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sir, " as if he didn't know it); " there's a gentleman
been calling for you left his card sent it
to your room, sir." I mildly inquired for the
name? Porter did not knowwould askdid
askin the following manner:— " Stephen!
what was the gemman's name as called on 186?"
I could stand it no longer, and went up-stairs.
Why was I to be thus deprived of the euphonious
name which had descended unblemished
from father to son through many generations? I
objected to being ticketed in this way; I still
object; what right has any man to call me by
the number of my room, I should like to know?
It was intolerable; I felt I was a marked man.
I was henceforth to take my place among felons
in grey clothes, with chains round their legs,
with their badge and number placed where
every one could see it. I might just as well
have 186 written on my back. Can any one
tell me what objection there can be to call me
by my own name? Mrs. Mooner, with that
perversity which, I am sorry to say, is a
distinguishing mark of her character, tells me that
I'm putting myself into a passion about nothing,
and it's quite necessary in a large establishment
to adopt numbers. Such nonsense! I don't
deny that it's all very well to chalk one's
number on the boots, andBut what do
women know about these things? as I said to
Mrs. M., when she replied, with a slight
acclivity of tone, that she didn't want to hear any
more about it. So I asked her if she had ever
been called " 186?" which, I rather think,
settled the question, for she walked straight out
of the room. Well, I won't deny I was terribly
disgusted, and what did not put me into a
better temper was, that I did not find the waiter
as civil as I might have done. I should like to
know what right they had to congregate on the
landing, and laugh as I went by? Is that
civility? But what can one expect when every
one is ticketed like a prize ox? 186!

Dinner came, and it was the same repetition
of insults as before. Waiter, who is a mild man
in appearance, but possessed of a voice of great
power, demands in a soft whisper if I will have
any wine? I assent, and hint that I should like it
directly, hoping that it may make its appearance
before I have quite finished, and am startled by
hearing it shouted out that " 186 'ull take
'arf a pint of sherry, and is in a 'urry." But
why need I go on? it is too melancholy! I fell
into a desponding state, and soon after I had
finished, retreated hastily into the reading-room
which, in my distraction, I took for the smoking-room,
and no sooner lighted a cigar than I was
ignominiously turned out by an officious waiter.
Finding my way to the proper apartment, and
sinking into an easy-chair, I fell into a dreamy
unconscious stupor, the smoke gradually cease
to issue in graceful curls from my mouth, an
ere long I was fast asleep. With the rapidity
with which scenes in sleep only pass before the
vision, I found myself at one time driving a cab
about the streetsthe number of my badge
"186!" which badge I had to show every five
minutes. The cab seemed to fly fasterI was a
railway officiala ticket collectormy number
was still 186! Arriving at the destination of the
train, I found myself transferred to some line
regiment, my "general number," by some extraordinary
fatality, was 186! This was evidently
ny numberI was 186, and 186 was John
Mooner. I groaned under the oppression, till,
turning like the worm that has been trodden
on, and committing some misdemeanour, I was
drummed out of the army, and made a felon for
life! It is needless to add that my number was
the same! I know not what eventually I might
not have become, but one day gome gunpowder
blew up and sent me into the wet dock close by,
at least it appeared so to me, though I am glad
to say it was only a ridiculous waiter, who, in
opening a bottle of soda-water, which he
denared I had ordered, had allowed the cork to
fly out with a noise like a sky-rocket, and for
fear that that would not have been sufficient to
wake me, had obligingly directed it towards me.
The consequence was that my hat was knocked
off my head, and I was wet through. Starting
up, I spluttered forth my anger, asking what he
meant by his abominable clumsiness? His only
reply was:

"Soda-water, sir? 186, I think, sir."

"No, sirno soda-water, sir! I never ordered
any!" I thundered out.

"Beg pard'n, sir. Soda-water for 186, sir
ordered to bring it up."

What was the use of arguing the matter? So
I drank what there was left, and determining to
have it all out on paper, said not another word,
and left the room.

I don't wish to bore any one, and if I say too
much I may, so I only add that on retiring to
rest I was astonished, not to say alarmed, at the
very small size of the bed. The pillow, also,
was evidently wasting away, probably from an
attack of atrophy, while the covering was
ridiculous in quantity and texture. I passed a
most fearful night; to say that I slept would
be simply playing with the truth. I left the
hotel next morningbusiness or no business
am back again in the bosom of my family, and shall
take very good care never to go to the Great
Centrifugal Railway Hotel again.


Now ready, price 1s.,
Uniform with PICKWICK, DAVID COPPERFIELD, BLEAK
HOUSE, &c.,
The Fourth Monthly Part of
A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
With Two Illustrations on Steel by HABLOT K.
BROWNE.
To be completed in Eight Monthly Parts.
CHAPMAN and HALL., 193. Piccadilly, W., AND
"ALL THE YEAR ROUND" Office, 11. Wellington-street
North, London, W.C.

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