Charles Dickens

He forged wills, this blade did, if he didn't also put the

supposed testators to sleep too. You were a gentlemanly Cove,

though" (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 jewellery

was derived 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 'em.

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

guidingstar 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 honour. 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 a


I said I should be delighted to accept his hospitality.

"Thankee," 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 housekeeper."

"Shall I see something very uncommon?"

"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


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

policecourt, 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 everybody present, with awe.

If anybody, of whatsoever degree, said a word that he didn't

approve of, he instantly required to have it "taken down." If

anybody wouldn't make an admission, he said, "I'll have it out of

you!" and if anybody made an admission, he said, "Now I have got

you!" the magistrates shivered under a single bite of his finger.

Thieves and thieftakers hung in dread rapture on his words, and

shrank when a hair of his eyebrows turned in their direction. Which

side he 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 tiptoe, 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.

Chapter 25

Bentley Drummle, who was so sulky a fellow that he even took up a

book as if its writer had done him an injury, did not take up an

acquaintance in a more agreeable spirit.