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Chapter 20
1 October, evening.--I found Thomas Snelling in his house at Bethnal Green, but
unhappily he was not in a condition to remember anything. The very prospect of beer
which my expected coming had opened to him had proved too much, and he had begun
too early on his expected debauch. I learned, however, from his wife, who seemed a
decent, poor soul, that he was only the assistant of Smollet, who of the two mates was
the responsible person. So off I drove to Walworth, and found Mr. Joseph Smollet at
home and in his shirtsleeves, taking a late tea out of a saucer. He is a decent, intelligent
fellow, distinctly a good, reliable type of workman, and with a headpiece of his own. He
remembered all about the incident of the boxes, and from a wonderful dog-eared
notebook, which he produced from some mysterious receptacle about the seat of his
trousers, and which had hieroglyphical entries in thick, half-obliterated pencil, he gave
me the destinations of the boxes. There were, he said, six in the cartload which he took
from Carfax and left at 197 Chicksand Street, Mile End New Town, and another six
which he deposited at Jamaica Lane, Bermondsey. If then the Count meant to scatter
these ghastly refuges of his over London, these places were chosen as the first of
delivery, so that later he might distribute more fully. The systematic manner in which this
was done made me think that he could not mean to confine himself to two sides of
London. He was now fixed on the far east on the northern shore, on the east of the
southern shore, and on the south. The north and west were surely never meant to be
left out of his diabolical scheme, let alone the City itself and the very heart of
fashionable London in the south-west and west. I went back to Smollet, and asked him
if he could tell us if any other boxes had been taken from Carfax.
He replied, "Well guv'nor, you've treated me very 'an'some", I had given him half a
sovereign, "an I'll tell yer all I know. I heard a man by the name of Bloxam say four
nights ago in the 'Are an' 'Ounds, in Pincher's Alley, as 'ow he an' his mate 'ad 'ad a rare
dusty job in a old 'ouse at Purfleet. There ain't a many such jobs as this 'ere, an' I'm
thinkin' that maybe Sam Bloxam could tell ye summut." I asked if he could tell me where
to find him. I told him that if he could get me the address it would be worth another half
sovereign to him. So he gulped down the rest of his tea and stood up, saying that he
was going to begin the search then and there.
At the door he stopped, and said, "Look 'ere, guv'nor, there ain't no sense in me a
keepin' you 'ere. I may find Sam soon, or I mayn't, but anyhow he ain't like to be in a
way to tell ye much tonight. Sam is a rare one when he starts on the booze. If you can
give me a envelope with a stamp on it, and put yer address on it, I'll find out where Sam
is to be found and post it ye tonight. But ye'd better be up arter 'im soon in the mornin',
never mind the booze the night afore." This was all practical, so one of the children went
off with a penny to buy an envelope and a sheet of paper, and to keep the change.
When she came back, I addressed the envelope and stamped it, and when Smollet had
again faithfully promised to post the address when found, I took my way to home. We're
on the track anyhow. I am tired tonight, and I want to sleep. Mina is fast asleep, and