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them for being on the opposite
side of the table.
After dinner the children were
introduced, and Mrs. Coiler made admiring comments on their eves, noses, and
legs—a sagacious way of improving their minds. There were four little girls, and
two little boys, besides the baby who might have been either, and the baby's
next successor who was as yet neither. They were brought in by Flopson and
Millers, much as though those two non-commissioned officers had been recruiting
somewhere for children and had enlisted these : while Mrs. Pocket looked at the
young Nobles that ought to have been, as if she rather thought she had had the
pleasure of inspecting them before, but didn't quite know what to make of them.
" Here ! Give me your fork, mum,
and take the baby," said Flopson. " Don't take it that way, or you'll get its
head under the table."
Thus advised, Mrs. Pocket took it
the other way, and got its head upon the table ; which was announced to all
present by a prodigious concussion.
Dear, dear ! Give it me back,
mum," said Flopson ; " and Miss Jane come and dance to baby, do!"
One of the little girls —a mere
mite, who seemed to have prematurely taken upon herself some charge of the
others—stepped out of her place by me, and danced to and from the baby until it
left off crying, and laughed. Then all the children laughed, and Mr. Pocket (who
in the mean time had twice endeavored to lift him-self up by the hair) laughed,
and we all laughed and were glad.
Flopson, by dint of doubling the
baby at the joints like a Dutch doll, then got it safely into Mrs. Pocket's lap,
and gave it the nut-crackers to play with; at the same time recommending Mrs.
Pocket to take notice that the handles of that instrument were not likely to
agree with its eyes, and sharply charging Miss Jane to look after the same. Then
the two nurses left the room, and had a lively scuffle on the staircase with a
dissipated page who had waited at dinner, and who had clearly lost half his
buttons at the gaming-table.
I was made very uneasy in my mind
by Mrs. Pocket's falling into a discussion with Drummle respecting the dates of
two baronetcies while she ate a sliced orange steeped in sugar and wine, and
forgetting all about the baby on her lap, who did most appalling things with the
nut-crackers. At length little Jane, perceiving its young brains to be
imperiled, softly left her place, and with many small artifices coaxed the
dangerous weapon away. Mrs. Pocket finishing her orange at about the same time,
and not approving of this, said to Jane :
" You naughty child, how dare you
? Go and it down this instant !"
" Mamma dear," lisped the little
baby ood have put hith eyeth
" How dare you tell me so !"
retorted Mrs. Pocket. " Go and sit down in your chair this moment 1"
Mrs. Pocket's dignity was so
crushing that I felt quite abashed, as if I myself had done some-thing to rouse
"Belinda," remonstrated Mr.
Pocket from the other end of the table, " how can you be so unreasonable ? Jane
only interfered for the protection of baby."
" I will not allow any body to
interfere," said Mrs. Pocket. "I am surprised, Matthew, that you should expose
me to the affront of interference."
" Good God !" cried Mr. Pocket,
in an out-break of desolate desperation. " Are infants to be nut-crackered into
their tombs, and is nobody to save them?"
" I will not be interfered with
by Jane," said Mrs. Pocket, with a majestic glance at that innocent little
offender. " I hope I know my poor grandpapa's position. Jane, indeed I"
Mr. Pocket got his hands in his
hair again, and this time really did lift himself some inches out of his chair.
"Hear this !" he helplessly exclaimed to the elements. "Babies are to be nut-crackered
dead, for people's poor grand-papa's positions !" Then he let himself down
again, and became silent.
We all looked awkwardly at the
table-cloth while this was going on. A pause succeeded, during which the honest
and irrepressible baby made a series of leaps and crows at little Jane, who
appeared to me to be the only member of the family (irrespective of servants)
with whom it had any decided acquaintance.
"Mr. Drummle," said Mrs. Pocket,
"will you ring for Flopson? Jane, you undutiful little thing, go and lie down.
Now, baby darling, come with ma I"
The baby was the soul of honor,
and protested with all its might. It doubled itself up the wrong way over Mrs.
Pocket's arm, exhibited a pair of knitted shoes and dimpled ankles to the
company in lieu of its soft face, and was carried out in the highest state of
mutiny. And it gained its point after all, for I saw it through the window
within a few minutes, being nursed by little Jane.
It happened that the other five
children were left behind at the dinner-table, through Flop-son's having some
private engagement and their not being any body else's business. I thus be-came
aware of the mutual relations between them and Mr. Pocket, which were
exemplified in the following manner. Mr. Pocket, with the normal perplexity of
his face heightened and his hair rumpled, looked at them for some minutes as if
he couldn't make out how they came to be boarding and lodging in that
establishment, and why they hadn't been billeted by Nature on somebody else.
Then, in a distant Missionary way, he asked them certain questions—as why little
Joe had that hole in his frill: who said, Pa, Flopson was going to mend it when
time—and how little Fanny came by
that whit-low : who said, Pa, Millers was going to poultice it when she didn't
forget. Then, he melted into parental tenderness, and gave them a shilling a
piece and told them to go and play ; and then as they went out, with one very
strong effort to lift himself up by the hair, he dismissed the hopeless subject.
In the evening there was rowing
on the river. As Drummle and Startop had each a boat I re-solved to set up mine,
and to cut them both out. I was pretty good at most exercises in which
country-boys are adepts, but as I was conscious of wanting elegance of style for
the Thames—not to say for other waters—I at once engaged to place myself under
tile tuition of the winner of a prize-wherry who plied at our stairs, and to
whom I was introduced by my new allies. This practical authority confused me
very much by saying I had the arm of a blacksmith. If he could have known how
nearly the compliment lost him his pupil I doubt if he would have paid it.
There was a supper-tray after we
got home at night, and I think we should all have enjoyed ourselves but for a
rather disagreeable domestic occurrence. Mrs. Pocket was extremely sweet, and
Mr. Pocket was in good spirits, when a housemaid came in, and said, " If you
please, Sir, I should wish to speak to you."
Speak to your master ?" said Mrs.
Pocket, whose dignity was roused again. "How can you think of such a thing ! Go
and speak to Flopson. Or speak to me at some other time."
Begging your pardon, Ma'am,"
returned the housemaid, " I should wish to speak at once, and to speak to
Hereupon Mr. Pocket went out of
the room, and we made the best of ourselves until he came back.
" This is a pretty thing,
Belinda'." said Mr. Pocket, returning with a countenance expressive of grief and
despair. " Here's the cook lying in-sensibly drunk on the kitchen-floor, with a
large bundle of fresh butter made up in the cupboard ready to sell for grease 1"
Mrs. Pocket instantly showed much
amiable emotion, and said, " This is that odious Mary Anne's doing !"
" What do you mean, Belinda ?"
demanded Mr. Pocket.
Mary Anne has told you," said
Mrs. Pocket. " Did I not see her with my own eyes and hear her with my own ears,
come into the room just now and ask to speak to you ?"
" But has she not taken me down
stairs, Belinda," returned Mr. Pocket, " and shown me the woman, and the bundle
" And do you defend her,
Matthew," said Mrs. Pocket, " for making mischief ?"
Mr. Pocket uttered a dismal
" Am I, grandpapa's
grand-daughter, to be nothing in the house ?" said Mrs. Pocket. " Besides, the
cook has always been a very nice respectful woman, and said, in the most natural
manner, when she came to look after the situation, she felt I was born to be a
There was a sofa where Mr. Pocket
stood, and he dropped upon it in the attitude of the Dying Gladiator. Still in
that attitude, he said, with a hollow voice, " Good-night, Mr. Pip," when I
deemed it advisable to go to bed and leave him.
AFTER two Or three days, when I
had established myself in my room, and had gone back-ward and forward to London
several times, and had ordered all I wanted of my tradesmen, Mr. Pocket and I
had a long talk together. He knew more of my intended career than I knew myself,
for he referred to his having been told by Mr. Jaggers that I was not designed
for any profession, and that I should be well enough educated for my destiny if
I could " hold my own" with the average of young men in prosperous
circumstances. I acquiesced, of course, knowing nothing to the contrary.
He advised my attending certain
places in London, for the acquisition of such mere rudiments as I wanted, and my
investing him with the functions of explainer and director of all my studies. He
hoped that with intelligent assistance I should meet with little to discourage
me, and should soon be able to dispense with any aid but his. Through his way of
saying this, and much more to similar purpose, he placed himself on confidential
terms with me in an admirable manner ; and I may state at once that he was
always so zealous and honorable in fulfilling his compact with me, that le made
me zealous and honorable in fulfilling mine with him. If he had shown
indifference as a master, I have no doubt I should have returned the compliment
as a pupil ; he gave me no such excuse, and each of us did the other justice.
Nor did I ever regard him as having any thing ludicrous about him—or any thing
but what was serious, honest, and good—in his tutor communication with me.
When these points were settled,
and so far carried out as that I had begun to work in earnest, it occurred to me
that if I could retain my bedroom in Barnard's Inn, my life would be agreeably
varied, while my manners would be none the worse for Herbert's society. Mr.
Pocket did not object to this arrangement, but urged that before any step could
possibly be taken in it, it must be submitted to my guardian. I felt that his
delicacy arose out of the consideration that the plan would save Herbert some
expense ; so I went off to Little Britain, and imparted my wish to Mr. Jaggers.
" If I could buy the furniture
now hired for me," said I, " and one or two other little things, I should be
quite at home there."
" Go it !" said Mr. Jaggers, with
a short laugh. " I told you you'd get on. Well ! How much do you want ?"
I said I didn't know how much.
" Come !" retorted Mr. Jaggers. "
How much ? Fifty pounds ?"
" Oh, not nearly so much."
" Five pounds ?" said Mr. Jaggers.
This was such a great fall that I
said in discomfiture, " Oh ! more than that."
" More than that, eh ?" retorted
Mr. Jaggers, lying in wait for me, with his hands in his pockets, his head on
one side, and his eyes on the wall behind me ; " how much more ?"
It is so difficult to fix a sum,"
said I, hesitating.
" Come !" said Mr. Jaggers. "
Let's get at it. Twice five ; will that do ? Three times five; will that do ?
Four times five ; will that do ?"
I said I thought that would do
" Four times five will do
handsomely, will it ?" said Mr. Jaggers, knitting his brows. " Now what do you
make of four times five ?"
" What do I make of it ?"
" Ah !" said Jaggers ; " how much
" I suppose you make it twenty
pounds," said I, smiling.
Never mind what I make it, my
friend," observed Mr. Jaggers, with a knowing and contradictory toss of his
head. " I want to know what you make it."
" Twenty pounds, of course."
" Wemmick !" said Mr. Jaggers,
opening his office-door. " Take Mr. Pip's written order, and pay him twenty
This strongly marked way of doing
business made a strongly marked impression on me, and that not of an agreeable
kind. Mr. Jaggers never laughed but he wore great bright creaking boots, and in
poising himself on these boots, with his large head bent down and his eyebrows
joined together, awaiting an answer, he some-times caused the boots to creak, as
if they laughed in a dry and suspicious way. As he happened to go out now, and
as Wemmick was brisk and talkative, I said to Wemmick that I hardly knew what to
make of Mr. Jaggers's manner.
" Tell him that, and he'll take
it as a compliment," answered Wemmick ; " he don't mean that-you should know
what to make of it.—Oh !" for I looked surprised, " it's not personal ; it's
professional : only professional."
Wemmick was at his desk, lunching
— and crunching—on a dry, hard biscuit ; pieces of which he threw from time to
time into his slit of a mouth, as if he were posting them.
" Always seems to me," said
Wemmick, " as if he had set a man-trap and was watching it.
Suddenly—click—you're caught !"
Without remarking that man-traps
were not among the amenities of life, I said I supposed he was very skillful ?
" Deep," said Wemmick, " as
Australia." Pointing with his pen at the office floor, to ex-press that
Australia was understood for the purposes of the figure to be symmetrically on
the opposite spot of the globe. " If there was any thing deeper," added Wemmick,
bringing his pen to paper, " he'd be it."
Then I said I supposed he had a
fine business, and Wemmick said " Ca-pi-tal !" Then I asked if there were many
clerks ? To which he replied :
" We don't run much into clerks,
because there's only one Jaggers, and people won't have him at second-hand.
There are only four of us. Would you like to see 'em ? You are one of us, as I
I accepted the offer. When Mr.
Wemmick had put all his biscuit into the post, and had paid me my money from a
cash-box in a safe, the key of which safe he kept somewhere down his back, and
produced from his coat-collar like an iron pigtail, we went up stairs. The house
was dark and shabby, and the greasy shoulders that had left their mark in Mr.
Jaggers's room seemed to have been shuffling up and down the staircase for
years. In the front first floor, a clerk who looked something between a publican
and a rat-catcher—a large pale, puffed, swollen man — was attentively engaged
with three or four people of shabby appearance, whom he treated as
unceremoniously as every body seemed to be treated who contributed to Mr.
Jaggers's coffers. " Getting evidence together," said Mr. Wemmick, as we came
out, " for the Bailey." In the room over that, a little flabby terrier of a
clerk with dangling hair (his crop-ping seemed to have been forgotten when he
was a puppy) was similarly engaged with a man with weak eyes, whom Mr. Wemmick
presented to me as a smelter who kept his pot always boiling, and who would melt
me any thing I pleased —and who was in an excessive white-perspiration, as if he
had been trying his art on him-self. In a back room, a high-shouldered man, with
a face-ache tied up in dirty flannel, who was dressed in old black clothes that
bore the appearance of having been waxed, was stooping over his work of making
fair copies of the notes of the other two gentlemen, for Mr. Jaggers's own use.
This was all the establishment.
When we went down stairs again Wemmick led me into my guardian's room, and said,
" This you've seen already."
"Pray," said I, as the two odious
casts with the twitchy leer upon them caught my sight again, " whose likenesses
are those ?"
These ?" said Wemmick, getting
upon a chair, and blowing the dust off the horrible heads before bringing them
down. "These are two celebrated ones. Famous clients of ours that got us a world
of credit. This chap (why you must have come down in the night and been peeping
into the inkstand, to get this blot upon your eyebrow, you old rascal!) murdered
his master, and, considering that he wasn't brought up to evidence, didn't plan
" Is it like him ?" I asked,
recoiling from the brute, as Wemmick spat upon his eyebrow and gave it a rub
with his sleeve.
" "Like him? It's himself, you
know. The cast was made in Newgate, directly after he was taken down. You had a
particular fancy for me, hadn't you, Old Artful ?" said Wemmick. He then
explained this affectionate apostrophe, by touching his brooch representing the
lady and the weeping willow at the tomb with the urn upon it, and saying, "Had
it made for me, express!"
Is the lady anybody ?" said I.
" No," returned Wemmick. " Only
his game. (You liked your bit of game, didn't you ?) No ; deuce a bit of a lady
in the case, Mr. Pip, except one—and she wasn't of this slender, lady-like sort,
and you wouldn't have caught her looking after this urn- unless there was
some-thing to drink in it." Wemmick's attention being thus directed to his
brooch, he put down the cast and polished the brooch with his
"Did that other creature come to
the same end?" I asked. "He has the same look."
"You're right," said Wemmick,
"it's the genuine look. Much as if one nostril was caught up with a horse-hair
and a little fish-hook. Yes, he came to the same end; quite the natural end
here, I assure you. He forged wills, this blade did, if he didn't also put the
supposed testators to sleep—and it looked precious like it. You were a
gentlemanly Cove, too" (Mr. Wemmick was again apostrophizing), "and you said you
could write Greek. Yah, Bounceable! What a liar you were ! I never met such a
liar as you !" Before putting his late friend on his shelf again, Wemmick
touched the largest of his mourning rings, and said, "Sent out to buy it for me
only the day before."
While he was putting up the other
cast and coming down from the chair, the thought crossed my mind that all his
personal jewelry was de& rived from like sources. As he had shown no diffidence
on the subject, I ventured on the liberty of asking him the question, when he
stood before me, dusting his hands.
" Oh yes," he returned, " these
are all gifts of that kind. One brings another, you see ; that's the way of it.
I always take 'ern. They're curiosities. And they're property. They may not be
worth much, but, after all, they're property and portable. It don't signify to
you with your brilliant look-out, but as to myself, my guiding-star always is, "
Get hold of portable property."
When I had rendered homage to
this light, he went on to say, in a friendly manner :
" If at any odd time, when you
have nothing better to do, you wouldn't mind coming over to see me at Walworth,
I could offer you a bed, and I should consider it an honor. I have not much to
show you ; but such two or three curiosities as I have got you might like to
look over ; and I am fond of a bit of garden and g summer-house.
I said I should be delighted to
accept his hospitality.
" Thank'ee," said he ; " then
we'll consider that it's to come off, when convenient to you. Have you dined
with Mr. Jaggers yet ?"
" Not yet."
Well, " said Wemmick," he'll give
you wine, and good wine, I'll give you punch, and not bad punch. And now I'll
tell you something. When you go to dine with Mr. Jaggers, look at his
" Shall I see something very
"Well," said Wemmick, "you'll see
a wild beast tamed. Not so very uncommon," you'll tell me. I reply, that depends
on the original wildness of the beast, and the amount of taming. It won't lower
your opinion of Mr. Jaggers's powers. Keep your eye on it."
I told him I would do so with all
the interest and curiosity that his preparation awakened. As I was taking my
departure, he asked me if I would like to devote five minutes to seeing Mr.
Jaggers "at it?"
For several reasons, and not
least because I didn't clearly know what Mr. Jaggers would be found to be "at,"
I replied in the affirmative. We dived into the City, and came up in a crowded
police-court, where a blood-relation (in the murderous sense) of the deceased
with the fanciful taste in brooches was standing at the bar, uncomfortably
chewing something ; while my guardian had a woman under examination or
cross-examination—I don't know which—and was striking her, and the bench, and
every body present, with awe. If any body, of whatsoever degree, said a word
that he didn't approve of, he instantly required to have it " taken down." If
any body wouldn't make an admission, he said, " I'll have it out of you!" and if
any body made an admission, he said, " Now I have got you!" The magistrates
shivered under a single bite of his finger. Thieves and thief takers hung in
dread rapture on his words, and shrank when a hair of his eyebrows turned in
their direction. Which side the was on I couldn't make out, for he seemed to me
to be grinding the whole place in a mill; I only know that when I stole out on
tip-toe he was not on the side of the bench, for he was making the legs of the
old gentleman who presided quite convulsive under the table, by his
denunciations of his conduct as the representative of British law and justice in
that chair that day.
ON Friday, February 22, in the
Senate, after the passage of a number of private bills, the Post-route Bill was
taken up, and the question of compensation for carrying the overland mail was
discussed by the members from California. The bill providing for the payment of
expenses incurred in suppressing Indian hostilities in the Pacific Department
was also discussed, but gave way to the Miscellaneous Appropriation Bill, upon
which Senator Gwin, of California, made an effort to tack the Chiriqui amend-