Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/28

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touching. Seen from one end, in foreshortened perspective, it presents a continuous wabble from sill to eaves, its roof-line sagging, its chimney out of plumb, the shorter flues climbing up on the taller ones as if struggling for better air, the wonder being that it had not long ago lost all heart, and sunk into hopeless ruin. Looked at close by, however, say from beneath the chambermaid's gallery, it resolves itself to your glad surprise into quite another kind of rookery, putting to flight all your first conclusions; the same sort of surprise that comes to a man who, having made up his mind to ignore some approaching shabby person, finds himself bowing and scraping when he gets near enough to look into the kindly eyes and reassuring face of the misjudged individual.

It did not take me many minutes to change my own opinion of "George Inn."

Here was a welcome, inviting door, though its top sill was so low that off would go your hat if you forgot to stoop politely when you crossed its threshold, while the cosy little hall was so narrow that a trunk must go endways before it could reach the stairs that led to the bedrooms above. Here within a few feet of the door was a jolly little snuggery, made bright with pewter and glass and inviting easy chairs—one or two; a table, and a barmaid the whole redolent of the fumes of old Pineapple rum—the snuggery, of course, not the barmaid.

Here, too, within reach of the rummery, was a coffee-room, its yard wall lighted by a line of windows propping up a smoke-dried ceiling, their rays falling on a row of white-clothed tables, framed in settles, with pew backs—so high that the fellow in the next pew could by no possible stretch of