Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/80

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CHAPTER V

THE BULL AT ROCHESTER, WHERE DOCTOR SLAMMER CHALLENGED MR. JINGLE AND MR. WINKLE WAS PUT TO BED


Not to have dropped one's luggage at The Bull, in Rochester, is to be counted outside the pale of good society. Half the nobility of England, to say nothing of distinguished commoners from every part of the Empire, have enjoyed its hospitality; and this dates a long way back, as can be seen from the many framed autograph letters addressed to Mr. Birch, once proprietor of the Inn.

In 1836 Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and her daughter the Princess Victoria,—afterward England's Queen,—with their suite changed horses here on their way to Dartforth; "Each post boy to receive 6d. per mile, 11s. to be paid per pair for horses, including hostlers and toll gates."

In 1837 His Serene Highness the Prince of Leiningen ordered "two setts of four horses, the Best with careful drivers to change at the Rose Inn, Sitting Bourne."

On March 9 (no year) Mr. Tennyson ordered and occupied "a well-aired bed room (with dressing room) also a well-aired Sitting Room and fires lighted."

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