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MELBOURNE. I

(From our own Correspondent,)

23rd December.

We are all looking exceedingly like Christmas. Publicans advertise cheap dt inks, especially designed to meet the tóete of Christmas imbibers ; the theatres and Cremorne are all aiming to astonish us with gorgeous Christmas Pantomimes. Sohier conies out extra stronginhis wax works and phrenology, prominently posting up in his window written notices to the effect that Barke and Wills and Sanders and Johnson are just added. What it is to be a hero ! He has Tim Bobbin always grinning his best in one of the windows ;_life size is Tim, dressed in corduroy breeches and a very scarlet jumper. This figure has, I should fancy, pre viously answered the purpose of conveying " a correct likeness-all but living," of some diabolical creature ranged amongst many others in the ll Room of Horrors." Poor Tim ! eould he but have known what an elaborate bit of ugliness he was to be made of in the antipodes when be was dead and gone, I should fancy he would have turned bis poem of "Tummus and Meary" into a funeral dirge. Whether Sohier has found a new phrenological bump especially in honor of Christmas I cannot say, but he is a knowing gentleman and misses very few opportunities of'< making the most of things." The Pantomime at the Boyal is called " Valentine and Orson." That of the Princess' ii not announced yet, but it is to be something adapted by Mr Fawcett. Cremorne, is to be the centre for Rich mond Fair ; and in tbe Pantheon we are to see " Jack and the Beanstalk." The Caledonian games commence on Boxing-day, and continue over three days Wrestling will be held in North Melbourne and elsewhere in every fashion-back hold, after the Cumber land and Westmoreland style; catch as

catch can, after the Irish and Lanca shire fashion ; and collar and elbow, after some other fashions-Cornish and Devon for one. The suburban publics will be busy with tbe greased pole and foot races; cheap trips will engage hundreds ; and oar restaurateurs are holding out enticing advertisements of raffl s for Christmas trees, cakes, &c. Upon the whole, it would appear that we never made greater efforts to please and to attract visitors than we are oiaking just now. The orthodox Christmas goose fortunately comes in plentifully and cheap this year. Good Biied young geese were offering in our Eastern market on Saturday night at 6ve shillings each ; young apples for apple sauce, or to mix with mince mea fe for mince pies, at sixpence per pound ; ducks, four to six Shillings per couple; fruit cheap, vegetables cheap, and the weather at present so cool that one may hope to spend a pleasant Christmas day, and eat with some sort of enjoyment a real English Christmas dinner-roast goose and plum pudding, and all the

British etceteras.

Politics are at a discount, except that people are fearful that all the grass lands of the colony will still be allowed to remain in the same hands, the runs untouched, and all chance against squatting on a moderate scale entirely shut off. There are many large runs which would bear cutting up, and I believe that if Mr Service brings forward a motion having for its object the subdivision of runs, he will be largely supported-indeed it is questionable if he would not have a majority. The whole of the twenty five who voted against the Ministers OR Friday night would, I make no doubt, vote in favor of the subdivision of the runs, and if Mr Service acts with his usual shrewdness and separates thc two questions of " subdivision'

and "tenure," be will receive the support of perhaps nine of those who voted with the Ministry on Friday. There are many who will vote for a subdivision of |lie runs who will dis agree as to the length of lease to be granted of those runs. The method of classification of runs, as provided for in Mr Duffy's bill, is a step in the right direction, as it is a matter of considerable importance that tbe State should derive all possible advantage from the land, and it is certain tbat some pastoral lands must be worth ten times as much as others. Let ,tbe

Rood pay its due proportion, and the bad be relieved of any overcharge. Squatting on a small scale will pay. There are many who believe it will at any rate, and these are anxiously looking forward to the time when they can iuvest their small capital in sheep breeding. I trust such a solutiou of the question will soon be arrived at as will allow any man who may think he has money and experience enough to enable him to make a living in squat ting pursuits, to follow his bent.

As a laudable example, worthy of being followed by perhaps wealthier men, I have it to record that John O'shanassy, Chief Secretary of Vic toria, has sent home a commission for procuring a number of copies of the best paintings of the ancient and modern masters. This is entirely a private commission, and evinces a taste which few had perhaps given Mr O'shanassy the credit of possessing. I trust this may be but the first of a series of similar commissions which °ur leading men may send to Europe, ft is by such means that we may hope to see a higher standard of taste deve loped amongst the men who have hitherto had taste for nothing but amassing money.

Speaking of . pictures leads me to notice a very fine specimen of the portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence, flow being exhibited in a shop in Swanston street. It is a portrait, life size, full length, of the Countess of Essex and her two children, and is to be raffled for. The price put upon it is only £60. Our best judges concur in the opinion that the painting is by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and mj own opinion certainly coincides with that of our best judges. The picture should be worth much more than £60, but the difficulty is to know its history, R&4 whetfpr it «amo ber» honestly,

I

It has been in the colony for two or away in a store during that time.

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Ballarat and District Genealogical Society Inc.
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State Government of Victoria
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