Charles Dickens

Jaggers's business: though something of the state

of Mr. Jaggers hung about him too, forbidding approach beyond

certain limits. His personal recognition of each successive client

was comprised in a nod, and in his settling his hat a little easier

on his head with both hands, and then tightening the postoffice,

and putting his hands in his pockets. In one or two instances,

there was a difficulty respecting the raising of fees, and then Mr.

Wemmick, backing as far as possible from the insufficient money

produced, said, "it's no use, my boy. I'm only a subordinate. I

can't take it. Don't go on in that way with a subordinate. If you

are unable to make up your quantum, my boy, you had better address

yourself to a principal; there are plenty of principals in the

profession, you know, and what is not worth the while of one, may

be worth the while of another; that's my recommendation to you,

speaking as a subordinate. Don't try on useless measures. Why

should you? Now, who's next?"

Thus, we walked through Wemmick's greenhouse, until he turned to me

and said, "Notice the man I shall shake hands with." I should have

done so, without the preparation, as he had shaken hands with no

one yet.

Almost as soon as he had spoken, a portly upright man (whom I can

see now, as I write) in a well-worn olive-coloured frock-coat, with

a peculiar pallor over-spreading the red in his complexion, and

eyes that went wandering about when he tried to fix them, came up

to a corner of the bars, and put his hand to his hat - which had a

greasy and fatty surface like cold broth - with a half-serious and

half-jocose military salute.

"Colonel, to you!" said Wemmick; "how are you, Colonel?"

"All right, Mr. Wemmick."

"Everything was done that could be done, but the evidence was too

strong for us, Colonel."

"Yes, it was too strong, sir - but I don't care."

"No, no," said Wemmick, coolly, "you don't care." Then, turning to

me, "Served His Majesty this man. Was a soldier in the line and

bought his discharge."

I said, "Indeed?" and the man's eyes looked at me, and then looked

over my head, and then looked all round me, and then he drew his

hand across his lips and laughed.

"I think I shall be out of this on Monday, sir," he said to


"Perhaps," returned my friend, "but there's no knowing."

"I am glad to have the chance of bidding you good-bye, Mr. Wemmick,"

said the man, stretching out his hand between two bars.

"Thankye," said Wemmick, shaking hands with him. "Same to you,


"If what I had upon me when taken, had been real, Mr. Wemmick," said

the man, unwilling to let his hand go, "I should have asked the

favour of your wearing another ring - in acknowledgment of your


"I'll accept the will for the deed," said Wemmick. "By-the-bye; you

were quite a pigeon-fancier." The man looked up at the sky. "I am

told you had a remarkable breed of tumblers. could you commission

any friend of yours to bring me a pair, of you've no further use

for 'em?"

"It shall be done, sir?"

"All right," said Wemmick, "they shall be taken care of. Good

afternoon, Colonel. Good-bye!" They shook hands again, and as we

walked away Wemmick said to me, "A Coiner, a very good workman. The

Recorder's report is made to-day, and he is sure to be executed on

Monday. Still you see, as far as it goes, a pair of pigeons are

portable property, all the same." With that, he looked back, and

nodded at this dead plant, and then cast his eyes about him in

walking out of the yard, as if he were considering what other pot

would go best in its place.

As we came out of the prison through the lodge, I found that the

great importance of my guardian was appreciated by the turnkeys, no

less than by those whom they held in charge. "Well, Mr. Wemmick,"

said the turnkey, who kept us between the two studded and spiked

lodge gates, and who carefully locked one before he unlocked the

other, "what's Mr.