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Great Expectations

Part 4 out of 11

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"You know the name?" said Mr. Jaggers, looking shrewdly at me, and
then shutting up his eyes while he waited for my answer.

My answer was, that I had heard of the name.

"Oh!" said he. "You have heard of the name. But the question is,
what do you say of it?"

I said, or tried to say, that I was much obliged to him for his
recommendation--

"No, my young friend!" he interrupted, shaking his great head very
slowly. "Recollect yourself!"

Not recollecting myself, I began again that I was much obliged to
him for his recommendation--

"No, my young friend," he interrupted, shaking his head and
frowning and smiling both at once,--"no, no, no; it's very well
done, but it won't do; you are too young to fix me with it.
Recommendation is not the word, Mr. Pip. Try another."

Correcting myself, I said that I was much obliged to him for his
mention of Mr. Matthew Pocket--

"That's more like it!" cried Mr. Jaggers.

--And (I added), I would gladly try that gentleman.

"Good. You had better try him in his own house. The way shall be
prepared for you, and you can see his son first, who is in London.
When will you come to London?"

I said (glancing at Joe, who stood looking on, motionless), that I
supposed I could come directly.

"First," said Mr. Jaggers, "you should have some new clothes to come
in, and they should not be working-clothes. Say this day week.
You'll want some money. Shall I leave you twenty guineas?"

He produced a long purse, with the greatest coolness, and counted
them out on the table and pushed them over to me. This was the
first time he had taken his leg from the chair. He sat astride of
the chair when he had pushed the money over, and sat swinging his
purse and eyeing Joe.

"Well, Joseph Gargery? You look dumbfoundered?"

"I am!" said Joe, in a very decided manner.

"It was understood that you wanted nothing for yourself, remember?"

"It were understood," said Joe. "And it are understood. And it ever
will be similar according."

"But what," said Mr. Jaggers, swinging his purse,--"what if it was in
my instructions to make you a present, as compensation?"

"As compensation what for?" Joe demanded.

"For the loss of his services."

Joe laid his hand upon my shoulder with the touch of a woman. I
have often thought him since, like the steam-hammer that can crush
a man or pat an egg-shell, in his combination of strength with
gentleness. "Pip is that hearty welcome," said Joe, "to go free
with his services, to honor and fortun', as no words can tell him.
But if you think as Money can make compensation to me for the loss
of the little child--what come to the forge--and ever the best of
friends!--"

O dear good Joe, whom I was so ready to leave and so unthankful to,
I see you again, with your muscular blacksmith's arm before your
eyes, and your broad chest heaving, and your voice dying away. O
dear good faithful tender Joe, I feel the loving tremble of your
hand upon my arm, as solemnly this day as if it had been the rustle
of an angel's wing!

But I encouraged Joe at the time. I was lost in the mazes of my
future fortunes, and could not retrace the by-paths we had trodden
together. I begged Joe to be comforted, for (as he said) we had
ever been the best of friends, and (as I said) we ever would be so.
Joe scooped his eyes with his disengaged wrist, as if he were bent
on gouging himself, but said not another word.

Mr. Jaggers had looked on at this, as one who recognized in Joe the
village idiot, and in me his keeper. When it was over, he said,
weighing in his hand the purse he had ceased to swing:--

"Now, Joseph Gargery, I warn you this is your last chance. No half
measures with me. If you mean to take a present that I have it in
charge to make you, speak out, and you shall have it. If on the
contrary you mean to say--" Here, to his great amazement, he was
stopped by Joe's suddenly working round him with every
demonstration of a fell pugilistic purpose.

"Which I meantersay," cried Joe, "that if you come into my place
bull-baiting and badgering me, come out! Which I meantersay as sech
if you're a man, come on! Which I meantersay that what I say, I
meantersay and stand or fall by!"

I drew Joe away, and he immediately became placable; merely stating
to me, in an obliging manner and as a polite expostulatory notice
to any one whom it might happen to concern, that he were not a
going to be bull-baited and badgered in his own place. Mr. Jaggers
had risen when Joe demonstrated, and had backed near the door.
Without evincing any inclination to come in again, he there
delivered his valedictory remarks. They were these.

"Well, Mr. Pip, I think the sooner you leave here--as you are to be
a gentleman--the better. Let it stand for this day week, and you
shall receive my printed address in the meantime. You can take a
hackney-coach at the stage-coach office in London, and come
straight to me. Understand, that I express no opinion, one way or
other, on the trust I undertake. I am paid for undertaking it, and
I do so. Now, understand that, finally. Understand that!"

He was throwing his finger at both of us, and I think would have
gone on, but for his seeming to think Joe dangerous, and going off.

Something came into my head which induced me to run after him, as
he was going down to the Jolly Bargemen, where he had left a hired
carriage.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Jaggers."

"Halloa!" said he, facing round, "what's the matter?"

"I wish to be quite right, Mr. Jaggers, and to keep to your
directions; so I thought I had better ask. Would there be any
objection to my taking leave of any one I know, about here, before
I go away?"

"No," said he, looking as if he hardly understood me.

"I don't mean in the village only, but up town?"

"No," said he. "No objection."

I thanked him and ran home again, and there I found that Joe had
already locked the front door and vacated the state parlor, and
was seated by the kitchen fire with a hand on each knee, gazing
intently at the burning coals. I too sat down before the fire and
gazed at the coals, and nothing was said for a long time.

My sister was in her cushioned chair in her corner, and Biddy sat
at her needle-work before the fire, and Joe sat next Biddy, and I
sat next Joe in the corner opposite my sister. The more I looked
into the glowing coals, the more incapable I became of looking at
Joe; the longer the silence lasted, the more unable I felt to
speak.

At length I got out, "Joe, have you told Biddy?"

"No, Pip," returned Joe, still looking at the fire, and holding his
knees tight, as if he had private information that they intended to
make off somewhere, "which I left it to yourself, Pip."

"I would rather you told, Joe."

"Pip's a gentleman of fortun' then," said Joe, "and God bless him
in it!"

Biddy dropped her work, and looked at me. Joe held his knees and
looked at me. I looked at both of them. After a pause, they both
heartily congratulated me; but there was a certain touch of sadness
in their congratulations that I rather resented.

I took it upon myself to impress Biddy (and through Biddy, Joe)
with the grave obligation I considered my friends under, to know
nothing and say nothing about the maker of my fortune. It would all
come out in good time, I observed, and in the meanwhile nothing was
to be said, save that I had come into great expectations from a
mysterious patron. Biddy nodded her head thoughtfully at the fire
as she took up her work again, and said she would be very
particular; and Joe, still detaining his knees, said, "Ay, ay, I'll
be ekervally partickler, Pip;" and then they congratulated me
again, and went on to express so much wonder at the notion of my
being a gentleman that I didn't half like it.

Infinite pains were then taken by Biddy to convey to my sister some
idea of what had happened. To the best of my belief, those efforts
entirely failed. She laughed and nodded her head a great many
times, and even repeated after Biddy, the words "Pip" and
"Property." But I doubt if they had more meaning in them than an
election cry, and I cannot suggest a darker picture of her state of
mind.

I never could have believed it without experience, but as Joe and
Biddy became more at their cheerful ease again, I became quite
gloomy. Dissatisfied with my fortune, of course I could not be; but
it is possible that I may have been, without quite knowing it,
dissatisfied with myself.

Any how, I sat with my elbow on my knee and my face upon my hand,
looking into the fire, as those two talked about my going away, and
about what they should do without me, and all that. And whenever I
caught one of them looking at me, though never so pleasantly (and
they often looked at me,--particularly Biddy), I felt offended: as
if they were expressing some mistrust of me. Though Heaven knows
they never did by word or sign.

At those times I would get up and look out at the door; for our
kitchen door opened at once upon the night, and stood open on
summer evenings to air the room. The very stars to which I then
raised my eyes, I am afraid I took to be but poor and humble stars
for glittering on the rustic objects among which I had passed my
life.

"Saturday night," said I, when we sat at our supper of
bread and cheese and beer. "Five more days, and then the day before
the day! They'll soon go."

"Yes, Pip," observed Joe, whose voice sounded hollow in his beer-
mug. "They'll soon go."

"Soon, soon go," said Biddy.

"I have been thinking, Joe, that when I go down town on Monday, and
order my new clothes, I shall tell the tailor that I'll come and
put them on there, or that I'll have them sent to Mr. Pumblechook's.
It would be very disagreeable to be stared at by all the people
here."

"Mr. and Mrs. Hubble might like to see you in your new gen-teel figure
too, Pip," said Joe, industriously cutting his bread, with his
cheese on it, in the palm of his left hand, and glancing at my
untasted supper as if he thought of the time when we used to
compare slices. "So might Wopsle. And the Jolly Bargemen might take
it as a compliment."

"That's just what I don't want, Joe. They would make such a
business of it,--such a coarse and common business,--that I
couldn't bear myself."

"Ah, that indeed, Pip!" said Joe. "If you couldn't abear
yourself--"

Biddy asked me here, as she sat holding my sister's plate, "Have
you thought about when you'll show yourself to Mr. Gargery, and your
sister and me? You will show yourself to us; won't you?"

"Biddy," I returned with some resentment, "you are so exceedingly
quick that it's difficult to keep up with you."

("She always were quick," observed Joe.)

"If you had waited another moment, Biddy, you would have heard me
say that I shall bring my clothes here in a bundle one evening,--
most likely on the evening before I go away."

Biddy said no more. Handsomely forgiving her, I soon exchanged an
affectionate good night with her and Joe, and went up to bed. When
I got into my little room, I sat down and took a long look at it,
as a mean little room that I should soon be parted from and raised
above, for ever. It was furnished with fresh young remembrances
too, and even at the same moment I fell into much the same confused
division of mind between it and the better rooms to which I was
going, as I had been in so often between the forge and Miss
Havisham's, and Biddy and Estella.

The sun had been shining brightly all day on the roof of my attic,
and the room was warm. As I put the window open and stood looking
out, I saw Joe come slowly forth at the dark door, below, and take a
turn or two in the air; and then I saw Biddy come, and bring him a
pipe and light it for him. He never smoked so late, and it seemed
to hint to me that he wanted comforting, for some reason or other.

He presently stood at the door immediately beneath me, smoking his
pipe, and Biddy stood there too, quietly talking to him, and I knew
that they talked of me, for I heard my name mentioned in an
endearing tone by both of them more than once. I would not have
listened for more, if I could have heard more; so I drew away from
the window, and sat down in my one chair by the bedside, feeling it
very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my bright
fortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known.

Looking towards the open window, I saw light wreaths from Joe's
pipe floating there, and I fancied it was like a blessing from Joe,
--not obtruded on me or paraded before me, but pervading the air we
shared together. I put my light out, and crept into bed; and it was
an uneasy bed now, and I never slept the old sound sleep in it any
more.

Chapter XIX

Morning made a considerable difference in my general prospect of
Life, and brightened it so much that it scarcely seemed the same.
What lay heaviest on my mind was, the consideration that six days
intervened between me and the day of departure; for I could not
divest myself of a misgiving that something might happen to London
in the meanwhile, and that, when I got there, it would be either
greatly deteriorated or clean gone.

Joe and Biddy were very sympathetic and pleasant when I spoke of
our approaching separation; but they only referred to it when I
did. After breakfast, Joe brought out my indentures from the press
in the best parlor, and we put them in the fire, and I felt that I
was free. With all the novelty of my emancipation on me, I went to
church with Joe, and thought perhaps the clergyman wouldn't have
read that about the rich man and the kingdom of Heaven, if he had
known all.

After our early dinner, I strolled out alone, purposing to finish
off the marshes at once, and get them done with. As I passed the
church, I felt (as I had felt during service in the morning) a
sublime compassion for the poor creatures who were destined to go
there, Sunday after Sunday, all their lives through, and to lie
obscurely at last among the low green mounds. I promised myself
that I would do something for them one of these days, and formed a
plan in outline for bestowing a dinner of roast-beef and
plum-pudding, a pint of ale, and a gallon of condescension, upon
everybody in the village.

If I had often thought before, with something allied to shame, of
my companionship with the fugitive whom I had once seen limping
among those graves, what were my thoughts on this Sunday, when the
place recalled the wretch, ragged and shivering, with his felon
iron and badge! My comfort was, that it happened a long time ago,
and that he had doubtless been transported a long way off, and that
he was dead to me, and might be veritably dead into the bargain.

No more low, wet grounds, no more dikes and sluices, no more of
these grazing cattle,--though they seemed, in their dull manner, to
wear a more respectful air now, and to face round, in order that
they might stare as long as possible at the possessor of such great
expectations,--farewell, monotonous acquaintances of my childhood,
henceforth I was for London and greatness; not for smith's work in
general, and for you! I made my exultant way to the old Battery,
and, lying down there to consider the question whether Miss
Havisham intended me for Estella, fell asleep.

When I awoke, I was much surprised to find Joe sitting beside me,
smoking his pipe. He greeted me with a cheerful smile on my opening
my eyes, and said,--

"As being the last time, Pip, I thought I'd foller."

"And Joe, I am very glad you did so."

"Thankee, Pip."

"You may be sure, dear Joe," I went on, after we had shaken hands,
"that I shall never forget you."

"No, no, Pip!" said Joe, in a comfortable tone, "I'm sure of that.
Ay, ay, old chap! Bless you, it were only necessary to get it well
round in a man's mind, to be certain on it. But it took a bit of
time to get it well round, the change come so oncommon plump;
didn't it?"

Somehow, I was not best pleased with Joe's being so mightily secure
of me. I should have liked him to have betrayed emotion, or to have
said, "It does you credit, Pip," or something of that sort.
Therefore, I made no remark on Joe's first head; merely saying as
to his second, that the tidings had indeed come suddenly, but that
I had always wanted to be a gentleman, and had often and often
speculated on what I would do, if I were one.

"Have you though?" said Joe. "Astonishing!"

"It's a pity now, Joe," said I, "that you did not get on a little
more, when we had our lessons here; isn't it?"

"Well, I don't know," returned Joe. "I'm so awful dull. I'm only
master of my own trade. It were always a pity as I was so awful
dull; but it's no more of a pity now, than it was--this day
twelvemonth--don't you see?"

What I had meant was, that when I came into my property and was
able to do something for Joe, it would have been much more
agreeable if he had been better qualified for a rise in station. He
was so perfectly innocent of my meaning, however, that I thought I
would mention it to Biddy in preference.

So, when we had walked home and had had tea, I took Biddy into our
little garden by the side of the lane, and, after throwing out in a
general way for the elevation of her spirits, that I should never
forget her, said I had a favor to ask of her.

"And it is, Biddy," said I, "that you will not omit any opportunity
of helping Joe on, a little."

"How helping him on?" asked Biddy, with a steady sort of glance.

"Well! Joe is a dear good fellow,--in fact, I think he is the
dearest fellow that ever lived,--but he is rather backward in some
things. For instance, Biddy, in his learning and his manners."

Although I was looking at Biddy as I spoke, and although she opened
her eyes very wide when I had spoken, she did not look at me.

"O, his manners! won't his manners do then?" asked Biddy,
plucking a black-currant leaf.

"My dear Biddy, they do very well here--"

"O! they do very well here?" interrupted Biddy, looking closely at
the leaf in her hand.

"Hear me out,--but if I were to remove Joe into a higher sphere, as
I shall hope to remove him when I fully come into my property, they
would hardly do him justice."

"And don't you think he knows that?" asked Biddy.

It was such a very provoking question (for it had never in the most
distant manner occurred to me), that I said, snappishly,--

"Biddy, what do you mean?"

Biddy, having rubbed the leaf to pieces between her hands,--and the
smell of a black-currant bush has ever since recalled to me that
evening in the little garden by the side of the lane,--said, "Have
you never considered that he may be proud?"

"Proud?" I repeated, with disdainful emphasis.

"O! there are many kinds of pride," said Biddy, looking full at me
and shaking her head; "pride is not all of one kind--"

"Well? What are you stopping for?" said I.

"Not all of one kind," resumed Biddy. "He may be too proud to let
any one take him out of a place that he is competent to fill, and
fills well and with respect. To tell you the truth, I think he is;
though it sounds bold in me to say so, for you must know him far
better than I do."

"Now, Biddy," said I, "I am very sorry to see this in you. I did
not expect to see this in you. You are envious, Biddy, and
grudging. You are dissatisfied on account of my rise in fortune,
and you can't help showing it."

"If you have the heart to think so," returned Biddy, "say so. Say
so over and over again, if you have the heart to think so."

"If you have the heart to be so, you mean, Biddy," said I, in a
virtuous and superior tone; "don't put it off upon me. I am very
sorry to see it, and it's a--it's a bad side of human nature. I
did intend to ask you to use any little opportunities you might
have after I was gone, of improving dear Joe. But after this I ask
you nothing. I am extremely sorry to see this in you, Biddy," I
repeated. "It's a--it's a bad side of human nature."

"Whether you scold me or approve of me," returned poor Biddy, "you
may equally depend upon my trying to do all that lies in my power,
here, at all times. And whatever opinion you take away of me, shall
make no difference in my remembrance of you. Yet a gentleman should
not be unjust neither," said Biddy, turning away her head.

I again warmly repeated that it was a bad side of human nature (in
which sentiment, waiving its application, I have since seen reason
to think I was right), and I walked down the little path away from
Biddy, and Biddy went into the house, and I went out at the garden
gate and took a dejected stroll until supper-time; again feeling it
very sorrowful and strange that this, the second night of my bright
fortunes, should be as lonely and unsatisfactory as the first.

But, morning once more brightened my view, and I extended my
clemency to Biddy, and we dropped the subject. Putting on the best
clothes I had, I went into town as early as I could hope to find
the shops open, and presented myself before Mr. Trabb, the tailor,
who was having his breakfast in the parlor behind his shop, and
who did not think it worth his while to come out to me, but called
me in to him.

"Well!" said Mr. Trabb, in a hail-fellow-well-met kind of way. "How
are you, and what can I do for you?"

Mr. Trabb had sliced his hot roll into three feather-beds, and was
slipping butter in between the blankets, and covering it up. He was
a prosperous old bachelor, and his open window looked into a
prosperous little garden and orchard, and there was a prosperous
iron safe let into the wall at the side of his fireplace, and I did
not doubt that heaps of his prosperity were put away in it in bags.

"Mr. Trabb," said I, "it's an unpleasant thing to have to mention,
because it looks like boasting; but I have come into a handsome
property."

A change passed over Mr. Trabb. He forgot the butter in bed, got up
from the bedside, and wiped his fingers on the tablecloth,
exclaiming, "Lord bless my soul!"

"I am going up to my guardian in London," said I, casually drawing
some guineas out of my pocket and looking at them; "and I want a
fashionable suit of clothes to go in. I wish to pay for them," I
added--otherwise I thought he might only pretend to make them,
"with ready money."

"My dear sir," said Mr. Trabb, as he respectfully bent his body,
opened his arms, and took the liberty of touching me on the outside
of each elbow, "don't hurt me by mentioning that. May I venture to
congratulate you? Would you do me the favor of stepping into the
shop?"

Mr. Trabb's boy was the most audacious boy in all that country-side.
When I had entered he was sweeping the shop, and he had sweetened
his labors by sweeping over me. He was still sweeping when I came
out into the shop with Mr. Trabb, and he knocked the broom against
all possible corners and obstacles, to express (as I understood it)
equality with any blacksmith, alive or dead.

"Hold that noise," said Mr. Trabb, with the greatest sternness, "or
I'll knock your head off!--Do me the favor to be seated, sir. Now,
this," said Mr. Trabb, taking down a roll of cloth, and tiding it
out in a flowing manner over the counter, preparatory to getting
his hand under it to show the gloss, "is a very sweet article. I
can recommend it for your purpose, sir, because it really is extra
super. But you shall see some others. Give me Number Four, you!"
(To the boy, and with a dreadfully severe stare; foreseeing the
danger of that miscreant's brushing me with it, or making some
other sign of familiarity.)

Mr. Trabb never removed his stern eye from the boy until he had
deposited number four on the counter and was at a safe distance
again. Then he commanded him to bring number five, and number
eight. "And let me have none of your tricks here," said Mr. Trabb,
"or you shall repent it, you young scoundrel, the longest day you
have to live."

Mr. Trabb then bent over number four, and in a sort of deferential
confidence recommended it to me as a light article for summer wear,
an article much in vogue among the nobility and gentry, an article
that it would ever be an honor to him to reflect upon a
distinguished fellow-townsman's (if he might claim me for a
fellow-townsman) having worn. "Are you bringing numbers five and
eight, you vagabond," said Mr. Trabb to the boy after that, "or
shall I kick you out of the shop and bring them myself?"

I selected the materials for a suit, with the assistance of Mr.
Trabb's judgment, and re-entered the parlor to be measured. For
although Mr. Trabb had my measure already, and had previously been
quite contented with it, he said apologetically that it "wouldn't
do under existing circumstances, sir,--wouldn't do at all." So, Mr.
Trabb measured and calculated me in the parlor, as if I were an
estate and he the finest species of surveyor, and gave himself such
a world of trouble that I felt that no suit of clothes could
possibly remunerate him for his pains. When he had at last done and
had appointed to send the articles to Mr. Pumblechook's on the
Thursday evening, he said, with his hand upon the parlor lock, "I
know, sir, that London gentlemen cannot be expected to patronize
local work, as a rule; but if you would give me a turn now and then
in the quality of a townsman, I should greatly esteem it. Good
morning, sir, much obliged.--Door!"

The last word was flung at the boy, who had not the least notion
what it meant. But I saw him collapse as his master rubbed me out
with his hands, and my first decided experience of the stupendous
power of money was, that it had morally laid upon his back
Trabb's boy.

After this memorable event, I went to the hatter's, and the
bootmaker's, and the hosier's, and felt rather like Mother
Hubbard's dog whose outfit required the services of so many trades.
I also went to the coach-office and took my place for seven o'clock
on Saturday morning. It was not necessary to explain everywhere
that I had come into a handsome property; but whenever I said
anything to that effect, it followed that the officiating tradesman
ceased to have his attention diverted through the window by the
High Street, and concentrated his mind upon me. When I had ordered
everything I wanted, I directed my steps towards Pumblechook's,
and, as I approached that gentleman's place of business, I saw him
standing at his door.

He was waiting for me with great impatience. He had been out early
with the chaise-cart, and had called at the forge and heard the
news. He had prepared a collation for me in the Barnwell parlor,
and he too ordered his shopman to "come out of the gangway" as my
sacred person passed.

"My dear friend," said Mr. Pumblechook, taking me by both hands,
when he and I and the collation were alone, "I give you joy of your
good fortune. Well deserved, well deserved!"

This was coming to the point, and I thought it a sensible way of
expressing himself.

"To think," said Mr. Pumblechook, after snorting admiration at me
for some moments, "that I should have been the humble instrument of
leading up to this, is a proud reward."

I begged Mr. Pumblechook to remember that nothing was to be ever
said or hinted, on that point.

"My dear young friend," said Mr. Pumblechook; "if you will allow me
to call you so--"

I murmured "Certainly," and Mr. Pumblechook took me by both hands
again, and communicated a movement to his waistcoat, which had an
emotional appearance, though it was rather low down, "My dear young
friend, rely upon my doing my little all in your absence, by
keeping the fact before the mind of Joseph.--Joseph!" said Mr.
Pumblechook, in the way of a compassionate adjuration. "Joseph!!
Joseph!!!" Thereupon he shook his head and tapped it, expressing
his sense of deficiency in Joseph.

"But my dear young friend," said Mr. Pumblechook, "you must be
hungry, you must be exhausted. Be seated. Here is a chicken had
round from the Boar, here is a tongue had round from the Boar,
here's one or two little things had round from the Boar, that I
hope you may not despise. But do I," said Mr. Pumblechook, getting
up again the moment after he had sat down, "see afore me, him as I
ever sported with in his times of happy infancy? And may I--may
I--?"

This May I, meant might he shake hands? I consented, and he was
fervent, and then sat down again.

"Here is wine," said Mr. Pumblechook. "Let us drink, Thanks to
Fortune, and may she ever pick out her favorites with equal
judgment! And yet I cannot," said Mr. Pumblechook, getting up again,
"see afore me One--and likewise drink to One--without again
expressing--May I--may I--?"

I said he might, and he shook hands with me again, and emptied his
glass and turned it upside down. I did the same; and if I had
turned myself upside down before drinking, the wine could not have
gone more direct to my head.

Mr. Pumblechook helped me to the liver wing, and to the best slice
of tongue (none of those out-of-the-way No Thoroughfares of Pork
now), and took, comparatively speaking, no care of himself at all.
"Ah! poultry, poultry! You little thought," said Mr. Pumblechook,
apostrophizing the fowl in the dish, "when you was a young
fledgling, what was in store for you. You little thought you was to
be refreshment beneath this humble roof for one as--Call it a
weakness, if you will," said Mr. Pumblechook, getting up again, "but
may I? may I--?"

It began to be unnecessary to repeat the form of saying he might,
so he did it at once. How he ever did it so often without wounding
himself with my knife, I don't know.

"And your sister," he resumed, after a little steady eating, "which
had the honor of bringing you up by hand! It's a sad picter, to
reflect that she's no longer equal to fully understanding the
honor. May--"

I saw he was about to come at me again, and I stopped him.

"We'll drink her health," said I.

"Ah!" cried Mr. Pumblechook, leaning back in his chair, quite
flaccid with admiration, "that's the way you know 'em, sir!" (I
don't know who Sir was, but he certainly was not I, and there was
no third person present); "that's the way you know the noble-minded,
sir! Ever forgiving and ever affable. It might," said the servile
Pumblechook, putting down his untasted glass in a hurry and getting
up again, "to a common person, have the appearance of repeating--
but may I--?"

When he had done it, he resumed his seat and drank to my sister.
"Let us never be blind," said Mr. Pumblechook, "to her faults of
temper, but it is to be hoped she meant well."

At about this time, I began to observe that he was getting flushed
in the face; as to myself, I felt all face, steeped in wine and
smarting.

I mentioned to Mr. Pumblechook that I wished to have my new clothes
sent to his house, and he was ecstatic on my so distinguishing him.
I mentioned my reason for desiring to avoid observation in the
village, and he lauded it to the skies. There was nobody but
himself, he intimated, worthy of my confidence, and--in short,
might he? Then he asked me tenderly if I remembered our boyish
games at sums, and how we had gone together to have me bound
apprentice, and, in effect, how he had ever been my favorite fancy
and my chosen friend? If I had taken ten times as many glasses of
wine as I had, I should have known that he never had stood in that
relation towards me, and should in my heart of hearts have
repudiated the idea. Yet for all that, I remember feeling convinced
that I had been much mistaken in him, and that he was a sensible,
practical, good-hearted prime fellow.

By degrees he fell to reposing such great confidence in me, as to
ask my advice in reference to his own affairs. He mentioned that
there was an opportunity for a great amalgamation and monopoly of
the corn and seed trade on those premises, if enlarged, such as had
never occurred before in that or any other neighborhood. What
alone was wanting to the realization of a vast fortune, he
considered to be More Capital. Those were the two little words,
more capital. Now it appeared to him (Pumblechook) that if that
capital were got into the business, through a sleeping partner, sir,
--which sleeping partner would have nothing to do but walk in, by
self or deputy, whenever he pleased, and examine the books,--and
walk in twice a year and take his profits away in his pocket, to
the tune of fifty per cent,--it appeared to him that that might be
an opening for a young gentleman of spirit combined with property,
which would be worthy of his attention. But what did I think? He
had great confidence in my opinion, and what did I think? I gave it
as my opinion. "Wait a bit!" The united vastness and distinctness
of this view so struck him, that he no longer asked if he might
shake hands with me, but said he really must,--and did.

We drank all the wine, and Mr. Pumblechook pledged himself over and
over again to keep Joseph up to the mark (I don't know what mark),
and to render me efficient and constant service (I don't know what
service). He also made known to me for the first time in my life,
and certainly after having kept his secret wonderfully well, that
he had always said of me, "That boy is no common boy, and mark me,
his fortun' will be no common fortun'." He said with a tearful
smile that it was a singular thing to think of now, and I said so
too. Finally, I went out into the air, with a dim perception that
there was something unwonted in the conduct of the sunshine, and
found that I had slumberously got to the turnpike without having
taken any account of the road.

There, I was roused by Mr. Pumblechook's hailing me. He was a long
way down the sunny street, and was making expressive gestures for
me to stop. I stopped, and he came up breathless.

"No, my dear friend," said he, when he had recovered wind for
speech. "Not if I can help it. This occasion shall not entirely
pass without that affability on your part.--May I, as an old
friend and well-wisher? May I?"

We shook hands for the hundredth time at least, and he ordered a
young carter out of my way with the greatest indignation. Then, he
blessed me and stood waving his hand to me until I had passed the
crook in the road; and then I turned into a field and had a long
nap under a hedge before I pursued my way home.

I had scant luggage to take with me to London, for little of the
little I possessed was adapted to my new station. But I began
packing that same afternoon, and wildly packed up things that I
knew I should want next morning, in a fiction that there was not a
moment to be lost.

So, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, passed; and on Friday morning
I went to Mr. Pumblechook's, to put on my new clothes and pay my
visit to Miss Havisham. Mr. Pumblechook's own room was given up to
me to dress in, and was decorated with clean towels expressly for
the event. My clothes were rather a disappointment, of course.
Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since
clothes came in, fell a trifle short of the wearer's expectation.
But after I had had my new suit on some half an hour, and had gone
through an immensity of posturing with Mr. Pumblechook's very
limited dressing-glass, in the futile endeavor to see my legs, it
seemed to fit me better. It being market morning at a neighboring
town some ten miles off, Mr. Pumblechook was not at home. I had not
told him exactly when I meant to leave, and was not likely to shake
hands with him again before departing. This was all as it should
be, and I went out in my new array, fearfully ashamed of having to
pass the shopman, and suspicious after all that I was at a personal
disadvantage, something like Joe's in his Sunday suit.

I went circuitously to Miss Havisham's by all the back ways, and
rang at the bell constrainedly, on account of the stiff long
fingers of my gloves. Sarah Pocket came to the gate, and positively
reeled back when she saw me so changed; her walnut-shell
countenance likewise turned from brown to green and yellow.

"You?" said she. "You? Good gracious! What do you want?"

"I am going to London, Miss Pocket," said I, "and want to say
good by to Miss Havisham."

I was not expected, for she left me locked in the yard, while she
went to ask if I were to be admitted. After a very short delay, she
returned and took me up, staring at me all the way.

Miss Havisham was taking exercise in the room with the long spread
table, leaning on her crutch stick. The room was lighted as of
yore, and at the sound of our entrance, she stopped and turned. She
was then just abreast of the rotted bride-cake.

"Don't go, Sarah," she said. "Well, Pip?"

"I start for London, Miss Havisham, to-morrow," I was exceedingly
careful what I said, "and I thought you would kindly not mind my
taking leave of you."

"This is a gay figure, Pip," said she, making her crutch stick play
round me, as if she, the fairy godmother who had changed me, were
bestowing the finishing gift.

"I have come into such good fortune since I saw you last, Miss
Havisham," I murmured. "And I am so grateful for it, Miss
Havisham!"

"Ay, ay!" said she, looking at the discomfited and envious Sarah,
with delight. "I have seen Mr. Jaggers. I have heard about it, Pip.
So you go to-morrow?"

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

"And you are adopted by a rich person?"

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

"Not named?"

"No, Miss Havisham."

"And Mr. Jaggers is made your guardian?"

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

She quite gloated on these questions and answers, so keen was her
enjoyment of Sarah Pocket's jealous dismay. "Well!" she went on;
"you have a promising career before you. Be good--deserve it--and
abide by Mr. Jaggers's instructions." She looked at me, and looked
at Sarah, and Sarah's countenance wrung out of her watchful face a
cruel smile. "Good by, Pip!--you will always keep the name of
Pip, you know."

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

"Good by, Pip!"

She stretched out her hand, and I went down on my knee and put it
to my lips. I had not considered how I should take leave of her; it
came naturally to me at the moment to do this. She looked at Sarah
Pocket with triumph in her weird eyes, and so I left my fairy
godmother, with both her hands on her crutch stick, standing in the
midst of the dimly lighted room beside the rotten bride-cake that
was hidden in cobwebs.

Sarah Pocket conducted me down, as if I were a ghost who must be
seen out. She could not get over my appearance, and was in the last
degree confounded. I said "Good by, Miss Pocket;" but she merely
stared, and did not seem collected enough to know that I had
spoken. Clear of the house, I made the best of my way back to
Pumblechook's, took off my new clothes, made them into a bundle,
and went back home in my older dress, carrying it--to speak the
truth--much more at my ease too, though I had the bundle to carry.

And now, those six days which were to have run out so slowly, had
run out fast and were gone, and to-morrow looked me in the face
more steadily than I could look at it. As the six evenings had
dwindled away, to five, to four, to three, to two, I had become
more and more appreciative of the society of Joe and Biddy. On this
last evening, I dressed my self out in my new clothes for their
delight, and sat in my splendor until bedtime. We had a hot supper
on the occasion, graced by the inevitable roast fowl, and we had
some flip to finish with. We were all very low, and none the higher
for pretending to be in spirits.

I was to leave our village at five in the morning, carrying my
little hand-portmanteau, and I had told Joe that I wished to walk
away all alone. I am afraid--sore afraid--that this purpose
originated in my sense of the contrast there would be between me
and Joe, if we went to the coach together. I had pretended with
myself that there was nothing of this taint in the arrangement; but
when I went up to my little room on this last night, I felt
compelled to admit that it might be so, and had an impulse upon me
to go down again and entreat Joe to walk with me in the morning. I
did not.

All night there were coaches in my broken sleep, going to wrong
places instead of to London, and having in the traces, now dogs,
now cats, now pigs, now men,--never horses. Fantastic failures of
journeys occupied me until the day dawned and the birds were
singing. Then, I got up and partly dressed, and sat at the window
to take a last look out, and in taking it fell asleep.

Biddy was astir so early to get my breakfast, that, although I did
not sleep at the window an hour, I smelt the smoke of the kitchen
fire when I started up with a terrible idea that it must be late in
the afternoon. But long after that, and long after I had heard the
clinking of the teacups and was quite ready, I wanted the
resolution to go down stairs. After all, I remained up there,
repeatedly unlocking and unstrapping my small portmanteau and
locking and strapping it up again, until Biddy called to me that I
was late.

It was a hurried breakfast with no taste in it. I got up from the
meal, saying with a sort of briskness, as if it had only just
occurred to me, "Well! I suppose I must be off!" and then I kissed
my sister who was laughing and nodding and shaking in her usual
chair, and kissed Biddy, and threw my arms around Joe's neck. Then
I took up my little portmanteau and walked out. The last I saw of
them was, when I presently heard a scuffle behind me, and looking
back, saw Joe throwing an old shoe after me and Biddy throwing
another old shoe. I stopped then, to wave my hat, and dear old Joe
waved his strong right arm above his head, crying huskily
"Hooroar!" and Biddy put her apron to her face.

I walked away at a good pace, thinking it was easier to go than I
had supposed it would be, and reflecting that it would never have
done to have had an old shoe thrown after the coach, in sight of
all the High Street. I whistled and made nothing of going. But the
village was very peaceful and quiet, and the light mists were
solemnly rising, as if to show me the world, and I had been so
innocent and little there, and all beyond was so unknown and great,
that in a moment with a strong heave and sob I broke into tears. It
was by the finger-post at the end of the village, and I laid my
hand upon it, and said, "Good by, O my dear, dear friend!"

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are
rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I
was better after I had cried than before,--more sorry, more aware
of my own ingratitude, more gentle. If I had cried before, I should
have had Joe with me then.

So subdued I was by those tears, and by their breaking out again in
the course of the quiet walk, that when I was on the coach, and it
was clear of the town, I deliberated with an aching heart whether I
would not get down when we changed horses and walk back, and have
another evening at home, and a better parting. We changed, and I
had not made up my mind, and still reflected for my comfort that it
would be quite practicable to get down and walk back, when we
changed again. And while I was occupied with these deliberations, I
would fancy an exact resemblance to Joe in some man coming along
the road towards us, and my heart would beat high.--As if he could
possibly be there!

We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too
far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen
now, and the world lay spread before me.

This is the end of the first stage of Pip's expectations.

Chapter XX

The journey from our town to the metropolis was a journey of about
five hours. It was a little past midday when the four-horse
stage-coach by which I was a passenger, got into the ravel of
traffic frayed out about the Cross Keys, Wood Street, Cheapside,
London.

We Britons had at that time particularly settled that it was
treasonable to doubt our having and our being the best of
everything: otherwise, while I was scared by the immensity of
London, I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was
not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.

Mr. Jaggers had duly sent me his address; it was, Little Britain,
and he had written after it on his card, "just out of Smithfield,
and close by the coach-office." Nevertheless, a hackney-coachman,
who seemed to have as many capes to his greasy great-coat as he was
years old, packed me up in his coach and hemmed me in with a
folding and jingling barrier of steps, as if he were going to take
me fifty miles. His getting on his box, which I remember to have
been decorated with an old weather-stained pea-green hammercloth
moth-eaten into rags, was quite a work of time. It was a wonderful
equipage, with six great coronets outside, and ragged things behind
for I don't know how many footmen to hold on by, and a harrow below
them, to prevent amateur footmen from yielding to the temptation.

I had scarcely had time to enjoy the coach and to think how like a
straw-yard it was, and yet how like a rag-shop, and to wonder why
the horses' nose-bags were kept inside, when I observed the
coachman beginning to get down, as if we were going to stop
presently. And stop we presently did, in a gloomy street, at
certain offices with an open door, whereon was painted MR. JAGGERS.

"How much?" I asked the coachman.

The coachman answered, "A shilling--unless you wish to make it
more."

I naturally said I had no wish to make it more.

"Then it must be a shilling," observed the coachman. "I don't want
to get into trouble. I know him!" He darkly closed an eye at Mr.
Jaggers's name, and shook his head.

When he had got his shilling, and had in course of time completed
the ascent to his box, and had got away (which appeared to relieve
his mind), I went into the front office with my little portmanteau
in my hand and asked, Was Mr. Jaggers at home?

"He is not," returned the clerk. "He is in Court at present. Am I
addressing Mr. Pip?"

I signified that he was addressing Mr. Pip.

"Mr. Jaggers left word, would you wait in his room. He couldn't say
how long he might be, having a case on. But it stands to reason,
his time being valuable, that he won't be longer than he can help."

With those words, the clerk opened a door, and ushered me into an
inner chamber at the back. Here, we found a gentleman with one eye,
in a velveteen suit and knee-breeches, who wiped his nose with his
sleeve on being interrupted in the perusal of the newspaper.

"Go and wait outside, Mike," said the clerk.

I began to say that I hoped I was not interrupting, when the clerk
shoved this gentleman out with as little ceremony as I ever saw
used, and tossing his fur cap out after him, left me alone.

Mr. Jaggers's room was lighted by a skylight only, and was a most
dismal place; the skylight, eccentrically pitched like a broken
head, and the distorted adjoining houses looking as if they had
twisted themselves to peep down at me through it. There were not so
many papers about, as I should have expected to see; and there were
some odd objects about, that I should not have expected to see,--
such as an old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard, several
strange-looking boxes and packages, and two dreadful casts on a
shelf, of faces peculiarly swollen, and twitchy about the nose. Mr.
Jaggers's own high-backed chair was of deadly black horsehair,
with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin; and I fancied I
could see how he leaned back in it, and bit his forefinger at the
clients. The room was but small, and the clients seemed to have had
a habit of backing up against the wall; the wall, especially
opposite to Mr. Jaggers's chair, being greasy with shoulders. I
recalled, too, that the one-eyed gentleman had shuffled forth
against the wall when I was the innocent cause of his being turned
out.

I sat down in the cliental chair placed over against Mr. Jaggers's
chair, and became fascinated by the dismal atmosphere of the place.
I called to mind that the clerk had the same air of knowing
something to everybody else's disadvantage, as his master had. I
wondered how many other clerks there were up-stairs, and whether
they all claimed to have the same detrimental mastery of their
fellow-creatures. I wondered what was the history of all the odd
litter about the room, and how it came there. I wondered whether
the two swollen faces were of Mr. Jaggers's family, and, if he were
so unfortunate as to have had a pair of such ill-looking relations,
why he stuck them on that dusty perch for the blacks and flies to
settle on, instead of giving them a place at home. Of course I had
no experience of a London summer day, and my spirits may have been
oppressed by the hot exhausted air, and by the dust and grit that
lay thick on everything. But I sat wondering and waiting in Mr.
Jaggers's close room, until I really could not bear the two casts
on the shelf above Mr. Jaggers's chair, and got up and went out.

When I told the clerk that I would take a turn in the air while I
waited, he advised me to go round the corner and I should come into
Smithfield. So I came into Smithfield; and the shameful place,
being all asmear with filth and fat and blood and foam, seemed to
stick to me. So, I rubbed it off with all possible speed by turning
into a street where I saw the great black dome of Saint Paul's
bulging at me from behind a grim stone building which a bystander
said was Newgate Prison. Following the wall of the jail, I found
the roadway covered with straw to deaden the noise of passing
vehicles; and from this, and from the quantity of people standing
about smelling strongly of spirits and beer, I inferred that the
trials were on.

While I looked about me here, an exceedingly dirty and partially
drunk minister of justice asked me if I would like to step in and
hear a trial or so: informing me that he could give me a front
place for half a crown, whence I should command a full view of the
Lord Chief Justice in his wig and robes,--mentioning that awful
personage like waxwork, and presently offering him at the reduced
price of eighteen-pence. As I declined the proposal on the plea of
an appointment, he was so good as to take me into a yard and show
me where the gallows was kept, and also where people were publicly
whipped, and then he showed me the Debtors' Door, out of which
culprits came to be hanged; heightening the interest of that
dreadful portal by giving me to understand that "four on 'em" would
come out at that door the day after to-morrow at eight in the
morning, to be killed in a row. This was horrible, and gave me a
sickening idea of London; the more so as the Lord Chief Justice's
proprietor wore (from his hat down to his boots and up again to his
pocket-handkerchief inclusive) mildewed clothes which had
evidently not belonged to him originally, and which I took it into
my head he had bought cheap of the executioner. Under these
circumstances I thought myself well rid of him for a shilling.

I dropped into the office to ask if Mr. Jaggers had come in yet, and
I found he had not, and I strolled out again. This time, I made the
tour of Little Britain, and turned into Bartholomew Close; and now
I became aware that other people were waiting about for Mr. Jaggers,
as well as I. There were two men of secret appearance lounging in
Bartholomew Close, and thoughtfully fitting their feet into the
cracks of the pavement as they talked together, one of whom said to
the other when they first passed me, that "Jaggers would do it if
it was to be done." There was a knot of three men and two women
standing at a corner, and one of the women was crying on her dirty
shawl, and the other comforted her by saying, as she pulled her own
shawl over her shoulders, "Jaggers is for him, 'Melia, and what
more could you have?" There was a red-eyed little Jew who came into
the Close while I was loitering there, in company with a second
little Jew whom he sent upon an errand; and while the messenger was
gone, I remarked this Jew, who was of a highly excitable
temperament, performing a jig of anxiety under a lamp-post and
accompanying himself, in a kind of frenzy, with the words, "O
Jaggerth, Jaggerth, Jaggerth! all otherth ith Cag-Maggerth, give me
Jaggerth!" These testimonies to the popularity of my guardian made
a deep impression on me, and I admired and wondered more than ever.

At length, as I was looking out at the iron gate of Bartholomew
Close into Little Britain, I saw Mr. Jaggers coming across the road
towards me. All the others who were waiting saw him at the same
time, and there was quite a rush at him. Mr. Jaggers, putting a hand
on my shoulder and walking me on at his side without saying
anything to me, addressed himself to his followers.

First, he took the two secret men.

"Now, I have nothing to say to you," said Mr. Jaggers, throwing his
finger at them. "I want to know no more than I know. As to the
result, it's a toss-up. I told you from the first it was a toss-up.
Have you paid Wemmick?"

"We made the money up this morning, sir," said one of the men,
submissively, while the other perused Mr. Jaggers's face.

"I don't ask you when you made it up, or where, or whether you made
it up at all. Has Wemmick got it?"

"Yes, sir," said both the men together.

"Very well; then you may go. Now, I won't have it!" said Mr
Jaggers, waving his hand at them to put them behind him. "If you
say a word to me, I'll throw up the case."

"We thought, Mr. Jaggers--" one of the men began, pulling off his
hat.

"That's what I told you not to do," said Mr. Jaggers. "You thought!
I think for you; that's enough for you. If I want you, I know where
to find you; I don't want you to find me. Now I won't have it. I
won't hear a word."

The two men looked at one another as Mr. Jaggers waved them behind
again, and humbly fell back and were heard no more.

"And now you!" said Mr. Jaggers, suddenly stopping, and turning on
the two women with the shawls, from whom the three men had meekly
separated,--"Oh! Amelia, is it?"

"Yes, Mr. Jaggers."

"And do you remember," retorted Mr. Jaggers, "that but for me you
wouldn't be here and couldn't be here?"

"O yes, sir!" exclaimed both women together. "Lord bless you, sir,
well we knows that!"

"Then why," said Mr. Jaggers, "do you come here?"

"My Bill, sir!" the crying woman pleaded.

"Now, I tell you what!" said Mr. Jaggers. "Once for all. If you
don't know that your Bill's in good hands, I know it. And if you
come here bothering about your Bill, I'll make an example of both
your Bill and you, and let him slip through my fingers. Have you
paid Wemmick?"

"O yes, sir! Every farden."

"Very well. Then you have done all you have got to do. Say another
word--one single word--and Wemmick shall give you your money
back."

This terrible threat caused the two women to fall off immediately.
No one remained now but the excitable Jew, who had already raised
the skirts of Mr. Jaggers's coat to his lips several times.

"I don't know this man!" said Mr. Jaggers, in the same devastating
strain: "What does this fellow want?"

"Ma thear Mithter Jaggerth. Hown brother to Habraham Latharuth?"

"Who's he?" said Mr. Jaggers. "Let go of my coat."

The suitor, kissing the hem of the garment again before
relinquishing it, replied, "Habraham Latharuth, on thuthpithion of
plate."

"You're too late," said Mr. Jaggers. "I am over the way."

"Holy father, Mithter Jaggerth!" cried my excitable acquaintance,
turning white, "don't thay you're again Habraham Latharuth!"

"I am," said Mr. Jaggers, "and there's an end of it. Get out of the
way."

"Mithter Jaggerth! Half a moment! My hown cuthen'th gone to Mithter
Wemmick at thith prethent minute, to hoffer him hany termth.
Mithter Jaggerth! Half a quarter of a moment! If you'd have the
condethenthun to be bought off from the t'other thide--at hany
thuperior prithe!--money no object!--Mithter Jaggerth--Mithter -
!"

My guardian threw his supplicant off with supreme indifference, and
left him dancing on the pavement as if it were red hot. Without
further interruption, we reached the front office, where we found
the clerk and the man in velveteen with the fur cap.

"Here's Mike," said the clerk, getting down from his stool, and
approaching Mr. Jaggers confidentially.

"Oh!" said Mr. Jaggers, turning to the man, who was pulling a lock
of hair in the middle of his forehead, like the Bull in Cock Robin
pulling at the bell-rope; "your man comes on this afternoon. Well?"

"Well, Mas'r Jaggers," returned Mike, in the voice of a sufferer
from a constitutional cold; "arter a deal o' trouble, I've found
one, sir, as might do."

"What is he prepared to swear?"

"Well, Mas'r Jaggers," said Mike, wiping his nose on his fur cap
this time; "in a general way, anythink."

Mr. Jaggers suddenly became most irate. "Now, I warned you before,"
said he, throwing his forefinger at the terrified client, "that if
you ever presumed to talk in that way here, I'd make an example of
you. You infernal scoundrel, how dare you tell ME that?"

The client looked scared, but bewildered too, as if he were
unconscious what he had done.

"Spooney!" said the clerk, in a low voice, giving him a stir with
his elbow. "Soft Head! Need you say it face to face?"

"Now, I ask you, you blundering booby," said my guardian, very
sternly, "once more and for the last time, what the man you have
brought here is prepared to swear?"

Mike looked hard at my guardian, as if he were trying to learn a
lesson from his face, and slowly replied, "Ayther to character, or
to having been in his company and never left him all the night in
question."

"Now, be careful. In what station of life is this man?"

Mike looked at his cap, and looked at the floor, and looked at the
ceiling, and looked at the clerk, and even looked at me, before
beginning to reply in a nervous manner, "We've dressed him up
like--" when my guardian blustered out,--

"What? You WILL, will you?"

("Spooney!" added the clerk again, with another stir.)

After some helpless casting about, Mike brightened and began again:--

"He is dressed like a 'spectable pieman. A sort of a pastry-cook."

"Is he here?" asked my guardian.

"I left him," said Mike, "a setting on some doorsteps round the
corner."

"Take him past that window, and let me see him."

The window indicated was the office window. We all three went to
it, behind the wire blind, and presently saw the client go by in an
accidental manner, with a murderous-looking tall individual, in a
short suit of white linen and a paper cap. This guileless
confectioner was not by any means sober, and had a black eye in the
green stage of recovery, which was painted over.

"Tell him to take his witness away directly," said my guardian to
the clerk, in extreme disgust, "and ask him what he means by
bringing such a fellow as that."

My guardian then took me into his own room, and while he lunched,
standing, from a sandwich-box and a pocket-flask of sherry (he
seemed to bully his very sandwich as he ate it), informed me what
arrangements he had made for me. I was to go to "Barnard's Inn," to
young Mr. Pocket's rooms, where a bed had been sent in for my
accommodation; I was to remain with young Mr. Pocket until Monday;
on Monday I was to go with him to his father's house on a visit,
that I might try how I liked it. Also, I was told what my allowance
was to be,--it was a very liberal one,--and had handed to me from
one of my guardian's drawers, the cards of certain tradesmen with
whom I was to deal for all kinds of clothes, and such other things
as I could in reason want. "You will find your credit good, Mr.
Pip," said my guardian, whose flask of sherry smelt like a whole
caskful, as he hastily refreshed himself, "but I shall by this
means be able to check your bills, and to pull you up if I find you
outrunning the constable. Of course you'll go wrong somehow, but
that's no fault of mine."

After I had pondered a little over this encouraging sentiment, I
asked Mr. Jaggers if I could send for a coach? He said it was not
worth while, I was so near my destination; Wemmick should walk
round with me, if I pleased.

I then found that Wemmick was the clerk in the next room. Another
clerk was rung down from up stairs to take his place while he was
out, and I accompanied him into the street, after shaking hands
with my guardian. We found a new set of people lingering outside,
but Wemmick made a way among them by saying coolly yet decisively,
"I tell you it's no use; he won't have a word to say to one of
you;" and we soon got clear of them, and went on side by side.

Chapter XXI

Casting my eyes on Mr. Wemmick as we went along, to see what he was
like in the light of day, I found him to be a dry man, rather short
in stature, with a square wooden face, whose expression seemed to
have been imperfectly chipped out with a dull-edged chisel. There
were some marks in it that might have been dimples, if the material
had been softer and the instrument finer, but which, as it was,
were only dints. The chisel had made three or four of these
attempts at embellishment over his nose, but had given them up
without an effort to smooth them off. I judged him to be a bachelor
from the frayed condition of his linen, and he appeared to have
sustained a good many bereavements; for he wore at least four
mourning rings, besides a brooch representing a lady and a weeping
willow at a tomb with an urn on it. I noticed, too, that several
rings and seals hung at his watch-chain, as if he were quite laden
with remembrances of departed friends. He had glittering eyes,--
small, keen, and black,--and thin wide mottled lips. He had had
them, to the best of my belief, from forty to fifty years.

"So you were never in London before?" said Mr. Wemmick to me.

"No," said I.

"I was new here once," said Mr. Wemmick. "Rum to think of now!"

"You are well acquainted with it now?"

"Why, yes," said Mr. Wemmick. "I know the moves of it."

"Is it a very wicked place?" I asked, more for the sake of saying
something than for information.

"You may get cheated, robbed, and murdered in London. But there
are plenty of people anywhere, who'll do that for you."

"If there is bad blood between you and them," said I, to soften it
off a little.

"O! I don't know about bad blood," returned Mr. Wemmick; "there's
not much bad blood about. They'll do it, if there's anything to be
got by it."

"That makes it worse."

"You think so?" returned Mr. Wemmick. "Much about the same, I should
say."

He wore his hat on the back of his head, and looked straight before
him: walking in a self-contained way as if there were nothing in
the streets to claim his attention. His mouth was such a post-office
of a mouth that he had a mechanical appearance of smiling. We had
got to the top of Holborn Hill before I knew that it was merely a
mechanical appearance, and that he was not smiling at all.

"Do you know where Mr. Matthew Pocket lives?" I asked Mr. Wemmick.

"Yes," said he, nodding in the direction. "At Hammersmith, west of
London."

"Is that far?"

"Well! Say five miles."

"Do you know him?"

"Why, you're a regular cross-examiner!" said Mr. Wemmick, looking at
me with an approving air. "Yes, I know him. I know him!"

There was an air of toleration or depreciation about his utterance
of these words that rather depressed me; and I was still looking
sideways at his block of a face in search of any encouraging note
to the text, when he said here we were at Barnard's Inn. My
depression was not alleviated by the announcement, for, I had
supposed that establishment to be an hotel kept by Mr. Barnard, to
which the Blue Boar in our town was a mere public-house. Whereas I
now found Barnard to be a disembodied spirit, or a fiction, and his
inn the dingiest collection of shabby buildings ever squeezed
together in a rank corner as a club for Tom-cats.

We entered this haven through a wicket-gate, and were disgorged by
an introductory passage into a melancholy little square that looked
to me like a flat burying-ground. I thought it had the most dismal
trees in it, and the most dismal sparrows, and the most dismal
cats, and the most dismal houses (in number half a dozen or so),
that I had ever seen. I thought the windows of the sets of chambers
into which those houses were divided were in every stage of
dilapidated blind and curtain, crippled flower-pot, cracked glass,
dusty decay, and miserable makeshift; while To Let, To Let, To Let,
glared at me from empty rooms, as if no new wretches ever came
there, and the vengeance of the soul of Barnard were being slowly
appeased by the gradual suicide of the present occupants and their
unholy interment under the gravel. A frowzy mourning of soot and
smoke attired this forlorn creation of Barnard, and it had strewn
ashes on its head, and was undergoing penance and humiliation as a
mere dust-hole. Thus far my sense of sight; while dry rot and wet
rot and all the silent rots that rot in neglected roof and cellar,--
rot of rat and mouse and bug and coaching-stables near at hand
besides--addressed themselves faintly to my sense of smell, and
moaned, "Try Barnard's Mixture."

So imperfect was this realization of the first of my great
expectations, that I looked in dismay at Mr. Wemmick. "Ah!" said he,
mistaking me; "the retirement reminds you of the country. So it
does me."

He led me into a corner and conducted me up a flight of stairs,--
which appeared to me to be slowly collapsing into sawdust, so that
one of those days the upper lodgers would look out at their doors
and find themselves without the means of coming down,--to a set of
chambers on the top floor. MR. POCKET, JUN., was painted on the
door, and there was a label on the letter-box, "Return shortly."

"He hardly thought you'd come so soon," Mr. Wemmick explained. "You
don't want me any more?"

"No, thank you," said I.

"As I keep the cash," Mr. Wemmick observed, "we shall most likely
meet pretty often. Good day."

"Good day."

I put out my hand, and Mr. Wemmick at first looked at it as if he
thought I wanted something. Then he looked at me, and said,
correcting himself,--

"To be sure! Yes. You're in the habit of shaking hands?"

I was rather confused, thinking it must be out of the London
fashion, but said yes.

"I have got so out of it!" said Mr. Wemmick,--"except at last. Very
glad, I'm sure, to make your acquaintance. Good day!"

When we had shaken hands and he was gone, I opened the staircase
window and had nearly beheaded myself, for, the lines had rotted
away, and it came down like the guillotine. Happily it was so quick
that I had not put my head out. After this escape, I was content to
take a foggy view of the Inn through the window's encrusting dirt,
and to stand dolefully looking out, saying to myself that London
was decidedly overrated.

Mr. Pocket, Junior's, idea of Shortly was not mine, for I had nearly
maddened myself with looking out for half an hour, and had written
my name with my finger several times in the dirt of every pane in
the window, before I heard footsteps on the stairs. Gradually there
arose before me the hat, head, neckcloth, waistcoat, trousers,
boots, of a member of society of about my own standing. He had a
paper-bag under each arm and a pottle of strawberries in one hand,
and was out of breath.

"Mr. Pip?" said he.

"Mr. Pocket?" said I.

"Dear me!" he exclaimed. "I am extremely sorry; but I knew there
was a coach from your part of the country at midday, and I thought
you would come by that one. The fact is, I have been out on your
account,--not that that is any excuse,--for I thought, coming from
the country, you might like a little fruit after dinner, and I went
to Covent Garden Market to get it good."

For a reason that I had, I felt as if my eyes would start out of my
head. I acknowledged his attention incoherently, and began to think
this was a dream.

"Dear me!" said Mr. Pocket, Junior. "This door sticks so!"

As he was fast making jam of his fruit by wrestling with the door
while the paper-bags were under his arms, I begged him to allow me
to hold them. He relinquished them with an agreeable smile, and
combated with the door as if it were a wild beast. It yielded so
suddenly at last, that he staggered back upon me, and I staggered
back upon the opposite door, and we both laughed. But still I felt
as if my eyes must start out of my head, and as if this must be a
dream.

"Pray come in," said Mr. Pocket, Junior. "Allow me to lead the way.
I am rather bare here, but I hope you'll be able to make out
tolerably well till Monday. My father thought you would get on more
agreeably through to-morrow with me than with him, and might like
to take a walk about London. I am sure I shall be very happy to
show London to you. As to our table, you won't find that bad, I
hope, for it will be supplied from our coffee-house here, and (it
is only right I should add) at your expense, such being Mr.
Jaggers's directions. As to our lodging, it's not by any means
splendid, because I have my own bread to earn, and my father hasn't
anything to give me, and I shouldn't be willing to take it, if he
had. This is our sitting-room,--just such chairs and tables and
carpet and so forth, you see, as they could spare from home. You
mustn't give me credit for the tablecloth and spoons and castors,
because they come for you from the coffee-house. This is my little
bedroom; rather musty, but Barnard's is musty. This is your
bedroom; the furniture's hired for the occasion, but I trust it
will answer the purpose; if you should want anything, I'll go and
fetch it. The chambers are retired, and we shall be alone together,
but we shan't fight, I dare say. But dear me, I beg your pardon,
you're holding the fruit all this time. Pray let me take these bags
from you. I am quite ashamed."

As I stood opposite to Mr. Pocket, Junior, delivering him the bags,
One, Two, I saw the starting appearance come into his own eyes that
I knew to be in mine, and he said, falling back,--

"Lord bless me, you're the prowling boy!"

"And you," said I, "are the pale young gentleman!"

Chapter XXII

The pale young gentleman and I stood contemplating one another in
Barnard's Inn, until we both burst out laughing. "The idea of its
being you!" said he. "The idea of its being you!" said I. And then
we contemplated one another afresh, and laughed again. "Well!" said
the pale young gentleman, reaching out his hand good-humoredly,
"it's all over now, I hope, and it will be magnanimous in you if
you'll forgive me for having knocked you about so."

I derived from this speech that Mr. Herbert Pocket (for Herbert was
the pale young gentleman's name) still rather confounded his
intention with his execution. But I made a modest reply, and we
shook hands warmly.

"You hadn't come into your good fortune at that time?" said Herbert
Pocket.

"No," said I.

"No," he acquiesced: "I heard it had happened very lately. I was
rather on the lookout for good fortune then."

"Indeed?"

"Yes. Miss Havisham had sent for me, to see if she could take a
fancy to me. But she couldn't,--at all events, she didn't."

I thought it polite to remark that I was surprised to hear that.

"Bad taste," said Herbert, laughing, "but a fact. Yes, she had sent
for me on a trial visit, and if I had come out of it successfully,
I suppose I should have been provided for; perhaps I should have
been what-you-may-called it to Estella."

"What's that?" I asked, with sudden gravity.

He was arranging his fruit in plates while we talked, which divided
his attention, and was the cause of his having made this lapse of a
word. "Affianced," he explained, still busy with the fruit.
"Betrothed. Engaged. What's-his-named. Any word of that sort."

"How did you bear your disappointment?" I asked.

"Pooh!" said he, "I didn't care much for it. She's a Tartar."

"Miss Havisham?"

"I don't say no to that, but I meant Estella. That girl's hard and
haughty and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up
by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex."

"What relation is she to Miss Havisham?"

"None," said he. "Only adopted."

"Why should she wreak revenge on all the male sex? What revenge?"

"Lord, Mr. Pip!" said he. "Don't you know?"

"No," said I.

"Dear me! It's quite a story, and shall be saved till dinner-time.
And now let me take the liberty of asking you a question. How did
you come there, that day?"

I told him, and he was attentive until I had finished, and then
burst out laughing again, and asked me if I was sore afterwards? I
didn't ask him if he was, for my conviction on that point was
perfectly established.

"Mr. Jaggers is your guardian, I understand?" he went on.

"Yes."

"You know he is Miss Havisham's man of business and solicitor, and
has her confidence when nobody else has?"

This was bringing me (I felt) towards dangerous ground. I answered
with a constraint I made no attempt to disguise, that I had seen Mr.
Jaggers in Miss Havisham's house on the very day of our combat, but
never at any other time, and that I believed he had no recollection
of having ever seen me there.

"He was so obliging as to suggest my father for your tutor, and he
called on my father to propose it. Of course he knew about my
father from his connection with Miss Havisham. My father is Miss
Havisham's cousin; not that that implies familiar intercourse
between them, for he is a bad courtier and will not propitiate
her."

Herbert Pocket had a frank and easy way with him that was very
taking. I had never seen any one then, and I have never seen any
one since, who more strongly expressed to me, in every look and
tone, a natural incapacity to do anything secret and mean. There
was something wonderfully hopeful about his general air, and
something that at the same time whispered to me he would never be
very successful or rich. I don't know how this was. I became imbued
with the notion on that first occasion before we sat down to
dinner, but I cannot define by what means.

He was still a pale young gentleman, and had a certain conquered
languor about him in the midst of his spirits and briskness, that
did not seem indicative of natural strength. He had not a handsome
face, but it was better than handsome: being extremely amiable and
cheerful. His figure was a little ungainly, as in the days when my
knuckles had taken such liberties with it, but it looked as if it
would always be light and young. Whether Mr. Trabb's local work
would have sat more gracefully on him than on me, may be a
question; but I am conscious that he carried off his rather old
clothes much better than I carried off my new suit.

As he was so communicative, I felt that reserve on my part would be
a bad return unsuited to our years. I therefore told him my small
story, and laid stress on my being forbidden to inquire who my
benefactor was. I further mentioned that as I had been brought up a
blacksmith in a country place, and knew very little of the ways of
politeness, I would take it as a great kindness in him if he would
give me a hint whenever he saw me at a loss or going wrong.

"With pleasure," said he, "though I venture to prophesy that you'll
want very few hints. I dare say we shall be often together, and I
should like to banish any needless restraint between us. Will you
do me the favour to begin at once to call me by my Christian name,
Herbert?"

I thanked him and said I would. I informed him in exchange that my
Christian name was Philip.

"I don't take to Philip," said he, smiling, "for it sounds like a
moral boy out of the spelling-book, who was so lazy that he fell
into a pond, or so fat that he couldn't see out of his eyes, or so
avaricious that he locked up his cake till the mice ate it, or so
determined to go a bird's-nesting that he got himself eaten by
bears who lived handy in the neighborhood. I tell you what I
should like. We are so harmonious, and you have been a blacksmith,---
would you mind it?"

"I shouldn't mind anything that you propose," I answered, "but I
don't understand you."

"Would you mind Handel for a familiar name? There's a charming
piece of music by Handel, called the Harmonious Blacksmith."

"I should like it very much."

"Then, my dear Handel," said he, turning round as the door opened,
"here is the dinner, and I must beg of you to take the top of the
table, because the dinner is of your providing."

This I would not hear of, so he took the top, and I faced him. It
was a nice little dinner,--seemed to me then a very Lord Mayor's
Feast,--and it acquired additional relish from being eaten under
those independent circumstances, with no old people by, and with
London all around us. This again was heightened by a certain gypsy
character that set the banquet off; for while the table was, as Mr.
Pumblechook might have said, the lap of luxury,--being entirely
furnished forth from the coffee-house,--the circumjacent region of
sitting-room was of a comparatively pastureless and shifty
character; imposing on the waiter the wandering habits of putting
the covers on the floor (where he fell over them), the melted
butter in the arm-chair, the bread on the bookshelves, the cheese in
the coal-scuttle, and the boiled fowl into my bed in the next room,--
where I found much of its parsley and butter in a state of
congelation when I retired for the night. All this made the feast
delightful, and when the waiter was not there to watch me, my
pleasure was without alloy.

We had made some progress in the dinner, when I reminded Herbert of
his promise to tell me about Miss Havisham.

"True," he replied. "I'll redeem it at once. Let me introduce the
topic, Handel, by mentioning that in London it is not the custom to
put the knife in the mouth,--for fear of accidents,--and that while
the fork is reserved for that use, it is not put further in than
necessary. It is scarcely worth mentioning, only it's as well to do
as other people do. Also, the spoon is not generally used
over-hand, but under. This has two advantages. You get at your
mouth better (which after all is the object), and you save a good
deal of the attitude of opening oysters, on the part of the right
elbow."

He offered these friendly suggestions in such a lively way, that we
both laughed and I scarcely blushed.

"Now," he pursued, "concerning Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham, you
must know, was a spoilt child. Her mother died when she was a baby,
and her father denied her nothing. Her father was a country
gentleman down in your part of the world, and was a brewer. I don't
know why it should be a crack thing to be a brewer; but it is
indisputable that while you cannot possibly be genteel and bake,
you may be as genteel as never was and brew. You see it every day."

"Yet a gentleman may not keep a public-house; may he?" said I.

"Not on any account," returned Herbert; "but a public-house may
keep a gentleman. Well! Mr. Havisham was very rich and very proud.
So was his daughter."

"Miss Havisham was an only child?" I hazarded.

"Stop a moment, I am coming to that. No, she was not an only child;
she had a half-brother. Her father privately married again--his
cook, I rather think."

"I thought he was proud," said I.

"My good Handel, so he was. He married his second wife privately,
because he was proud, and in course of time she died. When she was
dead, I apprehend he first told his daughter what he had done, and
then the son became a part of the family, residing in the house you
are acquainted with. As the son grew a young man, he turned out
riotous, extravagant, undutiful,--altogether bad. At last his
father disinherited him; but he softened when he was dying, and
left him well off, though not nearly so well off as Miss Havisham.
--Take another glass of wine, and excuse my mentioning that society
as a body does not expect one to be so strictly conscientious in
emptying one's glass, as to turn it bottom upwards with the rim on
one's nose."

I had been doing this, in an excess of attention to his recital. I
thanked him, and apologized. He said, "Not at all," and resumed.

"Miss Havisham was now an heiress, and you may suppose was looked
after as a great match. Her half-brother had now ample means again,
but what with debts and what with new madness wasted them most
fearfully again. There were stronger differences between him and
her than there had been between him and his father, and it is
suspected that he cherished a deep and mortal grudge against her
as having influenced the father's anger. Now, I come to the cruel
part of the story,--merely breaking off, my dear Handel, to remark
that a dinner-napkin will not go into a tumbler."

Why I was trying to pack mine into my tumbler, I am wholly unable
to say. I only know that I found myself, with a perseverance worthy
of a much better cause, making the most strenuous exertions to
compress it within those limits. Again I thanked him and
apologized, and again he said in the cheerfullest manner, "Not at
all, I am sure!" and resumed.

"There appeared upon the scene--say at the races, or the public
balls, or anywhere else you like--a certain man, who made love to
Miss Havisham. I never saw him (for this happened five-and-twenty
years ago, before you and I were, Handel), but I have heard my
father mention that he was a showy man, and the kind of man for the
purpose. But that he was not to be, without ignorance or prejudice,
mistaken for a gentleman, my father most strongly asseverates;
because it is a principle of his that no man who was not a true
gentleman at heart ever was, since the world began, a true
gentleman in manner. He says, no varnish can hide the grain of the
wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will
express itself. Well! This man pursued Miss Havisham closely, and
professed to be devoted to her. I believe she had not shown much
susceptibility up to that time; but all the susceptibility she
possessed certainly came out then, and she passionately loved him.
There is no doubt that she perfectly idolized him. He practised on
her affection in that systematic way, that he got great sums of
money from her, and he induced her to buy her brother out of a
share in the brewery (which had been weakly left him by his father)
at an immense price, on the plea that when he was her husband he
must hold and manage it all. Your guardian was not at that time in
Miss Havisham's counsels, and she was too haughty and too much in
love to be advised by any one. Her relations were poor and
scheming, with the exception of my father; he was poor enough, but
not time-serving or jealous. The only independent one among them,
he warned her that she was doing too much for this man, and was
placing herself too unreservedly in his power. She took the first
opportunity of angrily ordering my father out of the house, in his
presence, and my father has never seen her since."

I thought of her having said, "Matthew will come and see me at last
when I am laid dead upon that table;" and I asked Herbert whether
his father was so inveterate against her?

"It's not that," said he, "but she charged him, in the presence of
her intended husband, with being disappointed in the hope of
fawning upon her for his own advancement, and, if he were to go to
her now, it would look true--even to him--and even to her. To
return to the man and make an end of him. The marriage day was
fixed, the wedding dresses were bought, the wedding tour was
planned out, the wedding guests were invited. The day came, but not
the bridegroom. He wrote her a letter--"

"Which she received," I struck in, "when she was dressing for her
marriage? At twenty minutes to nine?"

"At the hour and minute," said Herbert, nodding, "at which she
afterwards stopped all the clocks. What was in it, further than
that it most heartlessly broke the marriage off, I can't tell you,
because I don't know. When she recovered from a bad illness that
she had, she laid the whole place waste, as you have seen it, and
she has never since looked upon the light of day."

"Is that all the story?" I asked, after considering it.

"All I know of it; and indeed I only know so much, through piecing
it out for myself; for my father always avoids it, and, even when
Miss Havisham invited me to go there, told me no more of it than it
was absolutely requisite I should understand. But I have forgotten
one thing. It has been supposed that the man to whom she gave her
misplaced confidence acted throughout in concert with her
half-brother; that it was a conspiracy between them; and that they
shared the profits."

"I wonder he didn't marry her and get all the property," said I.

"He may have been married already, and her cruel mortification may
have been a part of her half-brother's scheme," said Herbert. "Mind!
I don't know that."

"What became of the two men?" I asked, after again considering the
subject.

"They fell into deeper shame and degradation--if there can be
deeper--and ruin."

"Are they alive now?"

"I don't know."

"You said just now that Estella was not related to Miss Havisham,
but adopted. When adopted?"

Herbert shrugged his shoulders. "There has always been an Estella,
since I have heard of a Miss Havisham. I know no more. And now,
Handel," said he, finally throwing off the story as it were, "there
is a perfectly open understanding between us. All that I know about
Miss Havisham, you know."

"And all that I know," I retorted, "you know."

"I fully believe it. So there can be no competition or perplexity
between you and me. And as to the condition on which you hold your
advancement in life,--namely, that you are not to inquire or
discuss to whom you owe it,--you may be very sure that it will
never be encroached upon, or even approached, by me, or by any one
belonging to me."

In truth, he said this with so much delicacy, that I felt the
subject done with, even though I should be under his father's roof
for years and years to come. Yet he said it with so much meaning,
too, that I felt he as perfectly understood Miss Havisham to be my
benefactress, as I understood the fact myself.

It had not occurred to me before, that he had led up to the theme
for the purpose of clearing it out of our way; but we were so much
the lighter and easier for having broached it, that I now perceived
this to be the case. We were very gay and sociable, and I asked
him, in the course of conversation, what he was? He replied, "A
capitalist,--an Insurer of Ships." I suppose he saw me glancing
about the room in search of some tokens of Shipping, or capital,
for he added, "In the City."

I had grand ideas of the wealth and importance of Insurers of Ships
in the City, and I began to think with awe of having laid a young
Insurer on his back, blackened his enterprising eye, and cut his
responsible head open. But again there came upon me, for my
relief, that odd impression that Herbert Pocket would never be very
successful or rich.

"I shall not rest satisfied with merely employing my capital in
insuring ships. I shall buy up some good Life Assurance shares, and
cut into the Direction. I shall also do a little in the mining way.
None of these things will interfere with my chartering a few
thousand tons on my own account. I think I shall trade," said he,
leaning back in his chair, "to the East Indies, for silks, shawls,
spices, dyes, drugs, and precious woods. It's an interesting
trade."

"And the profits are large?" said I.

"Tremendous!" said he.

I wavered again, and began to think here were greater expectations
than my own.

"I think I shall trade, also," said he, putting his thumbs in his
waist-
coat pockets, "to the West Indies, for sugar, tobacco, and
rum. Also to Ceylon, specially for elephants' tusks."

"You will want a good many ships," said I.

"A perfect fleet," said he.

Quite overpowered by the magnificence of these transactions, I
asked him where the ships he insured mostly traded to at present?

"I haven't begun insuring yet," he replied. "I am looking about
me."

Somehow, that pursuit seemed more in keeping with Barnard's Inn. I
said (in a tone of conviction), "Ah-h!"

"Yes. I am in a counting-house, and looking about me."

"Is a counting-house profitable?" I asked.

"To--do you mean to the young fellow who's in it?" he asked, in
reply.

"Yes; to you."

"Why, n-no; not to me." He said this with the air of one carefully
reckoning up and striking a balance. "Not directly profitable. That
is, it doesn't pay me anything, and I have to--keep myself."

This certainly had not a profitable appearance, and I shook my head
as if I would imply that it would be difficult to lay by much
accumulative capital from such a source of income.

"But the thing is," said Herbert Pocket, "that you look about you.
That's the grand thing. You are in a counting-house, you know, and
you look about you."

It struck me as a singular implication that you couldn't be out of
a counting-house, you know, and look about you; but I silently
deferred to his experience.

"Then the time comes," said Herbert, "when you see your opening.
And you go in, and you swoop upon it and you make your capital, and
then there you are! When you have once made your capital, you have
nothing to do but employ it."

This was very like his way of conducting that encounter in the
garden; very like. His manner of bearing his poverty, too, exactly
corresponded to his manner of bearing that defeat. It seemed to me
that he took all blows and buffets now with just the same air as
he had taken mine then. It was evident that he had nothing around
him but the simplest necessaries, for everything that I remarked
upon turned out to have been sent in on my account from the
coffee-house or somewhere else.

Yet, having already made his fortune in his own mind, he was so
unassuming with it that I felt quite grateful to him for not being
puffed up. It was a pleasant addition to his naturally pleasant
ways, and we got on famously. In the evening we went out for a walk
in the streets, and went half-price to the Theatre; and next day we
went to church at Westminster Abbey, and in the afternoon we walked
in the Parks; and I wondered who shod all the horses there, and
wished Joe did.

On a moderate computation, it was many months, that Sunday, since I
had left Joe and Biddy. The space interposed between myself and
them partook of that expansion, and our marshes were any distance
off. That I could have been at our old church in my old
church-going clothes, on the very last Sunday that ever was, seemed
a combination of impossibilities, geographical and social, solar
and lunar. Yet in the London streets so crowded with people and so
brilliantly lighted in the dusk of evening, there were depressing
hints of reproaches for that I had put the poor old kitchen at home
so far away; and in the dead of night, the footsteps of some
incapable impostor of a porter mooning about Barnard's Inn, under
pretence of watching it, fell hollow on my heart.

On the Monday morning at a quarter before nine, Herbert went to the
counting-house to report himself,--to look about him, too, I
suppose,--and I bore him company. He was to come away in an hour or
two to attend me to Hammersmith, and I was to wait about for him.
It appeared to me that the eggs from which young Insurers were
hatched were incubated in dust and heat, like the eggs of
ostriches, judging from the places to which those incipient giants
repaired on a Monday morning. Nor did the counting-house where
Herbert assisted, show in my eyes as at all a good Observatory;
being a back second floor up a yard, of a grimy presence in all
particulars, and with a look into another back second floor, rather
than a look out.

I waited about until it was noon, and I went upon 'Change, and I
saw fluey men sitting there under the bills about shipping, whom I
took to be great merchants, though I couldn't understand why they
should all be out of spirits. When Herbert came, we went and had
lunch at a celebrated house which I then quite venerated, but now
believe to have been the most abject superstition in Europe, and
where I could not help noticing, even then, that there was much
more gravy on the tablecloths and knives and waiters' clothes, than
in the steaks. This collation disposed of at a moderate price
(considering the grease, which was not charged for), we went back
to Barnard's Inn and got my little portmanteau, and then took coach
for Hammersmith. We arrived there at two or three o'clock in the
afternoon, and had very little way to walk to Mr. Pocket's house.
Lifting the latch of a gate, we passed direct into a little garden
overlooking the river, where Mr. Pocket's children were playing
about. And unless I deceive myself on a point where my interests or
prepossessions are certainly not concerned, I saw that Mr. and Mrs.
Pocket's children were not growing up or being brought up, but were
tumbling up.

Mrs. Pocket was sitting on a garden chair under a tree, reading,
with her legs upon another garden chair; and Mrs. Pocket's two
nurse-maids were looking about them while the children played.
"Mamma," said Herbert, "this is young Mr. Pip." Upon which Mrs.
Pocket received me with an appearance of amiable dignity.

"Master Alick and Miss Jane," cried one of the nurses to two of the
children, "if you go a bouncing up against them bushes you'll fall
over into the river and be drownded, and what'll your pa say then?"

At the same time this nurse picked up Mrs. Pocket's handkerchief,
and said, "If that don't make six times you've dropped it, Mum!"
Upon which Mrs. Pocket laughed and said, "Thank you, Flopson," and
settling herself in one chair only, resumed her book. Her
countenance immediately assumed a knitted and intent expression as
if she had been reading for a week, but before she could have read
half a dozen lines, she fixed her eyes upon me, and said, "I hope
your mamma is quite well?" This unexpected inquiry put me into such
a difficulty that I began saying in the absurdest way that if there
had been any such person I had no doubt she would have been quite
well and would have been very much obliged and would have sent her

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