While he said these words in a leisurely critical style, she continued to look at every one of us in regular succession as we sat. The moment he ceased, she looked at him again. “That’ll do, Molly,” said Mr. Jaggers, giving her a slight nod; “you have been admired, and can go.” She withdrew her hands and went out of the room, and Mr. Jaggers, putting the decanters on from his dumbwaiter, filled his glass and passed round the wine.
“At half-past nine, gentlemen,” said he, “we must break up. Pray make the best use of your time. I am glad to see you all. Mr. Drummle, I drink to you.”
If his object in singling out Drummle were to bring him out still more, it perfectly succeeded. In a sulky triumph, Drummle showed his morose depreciation of the rest of us, in a more and more offensive degree until he became downright intolerable. Through all his stages, Mr. Jaggers followed him with the same strange interest. He actually seemed to serve as a zest to Mr. Jaggers’s wine.
In our boyish want of discretion I dare say we took too much to drink, and I know we talked too much. We became particularly hot upon some boorish sneer of Drummle’s, to the effect that we were too free with our money. It led to my remarking, with more zeal than discretion, that it came with a bad grace from him, to whom Startop had lent money in my presence but a week or so before.
“Well,” retorted Drummle; “he’ll be paid.”
“I don’t mean to imply that he won’t,” said I, “but it might make you hold your tongue about us and our money, I should think.”
“You should think!” retorted Drummle. “Oh Lord!”
“I dare say,” I went on, meaning to be very severe, “that you wouldn’t lend money to any of us, if we wanted it.”
“You are right,” said Drummle. “I wouldn’t lend one of you a sixpence. I wouldn’t lend anybody a sixpence.”
“Rather mean to borrow under those circumstances, I should say.”
“You should say,” repeated Drummle. “Oh Lord!”
This was so very aggravating — the more especially as I found myself making no way against his surly obtuseness — that I said, disregarding Herbert’s efforts to check me:
“Come, Mr. Drummle, since we are on the subject, I’ll tell you what passed between Herbert here and me, when you borrowed that money.”
“I don’t want to know what passed between Herbert there and you,” growled Drummle. And I think he added in a lower growl, that we might both go to the devil and shake ourselves.
“I’ll tell you, however,” said I, “whether you want to know or not. We said that as you put it in your pocket very glad to get it, you seemed to be immensely amused at his being so weak as to lend it.”
Drummle laughed outright, and sat laughing in our faces, with his hands in his pockets and his round shoulders raised: plainly signifying that it was quite true, and that he despised us, as asses all.