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