Heavy in figure, movement,
and comprehension - in the sluggish complexion of his face, and in
the large awkward tongue that seemed to loll about in his mouth as
he himself lolled about in a room - he was idle, proud, niggardly,
reserved, and suspicious. He came of rich people down in
Somersetshire, who had nursed this combination of qualities until
they made the discovery that it was just of age and a blockhead.
Thus, Bentley Drummle had come to Mr. Pocket when he was a head
taller than that gentleman, and half a dozen heads thicker than
Startop had been spoilt by a weak mother and kept at home when he
ought to have been at school, but he was devotedly attached to her,
and admired her beyond measure. He had a woman's delicacy of
feature, and was - "as you may see, though you never saw her," said
Herbert to me - exactly like his mother. It was but natural that I
should take to him much more kindly than to Drummle, and that, even
in the earliest evenings of our boating, he and I should pull
homeward abreast of one another, conversing from boat to boat,
while Bentley Drummle came up in our wake alone, under the
overhanging banks and among the rushes. He would always creep
in-shore like some uncomfortable amphibious creature, even when the
tide would have sent him fast upon his way; and I always think of
him as coming after us in the dark or by the back-water, when our
own two boats were breaking the sunset or the moonlight in
Herbert was my intimate companion and friend. I presented him with
a half-share in my boat, which was the occasion of his often coming
down to Hammersmith; and my possession of a halfshare in his
chambers often took me up to London. We used to walk between the
two places at all hours. I have an affection for the road yet
(though it is not so pleasant a road as it was then), formed in the
impressibility of untried youth and hope.
When I had been in Mr. Pocket's family a month or two, Mr. and Mrs.
Camilla turned up. Camilla was Mr. Pocket's sister. Georgiana, whom
I had seen at Miss Havisham's on the same occasion, also turned up.
she was a cousin - an indigestive single woman, who called her
rigidity religion, and her liver love. These people hated me with
the hatred of cupidity and disappointment. As a matter of course,
they fawned upon me in my prosperity with the basest meanness.
Towards Mr. Pocket, as a grown-up infant with no notion of his own
interests, they showed the complacent forbearance I had heard them
express. Mrs. Pocket they held in contempt; but they allowed the
poor soul to have been heavily disappointed in life, because that
shed a feeble reflected light upon themselves.
These were the surroundings among which I settled down, and applied
myself to my education. I soon contracted expensive habits, and
began to spend an amount of money that within a few short months I
should have thought almost fabulous; but through good and evil I
stuck to my books. There was no other merit in this, than my having
sense enough to feel my deficiencies. Between Mr. Pocket and Herbert
I got on fast; and, with one or the other always at my elbow to
give me the start I wanted, and clear obstructions out of my road,
I must have been as great a dolt as Drummle if I had done less.
I had not seen Mr. Wemmick for some weeks, when I thought I would
write him a note and propose to go home with him on a certain
evening. He replied that it would give him much pleasure, and that
he would expect me at the office at six o'clock. Thither I went,
and there I found him, putting the key of his safe down his back as
the clock struck.
"Did you think of walking down to Walworth?" said he.
"Certainly," said I, "if you approve."
"Very much," was Wemmick's reply, "for I have had my legs under the
desk all day, and shall be glad to stretch them. Now, I'll tell you
what I have got for supper, Mr.