Great Expectations Chapter XXIV
by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Download Great Expectations Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapter XXIV

AFTER TWO OR three days, when I had established myself in my room and had gone backwards and forwards to London several times, and had ordered all I wanted of my tradesmen, Mr. Pocket and I had a long talk together. He knew more of my intended career than I knew myself, for he referred to his having been told by Mr. Jaggers that I was not designed for any profession, and that I should be well enough educated for my destiny if I could “hold my own” with the average of young men in prosperous circumstances. I acquiesced, of course, knowing nothing to the contrary.

He advised my attending certain places in London, for the acquisition of such mere rudiments as I wanted, and my investing him with the functions of explainer and director of all my studies. He hoped that with intelligent assistance I should meet with little to discourage me, and should soon be able to dispense with any aid but his. Through his way of saying this, and much more to similar purpose, he placed himself on confidential terms with me in an admirable manner: and I may state at once that he was always so zealous and honourable in fulfilling his compact with me, that he made me zealous and honourable in fulfilling mine with him. If he had shown indifference as a master, I have no doubt I should have returned the compliment as a pupil; he gave me no such excuse, and each of us did the other justice. Nor did I ever regard him as having anything ludicrous about him—or anything but what was serious, honest, and good—in his tutor communication with me.

When these points were settled, and so far carried out as that I had begun to work in earnest, it occurred to me that if I could retain my bedroom in Barnard's Inn, my life would be agreeably varied, while my manners would be none the worse for Herbert's society. Mr. Pocket did not object to this arrangement, but urged that before any step could possibly be taken in it, it must be submitted to my guardian. I felt that his delicacy arose out of the consideration that the plan would save Herbert some expense, so I went off to Little Britain and imparted my wish to Mr. Jaggers.

“If I could buy the furniture now hired for me,” said I, “and one or two other little things, I should be quite at home there.”

“Go it!” said Mr. Jaggers, with a short laugh. “I told you you'd get on. Well! How much do you want?”

I said I didn't know how much.

“Come!” retorted Mr. Jaggers. “How much? Fifty pounds?”

“Oh, not nearly so much.”

“Five pounds?” said Mr. Jaggers.

This was such a great fall, that I said in discomfiture, “Oh! more than that.”

“More than that, eh!” retorted Mr. Jaggers, lying in wait for me, with his hands in his pockets, his head on one side, and his eyes on the wall behind me; “how much more?”

“It is so difficult to fix a sum,” said I, hesitating.

“Come!” said Mr. Jaggers. “Let's get at it. Twice five; will that do? Three times five; will that do? Four times five; will that do?”

I said I thought that would do handsomely.

“Four times five will do handsomely, will it?” said Mr. Jaggers, knitting his brows. “Now, what do you make of four times five?”

“What do I make of it!”

“Ah!” said Mr. Jaggers; “how much?”

“I suppose you make it twenty pounds,” said I, smiling.

“Never mind what I make it, my friend,” observed Mr. Jaggers, with a knowing and contradictory toss of the head. “I want to know what you make it.”

“Twenty pounds, of course.”

“Wemmick!” said Mr. Jaggers, opening his office door. “Take Mr. Pip's written order, and pay him twenty pounds.”

This strongly marked way of doing business made a strongly marked impression on me, and that not of an agreeable kind. Mr. Jaggers never laughed; but he wore great bright creaking boots; and, in poising himself on those boots, with his large head bent down and his eyebrows joined together, awaiting an answer, he sometimes caused the boots to creak, as if they laughed in a dry and suspicious way. As he...

(The entire section is 2,287 words.)