It was in the fourth year of my apprenticeship to Joe, and it was a Saturda_ight. There was a group assembled round the fire at the Three Jolly Bargemen, attentive to Mr. Wopsle as he read the newspaper aloud. Of that group I wa_ne.
A highly popular murder had been committed, and Mr. Wopsle was imbrued i_lood to the eyebrows. He gloated over every abhorrent adjective in th_escription, and identified himself with every witness at the Inquest. H_aintly moaned, “I am done for,” as the victim, and he barbarously bellowed, “I’ll serve you out,” as the murderer. He gave the medical testimony, i_ointed imitation of our local practitioner; and he piped and shook, as th_ged turnpike-keeper who had heard blows, to an extent so very paralytic as t_uggest a doubt regarding the mental competency of that witness. The coroner, in Mr. Wopsle’s hands, became Timon of Athens; the beadle, Coriolanus. H_njoyed himself thoroughly, and we all enjoyed ourselves, and wer_elightfully comfortable. In this cosey state of mind we came to the verdic_ilful Murder.
Then, and not sooner, I became aware of a strange gentleman leaning over th_ack of the settle opposite me, looking on. There was an expression o_ontempt on his face, and he bit the side of a great forefinger as he watche_he group of faces.
“Well!” said the stranger to Mr. Wopsle, when the reading was done, “you hav_ettled it all to your own satisfaction, I have no doubt?”
Everybody started and looked up, as if it were the murderer. He looked a_verybody coldly and sarcastically.
“Guilty, of course?” said he. “Out with it. Come!”
“Sir,” returned Mr. Wopsle, “without having the honor of your acquaintance, _o say Guilty.” Upon this we all took courage to unite in a confirmator_urmur.
“I know you do,” said the stranger; “I knew you would. I told you so. But no_’ll ask you a question. Do you know, or do you not know, that the law o_ngland supposes every man to be innocent, until he is proved-proved—to b_uilty?”
“Sir,” Mr. Wopsle began to reply, “as an Englishman myself, I—”
“Come!” said the stranger, biting his forefinger at him. “Don’t evade th_uestion. Either you know it, or you don’t know it. Which is it to be?”
He stood with his head on one side and himself on one side, in a Bullying, interrogative manner, and he threw his forefinger at Mr. Wopsle,—as it were t_ark him out—before biting it again.
“Now!” said he. “Do you know it, or don’t you know it?”
“Certainly I know it,” replied Mr. Wopsle.
“Certainly you know it. Then why didn’t you say so at first? Now, I’ll ask yo_nother question,”—taking possession of Mr. Wopsle, as if he had a right t_im,—“do you know that none of these witnesses have yet been cross-examined?”
Mr. Wopsle was beginning, “I can only say—” when the stranger stopped him.
“What? You won’t answer the question, yes or no? Now, I’ll try you again.” Throwing his finger at him again. “Attend to me. Are you aware, or are you no_ware, that none of these witnesses have yet been cross-examined? Come, I onl_ant one word from you. Yes, or no?”
Mr. Wopsle hesitated, and we all began to conceive rather a poor opinion o_im.
“Come!” said the stranger, “I’ll help you. You don’t deserve help, but I’l_elp you. Look at that paper you hold in your hand. What is it?”
“What is it?” repeated Mr. 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 distinctl_tates that the prisoner expressly said that his legal advisers instructed hi_ltogether 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 jus_ow. You may read the Lord’s Prayer backwards, if you like,—and, perhaps, hav_one it before to-day. Turn to the paper. No, no, no my friend; not to the to_f the column; you know better than that; to the bottom, to the bottom.” (W_ll 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 distinctl_tates that the prisoner expressly said that he was instructed by his lega_dvisers 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 exac_ubstance?”
“Yes,” said Mr. Wopsle.
“Yes,” repeated the stranger, looking round at the rest of the company wit_is right hand extended towards the witness, Wopsle. “And now I ask you wha_ou 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-creatur_uilty, 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 a_r. Wopsle heavily,—“that same man might be summoned as a juryman upon thi_ery trial, and, having thus deeply committed himself, might return to th_osom of his family and lay his head upon his pillow, after deliberatel_wearing that he would well and truly try the issue joined between Ou_overeign Lord the King and the prisoner at the bar, and would a true verdic_ive according to the evidence, so help him God!”
We were all deeply persuaded that the unfortunate Wopsle had gone too far, an_ad better stop in his reckless career while there was yet time.
The strange gentleman, with an air of authority not to be disputed, and with _anner expressive of knowing something secret about every one of us that woul_ffectually do for each individual if he chose to disclose it, left the bac_f the settle, and came into the space between the two settles, in front o_he fire, where he remained standing, his left hand in his pocket, and h_iting the forefinger of his right.
“From information I have received,” said he, looking round at us as we al_uailed before him, “I have reason to believe there is a blacksmith among you, by name Joseph—or Joe—Gargery. Which is the man?”
“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 h_ere?”
“I am here!” I cried.
The stranger did not recognize me, but I recognized him as the gentleman I ha_et on the stairs, on the occasion of my second visit to Miss Havisham. I ha_nown him the moment I saw him looking over the settle, and now that I stoo_onfronting him with his hand upon my shoulder, I checked off again in detai_is large head, his dark complexion, his deep-set eyes, his bushy blac_yebrows, 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 ha_urveyed me at his leisure. “It will take a little time. Perhaps we had bette_o to your place of residence. I prefer not to anticipate my communicatio_ere; you will impart as much or as little of it as you please to your friend_fterwards; I have nothing to do with that.”
Amidst a wondering silence, we three walked out of the Jolly Bargemen, and i_ wondering silence walked home. While going along, the strange gentlema_ccasionally looked at me, and occasionally bit the side of his finger. As w_eared home, Joe vaguely acknowledging the occasion as an impressive an_eremonious one, went on ahead to open the front door. Our conference was hel_n the state parlor, which was feebly lighted by one candle.
It began with the strange gentleman’s sitting down at the table, drawing th_andle to him, and looking over some entries in his pocket-book. He then pu_p the pocket-book and set the candle a little aside, after peering round i_nto 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 wel_nown. I have unusual business to transact with you, and I commence b_xplaining that it is not of my originating. If my advice had been asked, _hould not have been here. It was not asked, and you see me here. What I hav_o 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, an_hrew one leg over the back of a chair and leaned upon it; thus having on_oot 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 youn_ellow your apprentice. You would not object to cancel his indentures at hi_equest 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,” sai_oe, staring.
“Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the purpose,” returned Mr. Jaggers. “Th_uestion is, Would you want anything? Do you want anything?”
“The answer is,” returned Joe, sternly, “No.”
I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joe, as if he considered him a fool for hi_isinterestedness. But I was too much bewildered between breathless curiosit_nd surprise, to be sure of it.
“Very well,” said Mr. Jaggers. “Recollect the admission you have made, an_on’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. Bea_hat in mind, will you?” repeated Mr. Jaggers, shutting his eyes and noddin_is head at Joe, as if he were forgiving him something. “Now, I return to thi_oung fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has Grea_xpectations.”
Joe and I gasped, and looked at one another.
“I am instructed to communicate to him,” said Mr. Jaggers, throwing his finge_t me sideways, “that he will come into a handsome property. Further, that i_s the desire of the present possessor of that property, that he b_mmediately removed from his present sphere of life and from this place, an_e brought up as a gentleman,—in a word, as a young fellow of grea_xpectations.”
My dream was out; my wild fancy was surpassed by sober reality; Miss Havisha_as 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 perso_rom whom I take my instructions that you always bear the name of Pip. Yo_ill have no objection, I dare say, to your great expectations bein_ncumbered with that easy condition. But if you have any objection, this i_he time to mention it.”
My heart was beating so fast, and there was such a singing in my ears, that _ould scarcely stammer I had no objection.
“I should think not! Now you are to understand, secondly, Mr. Pip, that th_ame of the person who is your liberal benefactor remains a profound secret, until the person chooses to reveal it. I am empowered to mention that it i_he intention of the person to reveal it at first hand by word of mouth t_ourself. When or where that intention may be carried out, I cannot say; n_ne can say. It may be years hence. Now, you are distinctly to understand tha_ou are most positively prohibited from making any inquiry on this head, o_ny allusion or reference, however distant, to any individual whomsoever a_he individual, in all the communications you may have with me. If you have _uspicion in your own breast, keep that suspicion in your own breast. It i_ot the least to the purpose what the reasons of this prohibition are; the_ay be the strongest and gravest reasons, or they may be mere whim. This i_ot for you to inquire into. The condition is laid down. Your acceptance o_t, and your observance of it as binding, is the only remaining condition tha_ am charged with, by the person from whom I take my instructions, and fo_hom I am not otherwise responsible. That person is the person from whom yo_erive your expectations, and the secret is solely held by that person and b_e. Again, not a very difficult condition with which to encumber such a ris_n fortune; but if you have any objection to it, this is the time to mentio_t. Speak out.”
Once more, I stammered with difficulty that I had no objection.
“I should think not! Now, Mr. Pip, I have done with stipulations.” Though h_alled me Mr. Pip, and began rather to make up to me, he still could not ge_id of a certain air of bullying suspicion; and even now he occasionally shu_is eyes and threw his finger at me while he spoke, as much as to express tha_e knew all kinds of things to my disparagement, if he only chose to mentio_hem. “We come next, to mere details of arrangement. You must know that, although I have used the term “expectations” more than once, you are no_ndowed with expectations only. There is already lodged in my hands a sum o_oney amply sufficient for your suitable education and maintenance. You wil_lease consider me your guardian. Oh!” for I was going to thank him, “I tel_ou at once, I am paid for my services, or I shouldn’t render them. It i_onsidered that you must be better educated, in accordance with your altere_osition, and that you will be alive to the importance and necessity of a_nce entering on that advantage.”
I said I had always longed for it.
“Never mind what you have always longed for, Mr. Pip,” he retorted; “keep t_he record. If you long for it now, that’s enough. Am I answered that you ar_eady to be placed at once under some proper tutor? Is that it?”
I stammered yes, that was it.
“Good. Now, your inclinations are to be consulted. I don’t think that wise, mind, but it’s my trust. Have you ever heard of any tutor whom you woul_refer to another?”
I had never heard of any tutor but Biddy and Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt; so, _eplied in the negative.
“There is a certain tutor, of whom I have some knowledge, who I think migh_uit the purpose,” said Mr. Jaggers. “I don’t recommend him, observe; becaus_ never recommend anybody. The gentleman I speak of is one Mr. Matthe_ocket.”
Ah! I caught at the name directly. Miss Havisham’s relation. The Matthew who_r. and Mrs. Camilla had spoken of. The Matthew whose place was to be at Mis_avisham’s head, when she lay dead, in her bride’s dress on the bride’s table.
“You know the name?” said Mr. Jaggers, looking shrewdly at me, and the_hutting up his eyes while he waited for my answer.
My answer was, that I had heard of the name.
“Oh!” said he. “You have heard of the name. But the question is, what do yo_ay of it?”
I said, or tried to say, that I was much obliged to him for hi_ecommendation—
“No, my young friend!” he interrupted, shaking his great head very slowly.
Not recollecting myself, I began again that I was much obliged to him for hi_ecommendation—
“No, my young friend,” he interrupted, shaking his head and frowning an_miling both at once,—“no, no, no; it’s very well done, but it won’t do; yo_re too young to fix me with it. Recommendation is not the word, Mr. Pip. Tr_nother.”
Correcting myself, I said that I was much obliged to him for his mention o_r. Matthew Pocket—
“That’s more like it!” cried Mr. Jaggers.
—And (I added), I would gladly try that gentleman.
“Good. You had better try him in his own house. The way shall be prepared fo_ou, and you can see his son first, who is in London. When will you come t_ondon?”
I said (glancing at Joe, who stood looking on, motionless), that I supposed _ould come directly.
“First,” said Mr. Jaggers, “you should have some new clothes to come in, an_hey should not be working-clothes. Say this day week. You’ll want some money.
Shall I leave you twenty guineas?”
He produced a long purse, with the greatest coolness, and counted them out o_he table and pushed them over to me. This was the first time he had taken hi_eg from the chair. He sat astride of the chair when he had pushed the mone_ver, and sat swinging his purse and eyeing Joe.
“Well, Joseph Gargery? You look dumbfoundered?”
“I am!” said Joe, in a very decided manner.
“It was understood that you wanted nothing for yourself, remember?”
“It were understood,” said Joe. “And it are understood. And it ever will b_imilar according.”
“But what,” said Mr. Jaggers, swinging his purse,—“what if it was in m_nstructions to make you a present, as compensation?”
“As compensation what for?” Joe demanded.
“For the loss of his services.”
Joe laid his hand upon my shoulder with the touch of a woman. I have ofte_hought him since, like the steam-hammer that can crush a man or pat an egg- shell, in his combination of strength with gentleness. “Pip is that heart_elcome,” said Joe, “to go free with his services, to honor and fortun’, as n_ords can tell him. But if you think as Money can make compensation to me fo_he loss of the little child—what come to the forge—and ever the best o_riends!—”
O dear good Joe, whom I was so ready to leave and so unthankful to, I see yo_gain, with your muscular blacksmith’s arm before your eyes, and your broa_hest heaving, and your voice dying away. O dear good faithful tender Joe, _eel the loving tremble of your hand upon my arm, as solemnly this day as i_t had been the rustle of an angel’s wing!
But I encouraged Joe at the time. I was lost in the mazes of my futur_ortunes, and could not retrace the by-paths we had trodden together. I begge_oe to be comforted, for (as he said) we had ever been the best of friends, and (as I said) we ever would be so. Joe scooped his eyes with his disengage_rist, as if he were bent on gouging himself, but said not another word.
Mr. Jaggers had looked on at this, as one who recognized in Joe the villag_diot, and in me his keeper. When it was over, he said, weighing in his han_he purse he had ceased to swing:—
“Now, Joseph Gargery, I warn you this is your last chance. No half measure_ith me. If you mean to take a present that I have it in charge to make you, speak out, and you shall have it. If on the contrary you mean to say—” Here, to his great amazement, he was stopped by Joe’s suddenly working round hi_ith every demonstration of a fell pugilistic purpose.
“Which I meantersay,” cried Joe, “that if you come into my place bull-baitin_nd badgering me, come out! Which I meantersay as sech if you’re a man, com_n! Which I meantersay that what I say, I meantersay and stand or fall by!”
I drew Joe away, and he immediately became placable; merely stating to me, i_n obliging manner and as a polite expostulatory notice to any one whom i_ight happen to concern, that he were not a going to be bull-baited an_adgered in his own place. Mr. Jaggers had risen when Joe demonstrated, an_ad backed near the door. Without evincing any inclination to come in again, he there delivered his valedictory remarks. They were these.
“Well, Mr. Pip, I think the sooner you leave here—as you are to be _entleman—the better. Let it stand for this day week, and you shall receive m_rinted address in the meantime. You can take a hackney-coach at the stage- coach office in London, and come straight to me. Understand, that I express n_pinion, one way or other, on the trust I undertake. I am paid for undertakin_t, and I do so. Now, understand that, finally. Understand that!”
He was throwing his finger at both of us, and I think would have gone on, bu_or his seeming to think Joe dangerous, and going off.
Something came into my head which induced me to run after him, as he was goin_own to the Jolly Bargemen, where he had left a hired carriage.
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Jaggers.”
“Halloa!” said he, facing round, “what’s the matter?”
“I wish to be quite right, Mr. Jaggers, and to keep to your directions; so _hought I had better ask. Would there be any objection to my taking leave o_ny one I know, about here, before I go away?”
“No,” said he, looking as if he hardly understood me.
“I don’t mean in the village only, but up town?”
“No,” said he. “No objection.”
I thanked him and ran home again, and there I found that Joe had alread_ocked the front door and vacated the state parlor, and was seated by th_itchen fire with a hand on each knee, gazing intently at the burning coals. _oo sat down before the fire and gazed at the coals, and nothing was said fo_ long time.
My sister was in her cushioned chair in her corner, and Biddy sat at he_eedle-work before the fire, and Joe sat next Biddy, and I sat next Joe in th_orner opposite my sister. The more I looked into the glowing coals, the mor_ncapable I became of looking at Joe; the longer the silence lasted, the mor_nable I felt to speak.
At length I got out, “Joe, have you told Biddy?”
“No, Pip,” returned Joe, still looking at the fire, and holding his knee_ight, as if he had private information that they intended to make of_omewhere, “which I left it to yourself, Pip.”
“I would rather you told, Joe.”
“Pip’s a gentleman of fortun’ then,” said Joe, “and God bless him in it!”
Biddy dropped her work, and looked at me. Joe held his knees and looked at me.
I looked at both of them. After a pause, they both heartily congratulated me; but there was a certain touch of sadness in their congratulations that _ather resented.
I took it upon myself to impress Biddy (and through Biddy, Joe) with the grav_bligation I considered my friends under, to know nothing and say nothin_bout the maker of my fortune. It would all come out in good time, I observed, and in the meanwhile nothing was to be said, save that I had come into grea_xpectations from a mysterious patron. Biddy nodded her head thoughtfully a_he fire as she took up her work again, and said she would be very particular; and Joe, still detaining his knees, said, “Ay, ay, I’ll be ekervall_artickler, Pip;” and then they congratulated me again, and went on to expres_o much wonder at the notion of my being a gentleman that I didn’t half lik_t.
Infinite pains were then taken by Biddy to convey to my sister some idea o_hat had happened. To the best of my belief, those efforts entirely failed.
She laughed and nodded her head a great many times, and even repeated afte_iddy, the words “Pip” and “Property.” But I doubt if they had more meaning i_hem than an election cry, and I cannot suggest a darker picture of her stat_f mind.
I never could have believed it without experience, but as Joe and Biddy becam_ore at their cheerful ease again, I became quite gloomy. Dissatisfied with m_ortune, of course I could not be; but it is possible that I may have been, without quite knowing it, dissatisfied with myself.
Any how, I sat with my elbow on my knee and my face upon my hand, looking int_he fire, as those two talked about my going away, and about what they shoul_o without me, and all that. And whenever I caught one of them looking at me, though never so pleasantly (and they often looked at me,—particularly Biddy), I felt offended: as if they were expressing some mistrust of me. Though Heave_nows they never did by word or sign.
At those times I would get up and look out at the door; for our kitchen doo_pened at once upon the night, and stood open on summer evenings to air th_oom. The very stars to which I then raised my eyes, I am afraid I took to b_ut poor and humble stars for glittering on the rustic objects among which _ad passed my life.
“Saturday night,” said I, when we sat at our supper of bread and cheese an_eer. “Five more days, and then the day before the day! They’ll soon go.”
“Yes, Pip,” observed Joe, whose voice sounded hollow in his beer- mug.
“They’ll soon go.”
“Soon, soon go,” said Biddy.
“I have been thinking, Joe, that when I go down town on Monday, and order m_ew clothes, I shall tell the tailor that I’ll come and put them on there, o_hat I’ll have them sent to Mr. Pumblechook’s. It would be very disagreeabl_o be stared at by all the people here.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Hubble might like to see you in your new gen-teel figure too, Pip,” said Joe, industriously cutting his bread, with his cheese on it, in th_alm of his left hand, and glancing at my untasted supper as if he thought o_he time when we used to compare slices. “So might Wopsle. And the Joll_argemen might take it as a compliment.”
“That’s just what I don’t want, Joe. They would make such a business o_t,—such a coarse and common business,—that I couldn’t bear myself.”
“Ah, that indeed, Pip!” said Joe. “If you couldn’t abear yourself—”
Biddy asked me here, as she sat holding my sister’s plate, “Have you though_bout when you’ll show yourself to Mr. Gargery, and your sister and me? Yo_ill show yourself to us; won’t you?”
“Biddy,” I returned with some resentment, “you are so exceedingly quick tha_t’s difficult to keep up with you.”
(“She always were quick,” observed Joe.)
“If you had waited another moment, Biddy, you would have heard me say that _hall bring my clothes here in a bundle one evening,— most likely on th_vening before I go away.”
Biddy said no more. Handsomely forgiving her, I soon exchanged an affectionat_ood night with her and Joe, and went up to bed. When I got into my littl_oom, I sat down and took a long look at it, as a mean little room that _hould soon be parted from and raised above, for ever. It was furnished wit_resh young remembrances too, and even at the same moment I fell into much th_ame confused division of mind between it and the better rooms to which I wa_oing, as I had been in so often between the forge and Miss Havisham’s, an_iddy and Estella.
The sun had been shining brightly all day on the roof of my attic, and th_oom was warm. As I put the window open and stood looking out, I saw Joe com_lowly forth at the dark door, below, and take a turn or two in the air; an_hen I saw Biddy come, and bring him a pipe and light it for him. He neve_moked so late, and it seemed to hint to me that he wanted comforting, fo_ome reason or other.
He presently stood at the door immediately beneath me, smoking his pipe, an_iddy stood there too, quietly talking to him, and I knew that they talked o_e, for I heard my name mentioned in an endearing tone by both of them mor_han once. I would not have listened for more, if I could have heard more; s_ drew away from the window, and sat down in my one chair by the bedside, feeling it very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my brigh_ortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known.
Looking towards the open window, I saw light wreaths from Joe’s pipe floatin_here, and I fancied it was like a blessing from Joe, —not obtruded on me o_araded before me, but pervading the air we shared together. I put my ligh_ut, and crept into bed; and it was an uneasy bed now, and I never slept th_ld sound sleep in it any more.