Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/126

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bebuttoned porter (2 shillings and 6) placed my stool on the top step of the club's entrance, my back braced this time against a panel framing the door.

I could now see over the heads of the crowd which was rapidly thinning out—too rapidly, for the carts in my foreground were disappearing one after another, uncovering a space far too open for effective composition in black and white. So I hired a grocer's wagon to stand still, one with supplies for the club. I began negotiations by suggesting that it was about feeding time for man and beast; that my sketch would finish in half an hour; that the Bobby (I had, as usual, made friends with the authorities before I started to work) would take care that no one raided his stock; and wound up by stating that I had the price of a beer, with the necessary additions—either a chop or a dish of tripe at his good pleasure—somewhere about my clothes, if I could find it—and I could. All of which worked like a charm, no one of us being better pleased than the rickety, knock-kneed, spiral-spring-fed beast rooting for the last grain of oats hidden away in the bottom of his nose-bag.

With a strong dark now against my strongest light, I could indicate space and aerial perspective. I could also bring into their proper plane the rows of stalls fringing the market buildings—from which Tom Pinch and his sister Ruth bought their vegetables when the two went to house-keeping.

"In most of these morning excursions Ruth accompanied him. As their landlord was always up and away at his business (whatever that might be, no one seemed to know) at a very early hour, the habits of the people of the house