+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error


FIFTY-NINE, Mushroom Road, Aladdin New
Town: that is my present address. The
verbal direction which my friends are
requested to remember, when they wish to call,
are the following: Take an Aladdin New
Town (scarlet) omnibus, which puts you
down at the Swillwages, a large white tavern
at the corner of Mushroom Road; turn down
and take the third turning to the right,
by the Wellington Armsbeing particular
not to take the second turning, which has at
the comer the Nelson's Legs. If you go
down to the bottom of the road, you find
a brick-fieldquite an open space and airy.
There we are. The number you have down
in your memory is fifty-nine. But the houses
having been built at intervalsnow on one
side of the way, now on the otherhave been
numbered as they were built, without regard
to order. So it has chanced that our title to be
considered fifty-nine is disputed by the select
preparatory school over the way. The best
plan is to remember that our fifty-nine is on the
right-hand side; and, if you come soon, you
may know the house by a pile of bricks exactly
opposite the parlour window, and a large
puddle, out of which you step in at the gate.
We have not been paved as yet; but we are
very well off for gas, being faced by the Pigeon-
pie and Brick, a large public-house which is,
of nights, really, I may say, quite illuminated.

Arabella liked the house and said,
"Philander, my dear, they are beautiful papers,
quite in good taste," (her Suffolk eyes were
delighted with the roses and the crocuses upon
the walls) "and everything is so clean; nobody
ever having lived in the place yet. Then
look at the cupboards, and consider how nice
it will be to have an outdoor pantry. You
know how our meat has been spoiled in
lodgings by being kept in closets near
the kitchen fire. It really is a beautiful house
for the rent we are asked to pay; and, as for
the neighbourhood, that will improve wonderfully;
for the landlord said that Mushroom
Road is to be built forward and forward in a
straight line, so as to become quite a thoroughfare
connecting London with the country."
And she had visions of holiday people strolling
by of an evening, Londonward, with flowers
in their hands.

"It is a famous house," I said.  "By all
means let us take it." I would gladly have
sought refuge even in an oven from the hot
persecution we had been suffering as lodgers;
I, my wife, and our dear infant, Adeliza
Jane. No Huguenot family ever endured
more at the hands of the Guises than we
had suffered from the landladies of London.
We had been skinned; our joints had been
half-roasted; our wine had been watered;
our coffee chicoried; cats (they told us)
had drunk our milk; rats (they declared)
had eaten our candles. Our beer ran away
of its own accord; we had to eat with
knives that would not cut, and with forks
deficient in prongs; off dirty napery, for the
clean tablecloths were always "at the wash;"
we had been stretched out upon racks in the
form of knotted beds to undergo
excruciating torment from the pinches of black
executioners. At last we fled; and,
remembering that every man's house is his
castle, we sought the shelter of a castle of
our own.

I am quite sure that the Australian
antiquary who shall hereafter write treatises on
ancient London, will not be able, without
help, to picture accurately what has to be
done and suffered by a compact and respectable
little familyas for instance by that
composed of me and Arabella with our baby
when it has made up its mind to set up
house in London. The world has heard in
what way I was driven to become a
householder. There was no peace of home for
us in lodgings. When we determined to
leave Mr. Poolby, I intended in an active way
to take a house at once, according to our
means, furnish it at once, and go into it
at once. There the business would be at
an end. We had only to pay our money
and to have our house. We had been already
directed to half-a-dozen pretty little places.
We settled between ourselves that the rent
we would pay should not exceed thirty
pounds a year. Mr. Mannacrop, in Suffolk,
paid, as we knew, thirty pounds for a
house that accommodated several grown up
daughters and three servants; and had, also,
attached to it a large garden and an orchard.
I had paid rents out of London, which
induced me to believe that, after due allowance
made for the difference in the locality, a