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to me one morning that I could increase
my income by establishing a sale in the
metropolis for Suffolk pokers, I at once came
to town. The pokers in question I call
Suffolk, because I have seen them in that
county, and their peculiarity consists in their
being four-legged. They have four little legs
projecting in such a way, that if ever by any
chance a poker, when red-hot, should be
placed upon the carpet, the red-hot end would
be raised into the air by a couple of those
legs, and the carpet would not suffer damage.
Any stimulus to the poker trade would of
course otherwise benefit me by causing an
increased demand for coals. Every housewife
knows how the coals go when they are
poked; and I have no hesitation in saying
that, in my opinion, the coal trade in this
country might be doubled, if there could be
placed in every man's hand such a poker as
he could comfortably leave to become red-hot
in his grate to assist in maintaining brisk

So I came to London, and because I had
only myself to cater for, I thought that I
ought not to afford more for a lodging than
the sum paid by a large class of single
lodgers: sixteen shillings a week, boots extra.
The doors of lodgings of that kind I found to
be commonly infested with pewter pots, and
as I made a law to myself that I would engage
to live in no house where a dirty fellow
creature was the first thing visible in the
door-way, or beerpots were established pieces
of hall-furniture, my search was long. The
ordinary accommodation offered to me for my
money was a front parlour, containing chiefly
an old carpet and a stringy rug, such a table
as persons are supposed in the Tottenham
Court Road and elsewhere to want to buy
when they are about to marry, five rose-
stained chairs with dirty cane seats, and a
horsehair sofa that appeared to have been
bought at an auction, sold and rebought over
and over again for the last hundred years. If
there were no natural cupboards in the
room, there was substituted for the sofa a
small piece of ill-made furniture which was a
mongrel between a chiffonier and a
side-board. There were always framed objects
hung against the wall, Madame Cerito, King
George the Fourth, or perhaps the formal
enrolment of the late Mr.Tomkins as an
Independent Odd-Fellow. A small looking-glass
surrounded with pink paper crimped
like codfish, and covered with fly-stains, was
generally placed over the grate. There was
an imitation of curtains made of dirty muslin
fastened to the one window, of which the
bottom panes were commonly obstructed by
a wire blind that had never been washed.
The bed-room was smaller, dirtier, less
carefully got up, nearly half filled by the small
French bed over which hung a tent of smoky
looking dimity from a pole fixed into the
wall. In the course of my search I found
exhibited an utter disregard for the feelings
of departing lodgers. One landlady did not
scruple to walk coolly with me into the untidy
bedroom of a desolated Frenchman, and hold
forth upon it reckless of the fact that Monsieur
was buttoning his very yellow shirt under his
beard, and looked on the invasion as an act
of war.

At last I found in a street abutting on the
Hampstead Road a clean pair of rooms, in a
clean house, kept by clean people. The
furniture was of the usual kind, differing from
that I had before seen onlybut therefore
vastlyin the cleanliness of its condition. As
there were natural cupboards in the room,
there should have been a sofa, but instead of
that there was in this particular parlour a
piccolo piano. It was kept locked, and had
it not been locked, / could never have played
a tune upon it, bless you; but there it was,
and it was a great piece of respectability.

That was my first lodging in London. We
began well. I have a mania for washing
myself, and came from the borders of the sea,
desiring the use of water on a large scale.
I could get it there. I never got it again to
my heart's content, but there I had unlimited
allowance. When I came out of the bedroom
into the parlour I found always a thoroughly
clean breakfast table. Furthermore the
landlady was a good woman who never
cheated me; her weekly accounts of stewardship
on rny behalf were altogether just. She
was a disciplinarian in her way, and I hope
I have not lost the dignified note in which
she declined to grant my request for a latch
key. The piano was upon her mind, but,
poor soul, I fancy there were other things
upon it too. She had some children who
used to come and look at me through the
keyhole when they had nothing else to do, the
eldest a girl of ten, Eliza. After I had been
in the rooms about a week the servant
disappeared, and that little girl Eliza took her
place. There should have been other lodgers,
but the rooms were vacant. I thought, however,
that a weary step which was to be heard
every night, always after midnight, mounting
from the street door up towards the roof,
belonged to somebody whom I had never
seen. Mr.Tetherby, the husband of my
landlady, used to come in just before midnight,
and to remain at home until the next afternoon.
Poor Mrs.Tetherby looked very wan,
and I was sorry for her.

As per agreement, she was bound to cook
a dinner for me when I wanted it, but for
the first week or two, in hope of a stirring
poker trade, I was so busy hunting about
London that I dined at a chop-house always,
and did not return home till dusk. At last, a
day came when I wanted to dine hastily at
home, and in an evil hour ordered up the
bread and sent out for some cooked beef and
beer. I had now and then sent for such beef
for supper; there was a shop at which it could
be bought in the immediate neighbourhood.
A few days afterwards, I made a request for