THE INDIVIDUAL, SOCIETY, AND THE STATE.
a view to gain. I did not hand him the expected penny, but I briefly—very briefly—expressed a hope that an infinite being would be pleased to consign him to infinite torture, and passed on. I wandered through street after street, all full of houses painted in different shades of custard-color, toned with London fog, and all just sufficiently like one another to make one wish that they were either quite alike or very different. And I wondered whether something might not be done to compel all the owners to paint at the same time and with the same tints. At last I reached a place where the road was rendered impassable by a crowd which had gathered to listen to an orator who was shouting from an inverted tub. He was explaining that many years ago Jesus died to save sinners like us, and therefore the best thing we could do was to deprive the publicans of their licenses without compensation. I ventured to remark that, although this might be perfectly true, still I wanted to get into the country along the common highway, and that the crowd he had collected prevented me from doing so. He replied that he knew my sort, whatever that may mean; but his words seem to have acted like magic on his hearers, for, although I did at last elbow my way through the throng, it was not without damage to the aforementioned hat. It was a relief to reach the country and to sit down by a stream and watch the children gathering blackberries. I was, however, surprised to find that the berries were still pink and far from ripe. "Why don't you wait till they are ripe?" I asked. "Coz if we did there would be none left by then," was the somewhat puzzling reply. "But surely, if you all agreed to wait, it could be managed," I said. "Oh yes, sir," responded a little girl, with a pitying laugh at my simplicity, "but the others always come and gather them just before they are ripe." I don't quite know who the others are, but surely something ought to be done to put a stop to this extravagant haste and ruinous competition. The result of the present system is that nobody gets any ripe blackberries. I mentioned the subject to an old gentleman who was fishing in the rivulet; "Exactly so," said he, "it is just the same with fish. You see there is a close season for salmon and some sorts; but those scoundrels are steadily destroying the rest by catching the immature fish, instead of waiting till they are fit for anything. I suppose they think that they will not have the luck to catch them again, and that a sprat in hand is worth a herring in a bush." I admitted the force and beauty of the metaphor, and proceeded on my journey.
Beginning to feel hungry, I made tracks for the nearest village, where I knew I should find an inn. A few hundred yards from the houses I observed a party of hulking fellows stripping on the bank with a view to a plunge and a swim. It struck me they were rather close to the road, but I nevertheless thought it my duty to resent the interference of a policeman who appeared on the scene and rather roughly ordered the fellows off. "I suppose," said I, "that free citizens have a right to wash in a free stream." But the representative of law and order fixed upon me a pair of boiled eyes, and, without trusting his tongue, pointed to a blackboard stuck on a post some little way off. I guessed his meaning and went on. When I reached the inn, I ordered a chop and potatoes and a pint of bitter, and was surprised to find that some other persons were served before me, although they had come in later. Presently I observed one of them in the act of tipping the waiter. "Excuse me, sir," said I, "but that is not fair; you are bribing that man to give you an undue share of attention. I presume you also tip porters at a railway station, and perhaps custom-house officers?" "Of course I do; what's that to you?Mind your own business," was the reply I received. I had evidently