I went into a coffee-house to
write a little note to Clara, telling her he had gone off, sending
his love to her over and over again, and then went to my lonely
home - if it deserved the name, for it was now no home to me, and I
had no home anywhere.
On the stairs I encountered Wemmick, who was coming down, after an
unsuccessful application of his knuckles to my door. I had not seen
him alone, since the disastrous issue of the attempted flight; and
he had come, in his private and personal capacity, to say a few
words of explanation in reference to that failure.
"The late Compeyson," said Wemmick, "had by little and little got
at the bottom of half of the regular business now transacted, and
it was from the talk of some of his people in trouble (some of his
people being always in trouble) that I heard what I did. I kept my
ears open, seeming to have them shut, until I heard that he was
absent, and I thought that would be the best time for making the
attempt. I can only suppose now, that it was a part of his policy,
as a very clever man, habitually to deceive his own instruments.
You don't blame me, I hope, Mr. Pip? I am sure I tried to serve you,
with all my heart."
"I am as sure of that, Wemmick, as you can be, and I thank you most
earnestly for all your interest and friendship."
"Thank you, thank you very much. It's a bad job," said Wemmick,
scratching his head, "and I assure you I haven't been so cut up for
a long time. What I look at, is the sacrifice of so much portable
property. Dear me!"
"What I think of, Wemmick, is the poor owner of the property."
"Yes, to be sure," said Wemmick. "Of course there can be no
objection to your being sorry for him, and I'd put down a
five-pound note myself to get him out of it. But what I look at, is
this. The late Compeyson having been beforehand with him in
intelligence of his return, and being so determined to bring him to
book, I do not think he could have been saved. Whereas, the
portable property certainly could have been saved. That's the
difference between the property and the owner, don't you see?"
I invited Wemmick to come up-stairs, and refresh himself with a
glass of grog before walking to Walworth. He accepted the
invitation. While he was drinking his moderate allowance, he said,
with nothing to lead up to it, and after having appeared rather
"What do you think of my meaning to take a holiday on Monday, Mr.
"Why, I suppose you have not done such a thing these twelve
"These twelve years, more likely," said Wemmick. "Yes. I'm going to
take a holiday. More than that; I'm going to take a walk. More than
that; I'm going to ask you to take a walk with me."
I was about to excuse myself, as being but a bad companion just
then, when Wemmick anticipated me.
"I know your engagements," said he, "and I know you are out of
sorts, Mr. Pip. But if you could oblige me, I should take it as a
kindness. It ain't a long walk, and it's an early one. Say it might
occupy you (including breakfast on the walk) from eight to twelve.
Couldn't you stretch a point and manage it?"
He had done so much for me at various times, that this was very
little to do for him. I said I could manage it - would manage it -
and he was so very much pleased by my acquiescence, that I was
pleased too. At his particular request, I appointed to call for him
at the Castle at half-past eight on Monday morning, and so we
parted for the time.
Punctual to my appointment, I rang at the Castle gate on the Monday
morning, and was received by Wemmick himself: who struck me as
looking tighter than usual, and having a sleeker hat on. Within,
there were two glasses of rum-and-milk prepared, and two biscuits.
The Aged must have been stirring with the lark, for, glancing into
the perspective of his bedroom, I observed that his bed was empty.