Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/64

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don't sit near the door where there'll be a draught. This way, sir."

I followed through the narrow, old-fashioned brownish hall covered with oilcloth, flanked with old-fashioned mahogany chairs, a jar for old-fashioned wet umbrellas in one corner and a hat-rack in the other, and passed out into a small, cramped, disheartened garden into which was thrust a begrimed, blackened, dilapidated back extension with one large end window—large in contrast with the dimensions of the wall in which it was set, as can be seen from my sketch—with the window wide open.

"Now, please come over here so you can see the end and the side wall and the roof. Now, right inside of that little bit of a box of a place—and it's only one room, as you can see—Mr. Dickens wrote the last chapters of 'Pickwick.' I can tell you just how big it is—it is only ten feet long and eight feet wide and eight feet high, and in one corner next to the hall where we entered is a fireplace, no bigger than a work-basket, holding about two handfuls of coal. His writing-table was moved close to this window, where he could look out onto the garden. Isn't it pitiful to think how he suffered when he was young?"

I looked about me, taking in the low brick wall dividing the burial plot in which I stood from the burial plot next door, noted the starved lilac-bush, robbed of most of its breakable branches by relic hunters, scanned the heaped-up garden bed—not a spear of grass, just heaped-up brown earth like a new-filled grave; counted the pale consumptive flowers, their drooping heads clinging to decrepit stalks and wabbly stems, and then, glancing at the sky, and the brave