Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/237

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219
LONDON.

you can see the room, if you like," he added, with a burst of hospitality, as the almighty sixpence touched his palm.

Up they went, over the worn stairs; and, finding the door locked, solemnly touched the brass knob, read the name "Ed Peck" on the plate, and wiped their feet on a very dirty mat. It was ridiculous, of course; but hero-worship is not the worst of modern follies, and when one's hero has won from the world some of its heartiest smiles and tears one may be forgiven for a little sentiment in a dark entry.

Next they went to the Saracen's Head, where Mr. Squeers stopped when in London. The odd old place looked as if it hadn't changed a particle. There was the wooden gallery outside, where the chamber-maids stood to see the coach off; the archway under which poor Nicholas drove that cold morning; the office, or bar, where the miserable little boys shivered while they took alternate sips out of one mug, and bolted hunches of bread and butter as Squeers "nagged" them in private and talked to them like a father in public. Livy was tempted to bring away a little porter-pot hanging outside the