Pip first sees Wemmick's home
Wemmick's house was a little wooden cottage in the midst of plots of garden, and the top of it was cut out and painted like battery mounted with guns.
"My own doing," said Wemmick. “Looks pretty; don't it?"
I highly commended it. I think it was the smallest house I ever saw; with the queerest gothic windows (by far the greater part of them sham), and a gothic door, almost too small to get in at.
"That's a real flagstaff, you see," said Wemmick, “and on Sundays I run up a real flag. Then look here. After I have crossed this bridge, I hoist it up — so — and cut off the communication."
The bridge was a plank, and it crossed a chasm about four feet wide and two deep. But it was very pleasant to see the pride with which he hoisted it up and made it fast; smiling as he did so, with a relish and not merely mechanically.
"At nine o'clock every night, Greenwich time," said Wemmick, “the gun fires. There he is, you see! And when you hear him go, I think you'll say he's a Stinger."
The piece of ordnance referred to was mounted in a separate fortress, constructed of lattice-work. It was protected from the weather by an ingenious little tarpaulin contrivance in the nature of an umbrella.
"Then, at the back," said Wemmick, “out of sight, so as not to impede the idea of fortifications — for it's a principle with me, if you have an idea, carry it out and keep it up — I don't know whether that's your opinion."
I said, decidedly.
"At the back, there's a pig, and there are fowls and rabbits; then I knock together my own little frame, you see, and grow cucumbers; and you'll judge at supper what sort of salad I can raise. So, sir," said Wemmick, smiling again, but seriously too, as he shook his head, “ If you can suppose the little place besieged, it would hold out a devil of a time in point of provisions."
Then he conducted me to a bower about a dozen yards off, but which was approached by such ingenious twists of path that it took quite a long time to get at; and in this retreat our glasses were already set forth. Our punch was cooling in an ornamental lake, on whose margin the bower was raised. This piece of water (with an island in the middle which might have been the salad for supper) was of a circular form, and he had constructed a fountain in it, which, when you set a little mill going and took a cork out of a pipe, played to that powerful extent that it made the back of your hand quite wet.
" I am my own engineer, and my own carpenter, and my own plumber, and my own gardener, and my own Jack of all Trades," said Wemmick, in acknowledging my compliments. “Well; it's a good thing, you know. It brushes the Newgate cobwebs away, and pleases the Aged. You wouldn't mind being at once introduced to the Aged, would you? It wouldn't put you out?"
I expressed the readiness I felt, and we went into the castle. There we found, sitting by a fire, a very old man in a flannel coat; clean, cheerful, comfortable, and well cared for, but intensely deaf.
"Well, aged parent," said Wemmick, shaking hands with him in a cordial and jocose way, “ how am you? “
"All right, John; all right !" replied the old man
"Here's Mr. Pip, aged parent," said Wemmick, “and I wish you could hear his name. — Nod away at him, Mr. Pip; that's what he likes. Nod away at him, if you please, like winking ! “
"This is a fine place of my son's, sir," cried the old man, while I nodded as hard as I possibly could. “This is a pretty pleasure ground, sir. This spot and these beautiful works upon it ought to be kept by the Nation, after my son's time, for the people's." [place within the complete text of the novel]
The Interior of Wemmick's Castle
Like its grounds, Wemmick's home, that “a crazy little box of a cottage," is a cosy contrivance, containing a “collection of curiosities . . . mostly of a felonious character."
These were agreeably interspersed among small specimens of china and glass, various neat trifles made by the proprietor of the museum, and some tobacco-stoppers carved by the Aged [Wemmick's father]. They were all displayed in that chamber of the Castle into which I had first been conducted, and which served, not only as the general sitting-room but as the kitchen too, if I might judge from a saucepan on the hob, and a brazen bijou over the fireplace designed for the suspension of a roasting-jack. [Chapter 25]
Last modified 23 November 2006