Wopsle, eyeing it, much at a loss.
"Is it," pursued the stranger in his most sarcastic and suspicious
manner, "the printed paper you have just been reading from?"
"Undoubtedly. Now, turn to that paper, and tell me whether it
distinctly states that the prisoner expressly said that his legal
advisers instructed him altogether to reserve his defence?"
"I read that just now," Mr. Wopsle pleaded.
"Never mind what you read just now, sir; I don't ask you what you
read just now. You may read the Lord's Prayer backwards, if you
like - and, perhaps, have done it before to-day. Turn to the paper.
No, no, no my friend; not to the top of the column; you know better
than that; to the bottom, to the bottom." (We all began to think Mr.
Wopsle full of subterfuge.) "Well? Have you found it?"
"Here it is," said Mr. Wopsle.
"Now, follow that passage with your eye, and tell me whether it
distinctly states that the prisoner expressly said that he was
instructed by his legal advisers wholly to reserve his defence?
Come! Do you make that of it?"
Mr. Wopsle answered, "Those are not the exact words."
"Not the exact words!" repeated the gentleman, bitterly. "Is that
the exact substance?"
"Yes," said Mr. Wopsle.
"Yes," repeated the stranger, looking round at the rest of the
company with his right hand extended towards the witness, Wopsle.
"And now I ask you what you say to the conscience of that man who,
with that passage before his eyes, can lay his head upon his pillow
after having pronounced a fellow-creature guilty, unheard?"
We all began to suspect that Mr. Wopsle was not the man we had
thought him, and that he was beginning to be found out.
"And that same man, remember," pursued the gentleman, throwing his
finger at Mr. Wopsle heavily; "that same man might be summoned as a
juryman upon this very trial, and, having thus deeply committed
himself, might return to the bosom of his family and lay his head
upon his pillow, after deliberately swearing that he would well and
truly try the issue joined between Our Sovereign Lord the King and
the prisoner at the bar, and would a true verdict give according to
the evidence, so help him God!"
We were all deeply persuaded that the unfortunate Wopsle had gone
too far, and had better stop in his reckless career while there was
The strange gentleman, with an air of authority not to be disputed,
and with a manner expressive of knowing something secret about
every one of us that would effectually do for each individual if he
chose to disclose it, left the back of the settle, and came into
the space between the two settles, in front of the fire, where he
remained standing: his left hand in his pocket, and he biting the
forefinger of his right.
"From information I have received," said he, looking round at us as
we all quailed before him, "I have reason to believe there is a
blacksmith among you, by name Joseph - or Joe - Gargery. Which is
"Here is the man," said Joe.
The strange gentleman beckoned him out of his place, and Joe went.
"You have an apprentice," pursued the stranger, "commonly known as
Pip? Is he here?"
"I am here!" I cried.
The stranger did not recognize me, but I recognized him as the
gentleman I had met on the stairs, on the occasion of my second
visit to Miss Havisham. I had known him the moment I saw him
looking over the settle, and now that I stood confronting him with
his hand upon my shoulder, I checked off again in detail, his large
head, his dark complexion, his deep-set eyes, his bushy black
eyebrows, his large watch-chain, his strong black dots of beard and
whisker, and even the smell of scented soap on his great hand.
"I wish to have a private conference with you two," said he, when
he had surveyed me at his leisure. "It will take a little time.
Perhaps we had better go to your place of residence.