Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/102

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that it was in the second week of June, 1913, and in the afternoon of that day that I made this drawing.

And the "outside" was not altogether a wilderness. A coin of the realm, a large, fat silver coin (it is marvellous how many of these a stranger puts in circulation), won over the gardener who brought me an extra chair; two of my best "stogies" (made in Germany) captured a stable-boy who took a message to my cab-driver telling him when to return for me; and one of my best and blandest smiles rewarded the smart young girl who brought out a tea-tray with the necessary accompaniments. As the sun was sinking a very intelligent third, fourth, or fifth man showed me the exact spot upon which stood the kiosk which Fechter gave Mr. Dickens and where he wrote every day and where he was writing up to within a day of his death and which is now in Cobham Park; and he also showed me the grave in which the "best of birds" lies buried—"Dick who passed away at Gad's Hill Place, October 14, 1860."

There is now a wooden tombstone over it, about as large as a shingle—it might have been made of one—and a bed of pansies lend their fragrance. My doubts as to its genuineness, not of the grave but of the gravestone, have been confirmed by a sight of the original of copper, bearing the above inscription, and engraved by Mr. Dickens's own hand. It belongs to my good friend Mr. Sessler, of Philadelphia, as does also the letter describing how it came into his possession, all of which the reader will find duly set forth in these pages.