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peradventure at Putney. Red brick, stone
window casings, a great many chimney-pots,
a steep flight of steps before the door.
Perhaps the advertisement says that it is
"approached by a carriage drive." I can see that
carriage drive, the mangy gravel, weeds and
grass springing up between; the brown ragged
lawn in the middle; the choked-up flower-beds,
with pieces of broken bottles and fractured
tobacco-pipes, where there were once
geraniums and heliotropes. There must be a
wall in front, and a pair of rusty iron-gates,
or more probably a paint-destitute portal,
scored over with drawings in crayons of
unpopular churchwardens, and fierce denunciations
of the Pope of Rome, the College of
Cardinals, and the New Police Act. This
door is blistered with the sun, dinted by the
peg-tops and hocky-sticks of savage boys. In
the centre you may see a parallelopipedal
patch, where the paint is of a lighter colour,
and where there are marks of bygone screws.
That was where the brass plate was, when
the mansion was occupied by the Reverend
Doctor Brushback. It was called "Smolensko
House" then, and on Sundays and holidays a
goodly procession of youths educated therein
issued from it. A small confectioner's ("sock-
shop," the boys called it) was started in the
adjacent lane, on the sole strength of the
school custom; and Widow Maggle, the green-
grocer, who supplied the establishment with
birch-brooms, actually started her boy Dick
in a cart with a live donkey from her increased
profits. But the Reverend Doctor Brushback,
at the age of fifty-seven, and in a most
unaccountable manner, took it into his head to turn
the wife of his bosom out of doors. Then he
flogged three-fourths of his scholars away, and
starved the remainder. Then he was suspected
of an addiction to strong drinks, and of
breaking Leather's (the shoe, knife, and general
errand boy's) head, because he could not tell
him what was Greek for a boot-jack.
Smolensko House speedily presented that most
melancholy spectacle, a bankrupt school; and
the last time I heard of Doctor Brushback, it
was on a charge (unfounded, of course) at the
Public Office, Bow Street, of being drunk and
disorderly in the gallery of the Standard
Theatre. Was not our mansion, after this,
Minerva House Finishing Academy for
Young Ladies? Surely so. The Misses
Gimp devoted themselves to the task of
tuition with a high sense of its onerous
duties, and strenuously endeavoured to
combine careful maternal supervision with the
advantages of a finished system of polite
education (vide Times). But the
neighbourhood was prejudiced against the
scholastic profession, and the Misses Gimp found
few scholars, and fewer friends. Subsequently,
their crack scholar, Miss Mango, the heiress,
eloped with Mr. De Lypey, professor of dancing,
deportment, and calisthenics. The resident
Parisienne married Mr. Tragacanth, assistant
to Mr. Poppyed, the chemist, and the Misses
Gimp went to ruin or Boulogne. I lost sight
of my mansion about herefor a time at least.
It must, however, have been rented by
Captain Vere de Vere Delamere, and his
family, who paid nobody, and, owing
innumerable quarters for rent, were eventually
persuaded to remove by a bribe from the
landlord. Or was the mansion ever in the
occupation of the celebrated Mr. Nix, who said he
belonged to the Stock Exchange, and removed
in the midst of winter, and at the dead of
night, taking with him, over and above his
own furniture, a few marble mantel-pieces,
register stoves, and other trifles, in the way of
fixtures? Or was this mansion the one taken
by Mr. Pluffy, immensely rich, but very
eccentric, who turned his nephews and nieces
out of doors, painted all the windows a bright
red, kept a tame hyena, and persisted in
standing outside his gate on Sunday mornings
with nothing on, to speak of, save a leather
apron, and a meerschaum, assuring the public
generally that he was Peter the Great?

I glance again at the advertisement, and
find my mansion described as a "noble" one.
In that case, I should say it was in some nice,
marshy, swampy, reedy part of Essex, where
the owls scream, and the frogs croak blithely
at night. There are two stone hawks sculptured
above the gates; a garden, as tangled
and savage-looking as an Indian jungle; a
dried-up fountain; and maimed, broken-
nosed, mildewed statues, tottering on moss
and weed-covered pedestals. In the old time,
the Earl of Elbowsout lived at the "noble"
mansion; but his lordship has resided in
sunny Italy for many years, deriving immense
benefit (not pecuniary, of course) from a
judicious consumption of Professor Paracelsus's
pills. He has an heir; and, whenever
Inspector Beresford forces open the door of
some harmless house in Jermyn Street, with
sledge hammers, you will be pretty sure to
find, among the list of prisoners conveyed to
Bow Street, on a suspicion of indulging in the
forbidden game of chicken-hazard, the names
of Robert Smith or of John Brown; one of
whom, you may be as certain, is no other
than Lord Viscount Hawker, his lordship's
son.

"Convenient Mansion," says the Times,
again. Ah!  I know. A big, square block
of a house, very small windows, iron-barred,
and a high wall inside. Just suitable for
Doctor Muffles's asylum for the insane;
plenty of cold water laid on. Very convenient!
Family Mansion. Plenty of bedrooms,
high gate on the nursery-stairs, stables,
coach-house, and detached room, for the
gardener.—"Picturesque Mansion." Decidedly
picturesque, but damp. Picturesque in
proportion as it is ruinous, and out of all
habitable repair. Thomas Hood wrote a
beautiful poem once, of a Picturesque
MansionA Haunted Houseand which has
haunted me ever since. The choked-up moat;
the obscene birds, that flapped their wings

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