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the paper. No, no, no, my friend; not to the
top of the column; you know better than that;
to the bottom, to the bottom." (We all 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 distinctly states that the
prisoner expressly said that he was instructed
by his legal advisers 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 exact substance?"

"Yes," said Mr. Wopsle.

"Yes!" repeated the stranger, looking round
at the rest of the company with his right hand
extended towards the witness, Wopsle. "And
now I ask you what you 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-creature guilty,
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 at Mr.
Wopsle heavily; "that same man might be
summoned as a juryman upon this very trial,
and, having thus deeply committed himself,
might return to the bosom of his family and
lay his head upon his pillow, after deliberately
swearing that he would well and truly try the
issue joined between Our Sovereign Lord the
King and the prisoner at the bar, and would a
true verdict give according to the evidence, so
help him God!"

We were all deeply persuaded that the
unfortunate Wopsle had gone too far, and had
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 a manner
expressive of knowing something secret about
every one of us that would effectually do for
each individual if he chose to disclose it, left
the back of the settle, and came into the space
between the two settles, in front of the fire,
where he remained standing: his left hand in
his pocket, and he biting the forefinger of his
right.

"From information I have received," said he,
looking round at us as we all quailed before
him, "I have reason to believe there is a blacksmith
among you, by name Josephor 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 he
here?"

"I am here!" I cried.

The stranger did not recognise me, but I
recognised him as the gentleman I had met on
the stairs, on the occasion of my second visit to
Miss Havisham. His appearance was too
remarkable for me to have forgotten. I had
known him the moment I saw him looking over
the settle, and now that I stood confronting
him with his hand upon my shoulder, I checked
off again in detail, his large head, his dark
complexion, his deep-set eyes, his bushy black
eyebrows, 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 had surveyed me at
his leisure. "It will take a little time. Perhaps
we had better go to your place of residence. I
prefer not to anticipate my communication, here;
you will impart as much or as little of it as you
please to your friends afterwards; I have
nothing to do with that."

Amidst a wondering silence, we three walked
out of the Jolly Bargemen, and in a wondering
silence walked home. While going along, the
strange gentleman occasionally looked at me,
and occasionally bit the side of his finger. As
we neared home, Joe vaguely acknowledging
the occasion as an impressive and ceremonious
one, went on ahead to open the front door.
Our conference was held in the state-parlour,
which was feebly lighted by one candle.

It began with the strange gentleman's sitting
down at the table, drawing the candle to him,
and looking over some entries in his pocket-
book. He then put up the pocket-book and set
the candle a little aside: after peering round it
into 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 well known.
I have unusual business to transact with you,
and I commence by explaining that it is not of
my originating. If my advice had been asked, I
should not have been here. It was not asked,
and you see me here. What I have to 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, and threw one leg
over the back of a chair and leaned upon it;
thus having one foot 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 young fellow your
apprentice. You would not object to cancel his
indentures, at his request and for his good?
You would not want anything for so doing?"

"Lord forbid that I should want anything
for not standing in Pip's way!" said Joe,
staring.

"Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the
purpose," returned Mr. Jaggers. "The
question 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 his disinterestedness.
But I was too much bewildered between

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