Boffin’s Bower, or Harmony Jail, where Boffin the Golden Dustman and his wife lived, was “up Maiden Lane, Battle Bridge,” and it was there that Silas Wegg used to read aloud the Decline and Fall of, and after his exertions in that direction, used to regale upon the “weal and hammer” provided for him.
Wegg kept a stall at a street-corner “over against a London house, a corner house not far from Cavendish Square.”
The “estimable Twemlow,” friend of the Veneerings – “bran new people in a bran new house in a bran new quarter of London ” – lodged in Duke Street, St. James’, over a stable-yard, where Veneering one morning found him, “fresh from the hands of a secret artist who had been doing something to his hair with yolks of eggs. The process requiring that Twemlow shall, for two hours after the application, allow his hair to stick upright and dry gradually.”
In St. Mary Axe was the counting-house of Pubsey and Co., where Riah, the old Jew, ran the business for his young master, Mr. Fledgeby, and where, upon the house-top, Riah, with some evergreens and a few boxes of humble flowers, made a kind of garden in which he entertained Lizzie Hexam and Jenny Wren, the dolls’ dressmaker.
In the Temple, in a dismal set of chambers, Eugene Wrayburn and his chum, Mortimer Lightwood, described in the newspaper reports of an inquest as the “eminent solicitor,” lived and carried on business, and where Rogue Riderhood came intent upon taking an “Alfred David” in connection with Gaffer Hexham and the Harmon murder.
Rogue Riderhood “dwelt deep and dark in Limehouse Hole among the riggers, and the mast, oar and block-makers, and the boat-builders, and the sail-lofts, as in a kind of ship’s hold stored full of waterside characters, some no better than himself, and none much worse.”
Gaffer Hexham, who followed a gruesome business of picking up dead bodies floating on the river, and who was accidentally drowned, lived with his daughter, Lizzie, down Rotherhithe way.
The Thames Police Court at Wapping was no doubt in Dickens’ mind when he described Mr. and Mrs. Rokesmith going to one that was close to the river in the East-end, where, in “a kind of criminal Pickford’s, the lower passions and vices were regularly ticked off in the book, warehoused in the cells and carted away as per accompanying invoice, and left little marks upon it.”
Close by the station was the river-side tavern, the Six Jolly Fellowship-Porters, kept by the dignified and unapproachable Miss Abbey, and there the half-drowned Rogue Riderhood was brought after his accident on the river, and restored to life.
In the region of Millbank, in a certain little street called Church Street, where it joined “a certain little blind square called Smith Square,” in a quiet little house dwelt Jenny Wren, the dwarf girl-child, whose occupation was to dress dolls.
“Wilfer Castle,” the home of Mr. Wilfer, his wife, and the “lovely woman” Bella, his daughter, was “in the Holloway region north of London, then divided from it by fields and trees.”
Between Battle Bridge and that part of Holloway district in which he dwelt was “a tract of suburban Sahara where tiles and bricks were burnt, bones were boiled, carpets were beat, rubbish was shot, dogs were fought, and dust was heaped by contractors.”
That is the end of Beavan’s discussion of Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens.