Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/173

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CHAPTER XIII

MR. GREWGIOUS'S OFFICE IN STAPLE INN, WHERE EDWIN DROOD DINED "ONE FOGGY NIGHT"


One cold, raw November day, some two years ago, when at work on the Thackeray series, I leaned over the half-door of the janitor's quarters, located just inside the archway leading to the first quadrangle of Staple Inn, his front windows overlooking Holborn, explained my purpose, was directed to the executors of the dear departed Furnival's Inn,—a great insurance company with a tender heart and an eye for the picturesque; and later on was given a character and a clerk, a most obliging and courteous clerk who became at once responsible for my further actions—and said so to the janitor.

On that occasion my purpose was to make a drawing of the inner courtyard in which Mr. Thackeray hid his mortification (if he did not cool his wrath) when, after having applied to the young Mr. Dickens for permission to illustrate "The Pickwick Papers," he was, as everybody knows, summarily turned down—a fact which he himself admitted in a speech made at a Royal Academy dinner with Mr. Dickens as one of the listeners.

I remember that on that raw November day (1912) the janitor led me through a gate, which he opened with a key,

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