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with himself, or by the shrill alarm-whistle of a steamer upon the neighbouring, but well-nigh invisible river. By noon the last-named sounds had ceased, for steamboat traffic had become impossible from the density of the mist, and then, little by little, a raw, chilly wind began to blow from the east. This wind gradually drove the fog upstream, until it met and mingled with that pall of black smoke which legislative and municipal incompetence, and that often fatal English respect for “vested interests,” as confirmed nuisances are called by their originators, allow to pollute and render deadly the atmosphere of the first city in the world—wonderful and incomparable London.

This intermingling of white fog and black smoke speedily produced that infernal compound which makes the lives of five millions of people almost intolerable. Stagnation of trade, interruption of business, stoppage of traffic, depression of spirits, and serious injury to health ensued. Every Londoner was reduced to a state of utter gloom and wretchedness, and some two millions of the poorer sort of citizens “ bitterly thought of the morrow," and feared that the time-honoured Show of the following day—which, with all its absurdities and all its anachronisms, still breaks the monotony of countless lives, and rejoices the hearts of multitudes of toilers who have little else to rejoice them-would be a failure and a disappointment. The ex-Lord Mayor felt glad that he was going out of office, and could enjoy the society of worthy Mrs. Buggins at the domestic hearth at Wimbledon, instead of at the dusky Mansion House; and the incoming Lord Mayor sighed involuntarily when he reflected that, on the day ensuing, as he passed them at noontide by gas-light, he would appear to his fellow-citizens, and subjects of one year, as a man suffering from a severe attack of the jaundice. The incoming Lady Mayoress, who was afflicted, poor thing, with neuralgia in the face, dreaded exposure next day in the raw fog on the embankment in her state coach; and her Ladyship’s “ Maids of Honour”—

. buxom, strapping wenches from Finsbury Square, who laid in a stock of health and jolly red cheeks when they went every year for six weeks' seabathing to Margate-devised (by gaslight) all sorts of pretty things in swansdown to protect their fat shoulders from the cold during next day's procession. My Lord Scamperdown at the “Carlton”and he, to be sure, was a pretty tough old customeravowed publicly that “ that fog was more than any fellah alive could stand," and swore he'd be off to

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LIBRART

BODLEIAN

15 DEC83

To My FRIENDS

I Enscribe this Tale,

IN THE HOPE THAT THEY WILL LOOK MORE

LENIENTLY UPON ITS MANY FAULTS

THAN I DO MYSELF.

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