Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/105

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very staircase consisting of three flights,' down which the girl had hurried at midnight to meet Mr. Brownlow and Rose Maylie and from which she afterward started back home only to be killed by Bill Sikes. All of which Bobby absorbed with his left ear cupped toward me, his eyes roaming over the hurrying mob, alert and ready for immediate action, his brain intent upon the constantly shifting kaleidoscope before him.

While he was disentangling a push-cart from the hind wheel of a furniture van, I made an inventory of the several parts of the Bridge itself, comparing them with the description given in "Oliver Twist," especially the left-hand stairs where the meeting took place, and which are the same to-day as in Nancy's time. "Part of the bridge; consisting of three flights. Just below the end of the second, going down, the stone wall on the left terminates in an ornamental pilaster facing towards the Thames. At this point the lower steps widen: so that a person turning that angle of the wall is necessarily unseen by any others on the stairs who chance to be above him, if only a step."

Nor was it difficult with the stage-setting before me to recall the scene itself.

"The church clocks chimed three-quarters past eleven," runs the chronicle, "as two figures emerged on London Bridge. One, which advanced with a swift and rapid step, was that of a woman, who looked eagerly about her as though in quest of some expected object; the other figure was that of a man, who slunk along in the deepest shadow he could find, and, at some distance, accommodated his pace to hers: stopping when she stopped: and, as she moved again, creep-