Charles Dickens

When at last I dozed, in sheer exhaustion of

mind and body, it became a vast shadowy verb which I had to

conjugate. Imperative mood, present tense: Do not thou go home, let

him not go home, let us not go home, do not ye or you go home, let

not them go home. Then, potentially: I may not and I cannot go

home; and I might not, could not, would not, and should not go

home; until I felt that I was going distracted, and rolled over on

the pillow, and looked at the staring rounds upon the wall again.

I had left directions that I was to be called at seven; for it was

plain that I must see Wemmick before seeing any one else, and

equally plain that this was a case in which his Walworth

sentiments, only, could be taken. It was a relief to get out of the

room where the night had been so miserable, and I needed no second

knocking at the door to startle me from my uneasy bed.

The Castle battlements arose upon my view at eight o'clock. The

little servant happening to be entering the fortress with two hot

rolls, I passed through the postern and crossed the drawbridge, in

her company, and so came without announcement into the presence of

Wemmick as he was making tea for himself and the Aged. An open door

afforded a perspective view of the Aged in bed.

"Halloa, Mr. Pip!" said Wemmick. "You did come home, then?"

"Yes," I returned; "but I didn't go home."

"That's all right," said he, rubbing his hands. "I left a note for

you at each of the Temple gates, on the chance. Which gate did you

come to?"

I told him.

"I'll go round to the others in the course of the day and destroy

the notes," said Wemmick; "it's a good rule never to leave

documentary evidence if you can help it, because you don't know

when it may be put in. I'm going to take a liberty with you. -

Would you mind toasting this sausage for the Aged P.?"

I said I should be delighted to do it.

"Then you can go about your work, Mary Anne," said Wemmick to the

little servant; "which leaves us to ourselves, don't you see, Mr.

Pip?" he added, winking, as she disappeared.

I thanked him for his friendship and caution, and our discourse

proceeded in a low tone, while I toasted the Aged's sausage and he

buttered the crumb of the Aged's roll.

"Now, Mr. Pip, you know," said Wemmick, "you and I understand one

another. We are in our private and personal capacities, and we have

been engaged in a confidential transaction before today. Official

sentiments are one thing. We are extra official."

I cordially assented. I was so very nervous, that I had already

lighted the Aged's sausage like a torch, and been obliged to blow

it out.

"I accidentally heard, yesterday morning," said Wemmick, "being in

a certain place where I once took you - even between you and me,

it's as well not to mention names when avoidable--"

"Much better not," said I. "I understand you."

"I heard there by chance, yesterday morning," said Wemmick, "that a

certain person not altogether of uncolonial pursuits, and not

unpossessed of portable property - I don't know who it may really

be - we won't name this person--"

"Not necessary," said I.

" - had made some little stir in a certain part of the world where

a good many people go, not always in gratification of their own

inclinations, and not quite irrespective of the government


In watching his face, I made quite a firework of the Aged's

sausage, and greatly discomposed both my own attention and

Wemmick's; for which I apologized.

" - by disappearing from such place, and being no more heard of

thereabouts. From which," said Wemmick, "conjectures had been

raised and theories formed. I also heard that you at your chambers

in Garden Court, Temple, had been watched, and might be watched


"By whom?" said I.

"I wouldn't go into that," said Wemmick, evasively, "it might clash

with official responsibilities.