Perhaps the most degrading picture of social corruption which any modern realist has ever given to the world.
THE GRANDEE'S HOUSE
It was ten o'clock at night, an hour when the number of those who frequented the streets of the noble city of Lancia was always of the scantiest, but in the depth of winter, when our story opens, with a bitter north-east wind and drenching rain, one would find it difficult to stumble upon a living soul. Not that all had surrendered themselves into the arms of Morpheus, for Lancia as capital of a province, albeit not one of the most important, had learnt to sit up late. But the people used to resort at an early hour to parties, whence they only sallied forth to supper and to bed at eleven o'clock. At that hour many noisy groups could be seen passing along under the shelter of umbrellas, the ladies enveloped in warm woollen cloaks, holding up their petticoats, and the gentlemen all wrapped in their cloaks,