Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/72

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assorted crowd swaying, stumbling, apologising, swearing, or staring as they came plump up against my foot or the leg of my stool. And yet, strange to say, not one of them called for the police, or threatened violence, or lost his temper. Only one passer-by, and he a Bobby, stopped long enough to touch his hat in respectful salute and remark:

"I shall 'ave to arsk you to move on, sir." But he never did "arsk," nor did he intend to. I got that from the way his forefinger touched his hat brim; from the tone of his voice and from the way he at once went off duty—off from my vicinity.

And I could not have moved on had he "arsked" me. I must either remain where I was, pasted up against the opposite wall, or my sketch must be abandoned; for this was the real, well-authenticated, unquestioned original entrance of the famous George and Vulture Inn.

Through this very door did Mr. Pickwick pass on his release from the Fleet, and a happy evening "it was" (so runs the chronicle) "for at least one of the party, and light and cheerful were the two hearts that emerged from this hospitable door the next morning, the owners thereof being Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Sam Weller," the former of whom was deposited inside the comfortable post-coach with a little dickey behind to which the latter mounted with great agility.

Later on, it will be remembered, they picked up Mr. Sawyer and Mr. Allen and started for Birmingham, via Tewkesbury, there to wait upon the elder Mr. Winkle on behalf of the younger Mr. Winkle, whose love-affair had gotten into a sad tangle.