Mr. Wemmick, on Loaning Money to Friends

“Mr. Wemmick,” said I, “I want to ask your opinion. I am very desirous to serve a friend.”

Wemmick tightened his [lips] and shook his head, as if his opinion were dead against any fatal weakness of that sort.

“This friend,” I pursued, “is trying to get on in commercial life, but has no money, and finds it difficult and disheartening to make a beginning. Now I want somehow to help him to a beginning.”

“With money down?” said Wemmick, in a tone drier than any sawdust.

“With some money down,” I replied, … “with some money down, and perhaps some anticipation of my expectations.”

“Mr. Pip,” said Wemmick, “I should like just to run over with you on my fingers, if you please, the names of the various bridges up as high as Chelsea Reach. Let’s see; there’s London, one; Southwark, two; Blackfriars, three; Waterloo, four; Westminster, five; Vauxhall, six.” He had checked off each bridge in its turn, with the handle of his safe-key on the palm of his hand. “There’s as many as six, you see, to choose from.”

“I don’t understand you,” said I.

“Choose your bridge, Mr. Pip,” returned Wemmick, “and take a walk upon your bridge, and pitch your money into the Thames over the centre arch of your bridge, and you know the end of it. Serve a friend with it, and you may know the end of it too,—but it’s a less pleasant and profitable end.”

– from Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

Blackfriars Bridge, 1769 – 1869

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