Dickens and London
     
       
     
     Public Dinners

     The picture, Public Dinners, by George Cruikshank from Sketches by Boz (1836) shows a scene from an imaginary fund-raising dinner for the Indigent Orphans' Friends' Benevolent Institution.  The speech, 'which is somewhat of the longest', has been 'rapturously received' and the toast drunk. The stewards, 'each with a long wand in his hand, like the evil genius in a pantomime', head a procession of indigent orphans.  These girls and boys 'walk round the room, curtseying, and bowing, and treading on each other's heels, and looking very much as if they would like a glass of wine apiece, to the high gratification of the company generally, and especially of the lady patronesses in the gallery.' 

Cruikshank has portrayed Dickens (second adult from the left) and himself (third from the right) among the stewards.