And now, my good friends, before we part, let me beg of you not to allow yourselves to be diverted from the right path by a parcel of cant. You will hear my system stigmatised as selfish; and I advise you, whenever you have occasion to speak of it in general society, to call it so too. You will thus obtain a character for generosity; a very desirable thing to have, if you can get it cheap. Selfish, indeed! is not self the axis of the earth out of which you were taken? The fact is, good people, that just as notions the very opposite of truth have prevailed in matters of science, so have they, likewise, in those of morals. A set of impracticable doctrines, under the name of virtue, have been preached up by your teachers; and it is only fortunate that they have been practised by so few; those few having been, almost to a man, poisoned, strangled, burnt, or worse treated, for their pains.
But here comes the police, to interfere, as usual, with the dissemination of useful truths. Farewell, my good people; and whenever you are disposed for additional instruction, I can only say that I shall be very happy to afford it to you for a reasonable consideration.
* * * * *
A BOWER OF BLISS IN STANGATE.
Oh, fly to the Bower—fly with me.—OLD OR NEW SONG (I forget which).
If you take a walk over Waterloo-bridge, and, after going straight on for some distance, turn to the right, you will find yourself in the New-Cut, where you may purchase everything, from a secretaire-bookcase to a saveloy, on the most moderate terms possible. The tradesmen of the New-Cut are a peculiar class, and the butchers, in particular, seem to be brimming over with the milk of human kindness, for every female customer is addressed as “My love,” while every male passer-by is saluted with the friendly greeting of “Now, old chap, what can I do for you?” The greengrocers in this “happy land” earnestly invite the ladies to “pull away” at the mountains of cabbages which their sheds display, while little boys on the pavement offer what they playfully designate “a plummy ha’p’orth,” of onions to the casual passenger.
At the end of the New-Cut stands the Marsh-gate, which, at night, is all gas and ghastliness, dirt and dazzle, blackguardism and brilliancy. The illumination of the adjacent gin-palace throws a glare on the haggard faces of those who are sauntering outside. Having arrived thus far, watch your opportunity, by dodging the cabs and threading the maze of omnibuses, to effect a crossing, when you will find Stangate-street, running out, as some people say, of the Westminster-road; though of the fact that a street ever ran out of a road, we take leave to be sceptical.
Well, go on down this Stangate-street, and when you get to the bottom, you will find, on the left-hand, THE BOWER! And a pretty bower it is, not of leaves and flowers, but of bricks and mortar. It is not