Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/191

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made sacred by the "congregated bones of the great men of all times"?

Yet have a sketch of Charles Dickens's grave I must, or my series would be incomplete.

So, timidly and with a certain shamed hesitancy, I began on the beadle.

He listened to my story patiently and calmly; seemed to be revolving it over in his mind; told me to abide by a certain pew until he returned; whispered confidentially in the ear of a fellow beadle, who turned me over to a sexton, who then introduced me to a verger, who said that I should come with him, which I did, the route lying through the door seen in the left hand of my sketch into an opening with columns and begrimed walls, round the outside of the Abbey, as far as a square building and up a flight of steps to a door marked "Office."

I realised now my position. I was to be confronted with a Dignitary of the Church of England; cross-examined as to my purpose in making the drawing and the uses to which it would be put; pumped dry as to my acquaintances in London; asked pointedly for references and then told to call again. I even glanced down at my clothes, wondering whether the clerk who took my card to the High Dignitary in the adjoining room would be unfavourably impressed at my appearance, whether he would make proper allowance for my painting jacket; wondering, too, whether I should not have worn my Prince Albert coat, silk hat, yellow gloves, and a gardenia in my buttonhole, and determining to do so when I called again, should I detect the slightest sign of disapproval in the Dignitary's eye.