Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/40

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CHAPTER II

IN LANT STREET, WHERE BOB SAWYER HAD HIS LODGINGS, AND ONE OF HIS HAUNTS—"THE SHIP AND SHOVEL"


The location of the exact house was not difficult. Mr. Dickens is still as well known and popular with the present residents of the Borough as he was in the days when, in the height of his fame, he immortalised their streets, inns, and homes. You have only to ask the barmaid at the public on the corner, or the man unloading coals, or the solicitor's clerk, or the secretary, or the Great Person himself. Any one of them will point out the very spot and indulge in all manner of reminiscences in which his aunt, or his father, or his partner's uncle played a prominent part.

The driver of the big team, seen in my sketch, was spokesman this morning.

"Where Bob Sawyer lived? Why right in front of ye. That's the house with the round-top door and white steps. I been living here for forty years and everybody will tell you that Bob Sawyer's house was the wery house in which Mr. Dickens lived when a boy. It's a school now, and if you don't believe it all you got to do is to rap at the door and the lady will tell ye same as me. And there ain't been no difference in my time 'cept that about five year ago she

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