Why not, - for heaven's sake? The Queen and Prince Albert always dance, and are very fond of it. I am also assured by gentlemen who have visited foreign courts, that members of the Royal Families always dance, and so do Ambassadors, and Governors and their ladies. What is the cause of this petrifying hauteur on the part of these two people? What on each does it all mean? Surely they are able to dance? Or have they some chronic addiction, causing a stiffness of the joints? Or is it simply pride? They are all greatness, and mere dirt. I object to being regarded as dirt and I resent, as all other ladies should, such insulting treatment. Why did Sir Charles drink our champagne, and talk of the "elegance and beauty" that surrounded him, and such stuff, if he meant to give us all a dead cold cutting when his turn came to be a little hospital?
I remain, Mr Editor,
Geelong, May 27, 1855 MARIA
P.S. - Please to request the gentlemen who print the Herald, not to spell my name after the French style of "Marie," but English "Maria." Don't forget, Mr Editor, my previous invitation whenever you come to Geelong. We'll give you some sound and curry, and a good bottle of Burgundy. I only hope I shall be able to get down stairs by this time. I write this in bed, my husband holding the inkstand, and suppressing his laughter; partly for fear of spilling ink over the counterpane, and partly because he knows I am so very angry at the shameful treatment we have received.
Another circumstance might lead most people to regard this Government Ball as an effort on the part of Sir Charles to open his private purse-strings at last, and give some in-dictions of hospitality; we allude to the fact of the "supper," having been bargained for, - it is to be done by contract, at 12s 6d per head, but even this does not convince us as to who is to be the paymaster.
If there is a certain "allowance" for the ex-pense of a fete in honour of her Majesty's birth-day, the more that is saved out of it, the more goes into the private pocket of the auto-cratic economist. Will no member of the Legislative Council put this question to the Colonial Secretary?
I do not dance myself, but I am fond of dance music, and while on the question of "who pays the piper" at Toorak, I must say I shall laugh to see how right my conjectures have been, if, instead of regularly-hired professional musicians, I observe a choice selection, perhaps in plain clothes, from the military bands of the 12th and 40th regiments, who "could not think" of accepting money for playing on the Queen's birth-day, and with all their officers present! Oh! this vice-regal scrutinizer of books and salaries, the trenchant supervisor of abuses "out of doors," - let him look within, and turn pale at the thought of the record he will leave behind him in Victoria. - I am, Mr Editor, Your obedient servant,
St. Kilda, May 22, 1855.
THE BIRTH-DAY BALL.
To the Editor of the Melbourne Morning Herald.
SIR, - Since "Black Thursday" of last week, so many evil comments and ill-natured remarks have been appearing on the Toorak hospitalities of our justly esteemed and highly popular Lieutenant-Governor, that some notice seems called for, at last, from one or other of his friends and supporters.
As one of these, and to begin with, I must declare it a mistake to say that the anniversary of her Majesty's Birth-day was dishonored by the swipes or sour beer, with which the guests of her representative in Victoria had to celebrate it. I maintain, with-out fear of contradiction in any quarter, that the greatest care was manifested from the outset, to let all who were invited to Toorak understand that the Queen's birth-day had nothing at all to do with the matter - it was not even her representative, the Lieutenant - Governor's assembly - it was simply "Lady Hotham at home;" and I do ask with some indignation i a lady in her own house (with of course her husbands' consent previously obtained), is not to be allowed to do as she pleases without a fuss in the newspapers about it? If the company did not appreciate the beer there, I see no call for their repeating their visit; but such public notice of private hospitality (or what was meant for it), is, I maintain, in the highest degree unhandsome and disagreeable.
Again: - it is said that at this friendly re-union, neither of the distinguished entertainers seemed to think of treating any of the numerous guests, of whatever degree, with the ordinary reception ladies and gentlemen are accustomed to expect when meeting each other, even at the Antipodes. But how is it possible, I would ask, in an upstart colony like this for new-comers like them to know who to shake hands with, and still less to dance with? On the evening in question, the example of their newly-married.
Excellencies ought to have been felt as highly exemplary, and even affectingly so. It was one of domestic happiness, singularly displayed in the assiduity of their attention to each other throughout the evening, and finished off very touchingly, by their even dancing with each other; in contrast to the stray husbands and wives on all sides of them. How sad to hear, now, even this good example brought in evidence against them, with a sneer too at their showing such disregard for everybody but themselves.
I cannot help noticing, also, that in the desire to find fault, even the gale which was unluckily blowing during the evening has been taken advantage of to say something about "raising the wind" in that quarter. A sneer like this might, perhaps, as well have been omitted here. The colony would, in my opinion, do well to take a hint from those t the head of its society, as to the folly of drinking cham-pagne and other liquors still more dangerous and detrimental than the swipes now complained of, and which have brought a discredit already on it, making the very broken bottles with which it is bestrewn a testimony in high places against it. With turkeys and what not at present ruinous price, £5000 a-year is not what it used to be.
And now, Sir, may it not be asked, in the revulsion of feeling so painfully apparent, what has banished the enthusiasm shown a short year ago? The popular breeze has, alas, died away with a witness, and who can tell but that is the secret retirement at Toorak, some distressing doubts may be flitting across its occupants as to the sentiments once uttered at Geelong; and whether it would not have been better to shake hands with invited guests on a day of general and loyal festivity, than to clasp the unwashed palm of an unwashed mob at Ballaarat?
Melbourne, May 28, 1855