Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/142

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CHAPTER X

JOHN FORSTER’S HOUSE AT NO. 58 LINCOLN’S INN FIELDS


Here it was that Mr. Dickens for the first time read "The Chimes,"—and in that very room behind the window-panes. seen in my sketch;—and behind the same panes, no doubt, if one can judge from the purple tones in the wavy glass which only great age can give. Here Mr. Tulkinghorn defied the Frenchwoman; here he plotted against Lady Dedlock, and here he was found one morning "lying face down on the floor, shot through the heart." And here, to-day, true to its traditions it is still a mansion "let off in sets of chambers," where, to quote the author of "Bleak House," "lawyers lie like maggots in nuts."

And many of the near-by dwellings famous in the old days still remain intact, their only signs of decrepitude being those that the years of mould and smoke produce. Newcastle House, the residence of the great Duke of Newcastle, built by Inigo Jones in 1686, still stands erect in its impressive aloofness; Lindsay House, the home of the Earl of Lindsay, that dates from 1668, shows almost the same facade given in an old print. Many others, too, on the west and south side of Lincoln’s Inn Fields still retain all their old-time dignity.

The Square itself, once a wide-open common where in 1683 Lord Russell was executed for a crime he did not commit, has boasted a fence since 1735, and to-day is one of

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