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Melbourne Letter.

(from our own correspondent.)

One day last week the "Argus" devoted a whole column to a description of the scene at the opening of Foy and Gibson's Winter Fair, at their immense establishment m Smith-street, Collingwood, and certainly the occasion was worthy of the effort. For my part I have never seen such a sight, nor anything at all approaching to it, m any other part of the world. Fancy a floor space 220 ft by 200 ft so inconveniently crovrded that the public have to beletinin batches like; mobs of hungry people at a free meal, and this not once nor. twice, but all day long. Last Monday 25,000 people got m, and I am told by those who understand these Tfiattera that the average purchase may be taken at ten shillings per head all round. This would represent £12,500 ! spent m one day, m one house. The thing seems incredible, but I believe it to be itrue. The Fair lasts a month, and by the end of that time it will have been visited by half the people m the colony, the vast majority of whom will be purchasers of some sort. It is only by reflecting upon the magnitude of the transaction, as a whole, and from a trade point of view, that one can understand how goods on these occasions are sold so cheap. A trifling percentage upon the cost of each article sold will reach a grand total at the end of the month, notwithstanding the wages of the 950 people employed by this remarkable firm. And it must not be forgotten that this "shopping upon a grand scale;" is ,going on at a time .when business is. exceptionally dull, and every person one meets with complains of hard times. Readers of Charles O'Malley will remembers Lever's account of the naval lieutenant who was permitted to exhibit before William IV. a pump he had invented for the extinction of fire on board ship ; how the inventor had forgotten to take men to work it; how the King ordered a couple of scarlet-clad flunkeys, greatly to their disgust, to do that duty ; how they di I it; and how, m despair, the naval man pushed them aside, seized the handle himself, without noticing which way the nozzle was pointed, and shot a full stream of water right into the First Lord of the Admiralty, to the intense amusement of the King, who, nearly choking with laughter, screamed out, " Take the blanked thing away." This incident occurred to more than one of the gentlemen who assembled m the Exhibition grounds last Wednesday afternoon to witness some experiments tried upon several pumps, though fortunately no such contretemps as that related by Charles Lever happened. In the '. first place the thing was impossible, as, instead of throwing a great volumo of water, the efforts of the inventors had been taxed how to divide the liquid Into the finest spray possible. The experiments were conducted under the auspices of ■ the Department of Agriculture, with the view of deciding upon the best spray pump for diffusing liquids upon vines, trees, etc., for the destruction of the insect and fungoid pests which are such a trouble to fruit growers. There were present the Government Entomologist, the Inspector of Vines, the Curator of the Horticultural Gardens, the Secretary of the Commissioners of Agricultural Products, Messrs L. L. Smith, Leviien, and many other gentlemon connected with or interested m the question. I think the verdict was quite unanimous m favour of Knowles' medal spray pump, which diffused the liquid used (resin emulsion) m a beautiful ScoLcli mist. The pump can be fitted with three or five nozzles, and the arm of a three-year-old baby would be strong enough to work ] the

handle. Mr Knowles said the price is only £3 (M'Lean Bros and Rigg), and it really works beautifully. An emulsion of Quibell's Disinfectant would have shown to groater advantage than the resin compound used, being thinner, and consequently more'easily divided ; besides it is a deadly enemy to the insect tribes, and to fungoid growths of all kinds, whilst it does no injury whatever, to. the folioge of the plant* operated on.

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Bibliographic details

Melbourne Letter., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2479, 31 July 1890

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Melbourne Letter. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2479, 31 July 1890

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