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Chapter 1

  • The journey from our town to the metropolis was a journey of about five hours.
  • It was a little past midday when the four-horse stage-coach by which I was _assenger, got into the ravel of traffic frayed out about the Cross Keys, Woo_treet, Cheapside, London.
  • We Britons had at that time particularly settled that it was treasonable t_oubt our having and our being the best of everything: otherwise, while I wa_cared by the immensity of London, I think I might have had some faint doubt_hether it was not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.
  • Mr. Jaggers had duly sent me his address; it was, Little Britain, and he ha_ritten after it on his card, “just out of Smithfield, and close by the coach- office.” Nevertheless, a hackney-coachman, who seemed to have as many capes t_is greasy great-coat as he was years old, packed me up in his coach an_emmed me in with a folding and jingling barrier of steps, as if he were goin_o take me fifty miles. His getting on his box, which I remember to have bee_ecorated with an old weather-stained pea-green hammercloth moth-eaten int_ags, was quite a work of time. It was a wonderful equipage, with six grea_oronets outside, and ragged things behind for I don’t know how many footme_o hold on by, and a harrow below them, to prevent amateur footmen fro_ielding to the temptation.
  • I had scarcely had time to enjoy the coach and to think how like a straw-yar_t was, and yet how like a rag-shop, and to wonder why the horses’ nose-bag_ere kept inside, when I observed the coachman beginning to get down, as if w_ere going to stop presently. And stop we presently did, in a gloomy street, at certain offices with an open door, whereon was painted Mr. Jaggers.
  • “How much?” I asked the coachman.
  • The coachman answered, “A shilling—unless you wish to make it more.”
  • I naturally said I had no wish to make it more.
  • “Then it must be a shilling,” observed the coachman. “I don’t want to get int_rouble. I know him!” He darkly closed an eye at Mr. Jaggers’s name, and shoo_is head.
  • When he had got his shilling, and had in course of time completed the ascen_o his box, and had got away (which appeared to relieve his mind), I went int_he front office with my little portmanteau in my hand and asked, Was Mr.
  • Jaggers at home?
  • “He is not,” returned the clerk. “He is in Court at present. Am I addressin_r. Pip?”
  • I signified that he was addressing Mr. Pip.
  • “Mr. Jaggers left word, would you wait in his room. He couldn’t say how lon_e might be, having a case on. But it stands to reason, his time bein_aluable, that he won’t be longer than he can help.”
  • With those words, the clerk opened a door, and ushered me into an inne_hamber at the back. Here, we found a gentleman with one eye, in a velvetee_uit and knee-breeches, who wiped his nose with his sleeve on bein_nterrupted in the perusal of the newspaper.
  • “Go and wait outside, Mike,” said the clerk.
  • I began to say that I hoped I was not interrupting, when the clerk shoved thi_entleman out with as little ceremony as I ever saw used, and tossing his fu_ap out after him, left me alone.
  • Mr. Jaggers’s room was lighted by a skylight only, and was a most disma_lace; the skylight, eccentrically pitched like a broken head, and th_istorted adjoining houses looking as if they had twisted themselves to pee_own at me through it. There were not so many papers about, as I should hav_xpected to see; and there were some odd objects about, that I should not hav_xpected to see,— such as an old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard, severa_trange-looking boxes and packages, and two dreadful casts on a shelf, o_aces peculiarly swollen, and twitchy about the nose. Mr. Jaggers’s own high- backed chair was of deadly black horsehair, with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin; and I fancied I could see how he leaned back in it, and bit hi_orefinger at the clients. The room was but small, and the clients seemed t_ave had a habit of backing up against the wall; the wall, especially opposit_o Mr. Jaggers’s chair, being greasy with shoulders. I recalled, too, that th_ne-eyed gentleman had shuffled forth against the wall when I was the innocen_ause of his being turned out.
  • I sat down in the cliental chair placed over against Mr. Jaggers’s chair, an_ecame fascinated by the dismal atmosphere of the place. I called to mind tha_he clerk had the same air of knowing something to everybody else’_isadvantage, as his master had. I wondered how many other clerks there wer_p-stairs, and whether they all claimed to have the same detrimental master_f their fellow-creatures. I wondered what was the history of all the od_itter about the room, and how it came there. I wondered whether the tw_wollen faces were of Mr. Jaggers’s family, and, if he were so unfortunate a_o have had a pair of such ill-looking relations, why he stuck them on tha_usty perch for the blacks and flies to settle on, instead of giving them _lace at home. Of course I had no experience of a London summer day, and m_pirits may have been oppressed by the hot exhausted air, and by the dust an_rit that lay thick on everything. But I sat wondering and waiting in Mr.
  • Jaggers’s close room, until I really could not bear the two casts on the shel_bove Mr. Jaggers’s chair, and got up and went out.
  • When I told the clerk that I would take a turn in the air while I waited, h_dvised me to go round the corner and I should come into Smithfield. So I cam_nto Smithfield; and the shameful place, being all asmear with filth and fa_nd blood and foam, seemed to stick to me. So, I rubbed it off with al_ossible speed by turning into a street where I saw the great black dome o_aint Paul’s bulging at me from behind a grim stone building which a bystande_aid was Newgate Prison. Following the wall of the jail, I found the roadwa_overed with straw to deaden the noise of passing vehicles; and from this, an_rom the quantity of people standing about smelling strongly of spirits an_eer, I inferred that the trials were on.
  • While I looked about me here, an exceedingly dirty and partially drun_inister of justice asked me if I would like to step in and hear a trial o_o: informing me that he could give me a front place for half a crown, whenc_ should command a full view of the Lord Chief Justice in his wig an_obes,—mentioning that awful personage like waxwork, and presently offerin_im at the reduced price of eighteen-pence. As I declined the proposal on th_lea of an appointment, he was so good as to take me into a yard and show m_here the gallows was kept, and also where people were publicly whipped, an_hen he showed me the Debtors’ Door, out of which culprits came to be hanged; heightening the interest of that dreadful portal by giving me to understan_hat “four on ’em” would come out at that door the day after to-morrow a_ight in the morning, to be killed in a row. This was horrible, and gave me _ickening idea of London; the more so as the Lord Chief Justice’s proprieto_ore (from his hat down to his boots and up again to his pocket-handkerchie_nclusive) mildewed clothes which had evidently not belonged to hi_riginally, and which I took it into my head he had bought cheap of th_xecutioner. Under these circumstances I thought myself well rid of him for _hilling.
  • I dropped into the office to ask if Mr. Jaggers had come in yet, and I foun_e had not, and I strolled out again. This time, I made the tour of Littl_ritain, and turned into Bartholomew Close; and now I became aware that othe_eople were waiting about for Mr. Jaggers, as well as I. There were two men o_ecret appearance lounging in Bartholomew Close, and thoughtfully fittin_heir feet into the cracks of the pavement as they talked together, one o_hom said to the other when they first passed me, that “Jaggers would do it i_t was to be done.” There was a knot of three men and two women standing at _orner, and one of the women was crying on her dirty shawl, and the othe_omforted her by saying, as she pulled her own shawl over her shoulders, “Jaggers is for him, ‘Melia, and what more could you have?” There was a red- eyed little Jew who came into the Close while I was loitering there, i_ompany with a second little Jew whom he sent upon an errand; and while th_essenger was gone, I remarked this Jew, who was of a highly excitabl_emperament, performing a jig of anxiety under a lamp-post and accompanyin_imself, in a kind of frenzy, with the words, “O Jaggerth, Jaggerth, Jaggerth!
  • all otherth ith Cag-Maggerth, give me Jaggerth!” These testimonies to th_opularity of my guardian made a deep impression on me, and I admired an_ondered more than ever.
  • At length, as I was looking out at the iron gate of Bartholomew Close int_ittle Britain, I saw Mr. Jaggers coming across the road towards me. All th_thers who were waiting saw him at the same time, and there was quite a rus_t him. Mr. Jaggers, putting a hand on my shoulder and walking me on at hi_ide without saying anything to me, addressed himself to his followers.
  • First, he took the two secret men.
  • “Now, I have nothing to say to you,” said Mr. Jaggers, throwing his finger a_hem. “I want to know no more than I know. As to the result, it’s a toss-up. _old you from the first it was a toss-up. Have you paid Wemmick?”
  • “We made the money up this morning, sir,” said one of the men, submissively, while the other perused Mr. Jaggers’s face.
  • “I don’t ask you when you made it up, or where, or whether you made it up a_ll. Has Wemmick got it?”
  • “Yes, sir,” said both the men together.
  • “Very well; then you may go. Now, I won’t have it!” said Mr Jaggers, wavin_is hand at them to put them behind him. “If you say a word to me, I’ll thro_p the case.”
  • “We thought, Mr. Jaggers—” one of the men began, pulling off his hat.
  • “That’s what I told you not to do,” said Mr. Jaggers. “You thought! I thin_or you; that’s enough for you. If I want you, I know where to find you; _on’t want you to find me. Now I won’t have it. I won’t hear a word.”
  • The two men looked at one another as Mr. Jaggers waved them behind again, an_umbly fell back and were heard no more.
  • “And now you!” said Mr. Jaggers, suddenly stopping, and turning on the tw_omen with the shawls, from whom the three men had meekly separated,—“Oh!
  • Amelia, is it?”
  • “Yes, Mr. Jaggers.”
  • “And do you remember,” retorted Mr. Jaggers, “that but for me you wouldn’t b_ere and couldn’t be here?”
  • “O yes, sir!” exclaimed both women together. “Lord bless you, sir, well w_nows that!”
  • “Then why,” said Mr. Jaggers, “do you come here?”
  • “My Bill, sir!” the crying woman pleaded.
  • “Now, I tell you what!” said Mr. Jaggers. “Once for all. If you don’t kno_hat your Bill’s in good hands, I know it. And if you come here botherin_bout your Bill, I’ll make an example of both your Bill and you, and let hi_lip through my fingers. Have you paid Wemmick?”
  • “O yes, sir! Every farden.”
  • “Very well. Then you have done all you have got to do. Say another word—on_ingle word—and Wemmick shall give you your money back.”
  • This terrible threat caused the two women to fall off immediately. No on_emained now but the excitable Jew, who had already raised the skirts of Mr.
  • Jaggers’s coat to his lips several times.
  • “I don’t know this man!” said Mr. Jaggers, in the same devastating strain: “What does this fellow want?”
  • “Ma thear Mithter Jaggerth. Hown brother to Habraham Latharuth?”
  • “Who’s he?” said Mr. Jaggers. “Let go of my coat.”
  • The suitor, kissing the hem of the garment again before relinquishing it, replied, “Habraham Latharuth, on thuthpithion of plate.”
  • “You’re too late,” said Mr. Jaggers. “I am over the way.”
  • “Holy father, Mithter Jaggerth!” cried my excitable acquaintance, turnin_hite, “don’t thay you’re again Habraham Latharuth!”
  • “I am,” said Mr. Jaggers, “and there’s an end of it. Get out of the way.”
  • “Mithter Jaggerth! Half a moment! My hown cuthen’th gone to Mithter Wemmick a_hith prethent minute, to hoffer him hany termth. Mithter Jaggerth! Half _uarter of a moment! If you’d have the condethenthun to be bought off from th_’other thide—at hany thuperior prithe!—money no object!—Mithte_aggerth—Mithter - !”
  • My guardian threw his supplicant off with supreme indifference, and left hi_ancing on the pavement as if it were red hot. Without further interruption, we reached the front office, where we found the clerk and the man in velvetee_ith the fur cap.
  • “Here’s Mike,” said the clerk, getting down from his stool, and approachin_r. Jaggers confidentially.
  • “Oh!” said Mr. Jaggers, turning to the man, who was pulling a lock of hair i_he middle of his forehead, like the Bull in Cock Robin pulling at the bell- rope; “your man comes on this afternoon. Well?”
  • “Well, Mas’r Jaggers,” returned Mike, in the voice of a sufferer from _onstitutional cold; “arter a deal o’ trouble, I’ve found one, sir, as migh_o.”
  • “What is he prepared to swear?”
  • “Well, Mas’r Jaggers,” said Mike, wiping his nose on his fur cap this time; “in a general way, anythink.”
  • Mr. Jaggers suddenly became most irate. “Now, I warned you before,” said he, throwing his forefinger at the terrified client, “that if you ever presumed t_alk in that way here, I’d make an example of you. You infernal scoundrel, ho_are you tell me that?”
  • The client looked scared, but bewildered too, as if he were unconscious wha_e had done.
  • “Spooney!” said the clerk, in a low voice, giving him a stir with his elbow.
  • “Soft Head! Need you say it face to face?”
  • “Now, I ask you, you blundering booby,” said my guardian, very sternly, “onc_ore and for the last time, what the man you have brought here is prepared t_wear?”
  • Mike looked hard at my guardian, as if he were trying to learn a lesson fro_is face, and slowly replied, “Ayther to character, or to having been in hi_ompany and never left him all the night in question.”
  • “Now, be careful. In what station of life is this man?”
  • Mike looked at his cap, and looked at the floor, and looked at the ceiling, and looked at the clerk, and even looked at me, before beginning to reply in _ervous manner, “We’ve dressed him up like—” when my guardian blustered out,—
  • “What? You Will, will you?”
  • (“Spooney!” added the clerk again, with another stir.)
  • After some helpless casting about, Mike brightened and began again:—
  • “He is dressed like a ‘spectable pieman. A sort of a pastry-cook.”
  • “Is he here?” asked my guardian.
  • “I left him,” said Mike, “a setting on some doorsteps round the corner.”
  • “Take him past that window, and let me see him.”
  • The window indicated was the office window. We all three went to it, behin_he wire blind, and presently saw the client go by in an accidental manner, with a murderous-looking tall individual, in a short suit of white linen and _aper cap. This guileless confectioner was not by any means sober, and had _lack eye in the green stage of recovery, which was painted over.
  • “Tell him to take his witness away directly,” said my guardian to the clerk, in extreme disgust, “and ask him what he means by bringing such a fellow a_hat.”
  • My guardian then took me into his own room, and while he lunched, standing, from a sandwich-box and a pocket-flask of sherry (he seemed to bully his ver_andwich as he ate it), informed me what arrangements he had made for me. _as to go to “Barnard’s Inn,” to young Mr. Pocket’s rooms, where a bed ha_een sent in for my accommodation; I was to remain with young Mr. Pocket unti_onday; on Monday I was to go with him to his father’s house on a visit, tha_ might try how I liked it. Also, I was told what my allowance was to be,—i_as a very liberal one,—and had handed to me from one of my guardian’_rawers, the cards of certain tradesmen with whom I was to deal for all kind_f clothes, and such other things as I could in reason want. “You will fin_our credit good, Mr. Pip,” said my guardian, whose flask of sherry smelt lik_ whole caskful, as he hastily refreshed himself, “but I shall by this mean_e able to check your bills, and to pull you up if I find you outrunning th_onstable. Of course you’ll go wrong somehow, but that’s no fault of mine.”
  • After I had pondered a little over this encouraging sentiment, I asked Mr.
  • Jaggers if I could send for a coach? He said it was not worth while, I was s_ear my destination; Wemmick should walk round with me, if I pleased.
  • I then found that Wemmick was the clerk in the next room. Another clerk wa_ung down from up stairs to take his place while he was out, and I accompanie_im into the street, after shaking hands with my guardian. We found a new se_f people lingering outside, but Wemmick made a way among them by sayin_oolly yet decisively, “I tell you it’s no use; he won’t have a word to say t_ne of you;” and we soon got clear of them, and went on side by side.