Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/55

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room, just big enough for a small table and a dozen encircling chairs. Here, the bottle uncorked, he called my attention to the surgical operations performed on the table top; to the half dozen of old English mezzotints from drawings made of London Bridge during its construction, in 1830; and to the various souvenirs in the way of mugs, old china, and ~ silhouettes of the several sawbones who had enjoyed his hospitality in this little ten-by-twelve box of a room.

Later on, as I sipped the port—and very good port it was (1849)—I scanned the cuts and scars of the table itself, and, not finding either the first name or initials of my friend Mr. Sawyer carved in its top, asked the landlord in all seriousness if he had ever met the distinguished man, a habit one falls into when engaged in my kind of a still hunt. He pursed his lips, consulted the ceiling, asked the full name, gave a cursory glance at the mutilated table top, as if to refresh his memory with the signatures, and remarked:

"I think I remember him but I ain't quite sure—we had a fellow here with a red head named Sawyer, drank Scotch whisky mixed with his beer—went to Australia, I heard. But maybe he's another man."

"That's very curious," I remarked in a hurt, sad way, drawing the bottle closer and refilling my glass. "I thought everybody knew Mr. Sawyer—everybody about Guy's. He graduated, of course, a good many years ago, but I can think of no medical man of his time who is so well known. I come from America, and his reputation has followed him there."

The landlord became interested and, I think, a little ashamed of his memory, unlocked a drawer, took from it a