IN DICKENS'S LONDON
walls lined with odd pictures, old engravings, autographed letters all framed under glass, the side-table set out in silver plate, the mantel capped with a sun-moon-and-stars clock, flanked by glittering side candelabra, their sconces decorated with tinkling glass earrings:—each telling the story of The Bull's earlier days.
So real was it all that before I opened my trap I began to revive my memory of the text by comparing it with what lay before me, particularly the cramped, jammed-together hall with that same twisted staircase leading to the ballroom above, where Jingle, accompanied by Mr. Tupman, hailed the same waiter later on with:
"'What's going forward?'
"'Ball, Sir,' said the waiter.
"'No, Sir, not Assembly, Sir. Ball for the benefit of a charity, Sir.'
"'Many fine women in this town, Sir, do you know,' inquired Mr. Tupman with great interest.
"'Splendid capital. Kent, Sir everybody knows Kent apples, cherries, hops and women. Glass of wine, Sir?'
"'With great pleasure,' replied Mr. Tupman. The stranger filled and emptied.
"'I should like very much to go,' replied Mr. Tupman, resuming the subject of the ball. 'Very much.'
"'Tickets at the bar, Sir,' interposed the waiter. 'Half a guinea each, Sir.'"
As for this ballroom, if anybody, since those hilarious