Excerpt from Book:
The windows were filthy with the stains of a thousand showers; the paint had blistered and peeled off the heavy old door, and round the gaping chasm of the letter-box; and in the daytime the place looked woebegone and deserted. Nobody came there till about two in the afternoon, when three or four quiet-looking gentlemen would drop in one by one, and after remaining an hour or two, depart as they had come. But at night the old house woke up with a roar; its windows blazed with light; its old sides echoed to the creaking throes of a huge steam-engine; its querulous bell was perpetually being tugged; boys in paper caps and smeary faces and shirt-sleeves were perpetually issuing from its portals, and returning, now with fluttering slips of paper, now with bibulous refreshment. Messengers from the Electric Telegraph Companies were there about every half-hour; and cabs that had dashed up with a stout gentleman in spectacles dashed away with a slim gentleman in a white hat, returning with a little man in a red beard, and flying off with the stout gentleman again. Blinds were down all round the neighbourhood; porters of the Worshipful Companies, sextons of the congregationless churches, agents for printing-ink and Cumberland black-lead, wood-engravers, box-block sellers, and the proprietors of the Never-say-die or Health-restoring Drops, who held the corner premises,--were all sleeping the sleep of the just, or at least doing the best they could towards it, in spite of the reverberation of the steam-engine at the office of the Statesman daily journal.