It began, at least, years before the world being rocked to and fro revealed in the pause between each of its heavings some startling suggestion of a new arrangement of its kaleidoscopic particles, and then immediately 3. Re-arrangement, and another and another until all belief in a permanency of design seemed lost, and the inhabitants of the earth waited, helplessly gazing at changing stars and colours in a degree of mental chaos. Its opening incidents may be dated from a period when people still had reason to believe in permanency and had indeed many of them — sometimes through ingenuousness, sometimes through stupidity of type — acquired a singular confidence in the importance and stability of their posses sions, desires, ambitions and forms of conviction. London at the time, in common with other great capitals, felt itself rather final though priding itself on being much more ﬂuid and adaptable than it had been fifty years previously. In speaking of itself it at least dealt with fixed customs, and conditions and established facts connected with them — which gave rise to brilliant or dull-witticisms.