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
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
"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.