Page:Works of Charles Dickens, ed. Lang - Volume 1.djvu/20

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of the watchman's cry, "Four o'clock, and a misty morning!" in Aberdeen. The watch has gone, and nobody boxes it; nobody "mills a Charlie;" nobody dresses like the watch, and wakes the sleeping City with the yell, "Three o'clock, and an earthquake!"—a simple pastime of our ancestors. The City itself is an altered scene. Oysters are no longer the cheap consolation of poverty, but the costly and infrequent adornment of rich men's tables. The simple bivalve has fallen under the suspicion of sanitary science, for we allow doctors to tell us what to avoid. In Mr. Pickwick's day, no man cared a doit for sanitary science, and the hero himself fears nothing but lemon in milk-punch. The mere phrase, "half price at the theatre," "by himself surprises." Half price is as extinct as the picturesque contemporary custom of hanging men in chains. Mr. Pickwick may often have seen a man hanged in chains; he may even, like Rogers, have seen Townley's head on Temple Bar. And Temple Bar, too, has gone, with many a place which Mr. Pickwick knew. Cheapside is a new Cheapside, not that familiar to Mr. Pickwick and to George de Barnwell. Queen Victoria Street and the Holborn Viaduct have clean abolished the old houses that rose thereabouts after the Great Fire. It has been justly observed that Goswell Street is now no place for Mr. Pickwick's habitation, nor would Mr. Allen "knock double knocks on the door of the Borough Market." The inns where Mr. Pickwick took his ease in the City are no more to be found than that wherein the mad Prince drank with Poins and the Fat Knight; even Leadenhall Market is swept and garnished. The middle classes about Mr. Pickwick's time instituted their oldest clubs, such as the Athenæum and Sidney Scraper's Club, where, as her Majesty's Guards truly observed, the middle classes "do themselves very well." Mr. Winkle would now belong to the