Charles Dickens

Pip. I have got a stewed steak -

which is of home preparation - and a cold roast fowl - which is

from the cook's-shop. I think it's tender, because the master of

the shop was a Juryman in some cases of ours the other day, and we

let him down easy. I reminded him of it when I bought the fowl, and

I said, "Pick us out a good one, old Briton, because if we had

chosen to keep you in the box another day or two, we could easily

have done it." He said to that, "Let me make you a present of the

best fowl in the shop." I let him, of course. As far as it goes,

it's property and portable. You don't object to an aged parent, I


I really thought he was still speaking of the fowl, until he added,

"Because I have got an aged parent at my place." I then said what

politeness required.

"So, you haven't dined with Mr. Jaggers yet?" he pursued, as we

walked along.

"Not yet."

"He told me so this afternoon when he heard you were coming. I

expect you'll have an invitation to-morrow. He's going to ask your

pals, too. Three of 'em; ain't there?"

Although I was not in the habit of counting Drummle as one of my

intimate associates, I answered, "Yes."

"Well, he's going to ask the whole gang;" I hardly felt

complimented by the word; "and whatever he gives you, he'll give

you good. Don't look forward to variety, but you'll have

excellence. And there'sa nother rum thing in his house," proceeded

Wemmick, after a moment's pause, as if the remark followed on the

housekeeper understood; "he never lets a door or window be fastened

at night."

"Is he never robbed?"

"That's it!" returned Wemmick. "He says, and gives it out publicly,

"I want to see the man who'll rob me." Lord bless you, I have heard

him, a hundred times if I have heard him once, say to regular

cracksmen in our front office, "You know where I live; now, no bolt

is ever drawn there; why don't you do a stroke of business with me?

Come; can't I tempt you?" Not a man of them, sir, would be bold

enough to try it on, for love or money."

"They dread him so much?" said I.

"Dread him," said Wemmick. "I believe you they dread him. Not but

what he's artful, even in his defiance of them. No silver, sir.

Britannia metal, every spoon."

"So they wouldn't have much," I observed, "even if they--"

"Ah! But he would have much," said Wemmick, cutting me short, "and

they know it. He'd have their lives, and the lives of scores of

'em. He'd have all he could get. And it's impossible to say what he

couldn't get, if he gave his mind to it."

I was falling into meditation on my guardian's greatness, when

Wemmick remarked:

"As to the absence of plate, that's only his natural depth, you

know. A river's its natural depth, and he's his natural depth. Look

at his watch-chain. That's real enough."

"It's very massive," said I.

"Massive?" repeated Wemmick. "I think so. And his watch is a gold

repeater, and worth a hundred pound if it's worth a penny. Mr. Pip,

there are about seven hundred thieves in this town who know all

about that watch; there's not a man, a woman, or a child, among

them, who wouldn't identify the smallest link in that chain, and

drop it as if it was red-hot, if inveigled into touching it."

At first with such discourse, and afterwards with conversation of a

more general nature, did Mr. Wemmick and I beguile the time and the

road, until he gave me to understand that we had arrived in the

district of Walworth.

It appeared to be a collection of back lanes, ditches, and little

gardens, and to present the aspect of a rather dull retirement.

Wemmick's house was a little wooden cottage in the midst of plots

of garden, and the top of it was cut out and painted like a battery

mounted with guns.

"My own doing," said Wemmick. "Looks pretty; don't it?"

I highly commended it, I think it was the smallest house I ever

saw; with the queerest gothic windows (by far the greater part of

them sham), and a gothic door, almost too small to get in at.