Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/11

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


An apology for adding another page to the overwhelming mass of printed matter laudatory of the genius of Charles Dickens is perhaps necessary. Mine is personal. For a long time I have wished to discharge something of the obligation I have always owed him for the pleasure he has given me. And since in my searches about London I have found how little is left of what was made famous by his pen, another wish has grown—that of recording, before it is too late, the aspect of some of the few remaining inns, bridges, streets, courts, and houses in which he and his characters played their parts. That their demolition is going steadily on was made apparent to me in the summer of 1912, when I was engaged in a hunt for similar relics identified with the pen of Mr. Thackeray. And as these two great writers were contemporaries, my eager footsteps covered much of the ground they utilised in common.

That I may have reproduced nothing unknown to the lovers of Mr. Dickens is true; nor have I made record of everything that is left, much of it lying outside the range of my medium, a charcoal demanding above all else the quality of the picturesque. Then, again, London is far too big, and Mr. Dickens's pen was far too fertile for any one man to crowd into a single volume a tenth of its area or a tithe of his characters and their haunts.