Charles Dickens

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

most gentlemen.

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.