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London empties itself, and go in again when it
fills. I saw them arrive on the evening when I
myself took possession, and they arrived with
the flat pint of beer, and their bed in a bundle.
The old man is a weak old man, and appeared
to me to get the bed down the kitchen stairs by
tumbling down with and upon it. They make
their bed in the lowest and remotest corner of
the basement, and they smell of bed, and have no
possession but bed: unless it be (which I rather
infer from an under-current of flavour in them)
cheese. I know their name, through the chance
of having called the wife's attention, at half-past
nine on the second evening of our acquaintance,
to the circumstance of there being some one at
the house door; when she apologetically
explained, "It's on'y Mister Klem." What
becomes of Mr. Klem all day, or when he goes
out, or why, is a mystery I cannot penetrate;
but at half-past nine he never fails to turn up
on the door-step with the flat pint of beer. And
the pint of beer, flat as it is, is so much more
important than himself, that it always seems to
my fancy as if it had found him drivelling in
the street and had humanely brought him home.
In making his way below, Mr. Klem never goes
down the middle of the passage, like another
Christian, but shuffles against the wall as if
entreating me to take notice that he is occupying
as little space as possible in the house; and
whenever I come upon him face to face, he backs
from me in fascinated confusion. The most
extraordinary circumstance I have traced in connexion
with this aged couple, is, that there is a Miss Klem,
their daughter, apparently ten years older than
either of them, who has also a bed and smells
of it, and carries it about the earth at dusk and
hides it in deserted houses. I came into this
piece of knowledge through Mrs. Klem's
beseeching me to sanction the sheltering of Miss
Klem under that roof for a single night,
"between her takin' care of the upper part of a
'ouse in Pall Mall which the family of his back,
and another 'ouse in Serjameses-street, which
the family of leaves towng termorrer." I gave
my gracious consent (having nothing that I know
of to do with it), and in the shadowy hours Miss
Klem became perceptible on the door-step,
wrestling with a bed in a bundle. Where she
made it up for the night I cannot positively
state, but, I think, in a sink. I know that with
the instinct of a reptile or an insect, she stowed it
and herself away in deep obscurity. In the Klem
family, I have noticed another remarkable gift of
nature, and that is a power they possess of
converting everything into flue. Such broken
victuals as they take by stealth, appear (whatever
the nature of the viands) invariably to
generate flue; and even the nightly pint of beer,
instead of assimilating naturally, strikes me as
breaking out in that form, equally on the shabby
gown of Mrs. Klem, and the threadbare coat of
her husband.

Mrs. Klem has no idea of my nameas to
Mr. Klem, he has no idea of anythingand only
knows me as her good gentleman. Thus, if
doubtful whether I am in my room or no, Mrs.
Klem taps at the door and says, "Is my good
gentleman here?" Or, if a messenger desiring
to see me were consistent with my solitude, she
would show him in with "Here is my good
gentleman." I find this to be a generic custom.
For, I meant to have observed before now, that
in its Arcadian time all my part of London is
indistinctly pervaded by the Klem species. They
creep about with beds, and go to bed in miles
of deserted houses. They hold no companionship,
except that sometimes, after dark, two of
them will emerge from opposite houses, and
meet in the middle of the road as on neutral
ground, or will peep from adjoining houses over
an interposing barrier of area railings, and
compare a few reserved mistrustful notes respecting
their good ladies or good gentlemen. This I have
discovered in the course of various solitary
rambles I have taken Northward from my
retirement, along the awful perspectives of
Wimpole-street, Harley-street, and similar frowning
regions. Their effect would be scarcely
distinguishable from that of the primeval forests, but
for the Klem stragglers; these may be dimly
observed, when the heavy shadows fall, flitting
to and fro, putting up the door-chain, taking in
the pint of beer, lowering like phantoms at the
dark parlour windows, or secretly consorting
underground with the dust-bin and the water
cistern.

In the Burlington Arcade, I observe, with
peculiar pleasure, a primitive state of manners
to have superseded the baneful influences of
ultra civilisation. Nothing can surpass the
innocence of the ladies' shoe-shops, the artificial
flower repositories, and the head-dress dep├┤ts.
They are in strange hands at this time of year
hands of unaccustomed persons, who are
imperfectly acquainted with the prices of the goods,
and contemplate them with unsophisticated
delight and wonder. The children of these virtuous
people exchange familiarities in the Arcade, and
temper the asperity of the two tall beadles.
Their youthful prattle blends in an unwonted
manner with the harmonious shade of the scene,
and the general effect is, as of the voices of birds
in a grove. In this happy restoration of the
golden time, it has been my privilege even to see
the bigger beadle's wife. She brought him his
dinner in a basin, and he ate it in his arm-chair,
and afterwards fell asleep like a satiated child. At
Mr. Truefitt's, the excellent hairdresser's, they
are learning French to beguile the time; and
even the few solitaries left on guard at Mr.
Atkinson's, the perfumer's round the corner
(generally the most inexorable gentlemen in London,
and the most scornful of three-and-sixpence),
condescend a little as they drowsily bide or recal
their turn for chasing the ebbing Neptune on
the ribbed sea-sand. From Messrs. Hunt and
Roskell's, the jewellers, all things are absent
but the precious stones, and the gold and silver,
and the soldierly pensioner at the door with his
decorated breast. I might stand night and day
for a month to come, in Saville-row, with my
tongue out, yet not find a doctor to look at it
for love or money. The dentists' instruments