The Works of Charles Dickens - Vol. 8

By Charles Dickens | Go to book overview

FRAGMENT

[When Forster was just finishing his biography of Dickens, he found among the leaves of one of the novelist's other manuscripts certain loose slips in his writing, 'on paper only half the size of that used for the tale, a cramped, interlined, and blotted as to be nearly illegible! These proved, upon examination, to contain a suggested chapter for Edwin Drood, in which Sapsea, the auctioneer, appears as the principal figure, surrounded by a group of characters new to the story. That chapter, being among the last things Dickens wrote, seems to contain so much of interest that it may be well to reprint it here.--ED.]


HOW MR. SAPSEA CEASED TO BE A MEMBER OF THE EIGHT CLUB
TOLD BY HIMSELF

WISHING to take the air, I proceeded by a circuitous route to the Club, it being our weekly night of meeting. I found that we mustered our full strength. We were enrolled under the denomination of the Eight Club. We were eight in number; we met at eight o'clock during eight months of the year; we played eight games of four-handed cribbage, at eight-pence the game; our frugal supper was composed of eight rolls, eight mutton chops, eight pork sausages, eight baked potatoes, eight marrowbones, with eight toasts, and eight bottles of ale. There may, or may not be a certain harmony of colour in the ruling idea of this (to adopt a phrase of our lively neighbours) reunion. It was a little idea of mine.

A somewhat popular member of the Eight Club, was a member by the name of Kimber. By profession, a dancing-master. A commonplace, hopeful sort of man, wholly destitute of dignity or knowledge of the world.

As I entered the Club-room, Kimber was making the remark: "And he still half-believes him to be very high in the Church.'

In the act of hanging up my hat on the eighth peg by the door, I caught Kimber's visual ray. He lowered it, and passed a remark on the next change of the moon. I did not take particular

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