Hereupon Startop took him in hand, though with a much better grace than I had shown, and exhorted him to be a little more agreeable. Startop, being a lively bright young fellow, and Drummle being the exact opposite, the latter was always disposed to resent him as a direct personal affront. He now retorted in a coarse lumpish way, and Startop tried to turn the discussion aside with some small pleasantry that made us all laugh. Resenting this little success more than anything, Drummle, without any threat or warning, pulled his hands out of his pockets, dropped his round shoulders, swore, took up a large glass, and would have flung it at his adversary’s head, but for our entertainer’s dexterously seizing it at the instant when it was raised for that purpose.
“Gentlemen,” said Mr. Jaggers, deliberately putting down the glass, and hauling out his gold repeater by its massive chain, “I am exceedingly sorry to announce that it’s half-past nine.”
On this hint we all rose to depart. Before we got to the street door, Startop was cheerily calling Drummle “old boy,” as if nothing had happened. But the old boy was so far from responding, that he would not even walk to Hammersmith on the same side of the way; so, Herbert and I, who remained in town, saw them going down the street on opposite sides; Startop leading, and Drummle lagging behind in the shadow of the houses, much as he was wont to follow in his boat.
As the door was not yet shut, I thought I would leave Herbert there for a moment, and run up-stairs again to say a word to my guardian. I found him in his dressing-room surrounded by his stock of boots, already hard at it, washing his hands of us.
I told him I had come up again to say how sorry I was that anything disagreeable should have occurred, and that I hoped he would not blame me much.
“Pooh!” said he, sluicing his face, and speaking through the water-drops; “it’s nothing, Pip. I like that Spider though.”
He had turned towards me now, and was shaking his head, and blowing, and towelling himself.
“I am glad you like him, sir,” said I — “but I don’t.”
“No, no,” my guardian assented; “don’t have too much to do with him. Keep as clear of him as you can. But I like the fellow, Pip; he is one of the true sort. Why, if I was a fortune-teller—”
Looking out of the towel, he caught my eye.
“But I am not a fortune-teller,” he said, letting his head drop into a festoon of towel, and towelling away at his two ears. “You know what I am, don’t you? Good-night, Pip.”
In about a month after that, the Spider’s time with Mr. Pocket was up for good, and, to the great relief of all the house but Mrs. Pocket, he went home to the family hole.
“My dear Mr pip,