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Our Street, from the little nook which I occupy in it, and whence I and a fellow-lodger and friend of mine cynically observe it, presents a strange motley scene. We are in a state of transition. We are not as yet in the town, and we have left the country where we were when I came to lodge with Mrs. Cammysole, my excellent landlady. I then took second-floor apartments at No. 17 Waddilove Street, and since, although I have never moved (having various little comforts about me), I find myself living at No. 46 A Pocklington Gardens.
Why is this? Why am I to pay eighteen shillings instead of fifteen? I was quite as happy in Waddilove Street; but the fact is, a great portion of that venerable old district has passed away, and we are being absorbed into the splendid new white-stuccoed
Doric-porticoed genteel Pocklington quarter. Sir Thomas Gibbs Pocklington, M.P. for the borough of Lathanplaster, is the founder of the district and his own fortune. The Pocklington Estate Office is in the Square, on a line with Waddil—with Pocklington Gardens, I mean. The old inn, the Ram and Magpie, where the market-gardeners used to bait, came out this year with a new white face and title, the shield, &c. of the Pocklington Arms. Such a shield it is! Such quarterings! Howard, Cavendish, De Ros, De la Zouche, all mingled together.
Even our house, 46 A, which Mrs. Cammysole has had painted white in compliment to the Gardens of which it now forms part, is a sort of impostor, and has no business to be called Gardens at all. Mr. Gibbs, Sir Thomas’s agent and nephew, is furious at our daring to take the title which belongs to our betters. The very next door (No. 46, the Honourable Mrs. Mountnoddy) is a house of five stories, shooting up proudly into the air, thirty feet above our old high-roofed low-roomed old tenement. It belongs to Captain Bragg, not only the landlord but the son-in-law of Mrs. Cammysole, who lives a couple of hundred yards down the street, at “The Bungalow.” He was the Commander of the Ram Chunder East Indiaman, and has quarrelled with the Pocklingtons ever since he bought houses in the parish.
He it is who will not sell or alter his houses to suit the spirit
of the times. He it is who, though he made the widow Cammysole change the name of her street, will not pull down the house next door, nor the baker’s next, nor the iron-bedstead and feather warehouse ensuing, nor the little barber’s with the pole, nor, I am ashamed to say, the tripe shop, still standing. The barber powders the heads of the great footmen from Pocklington Gardens; they are so big that they can scarcely sit in his little premises. And the old tavern, The East Indiaman, is kept by Bragg’s ship steward, and protests against the Pocklington Arms.
Down the road is Pocklington Chapel, Rev. Oldham Slocum—in brick, with arched windows and a wooden belfry; sober, dingy, and hideous. In the centre of Pocklington Gardens rises St. Waltheof’s, the Rev. Cyril Thuryfer and assistants—a splendid Anglo-Norman edifice, vast, rich, elaborate, bran new, and intensely old. Down Avemary Lane you may hear the clink of the little Romish Chapel bell. And hard by is a large broad-shouldered Ebenezer (Rev. Jonas Gronow), out of the windows of which the hymns come booming all Sunday long.
Going westward along the line we come presently to Comandine House (on a part of the gardens of which Comandine Gardens is about to be erected by his lordship); farther on, “The Pineries,” Mr. and Lady Mary Mango; and so we get into the country, and out of Our Street altogether, as I may say. But in the half mile, over which it may be said to extend, we find all
sorts and conditions of people—from the Right Honourable Lord Comandine down to the present topographer; who, being of no rank, as it were, has the fortune to be treated on almost friendly footing by all, from his lordship down to the tradesman.