Charles Dickens

I prefer not

to anticipate my communication here; you will impart as much or as

little of it as you please to your friends afterwards; I have

nothing to do with that."

Amidst a wondering silence, we three walked out of the Jolly

Bargemen, and in a wondering silence walked home. While going

along, the strange gentleman occasionally looked at me, and

occasionally bit the side of his finger. As we neared home, Joe

vaguely acknowledging the occasion as an impressive and ceremonious

one, went on ahead to open the front door. Our conference was held

in the state parlour, which was feebly lighted by one candle.

It began with the strange gentleman's sitting down at the table,

drawing the candle to him, and looking over some entries in his

pocket-book. He then put up the pocket-book and set the candle a

little aside: after peering round it into the darkness at Joe and

me, to ascertain which was which.

"My name," he said, "is Jaggers, and I am a lawyer in London. I am

pretty well known. I have unusual business to transact with you,

and I commence by explaining that it is not of my originating. If

my advice had been asked, I should not have been here. It was not

asked, and you see me here. What I have to do as the confidential

agent of another, I do. No less, no more."

Finding that he could not see us very well from where he sat, he

got up, and threw one leg over the back of a chair and leaned upon

it; thus having one foot on the seat of the chair, and one foot on

the ground.

"Now, Joseph Gargery, I am the bearer of an offer to relieve you of

this young fellow your apprentice. You would not object to cancel

his indentures, at his request and for his good? You would want

nothing for so doing?"

"Lord forbid that I should want anything for not standing in Pip's

way," said Joe, staring.

"Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the purpose," returned Mr

Jaggers. "The question is, Would you want anything? Do you want


"The answer is," returned Joe, sternly, "No."

I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joe, as if he considered him a fool

for his disinterestedness. But I was too much bewildered between

breathless curiosity and surprise, to be sure of it.

"Very well," said Mr. Jaggers. "Recollect the admission you have

made, and don't try to go from it presently."

"Who's a-going to try?" retorted Joe.

"I don't say anybody is. Do you keep a dog?"

"Yes, I do keep a dog."

"Bear in mind then, that Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a

better. Bear that in mind, will you?" repeated Mr. Jaggers, shutting

his eyes and nodding his head at Joe, as if he were forgiving him

something. "Now, I return to this young fellow. And the

communication I have got to make is, that he has great


Joe and I gasped, and looked at one another.

"I am instructed to communicate to him," said Mr. Jaggers, throwing

his finger at me sideways, "that he will come into a handsome

property. Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor

of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present

sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a

gentleman - in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations."

My dream was out; my wild fancy was surpassed by sober reality;

Miss Havisham was going to make my fortune on a grand scale.

"Now, Mr. Pip," pursued the lawyer, "I address the rest of what I

have to say, to you. You are to understand, first, that it is the

request of the person from whom I take my instructions, that you

always bear the name of Pip. You will have no objection, I dare

say, to your great expectations being encumbered with that easy

condition. But if you have any objection, this is the time to

mention it."

My heart was beating so fast, and there was such a singing in my

ears, that I could scarcely stammer I had no objection.

"I should think not! Now you are to understand, secondly, Mr.