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OUR MELBOURNE LETTER. Christmas has come and gone and the scent of the new year is coming freshly towards us. The glorious weather we have enjoyed-albeit atrifle hot-has rendered the holiday season a most enjoyable one, and the money lavishly expended in all directions has evidenced the general prosperity of the people. If the Australian Christmas is yearly becoming less of a religious and social celebration linked with the expression of the domestic sentiment than its English prototype it is certainly far more of a holiday, and this year in the city to something like one third I of its inhabitants business was practically suspended from Friday night to the following I Wednesday morning. In some rare instances even hotels were closed on Boxing as well as Christmas Day, though I did not hear if any coffee palaces followed the example. The rest interval afforded excellent opportunity f "r worn out cit's to get away into the country, and the increased outward traffic returns show the privilege was thoroughly well availed of. For my own part I am so familiar with the tourists haunts in Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales that Inam beginning to find a difficulty;in choosing a fresh spot in which to recruit, and this year found me revisiting one I had not seen for six years. Joy reigned supreme in the metropolitan ranks of the Public Service when the officers got their "screws" on Friiay instead of having to wait for it ultil the end of the month. This co :r sion von the palt of the Treasurer was only' rvcs·en:aho. but ic-it not a reflection upo:. tie pbUt ster4_ct tio suppose that the:y could not tide, over Christmas time without the s?cKw.is .,l:,.t would not be due until a wetkl. l?rro" The civil servant is generally regarded aI a man with nothing to do but draw a colrnrtablc income from the State, but this is not hcI of the service as a wholi,, alrt.ogih indivi dual cases have Le;, ki:o ?: , ., whi.ll ai officer could find no snore arduous employ ment than that of sitting on a stool waiting for pay day. The? poor officers now have hard times, the Commissioners having robbed them of their ease and privileges. They have to toil from six and a half to seven hours daily, and are not allowed to deal with the Jews of old. It is, therefore, only right that Christmastide should bring some joy to their , hearts, and good Santa Claus Gillies should be the patron saint of their festivities this year. When Mr Woods was Minister of Rail ways the phrase, the "deputation then with drew" was by a comic journal considered tantamount to that the deputation was kicked out. Any one who has seen the car toons representing a deputation leaving Mr Woods'sanctum will be able to picture the manner in which a timorous wight left the Cabinet Council Chamber at the last meet ing. An officer of the Education Depart ment had some business upon which he de sired to see a member of the Premier's staff, but in his own blundering way he darted in through the wrong door and found himself in the midst of Ministers in solemn consulta tion. The Government rose to its feet as one manannd said, "How dare you !" "get out at once," and then followed a noise resembling that made by an old woman in driving hens out of a vegetable garden. Of course the officer retired in confusion and his adventure is regarded as a good joke. while he is regarded as the heroic witness of some weird and awe inspiring spectacle. The brilliant success of the Simonsen Company at the Alexandra Theatre is another proof that an undesirable location will not prevent the public from going to theatres if only the performance be meritorious. From the outset some of our large theatrical speculators regarded Mr Simonsen's attempt to fit on the shoes of the late Mr W. S. Lyster with disfavor, but he has certainly succeeded in his experiment, and now the excitable impressario does not in the least conceal his triumph. It may have been observed that the papers of late in all parts of the Colony contain paragraphs stating that such and such re turns of the University examinations were posted on Messrs Irving and Moor's board, &ec., &c. These gentlemen have filled a somewhat unique vacant place in the scheme of things by starting an educational exchange, a place of resort for all interested in teaching or in educational matters generally, in which the principal scholastic newspapers, both English and Colonial, and the calendars of the various universities and colleges are kept for public reference. In addition, all the announcements of University move ments and results are made at the Exchange simultaneously with their appearance at the curious-looking old Alma 1Manerat the north end of Elizabeth-st., and, of course, pupils are initiated in the mysteries of how to make a successful "exam." Teachers and all interested in educational matters would find it interesting to drop in at Messrs Irving( and Moor's office in Swanston-st. when in Melbourne; they will always re ceive a hearty, cordial welcome, and fre quently learn some wrinkles.