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EPILOGUE.

'Tis done: VIRTUE is rewarded  VICE has received its punishment.
    Said we not, in the very opening of this work, that from London branched off two roads, leading to two points totally distinct the one from the other?
    Have we not shown how the one winds its tortuous way through all the noisome dens of crime, chicanery, dissipation, and voluptuousness; and how the other meanders amidst rugged rocks and wearisome acclivities, but having on its way-side the resting-places of rectitude and virtue?
    The youths who set out along those roads,  the elder pursuing the former path, the younger the latter,  have fulfilled the destinies to which their separate ways conducted them.
    The one sleeps in an early grave: the other is the heir-apparent to a throne.
    Yes: and the prophetic words of the hapless Mary-Anne are fulfilled to the letter; for now in their palace at Montoni, do the hero and heroine of our tale, while retrospecting over all they have seen and all they have passed through, devote many a kind regret to the memory of the departed girl who predicted for them all the happiness which they enjoy!
    And that happiness  the world has seen no felicity more perfect.
    Adored by a tender wife,  honoured by her parents, on whose brows his valour placed the diadems which they wear,  and almost worshipped by a grateful nation whom his prowess redeemed from slavery,  Richard Markham knows not a single care.
    On her side,  wedded to him to whom her young heart gave its virgin love,  proud of a husband whose virtues in peace and whose glory in war have shed undying lustre on the name which he bears,  blessed, too, with a lovely boy, whose mind already develops the reflections of his father's splendid qualities, and with a charming girl, who promises to be the heiress of the mother's beauty,  can Isabella be otherwise than happy?
    Kind Reader, who have borne with me so long  one word to thee.
    If amongst the circle of thy friends, there be any who express an aversion to peruse this work,  fearful from its title or from fugitive report that the mind will be shocked more than it can be improved, or the blush of shame excited on the cheek oftener than the tear of sympathy will be drawn from the eye;  if, in a word, a false fastidiousness should prejudge, from its own suppositions or from misrepresentations made to it by others, a book by means of which we have sought to convey many an useful moral and lash many a flagrant abuse,  do you, kind reader, oppose that prejudice, and exclaim  "Peruse ere you condemn!"
    For if, on the one side, we have raked amidst the filth and loathsomeness of society,  have we not, on the other, devoted adequate attention to its bright and glorious phases?
    In exposing the hideous deformity of vice, have we not studied to develope the witching beauty of virtue?
    Have we not taught, in fine, how the example and the philanthropy of one good man can "save more souls and redeem more sinners than all the Bishops that ever wore lawn-sleeves?"
    If, then, the preceding pages be calculated to engender one useful thought  awaken one beneficial sentiment,  the work is not without its value.
    If there be any merit in honesty of purpose and integrity of aim,  then is that merit ours.
    And if, in addition to considerations of this nature, we may presume that so long as we are enabled to afford entertainment, our labours will be rewarded by the approval of the immense audience to whom we address ourselves,  we may with confidence invite attention to a SECOND SERIES of "THE MYSTERIES OF LONDON."

 GEORGE W.M.REYNOLDS

THE END OF THE FIRST SERIES.
    

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