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
"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
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.