1 As Drummle and Startop had each a boat, I resolved to set up mine, and to cut them both out.
2 I, for my part, was prepared with passports; Herbert had seen Startop, and he was more than ready to join.
3 Before we got to the street door, Startop was cheerily calling Drummle "old boy," as if nothing had happened.
4 We took our seats at the round table, and my guardian kept Drummle on one side of him, while Startop sat on the other.
5 He then knocked at the doors of two other similar rooms, and introduced me to their occupants, by name Drummle and Startop.
6 We then separated for a few hours: I, to get at once such passports as were necessary; Herbert, to see Startop at his lodgings.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
10 Startop, younger in years and appearance, was reading and holding his head, as if he thought himself in danger of exploding it with too strong a charge of knowledge.
11 Startop had been spoilt by a weak mother and kept at home when he ought to have been at school, but he was devotedly attached to her, and admired her beyond measure.
12 So he and Startop arrived at the Blue Boar, fully expecting there to find me, or tidings of me; but, finding neither, went on to Miss Havisham's, where they lost me.
13 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.
14 His uneasiness increasing instead of subsiding, after a quarter of an hour's consideration, he set off for the coach-office with Startop, who volunteered his company, to make inquiry when the next coach went down.
15 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.
16 At Startop's suggestion, we put ourselves down for election into a club called The Finches of the Grove: the object of which institution I have never divined, if it were not that the members should dine expensively once a fortnight, to quarrel among themselves as much as possible after dinner, and to cause six waiters to get drunk on the stairs.
17 Now, as they went along, Herbert reflected, that I might, after all, have been brought there on some genuine and serviceable errand tending to Provis's safety, and, bethinking himself that in that case interruption must be mischievous, left his guide and Startop on the edge of the quarry, and went on by himself, and stole round the house two or three times, endeavouring to ascertain whether all was right within.
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