“a wild scuffle of genius”

Image: Nag’s Head Public House, 10 and 10a James Street, Covent Garden. Historic England: “Corner public house and shop. c.1900 by P.E. Pilditch. Red brick with terracotta dressings. Slate roof. Jacobethan style with feature of corner tourelle. 3 storeys and half dormer attic. 3 windows wide, corner tourelle and 4 window return to Floral Street. Ground floor with open shop front (10A) and public house front with corner entrance, returned with secondary entrance at end of Floral Street front, articulated by polished granite pilasters carrying entablature. Upper floors have 3 light mullioned terracotta dressed sash windows, whilst the tourelle has mullioned-transomed with terracotta dressings and elaborate ornament to the aprons. Terracotta entablature over 1st floor carried round tourelle. Short sections of parapet link the pedimented half dormers whilst the tourelle rises higher, finished off with ogee capped dome.”

From: Bohemia in London (1907), by Arthur Ransome:

“The Jonquil is a famous example. It was edited by a man called Beldens, who had a little money, but not much. He contrived to retain his writers by a most ingenious appeal to their gambling instincts. Every Saturday all the cheques were accurately made out and delivered to the contributors. But these soon found that there was never more money to the credit of the paper in the bank than would pay the first three or four of the cheques presented. The rest were returned dishonoured. The result was not unamusing, for Beldens had chosen a bank in Fulham, while his office was in Covent Garden. Every Saturday at the appointed time all the contributors used to attend, with hansoms, specially chosen for the fleetness of their horses, waiting in a row outside. Beldens would come, smiling and urbane, into the outer office, with the bundles of little pink slips. As soon as they had been passed round there would be a wild scuffle of genius on the stairs, the dishevelled staff would rush out of the door, leap into their hansoms, and race pell mell for the bank, the fortunate first arrivals dividing with their cabbies the moneys that their respective efficiencies had achieved.”

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