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           GREAT EXPECTATIONS,

           BY CHARLES DICKENS.

                   CHAPTER XXV.

BENTLEY DRUMMLE, who was so sulky a
fellow that he even took up a book as if its
writer had done him an injury, did not take up
an acquaintance in a more agreeable spirit.
Heavy in figure, movement, and comprehension
in the sluggish complexion of his face, and in
the large awkward tongue that seemed to loll
about in his mouth as he himself lolled about in
a roomhe was idle, proud, niggardly, reserved,
and suspicious. He came of rich people down
in Somersetshire, who had nursed this combination
of qualities until they made the discovery
that it was just of age and a blockhead. Thus
Bentley Drummle had come to Mr. Pocket when
he was a head taller than that gentleman, and
half a dozen heads thicker than most gentlemen.

Startop had been spoilt by a weak mother and
kept at home when he ought to have been at
school, but he was devotedly attached to her, and
admired her beyond measure. He had a woman's
delicacy of feature, and was— " as you may
see, though you never saw her," said Herbert to
me- exactly like his mother. It was but
natural that I should take to him much more
kindly than to Drummle, and that even in the
earliest evenings of our boating, he and I should
pull homeward abreast of one another, conversing
from boat to boat, while Bentley Drummle
came up in our wake alone, under the
over-hanging banks and among the rushes. He would
always creep in-shore like some uncomfortable
amphibious creature, even when the tide would
have sent him fast upon his way; and I always
think of him as coming after us in the dark
or by the back-water, when our own two boats
were breaking the sunset or the moonlight in
mid-stream.

Herbert was my intimate companion and
friend. I presented him with a half-share in
my boat, which was the occasion of his often
coming down to Hammersmith; and my possession
of a half-share in his chambers often took
me up to London. We used to walk between
the two places at all hours. I have an affection
for the road yet (though it is not so pleasant
a road as it was then), formed in the
impressibilityof untried youth and hope.

When I had been in Mr. Pocket's family a
month or two, Mr. and Mrs. Camilla turned up.
Camilla was Mr. Pocket's sister. Georgiana,
whom I had seen at Miss Havisham's on the
same occasion, also turned up. She was a cousin
an indigestive single woman, who called her
rigidity religion, and her liver love. These
people hated me with the hatred of cupidity and
disappointment. As a matter of course, they
fawned upon me in my prosperity with the
basest meanness. Towards Mr. Pocket, as a
grown-up infant with no notion of his own
interests, they showed the complacent forbearance
I had heard them express. Mrs. Pocket they
held in contempt; but they allowed the poor
soul to have been heavily disappointed in life,
because that shed a feeble reflected light upon
themselves.

These were the surroundings among which I
settled down, and applied myself to my education.
I soon contracted expensive habits, and
began to spend an amount of money that within
a few short months I should have thought
almost fabulous, but through good and evil I
stuck to my books. There was no other merit
in this, than my having sense enough to feel my
deficiencies. Between Mr. Pocket and Herbert
I got on fast; and, with one or the other always
at my elbow to give me the start I wanted,
and clear obstructions out of my road, I must
have been as great a dolt as Drummle if I had
done less.

I had not seen Mr. Wemmick for some weeks,
when I thought I would write him a note and
propose to go home with him on a certain evening.
He replied that it would give him much
pleasure, and that he would expect me at the
office at six o'clock. Thither I went, and there
I found him, putting the key of his safe down
his back as the clock struck.

"Did you think of walking down to Walworth?" said he.

"Certainly," said I, "if you approve."

"Very much," was Wemmick's reply, "for
I have had my legs under the desk all day, and
shall be glad to stretch them. Now, I'll tell you
what I have got for supper, Mr. Pip. I have
got a stewed steakwhich is of home preparation
and a cold roast fowlwhich is from the
cook's-shop. I think it's tender, because the
master of the shop was a Juryman in some cases
of ours the other day, and we let him down easy.
I reminded him of it when I bought the fowl,

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