Like Jaggers's office, his home is charmless to say the least. The point is, as Dickens himself says here, that “he seemed to bring the office home with him":
He [Jaggers] conducted us [Pip, Herbert, Startop and Drummle] to Gerrard-street, Soho, to a house on the south side of that street. Rather a stately house of its kind, but dolefully in want of painting, and with dirty windows. He took out his key and opened the door, and we all went into a stone hall, bare, gloomy, and little used. So, up a dark brown staircase into a series of three dark brown rooms on the first floor. There were carved garlands on the panelled walls, and as he stood among them giving us welcome, I knew what kind of loops I thought they looked like.
Dinner was laid in the best of these rooms; the second was his dressing-room, the third, his bedroom. He told us that he held the whole house, but rarely used more of it than we saw. . . .
There was a bookcase in the room; I saw, from the backs of the books, that they were about evidence, criminal law, criminal biography, trials, acts of parliament, and such things. The furniture was all very solid and good, like his watch-chain. It had an official look, however, and there was nothing merely ornamental to be seen. In a corner, was a little table of papers with a shaded lamp: so he seemed to bring the office home with him in that respect too, and to wheel it out of an evening and fall to work. [Chapter 26]
Mr. Jaggers's room was lighted by a skylight only, and was a most dismal place — the skylight, eccentrically pitched like a broken head, and the distorted adjoining houses looking as if they had twisted themselves to peep down at me through it. There were not so many papers about, as I should have expected to see; and there were some odd objects about, that I should not have expected to see — such as an old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard, several strange-looking boxes and packages, and two dreadful casts on a shelf, of faces peculiarly swollen, and twitchy about the nose. Mr. Jaggers's own high-backed chair was of deadly black horsehair, with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin; and I fancied I could see how he leaned back in it, and bit his fore-finger at the clients. The room was but small, and the clients seemed to have had a bad habit of backing up against the wall: the wall, especially opposite to Mr. Jaggers's chair, being greasy with shoulders. I recalled, too, that the one-eyed gentleman had shuffled forth against the wall when I was the innocent cause of his being turned out.
Last modified 23 November 2006