Assuredly, this stall of Silas Wegg's was the hardest little stall of all the sterile little stalls in London. It gave you the face-ache to look at his apples, the stomach-ache to look at his oranges, the tooth-ache to look at his nuts. Of the latter commodity he had always a grim little heap, on which lay a little wooden measure which had no discernible inside, and was considered to represent the penn'orth appointed by Magna Charta. Whether from too much east wind or no—it was an easterly corner--the stall, the stock, and the keeper, were all as dry as the Desert. Wegg was a knotty man, and a close-grained, with a face carved out of very hard material, that had just as much play of expression as a watchman's rattle. When he laughed, certain jerks occurred in it, and the rattle sprung. Sooth to say, he was so wooden a man that he seemed to have taken his wooden leg naturally, and rather suggested to the fanciful observer, that he might be expected—if his development received no untimely check—to be completely set up with a pair of wooden legs in about six months.
. . .
[Mr. Boffin approaches Wegg’s stall and opens conversation with him.]
“Noddy Boffin,” said that gentleman. “Noddy. That's my name. Noddy—or Nick—Boffin. What's your name?”
“Silas Wegg.—I don't,” said Mr Wegg, bestirring himself to take the same precaution as before, “I don't know why Silas, and I don't know why Wegg.”
“Now, Wegg,” said Mr Boffin, hugging his stick closer, “I want to make a sort of offer to you. Do you remember when you first see me?”
The wooden Wegg looked at him with a meditative eye, and also with a softened air as descrying possibility of profit. 'Let me think. I ain't quite sure, and yet I generally take a powerful sight of notice, too. Was it on a Monday morning, when the butcher-boy had been to our house for orders, and bought a ballad of me, which, being unacquainted with the tune, I run it over to him?'
“Right, Wegg, right! But he bought more than one.”
. . .
[Boffin admits to eavesdropping on Wegg’s ballad singing to the butcher.]
“I'm coming to it! All right. I'm coming to it! I was going to say that when I listened that morning, I listened with hadmiration amounting to haw. I thought to myself, ‘Here's a man with a wooden leg—a literary man with—’”
“N—not exactly so, sir,” said Mr Wegg.
“Why, you know every one of these songs by name and by tune, and if you want to read or to sing any one on 'em off straight, you've only to whip on your spectacles and do it!” cried Mr Boffin. “I see you at it!”
“Well, sir,” returned Mr Wegg, with a conscious inclination of the head; “we'll say literary, then.”
“‘A literary man—WITH a wooden leg—and all Print is open to him!’ That's what I thought to myself, that morning,” pursued Mr Boffin, leaning forward to describe, uncramped by the clotheshorse, as large an arc as his right arm could make; “‘all Print is open to him!’ And it is, ain't it?”
“Why, truly, sir,” Mr Wegg admitted, with modesty; “I believe you couldn't show me the piece of English print, that I wouldn't be equal to collaring and throwing.”
 Wegg’s measurements are also woodenly rigid, and are even administered by a wooden measuring device. A “penn’orth” is a penny’s worth. For more on Victorian currency, see Marje Bloy’s “British Currency before 1971” on The Victorian Web.
 While Wegg is seemingly unaware of his name’s origin, to the reader it is really quite obvious: Wegg is an elision of “wooden” and “leg”.
 The crippled beggar was a common trope in Victorian literary and non-fiction texts. Here, Wegg sneakily alters his tone as soon as the possibility of accruing profit arises thus associating him with the often-deployed motif. As Martha Stoddard Holmes identifies, whereas “The victimized afflicted child is a figure of pure intensity and authentic pathos; the villainous begging impostor, in contrast, evokes the emotional clarity of rage, but also ambivalence of suspicion, or the conviction that pathos or ‘emotional excess’ is fakery, a coin that disabled people use to trick the nondisabled into inappropriate giving” (Fictions of Affliction 8). While Wegg does not explicitly use his afflicted state to evoke sympathy, his money-grabbing mannerisms and deceptive strategies associate him firmly with nineteenth-century cripple stereotypes.
 As we learn later in the novel (to comical effect), Wegg really is no literary man at all. While orating to Boffin, he stumbles over sentences, mispronounces a number of words and surreptitiously avoids answering any questions. His lumbering, clumsy reading style could perhaps be described as . . . wooden!