washed and dressed while they knocked the furniture about and made
a dust; and so, in a sort of dream or sleep-waking, I found myself
sitting by the fire again, waiting for - Him - to come to
By-and-by, his door opened and he came out. I could not bring
myself to bear the sight of him, and I thought he had a worse look
"I do not even know," said I, speaking low as he took his seat at
the table, "by what name to call you. I have given out that you are
"That's it, dear boy! Call me uncle."
"You assumed some name, I suppose, on board ship?"
"Yes, dear boy. I took the name of Provis."
"Do you mean to keep that name?"
"Why, yes, dear boy, it's as good as another - unless you'd like
"What is your real name?" I asked him in a whisper.
"Magwitch," he answered, in the same tone; "chrisen'd Abel."
"What were you brought up to be?"
"A warmint, dear boy."
He answered quite seriously, and used the word as if it denoted
"When you came into the Temple last night--" said I, pausing to
wonder whether that could really have been last night, which seemed
so long ago.
"Yes, dear boy?"
"When you came in at the gate and asked the watchman the way here,
had you any one with you?"
"With me? No, dear boy."
"But there was some one there?"
"I didn't take particular notice," he said, dubiously, "not knowing
the ways of the place. But I think there was a person, too, come in
"Are you known in London?"
"I hope not!" said he, giving his neck a jerk with his forefinger
that made me turn hot and sick.
"Were you known in London, once?"
"Not over and above, dear boy. I was in the provinces mostly."
"Were you - tried - in London?"
"Which time?" said he, with a sharp look.
"The last time."
He nodded. "First knowed Mr. Jaggers that way. Jaggers was for me."
It was on my lips to ask him what he was tried for, but he took up
a knife, gave it a flourish, and with the words, "And what I done
is worked out and paid for!" fell to at his breakfast.
He ate in a ravenous way that was very disagreeable, and all his
actions were uncouth, noisy, and greedy. Some of his teeth had
failed him since I saw him eat on the marshes, and as he turned his
food in his mouth, and turned his head sideways to bring his
strongest fangs to bear upon it, he looked terribly like a hungry old
dog. If I had begun with any appetite, he would have taken it away,
and I should have sat much as I did - repelled from him by an
insurmountable aversion, and gloomily looking at the cloth.
"I'm a heavy grubber, dear boy," he said, as a polite kind of
apology when he made an end of his meal, "but I always was. If it
had been in my constitution to be a lighter grubber, I might ha'
got into lighter trouble. Similarly, I must have my smoke. When I
was first hired out as shepherd t'other side the world, it's my
belief I should ha' turned into a molloncolly-mad sheep myself, if
I hadn't a had my smoke."
As he said so, he got up from the table, and putting his hand into the
breast of the pea-coat he wore, brought out a short black pipe, and
a handful of loose tobacco of the kind that is called Negro-head.
Having filled his pipe, he put the surplus tobacco back again, as
if his pocket were a drawer. Then, he took a live coal from the
fire with the tongs, and lighted his pipe at it, and then turned
round on the hearth-rug with his back to the fire, and went through
his favourite action of holding out both his hands for mine.
"And this," said he, dandling my hands up and down in his, as he
puffed at his pipe; "and this is the gentleman what I made! The
real genuine One! It does me good fur to look at you, Pip. All I
stip'late, is, to stand by and look at you, dear boy!"
I released my hands as soon as I could, and found that I was
beginning slowly to settle down to the contemplation of my