Charles Dickens

"You are rather excited, but you are quite yourself."

"I know I am quite myself. And the man we have in hiding down the

river, is Estella's Father."

Chapter 51

What purpose I had in view when I was hot on tracing out and

proving Estella's parentage, I cannot say. It will presently be

seen that the question was not before me in a distinct shape, until

it was put before me by a wiser head than my own.

But, when Herbert and I had held our momentous conversation, I was

seized with a feverish conviction that I ought to hunt the matter

down - that I ought not to let it rest, but that I ought to see Mr.

Jaggers, and come at the bare truth. I really do not know whether I

felt that I did this for Estella's sake, or whether I was glad to

transfer to the man in whose preservation I was so much concerned,

some rays of the romantic interest that had so long surrounded her.

Perhaps the latter possibility may be the nearer to the truth.

Any way, I could scarcely be withheld from going out to

Gerrard-street that night. Herbert's representations that if I did,

I should probably be laid up and stricken useless, when our

fugitive's safety would depend upon me, alone restrained my

impatience. On the understanding, again and again reiterated, that

come what would, I was to go to Mr. Jaggers to-morrow, I at length

submitted to keep quiet, and to have my hurts looked after, and to

stay at home. Early next morning we went out together, and at the

corner of Giltspur-street by Smithfield, I left Herbert to go his

way into the City, and took my way to Little Britain.

There were periodical occasions when Mr. Jaggers and Wemmick went

over the office accounts, and checked off the vouchers, and put all

things straight. On these occasions Wemmick took his books and

papers into Mr. Jaggers's room, and one of the up-stairs clerks came

down into the outer office. Finding such clerk on Wemmick's post

that morning, I knew what was going on; but, I was not sorry to

have Mr. Jaggers and Wemmick together, as Wemmick would then hear

for himself that I said nothing to compromise him.

My appearance with my arm bandaged and my coat loose over my

shoulders, favoured my object. Although I had sent Mr. Jaggers a

brief account of the accident as soon as I had arrived in town, yet

I had to give him all the details now; and the speciality of the

occasion caused our talk to be less dry and hard, and less strictly

regulated by the rules of evidence, than it had been before. While

I described the disaster, Mr. Jaggers stood, according to his wont,

before the fire. Wemmick leaned back in his chair, staring at me,

with his hands in the pockets of his trousers, and his pen put

horizontally into the post. The two brutal casts, always

inseparable in my mind from the official proceedings, seemed to be

congestively considering whether they didn't smell fire at the

present moment.

My narrative finished, and their questions exhausted, I then

produced Miss Havisham's authority to receive the nine hundred

pounds for Herbert. Mr. Jaggers's eyes retired a little deeper into

his head when I handed him the tablets, but he presently handed

them over to Wemmick, with instructions to draw the cheque for his

signature. While that was in course of being done, I looked on at

Wemmick as he wrote, and Mr. Jaggers, poising and swaying himself on

his well-polished boots, looked on at me. "I am sorry, Pip," said

he, as I put the cheque in my pocket, when he had signed it, "that

we do nothing for you."

"Miss Havisham was good enough to ask me," I returned, "whether she

could do nothing for me, and I told her No."

"Everybody should know his own business," said Mr. Jaggers. And I

saw Wemmick's lips form the words "portable property."

"I should not have told her No, if I had been you," said Mr

Jaggers; "but every man ought to know his own business best."

"Every man's business," said Wemmick, rather reproachfully towards

me, "is portable property."

As I thought the time was now come for pursuing the theme I had at

heart, I said, turning on Mr.