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GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
BY CHARLES DICKENS.

CHAPTER XX.

THE journey from our town to the metropolis,
was a journey of about five hours. It was a
little past mid-day when the four-horse stagecoach
by which I was a passenger, got into the
ravel of traffic frayed out about the Cross-Keys,
Wood-street, Cheapside, London.

We Britons had at that time particularly
settled that it was treasonable to doubt our
having and our being the best of everything:
otherwise, while I was scared by the immensity
of London, I think I might have had some faint
doubts whether it was not rather ugly, crooked,
narrow, and dirty.

Mr. Jaggers had duly sent me his address; it
was Little Britain, and he had written 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 to
his greasy great-coat as he was years old, packed
me up in his coach and hemmed me in with a
folding and jingling barrier of steps, as if he
were going to take me fifty miles. His getting
on his box, which I remember to have been
decorated with an old weather-stained pea-green
hammercloth, motheaten into rags, was quite a
work of time. It was a wonderful equipage,
with six great coronets outside, and ragged
tilings behind for I don't know how many
footmen to hold on by, and a harrow below them,
to prevent amateur footmen from yielding to the
temptation.

I had scarcely had time to enjoy the coach
and to think how like a straw-yard it was,
and yet how like a rag-shop, and to wonder why
the horses' nose-bags were kept inside, when I
observed the coachman beginning to get down,
as if we were 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 shillingunless
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 into trouble.
I know him!" He darkly closed an eye at Mr.
Jaggers's name, and shook his head.

When he had got his shilling, and had in
course of time completed the ascent to his box,
and had got away (which appeared to relieve
his mind), I went into the 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 addressing Mr. Pip?"

I signified that he was addressing Mr. Pip.

"Mr. Jaggers left word would you wait in
his room. He couldn't say how long he might
be, having a case on. But it stands to reason,
his time being valuable, that he won't be longer
than he can help."

With those words, the clerk opened a door,
and ushered me into an inner chamber at the
back. Here we found a gentleman with one
eye, in a velveteen suit and knee-breeches, who
wiped his nose with his sleeve on being
interrupted in the perusal of the newspaper.

"Go and wait outside, Mike," said the clerk.

I began to say that I hoped I was not
interruptingwhen the clerk shoved this gentleman
out with as little ceremony as I ever saw
used, and tossing his fur cap out after him, left
me alone.

Mr. Jaggers's room was lighted by a skylight
only, and was a most dismal place; the skylight
eccentrically patched, like a broken head, and
the distorted adjoining houses looking as if they
had twisted themselves to peep down at me
through it. There were not so many papers
about, as I should have expected to see;
and there were some odd objects about, that
I should not have expected to seesuch as
an old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard,
several strange-looking boxes and packages,
and two dreadful casts on a shelf of faces
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 his forefinger
at the clients. The room was but small, and
the clients seemed to have had a habit of backing
up against the wall; for the wall, especially
opposite to Mr. Jaggers's chair, was greasy with
shoulders. I recalled, too, that the one-eyed
gentleman had shuffled forth against the wall
when I was the innocent cause of his being
turned out.

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