Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/135

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shape the chaotic mass that old Chuzzlewit had put him in charge of, and I had followed him in my mind out of the Court and across the narrow road which leads to Fleet Street and so on past Brick Court corner (Goldsmith's house) until I had lost him in the dense foliage. But I never pursued him any further, being more occupied that year with Mr. Thackeray than with Mr. Dickens. "There was a little plot between Tom Pinch and his sister," says the latter, "that Tom should always come out of the Temple by one way; and that was, past the fountain coming through Fountain Court, he was just to glance down the steps leading into Garden Court, and to look once all round him, and if Ruth had come to meet him, then he would see her … coming briskly up, with the best little laugh upon her face that ever played in opposition to the fountain, and beat it all to nothing."

No Bobby, on this June day, helped me in my search to find the fountain in Fountain Court. The law of the metropolis and the tramp of its guardians stop just outside the arched gate giving on Fleet Street, and A Person in Serviceable Livery looks after you the moment you put foot within the confines of the Temple. Nor are half-crowns of the slightest use; even cigars go a-begging; and friendly conversation, when attempted, ends in a "move-on" gesture. Certain high officials must be approached and with due form; you must have references—good ones, accompanied by a certificate that you are of a sane mind—neither a lunatic, a vagrant, a beggar, or a painter: the latter being especially undesirable by reason of an ungovernable desire to open ham sandwiches and white umbrellas.