244 Written Sketches
At Doctors' Commons
A woman once stopped me at the entrance to Doctors'
Commons and said:
" If you please, sir, can you tell me—is this the place that
I came to before ? "
Not knowing where she had been before I could not tell her.
The Sack of Khartoum
As I was getting out of a 'bus the conductor said to me in a
111 say, what does that mean ? ' Sack of Khartoum ' ?
What does ' Sack of Khartoum ' mean ? "
" It means/' said I, " that they've taken Khartoum and
played hell with it all round/'
He understood that and thanked me, whereon we parted.
Ballard [a fellow art-student with Butler at Heatherley's]
told me that an old governess, some twenty years since, was
teaching some girls modern geography. One of them did
not know the name Missolonghi. The old lady wrung her
" Why, me dear," she exclaimed, " when I was your age I
could never hear the name mentioned without bursting into
I should perhaps add that Byron died there.
I saw the driver of the Hampstead 'bus once, near St.
Giles's Church—an old, fat, red-faced man sitting bolt up-
right on the top of his 'bus in a driving storm of snow, fast
asleep with a huge waterproof over his great-coat which
descended with sweeping lines on to a tarpaulin. All this rose
out of a cloud of steam from the horses. He had a short clay
pipe in his mouth but, for the moment, he looked just like