Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/153

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"You can. Come in. It was over in the corner between the fireplace and the wall where they say they piled the cushions."

There is no use in my describing the room, my sketch tells the story.

Just at this juncture, a faded, half-sized little woman with a face as shrivelled as a last year's apple, one bird-claw hand gripping a dingy, black silk wrap, moved into the room. She had overheard my inquiry and wanted to be of assistance.

"I can tell you anything you want to know, sir. I've been here more than forty-six years. My name is —— and I am in charge of the outside work of ——" and she gave me her name and occupation, both of which I forget, and which, if I could remember, I would not put into print.

"This room," she continued, "is where all the business of the church is done, and there hasn't been a tuppence spent on it since I've been here; and it looks just as it did when I first came. So I suppose it is just the same as when Maggy and Little Dorrit spent the night over there. Step this way and I'll show you the very spot. Right here between this fender and the corner of that wall. Wait, I'll move the chair."

I warmed to her at once. She did not tell me that Mr. Dickens, who, as a boy, lived in this Borough and therefore knew the inside and outside of St. George's Church, Southwark, better than he did the inside and outside of St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey, and who, in casting about for some place where Little Dorrit could rest her weary feet, had recalled this same vestry, driving in, no doubt, from Gad's