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pretending still to look for lodgings, but in
reality I was looking for a dry archway, or
other covered place with a moderate draught.
Each of the ladies having a cloak or shawl,
besides what they might have in their night-
bags, I thought they might manage pretty
well considering.

While looking out for such a place, and
coming upon nothing but hideous lanes of
mud and rubbish, I was beginning to think
we must content ourselves with getting under
the lee of some lonely wall (at the risk of
being robbed and murderedof course, I kept
this fancy to myself), when passing the door
of a long shed-like house, a tall man smoking
a short pipe, said " Walk in, mate." To this
polite novelty I was about to respond with
alacrity, but the fellow spoilt it by adding,
"Oh, you've got women with you!" and
turned on his heel. But catching sight of a
woman inside whom I took to be his wife, I
instantly went in and accosted her,
representing the predicament of my fair
companions, in which I was immediately
supported by all three in despairing tones
begging the mistress of the house to give
them shelter for the night. The woman
seemed rather moved by this case of real
distress, but said she had no room. "Oh,
put us anywhere! — anywhere!" cried my
poor dripping companions. The woman
hesitated, and as we renewed our entreaties
at this glimpse of hope, she went to speak
with her husband. In a few seconds she
returned, saying she thought it could be
managed; a " stretcher" would be put up
for me in the lodgers' room below, and my
friends could sleep " in the place above,
where they would be quite safe, and to
themselves." Rejoicing at this, and with a thousand
thanks, we bade each other good night, the
ladies following our kind hostess along a dark
passage, and I, groping my way as directed,
towards a door on the left with a light showing
through the chinks.

I advanced by a descending foot-way of
broken bricks and slush till I arrived at the
door, and pushed it open. The room was a
large one, for Melbourne, and as it lay about
a foot and a half lower than the street, the
whole surface was literally flooded by the
day's rain. This was the lodgers' bed-room.
It was full of stretcherssome thirty of
themwith blankets, or rugs, or other rough
covering by way of bed-clothes. Nearly all
were occupied, and the men for the most part
sound asleep, though it was barely nine
o'clock. Many of the beds held two huddled
together, and here and there a complicated
bundle with feet sticking out, looked like
three. In one corner a gruff conversation on
the subject of gold scales and weights was
going on in an under tone; several lay
smoking; others gave an occasional roll and
grunt in a drunken sleep, or muttered in
coherent imprecations. Scarcely any of them
had their clothes off. but I noticed two

exceptionsone of a man who had evidently
taken off everything but his boots (which
clung no doubt from the wet), and a beaver-
skin cap tied under his chin; the other
displayed a pair of immense legs from beneath
his dirty blanket, decked in a pair of scarlet
stockings with yellow clocks, a recent
purchase perhaps from some clown at the circus
at an exorbitant price. Blue shirts and crimson
shirts were also visible at intervals, and
one shirt seemed to be of some drab colour,
with great Orleans plumbs all over it. A
large gold watch with a gaudy chain was
hung upon a nail near one of the sleepers'
heads, and a massive gold chain, and seals
were dangling over the edge of a quart pot
(the watch being safe and softly lodging in
the beer dregs inside) standing on the win
dow-ledge. There could not have been less
than five-and-forty or fifty people here. Of
the few who were awake no one took the
least notice of my entrancea total stranger
being no event where nearly all are total
strangers to the place or to each other.

The landlord of this delectable retreat now
pushed open the door behind me by a lurch
with his starboard shoulder, and placing
himself aginst the wall, being by this time very
drunk, pointed to a stretcher which luckily
had no occupant (having just been sent in),
and holding a tumbler towards me asked
roughly if I'd take a nobler afore turning in.
I thanked himdrank off the brandyand
returned the tumbler. He rolled round
against the door and disappeared.

The room was lighted by one bad candle,
stuck in the neck of a beer-bottle, placed on
a flour-cask near the opposite wall. It flickering
reflection in the dark waters beneath
contributed an additional gleam to the
comfortable scene around. I was standing at this
time on a sort of raised step, or threshold
mound of loose bricks above the level of the
floor, or rather lagoon, of the bed-room,
considering how I should attain my stretcher. I
felt that it would not do to step from stretcher
to stretcher, because if I escaped treading
upon a limb of any of the sleepers, I might
still tip the thing with all upon it clean over;
so I deliberately walked through. From the
inequalities of the ground the depths varied
from six to twelve or fourteen inches. I
mounted my ricketty couchdrew off my
boots, at the imminent risk of upsetting the
concern with my struggles in a seated position
and enveloped myself in the blanket, trust-
ing that my wet clothes would produce a
warm steam on the water-cure principle;
before the realisation of which, being very
tired indeed, I fell asleep.

So much for my bed-room; but now for the
ladies. Miss Dashwood related it to me this
morning directly we were outside the house,
and while walking along, though at every
crisis all three spoke together.

The woman of the house led the way
through a dark narrow passage full of water,

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