Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/110

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


saw from his manner, and when I had finished he turned to me, paused for an instant as if thinking out the details, and in a thoughtful tone said:

"I had something happen to me might interest you, and if you'll stay here a minute until I straighten out that cove who's trying to crowd his cart in between that wagon and the footway I'll tell you about it. Oh—it's all right; he's moved on. I had a woman case once which came pretty near being rather savage on me. There wasn't any murder to it like your friend Nancy, but it might have been. I was over round the church—in the Borough—you can see the tower if you twist your head. There's a kind of small park over there, close to the town hall, Southwark, where the women take their children in the afternoon and on hot nights. One night I came up against a woman sitting on a bench; she had a baby in her arms, and, as it was after hours, I told her she'd better take it home—quite polite-like—when she began to curse, and I saw right away she was staggering drunk. I got fast hold of her then and put her up on her feet, and she started to strike back, and it was all I could do to get her in—with the baby in one arm—I had to carry the kiddie—she doing all she could to break away from my other hand.

"His Worship listened to her story and she showed her arm, which was some red, but I couldn't help it for fear I'd drop the baby. His Worship said, 'I shall have to hold you, officer, for cruelty' that, you see, would have been dismissal for me, abusing a woman with a child in her arms and then he says to the woman: 'You can go.'

"'May I speak, Your Worship?' I says. 'What I want