Cts from the said Henry Merrifield, ladies and gentlemen, [_referring to
his notes_] I paid two visits last week to the offices of Messrs.
Hopwood & Co., of 6, Carmichael Lane, Walbrook, described in fresh paint
on their door as Shipping and General Agents; and the conclusion I
arrived at was that Messrs. Hopwood & Co. were a myth and their offices
a blind, the latter consisting of a small room on the ground floor,
eight foot by twelve, and their staff of the caretakers of the
premises--Mr. and Mrs. Sweasy--an old woman and her husband---- ROOPE.
[_To_ DUNNING.] If I may venture to interpose again, what on earth have
Messrs. Hopwood----? SIR RANDLE. Yes, what have Messrs. Hopwood----?
BERTRAM. [_Over his shoulder._] Ho! What have Messrs. Hopwood----!
ROOPE. [_To_ BERTRAM, _pointing to_ DUNNING.] I am addressing _this_
gentleman, dear excellent friend---- DUNNING. [_To_ ROOPE.] I'll tell
you, sir. [_Incisively._] It's to the bogus firm of Hopwood & Co. that
the bulk of the volumes of Mr. Mackworth's new book have been consigned.
BERTRAM. [_Getting off the table, eagerly._] Dunning has seen them, I
mean t'say---- SIR RANDLE. [_To_ BERTRAM, _startled._] Be silent,
Bertie! LADY FILSON. [_To_ BERTRAM, _holding her breath._] Do be quiet!
ROOPE. [_Blankly._] The--the bulk of the volumes----? PHILIP. [_Staring
at_ DUNNING.] The--the bulk of the----? DUNNING. [_To_ SIR RANDLE _and_
ROOPE.] Yes, gentlemen, the books are in a mouldy cellar, also rented by
Messrs. Hopwood, at 6, Carmichael Lane. There's thousands of them there,
in cases--some of the cases with shipping marks on the
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