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and I said, 'Pick us out a good one, old Briton,
because if we had chosen to keep you in the
box another day or two, we could easily have
done it.' He said to that, ' Let me make you
a present of the best fowl in the shop.' I let
him, of course. As far as it goes, it's property
and portable. You don't object to an aged
parent, I hope?"

I really thought he was still speaking of the
fowl, until he added, " Because I have got an
aged parent at my place." I then said what
politeness required.

"So, you haven't dined with Mr. Jaggers
yet?" he pursued, as we walked along..

"Not yet."

"He told me so this afternoon when he heard
you were coming. I expect you'll have an
invitation to-morrow. He's going to ask your
pals, too. Three of 'em; ain't there?"

Although I was not in the habit of counting
Drammle as one of my intimate associates, I
answered " Yes."

"Well, he's going to ask the whole gang;"
I hardly felt complimented by the word; "and
whatever he gives you, he'll give you good.
Don't look forward to variety, but you'll have
excellence. And there's another rum thing in
his house," proceeded Wemmick, after a
moment's pause, as if the remark followed on the
housekeeper understood; " he never lets a door
or window be fastened at night."

"Is he never robbed?"

"That's it!" returned Wemmick. "He says
and gives it out publicly, ' I want to see the
man who'll rob me.' Lord bless you, I have
heard him, a hundred times if I have heard him
once, say to regular cracksmen in our front
office, ' You know where I live; now, no bolt is
ever drawn there; why don't you do a stroke
of business with me? Come; can't I tempt
you?' Not a man of them, sir, would be bold
enough to try it on, for love or money."

"They dread him so much?" said I.

"Dread him," said Wemmick. "I believe
you they dread him. Not but what he's
artful, even in his defiance of them. No silver,
sir. Britannia metal, every spoon."

"So they wouldn't have much," I observed,
"even if they—— "

"Ah! But he would have much," said
Wemmick, cutting me short, " and they know it.
He'd have their lives, and the lives of scores of
'em. He'd have all he could get. And it's
impossible to say what he couldn't get, if he gave
his mind to it."

I was falling into meditation on my guardian's
greatness, when Wemmick remarked:

"As to the absence of plate, that's only his
natural depth, you know. A river's its natural
depth, and he's his natural depth. Look at his
watch-chain. That's real enough."

"It's very massive," said I.

"Massive?" repeated Wemmick. " I think
so. And his watch is a gold repeater, and worth
a hundred pound if it's worth a penny. Mr.
Pip, there are about seven hundred thieves in
this town who know all about that watch;
there's not a man, a woman, or a child among
them, who wouldn't identify the smallest link in
that chain, and drop it as if it was red-hot, if
inveigled into touching it."

At first with such discourse, and afterwards
with conversation of a more general nature, did
Mr. Wemmick and I beguile the time and the
road, until he gave me to understand that we
had arrived in the district of Walworth.

It appeared to be a collection of back  lanes,
ditches, and little gardens, and to present the
aspect of a rather dull retirement. Wemmick' s
house was a little wooden cottage in the midst
of plots of garden, and the top of it was cut
out and painted like a battery mounted with

"My own doing," said Wemmick. " Looks
pretty; don't it?"

I highly commended it. I think it was the
smallest house I ever saw; with the queerest
gothic windows (by far the greater part of
them sham), and a gothic door, almost too small
to get in at.

"That's a real flagstaff, you see," said
Wemmick, " and on Sundays I run up a a real flag.
Then look here. After I have crossed this
bridge, I hoist it upsoand cut off the

The bridge was a plank, and it crossed a chasm
about four feet wide and two deep. But it was
very pleasant to see the pride with which he
hoisted it up and made it fast; smiling as he
did so, with a relish and not merely

"At nine o'clock every night, Greenwich
time," said Wemmick, " tihe gun fires. There
he is, you see! And when you hear him go, I
think you'll say he's a Stinger.

The piece of ordnance referred to, was
mounted in a separate fortress, constructed of
lattice-work. It was protected from the weather
by an ingenious little tarpaulin contrivance in
the nature of an umbrella.

"Then, at the back," said Wemmick, '''out
of sight, so as not to impede the idea of
fortificationsfor it's a principle with me, if you have
an idea, carry it out and keep it up; I don't
know whether that's your opinion—— "

I said, decidedly.

"At the back, there's a pig, and there are
fowls and rabbits; then I knock together my
own little frame, you see, and grow cucumbers;
and you'll judge at supper what sort of a
salad I can raise. So, sir," said Wemmick,
smiling again, but seriously too as he shook his
head, " if you can suppose the little place
besieged, it would hold out a devil of a time in
point of provisions."

Then he conducted me to a bower about a
dozen yards off, but which was approached by
such ingenious twists of path that it took quite
a long time to get at; and in this retreat our
glasses were already set forth. Our punch was
cooling in an ornamental lake, on whose margin
the bower was raised. This piece of water
(with an island in the middle which might have
been the salad for supper) was of a circular