If we could be made moral by Act of Parliament there would be no such things as “ hold ups ” and food sophistication. Of these two evils I should prefer the former had I the choice. It is no more blameworthy, it is less harmful, and it is not likely to become a permanent feature of our social life. A successful “ hold up ” is by the nature of the case self‐advertising. It forms the basis for a “ drama ” or a “ sensation.” It “sells well” and is honoured with “displayed” head lines. On the other hand, a police chase at sixty miles an hour over half a county when the true nature of raspberry jam is in question is unthinkable. Publicity, if you can get it, has, like adversity, its “ sweet uses.” It makes the public “ sit up and take notice” and brings the offence, if not the offender, into the limelight. But the chase of, what A. H. Allen, of Sheffield, once called, “ the poor unfortunate adulterator ” calls frequently for a degree of ingenuity on the part of the executive officers of a local authority that suggests the wonders of detective fiction. The sport may require a good deal of ground bait before the fish is hooked, or, to vary the metaphor, several full dress rehearsals before the one and only performance is staged and the fine of one guinea and costs inflicted. Our “hold up” friend “does time,” and for the period of his sentence can do no further mischief, while the merchant in search of illicit profits seldom gets further than the police court, and if a large business concern which has “ neither a body to be kicked or a soul to be damned ” happens to be the offender, then eminent counsel is briefed, legal entities and quiddities are politely discussed, no one's feelings are hurt, a fine may be inflicted—which, in any case, is relatively trifling and is written off as a bad debt—and “the prisoner leaves the court amid the congratulations of his friends.” In neither case is the slightest social injury inflicted. Bill of Pimlico or Walworth has nothing to lose, the “ directors ” have lost nothing. If the way of transgressors be hard, then the case of the adulterator is the exception which proves the rule.
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