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