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THE shop of Mr. Cornelius Vampi stood in a
noisy crowded thoroughfare in the vicinity of
Tottenham-court-road. The street in which
Mr. Vampi's residence was situated was one of
those which are only to be found in poor
neighbourhoods, and which are characterised by
extreme stagnation during the daytime, and a
mighty confusion and stir after nightfall. It
was one of those streets in which itinerant
vendors of vegetables, fried fish, periwinkles, and
other necessaries of the poor man's life, have
constituted to themselves the right of establishing
their stalls in a long line on the edge of the
footway, with a distinct intention of rivalling
their competitors in the shops, at whose very
doors they have planted their barrows, and
underselling them as far as it is possible in so
cheap a neighbourhood.

There seem to be, however, customers
enough for both. On a Saturday night the
shops on either side of the way, and the two
lines of stalls facing the shops, have both of
them plenty of customers, and appear both to
be doing a brisk business, if a cheap. Perhaps
the stalls get on the whole the most custom.
Their owners make so much noise, are so confident
in the goodness of their own wares, are so
importunate with the passers-by, have such an
insinuating way of thrusting a handful of
onions, or a bunch of greens, under the noses
of hesitating housewives, that it is almost
impossible to resist their wiles, without at least
falling a victim to the extent of a few lettuces,
or a bundle of turnips. It is a curious bewildering
scene, and the flare of the candles, screened
with paper, which belong to the itinerants, and of
the gas-jets, with no screens at all, which blaze
and roar in the open shops, make the place quite
as light as it is in the (November) daylight,
not to say a good deal lighter. Meantime, the
costermongers roar to you as you pass, the
butchers in front of their houses solicit your
patronage in most emphatic terms, and the
ballad-singer, with the group of children and
the watchful eye, contributes his dismal notes
to swell the general uproar.

It has been said that, in the thoroughfare with
which we have to do, the rows of stalls are ranged
in front of the shops, and are distinctly intended
to compete with them for public favour and
patronage, and it is in this point that Mr.
Cornelius Vampi has an advantage over his
neighbours. There are no costermongers in
Mr. Vampi's line, for Mr. Vampi is a herbalist
and a seedsman, and a seller of corn-plaisters
and of all sorts of drugs, and he has even a
plaster-cast of a horse in his window to intimate
that medicines adapted to the stomachs of the
inferior animals may be obtained at his emporium,
while as to the lozenges for coughs and lozenges
for dyspepsia, and for any other human or
inhuman ailment which can be conceived, they
even rival the collection of boxes of ointment
which always abound to so alarming an extent
in the poorer neighbourhoods of the metropolis.

But it must not be supposed that Mr. Vampi's
shop was, in the strict sense of the word, a
chemist's shop. There were no red and green and
amber-coloured bottles in the window, nor was
there any coloured lamp over the door, nor any
intimation in words to suggest that the business
was a druggist's. "Cornelius Vampi, Herbalist,"
was all that was inscribed, and that in letters
which were obscure from dirt and antiquity.
Nor was the inside of the shop more suggestive
of pharmacy than the exterior. Where were
the rows of brilliant bottles labelled "Sp:
Mind:" or "Tinct: Ammon:" or the drawers
"Pulv: Col:" and "Carb: Sod:"? Where
were the glass-cases full of perfumery, and
soaps, and dentifrices, and pastilles? There
were none of these. No china jars of leeches,
no mahogany hall chairsalways for inexplicable
reasonsso much affected by chemists, no
lemonade bottles, nor gazogene ready to pump
out soda-water for the thirsty. Lastly, there
was no pale, mild-eyed, gentlemanly creature,
dressed in black, and wearing a white apron and
spectacles, behind the counter, ready to give
you advice gratis, or to pull out your teeth in
the back shop.

Mr. Cornelius Vampi's shop was a herbalist's
shop, and this you certainly felt very strongly
when you got inside it. The herbs stared you
in the face in every direction, and look where
you would. They hungthese were the
commoner kindsin masses from the ceiling. They
reposed on shelves all round the shop in bundles,
neatly labelled. You felt that all the little
drawers were full of them, indeed most of these
drawers were inscribedand that in plain