THE BIRTHDAY BALL.
The annual ball and supper given by his Excellency the Governor, in commemoration of the Birthday of her Majesty, was post- poned this year until the 16th June, in order that the prescribed period of mourning might elapse for the decease of the Prince Consort. The display on Monday night was of a des- cription hitherto unapproached in this colony, the extent and accommodation of the suit of apartments thrown open for the occasion at Government House being such as the colony has never until the present year afforded. The last celebration of the kind was held in a building that was neither more nor less than a shed, and the accommodation was generally of a most make-shift character. At Government House, however, the libe- rality of Parliament has enabled the Governor to exercise his hospitality without restric- tions through the want of space.
On Monday evening the three central rooms on the basement floor were given up to the dancers ; the large room to the left of the entrance hall was devoted to the purpose of refreshment, where, during the evening, tea and coffee at one table, and sherry and claret at the other, were dispensed to all comers ; whilst the drawing-room afforded a grateful refuge for the dowagers, as well as those ladies who were disinclined for the dance, and also contained secluded nooks for those inclined for a quiet rubber at whist.
After the Governor had undergone, with great patience and urbanity, the formality of receiving his guests, and shaken, with un- tiring elbow, the hands of between three and four hundred persons, the business of the evening commenced, and was kept up with great spirit until supper time. Lady Bowen was prevented by delicate health from joining in the dance, and on this account, we presume, the Governor was also merely
a spectator during the evening. The ball was opened by the Colonial Secretary and Mrs. Pring, their vis-a-vis being the Attorney-General and Mrs. M'Dougall. Tbe Volunteer Band, which mustered in great strength, afforded the music, the excel- lence of which was the general theme of conversation. Those who did not dance found an amusement in strolling from room to room, and watching the evolutions of tho votaries of Terpsichore. The brilliancy of the lights, the gay and tasteful costumes of the ladies, and the sprinkling of uniforms
amongst the sterner sex, in which the Con- sular corps, the army and navy, and the Volunter cavalry and infantry of Brisbane and Ipswich, were all represented, presented
a very pleasing coup d'oeil, such as has never before been witnessed in this colony.
Shortly after one o'clock, the Governor and Lady Bowen led their guests into the supper room, for which the quadrangle of Govern- ment House did duty, being roofed in for the occasion with canvass. The walls were tastefully ornamented with ferns and the foliage of the cabbage palm; there were also some flags, but the manner in which they were arranged was not such as called forth the admiration of the spectators. The room was well lighted both with candles and Chinese lanterns. The supper was very good, and plentiful in material, and appeared to bo done full justice to. After a time, however, there was a lull in the clatter of the knives and forks, and his Excellency asked they would all fill their glasses. He had a toast to propose, which ought to be drunk in respectful silence.
The Govornor then made a touching and graceful allusion to the lamented death of the Prince Consort, and to the loss the Queen and the nation had sustained through the death of that wise and prudent Prince. The toast was-" The Queen! God bless her!" Every voice in the room repeated the toast ; but, as requested, no cheers followed.
Sir George then proposed-" The Prince of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family." The best aspiration of their hearts must be that the children of the Queen would tread in the steps of their parents. He believed that one or other of the Princes would shortly visit Australia, and in no colony would he be received with more cordial enthusiasm than in Queensland. This toast was received with all the honors.
The President of the Council (Colonel O'Connell) then proposed the healths of Sir George and Lady Bowen, and the toast was received with loud demonstrations of applause. After making a graceful allusion to the accomplished and courteous gentleman and the amiable lady whose guests they were that evening, he referred to the services which the Governor had rendered the colony, more especially from his energetic conduct having secured to Queensland a large increase of territory to the north-west. At the con- clusion of Colonel O'Connell's remarks the toast was drunk with all the honors.
The Governor, in returning thanks, ex- pressed his gratification at being able to receive his guests in the excellent and com- modious house which the liberal loyalty of Parliament had provided for the representa- tive of the Queen. He trusted that, so long as her Majesty would ho pleased to continuo his poor services in this colony, each year would be marked by an increase of mutual esteem and good-will between them.
The company then returned to the ball- room, where dancing was kept up till about four in the morning.