Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/36

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All of this harrowing scene had taken place in the little and bigger room—none of them are very big—through which I was then sauntering, the landlady pointing out each bit of furniture as real to her as if Wardle himself had sent them to her with his compliments. Not the rooms, remember, in which the above events were supposed to have taken place, nor the room in which various admirers of Mr. Dickens believe they might have taken place, but the rooms in which they really did take place.

And here it will be just as well for me to inform my reader that if he entertains the slightest doubt of the truth of this and similar statements, and feels disposed to accentuate these doubts by indulging in loud and contemptuous pooh-poohs, he might better puff them all out at this first chapter, and then close the book, for he will be treated to no other point of view should he continue to the end.

Not to believe that Sam Weller and Pecksniff and David Copperfield, Peggotty, Little Dorrit, Micawber, Tom Pinch, and Oliver, and all the rest of them lived and moved and had their being, would be like doubting that Santa Claus, Robinson Crusoe, and Peter Pan ever lived.

As proof of the verity of the elopement incident, it may be said that if the high-post bedstead, steps, and fireplace in the room I have just described are not convincing, what shall be thought of the set-up-on-end coffin-shaped clock below stairs, which struck the hours while the timid fluttering creature slept, which has ticked away from the same corner of the coffee-room ever since, and to which the landlady had called my special attention.

"Yes, long before my day," she observed, as on our re-