He lodged at a sluice-keeper's out on the marshes, and on
working days would come slouching from his hermitage, with his
hands in his pockets and his dinner loosely tied in a bundle round
his neck and dangling on his back. On Sundays he mostly lay all day
on the sluice-gates, or stood against ricks and barns. He always
slouched, locomotively, with his eyes on the ground; and, when
accosted or otherwise required to raise them, he looked up in a
half resentful, half puzzled way, as though the only thought he
ever had, was, that it was rather an odd and injurious fact that he
should never be thinking.
This morose journeyman had no liking for me. When I was very small
and timid, he gave me to understand that the Devil lived in a black
corner of the forge, and that he knew the fiend very well: also
that it was necessary to make up the fire, once in seven years,
with a live boy, and that I might consider myself fuel. When I
became Joe's 'prentice, Orlick was perhaps confirmed in some
suspicion that I should displace him; howbeit, he liked me still
less. Not that he ever said anything, or did anything, openly
importing hostility; I only noticed that he always beat his sparks
in my direction, and that whenever I sang Old Clem, he came in out
Dolge Orlick was at work and present, next day, when I reminded Joe
of my half-holiday. He said nothing at the moment, for he and Joe
had just got a piece of hot iron between them, and I was at the
bellows; but by-and-by he said, leaning on his hammer:
"Now, master! Sure you're not a-going to favour only one of us. If
Young Pip has a half-holiday, do as much for Old Orlick." I suppose
he was about five-and-twenty, but he usually spoke of himself as an
"Why, what'll you do with a half-holiday, if you get it?" said Joe.
"What'll I do with it! What'll he do with it? I'll do as much with
it as him," said Orlick.
"As to Pip, he's going up-town," said Joe.
"Well then, as to Old Orlick, he's a-going up-town," retorted that
worthy. "Two can go up-town. Tan't only one wot can go up-town.
"Don't lose your temper," said Joe.
"Shall if I like," growled Orlick. "Some and their up-towning! Now,
master! Come. No favouring in this shop. Be a man!"
The master refusing to entertain the subject until the journeyman
was in a better temper, Orlick plunged at the furnace, drew out a
red-hot bar, made at me with it as if he were going to run it
through my body, whisked it round my head, laid it on the anvil,
hammered it out - as if it were I, I thought, and the sparks were
my spirting blood - and finally said, when he had hammered himself
hot and the iron cold, and he again leaned on his hammer:
"Are you all right now?" demanded Joe.
"Ah! I am all right," said gruff Old Orlick.
"Then, as in general you stick to your work as well as most men,"
said Joe, "let it be a half-holiday for all."
My sister had been standing silent in the yard, within hearing -
she was a most unscrupulous spy and listener - and she instantly
looked in at one of the windows.
"Like you, you fool!" said she to Joe, "giving holidays to great
idle hulkers like that. You are a rich man, upon my life, to waste
wages in that way. I wish I was his master!"
"You'd be everybody's master, if you durst," retorted Orlick, with
an ill-favoured grin.
("Let her alone," said Joe.)
"I'd be a match for all noodles and all rogues," returned my
sister, beginning to work herself into a mighty rage. "And I
couldn't be a match for the noodles, without being a match for your
master, who's the dunder-headed king of the noodles. And I couldn't
be a match for the rogues, without being a match for you, who are
the blackest-looking and the worst rogue between this and France.
"You're a foul shrew, Mother Gargery, growled the journeyman.