Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/369

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s. ix. MAY 10, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.



CONTENTS. No. 228.

NOTES : Dickens's Opium Den, 361 Bacon-Shakespeare, 3rt2-Additions to N.B.D.,' 363 "Paschal" : "Pascua" Easter Day at Beverley, 384 Easter Customs at Taunton and Haseley " Cockertonized " : "Garage" Flint-glass Trade Curious Way of letting Land Colonial Journalism Bishop Kennett's Father, 365 Snodgrass Mourning Sunday Green Candles in Church Industrious Litte- rateur Dryhurst : Columbell, 366.

QUERIES : Downie's Slaughter Black Malibran Reaches of the Thames, 367 Francesca da Rimini English Trans- lations Authors Wanted Portraits Wanted Omar Queries General Sir W. Fawcett Arms Wanted Mar- riage Licence! Richardson Family Autograph Cottage Fashionable Slang of the Past, 368 "Mase"" Potion for the health of England " Exhumation of Henry IV. Madame de Warens Newcastle Silver Marks "Ye gods and little fishes !" 'Aylwin' Lady E. Talbot -Sir Isaac Newton Dragon Tree, 369.

REPLIES: "Only too thankful" " Comically," 370- Gordon, a Place-name Gordon as Russian Surname Napoleon's First Marriage Delagoa and Algoa Hoiiori- ficabilitudinitas, 371 Arms of Le Neve Foster Latin Sentence Erskine Mrs. Opie's Novels Gwyneth King, Language Master Locomotive and Gas Authors Wanted "Buff Week" Greek Epigram Artists' Mis- takes, 372 Kirkby Token found in the Strand "Flapper" Smith of Parson's Green Napoleon's Last Years, 373 Window Glass -" Hakatist" In Praise of Burns Eulogies of the Bible by Huxley and Darwin- Lectern in Durham Cathedral, 374 Smallest Church in England Children's Affirmations Sir John Oldcastle- The West Bourne, 375 "Bar sinister," 376 Wilson Darley Genesis i. 1, 377 Epigram on Women Swayle- cliffe-Last of the Pre- Victorian M P. s Royal Walks, 378.

NOTES ON BOOKS :-The Dean of Ely's In a Minst* r Garden ' Vaux's ' Church Folk-lore ' Boore's ' Wrekin Sketches 'Reviews and Magazines.


DICKENS'S OPIUM DEN. EXCEPT a short note of my own, which appeared in the Globe, 25 March, 1895, there is, I think, no account in existence of the subsequent fortunes of the opium den so graphically described by Dickens in 'Edwin Brood ' A few additional details may, there- fore, be considered not inappropriate to these more permanent columns, especially as the den was pulled down some years ago to make room for a Board-school playground, so that no one will ever see it again. It was situated in New Court, Victoria Street. I visited it many times, and was personally well known to the old couple who kept it. It was worth going to, if only to see a Cnina- man and an Englishwoman so sincerely at- tached to one another. They might without impropriety have been called Darby and Joan. I once took a lady artist to see this interest- ing pair. She was delighted with them, and they with her. The Chinaman even went the length of allowing her to sketch him in the act of smoking. Those who know the dread this people have of anything that suggests publicity will appreciate this con-

cession at its full value. The lady never revisited them, but they often spoke of her and always wished to be kindly remembered to her when they saw me. Another former visitor whom they were never tired of recall- ing was no less a person than our present King. Upon his departure, it appears, His Royal Highness (as he then was) gave the old man a sovereign. He had never for- gotten that coin, although in the lapse of time it had acquired something of a mytho- logical halo. Johnson (for so we always called him) was an epicure, eating very little but requiring that little to be of the best. He was a literary man, of course from the Chinese point of view, and had quite a small library of Chinese books. One of the works on his shelves ran to as many as twenty volumes, and was an historical compilation bearing the mellifluous name * San Kwo Che.' He had a taste for art, and displayed con- spicuously upon his wall for twenty years an amateur effort (the work of a Chinese sailor), being, curiously enough, the picture of an English church. It is now in the posses- sion of a friend of mine. It was sold, with other effects, upon his eviction from his old quarters, including his scales for weighing opium, his opium lamp, his gambling cards and dominoes, two photographs, &c. A fatality seemed to pursue him, for not long had he moved to another den in Angel Gardens before that also was condemned. In fact, he never settled down again, but wandered from lodging to lodging. I never lost sight of him till the day of his decease, which took place in Cornwall Street, in his sixty-fourth year, and after that I traced his widow from one address to another until she was taken in charge by some charitable ladies. The poor old man's opium pipe was as admirable an example of Oriental ingenuity as I have ever seen or heard of. Unable to afford a real pipe, he manufactured a " scratch " one out of an old flageolet and a door-knob. He drilled a small hole in the top of the door-knob, and affixed it by way of bowl to the flageolet (its holes stopped up), which served for stem. The result was a most capable and workmanlike pipe. This is the veritable flageolet pipe alluded to in the 1 Dictionary of London,' while the door-knob which served for its bowl is doubtless what Mr. J. T. Fields mistook for an ink-bottle. The passage is in his * In and Out of Doors with Dickens,' p. 106. "In a miserable court, at night," Mr. Fields tells us,

" we found a haggard old woman blowing at a kind of pipe made of an old ink-bottle, and the words that Dickens put into the mouth of this wretched