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Charles Dickens

Chapter 1

My father's family name being Pirripand my Christian name Philip
my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more
explicit than Pip. SoI called myself Pipand came to be called

I give Pirrip as my father's family nameon the authority of his
tombstone and my sister - Mrs. Joe Gargerywho married the
blacksmith. As I never saw my father or my motherand never saw
any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the
days of photographs)my first fancies regarding what they were
likewere unreasonably derived from their tombstones. The shape of
the letters on my father'sgave me an odd idea that he was a
squarestoutdark manwith curly black hair. From the character
and turn of the inscriptionAlso Georgiana Wife of the Above,I
drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly.
To five little stone lozengeseach about a foot and a half long
which were arranged in a neat row beside their graveand were
sacred to the memory of five little brothers of mine - who gave up
trying to get a livingexceedingly early in that universal
struggle - I am indebted for a belief I religiously entertained
that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in
their trousers-pocketsand had never taken them out in this state
of existence.

Ours was the marsh countrydown by the riverwithinas the river
woundtwenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad
impression of the identity of thingsseems to me to have been
gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time
I found out for certainthat this bleak place overgrown with
nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip Pirriplate of this
parishand also Georgiana wife of the abovewere dead and buried;
and that AlexanderBartholomewAbrahamTobiasand Rogerinfant
children of the aforesaidwere also dead and buried; and that the
dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyardintersected with dykes
and mounds and gateswith scattered cattle feeding on itwas the
marshes; and that the low leaden line beyondwas the river; and
that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushingwas
the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it
all and beginning to crywas Pip.

Hold your noise!cried a terrible voiceas a man started up from
among the graves at the side of the church porch. "Keep stillyou
little devilor I'll cut your throat!"

A fearful manall in coarse greywith a great iron on his leg. A
man with no hatand with broken shoesand with an old rag tied
round his head. A man who had been soaked in waterand smothered

in mudand lamed by stonesand cut by flintsand stung by
nettlesand torn by briars; who limpedand shiveredand glared
and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me
by the chin.

O! Don't cut my throat, sir,I pleaded in terror. "Pray don't do

Tell us your name!said the man. "Quick!"

Pip, sir.

Once more,said the manstaring at me. "Give it mouth!"

Pip. Pip, sir.

Show us where you live,said the man. "Pint out the place!"

I pointed to where our village layon the flat in-shore among the
alder-trees and pollardsa mile or more from the church.

The manafter looking at me for a momentturned me upside down
and emptied my pockets. There was nothing in them but a piece of
bread. When the church came to itself - for he was so sudden and
strong that he made it go head over heels before meand I saw the
steeple under my feet - when the church came to itselfI sayI
was seated on a high tombstonetremblingwhile he ate the bread

You young dog,said the manlicking his lipswhat fat cheeks
you ha' got.

I believe they were fatthough I was at that time undersized for
my yearsand not strong.

Darn me if I couldn't eat em,said the manwith a threatening
shake of his headand if I han't half a mind to't!

I earnestly expressed my hope that he wouldn'tand held tighter to
the tombstone on which he had put me; partlyto keep myself upon
it; partlyto keep myself from crying.

Now lookee here!said the man. "Where's your mother?"

There, sir!said I.

He startedmade a short runand stopped and looked over his

There, sir!I timidly explained. "Also Georgiana. That's my

Oh!said hecoming back. "And is that your father alonger your

Yes, sir,said I; "him too; late of this parish."

Ha!he muttered thenconsidering. "Who d'ye live with supposin'
you're kindly let to livewhich I han't made up my mind

My sister, sir - Mrs. Joe Gargery - wife of Joe Gargery, the
blacksmith, sir.

Blacksmith, eh?said he. And looked down at his leg.

After darkly looking at his leg and me several timeshe came
closer to my tombstonetook me by both armsand tilted me back as
far as he could hold me; so that his eyes looked most powerfully
down into mineand mine looked most helplessly up into his.

Now lookee here,he saidthe question being whether you're to
be let to live. You know what a file is?

Yes, sir.

And you know what wittles is?

Yes, sir.

After each question he tilted me over a little moreso as to give
me a greater sense of helplessness and danger.

You get me a file.He tilted me again. "And you get me wittles."
He tilted me again. "You bring 'em both to me." He tilted me again.
Or I'll have your heart and liver out.He tilted me again.

I was dreadfully frightenedand so giddy that I clung to him with
both handsand saidIf you would kindly please to let me keep
upright, sir, perhaps I shouldn't be sick, and perhaps I could
attend more.

He gave me a most tremendous dip and rollso that the church
jumped over its own weather-cock. Thenhe held me by the armsin
an upright position on the top of the stoneand went on in these
fearful terms:

You bring me, to-morrow morning early, that file and them wittles.
You bring the lot to me, at that old Battery over yonder. You do
it, and you never dare to say a word or dare to make a sign
concerning your having seen such a person as me, or any person
sumever, and you shall be let to live. You fail, or you go from my
words in any partickler, no matter how small it is, and your heart
and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate. Now, I ain't
alone, as you may think I am. There's a young man hid with me, in
comparison with which young man I am a Angel. That young man hears
the words I speak. That young man has a secret way pecooliar to
himself, of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his liver.
It is in wain for a boy to attempt to hide himself from that young
man. A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself
up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself
comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep and
creep his way to him and tear him open. I am a-keeping that young
man from harming of you at the present moment, with great
difficulty. I find it wery hard to hold that young man off of your
inside. Now, what do you say?

I said that I would get him the fileand I would get him what
broken bits of food I couldand I would come to him at the
Batteryearly in the morning.

Say Lord strike you dead if you don't!said the man.

I said soand he took me down.

Now,he pursuedyou remember what you've undertook, and you
remember that young man, and you get home!

Goo-good night, sir,I faltered.

Much of that!said heglancing about him over the cold wet flat.
I wish I was a frog. Or a eel!

At the same timehe hugged his shuddering body in both his arms clasping
himselfas if to hold himself together - and limped
towards the low church wall. As I saw him gopicking his way among
the nettlesand among the brambles that bound the green moundshe
looked in my young eyes as if he were eluding the hands of the dead
peoplestretching up cautiously out of their gravesto get a
twist upon his ankle and pull him in.

When he came to the low church wallhe got over itlike a man
whose legs were numbed and stiffand then turned round to look for
me. When I saw him turningI set my face towards homeand made
the best use of my legs. But presently I looked over my shoulder
and saw him going on again towards the riverstill hugging himself
in both armsand picking his way with his sore feet among the
great stones dropped into the marshes here and therefor
stepping-places when the rains were heavyor the tide was in.

The marshes were just a long black horizontal line thenas I
stopped to look after him; and the river was just another
horizontal linenot nearly so broad nor yet so black; and the sky
was just a row of long angry red lines and dense black lines
intermixed. On the edge of the river I could faintly make out the
only two black things in all the prospect that seemed to be
standing upright; one of these was the beacon by which the sailors
steered - like an unhooped cask upon a pole - an ugly thing when
you were near it; the other a gibbetwith some chains hanging to
it which had once held a pirate. The man was limping on towards
this latteras if he were the pirate come to lifeand come down
and going back to hook himself up again. It gave me a terrible turn
when I thought so; and as I saw the cattle lifting their heads to
gaze after himI wondered whether they thought so too. I looked
all round for the horrible young manand could see no signs of
him. Butnow I was frightened againand ran home without

Chapter 2

My sisterMrs. Joe Gargerywas more than twenty years older than
Iand had established a great reputation with herself and the
neighbours because she had brought me up "by hand." Having at that
time to find out for myself what the expression meantand knowing
her to have a hard and heavy handand to be much in the habit of
laying it upon her husband as well as upon meI supposed that Joe
Gargery and I were both brought up by hand.

She was not a good-looking womanmy sister; and I had a general
impression that she must have made Joe Gargery marry her by hand.
Joe was a fair manwith curls of flaxen hair on each side of his
smooth faceand with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they
seemed to have somehow got mixed with their own whites. He was a
fellow - a sort of Hercules in strengthand also in weakness.

My sisterMrs. Joewith black hair and eyeshad such a prevailing
redness of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was
possible she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap.
She was tall and bonyand almost always wore a coarse apron
fastened over her figure behind with two loopsand having a square

impregnable bib in frontthat was stuck full of pins and needles.
She made it a powerful merit in herselfand a strong reproach
against Joethat she wore this apron so much. Though I really see
no reason why she should have worn it at all: or whyif she did
wear it at allshe should not have taken it offevery day of her

Joe's forge adjoined our housewhich was a wooden houseas many
of the dwellings in our country were - most of themat that time.
When I ran home from the churchyardthe forge was shut upand Joe
was sitting alone in the kitchen. Joe and I being fellow-sufferers
and having confidences as suchJoe imparted a confidence to me
the moment I raised the latch of the door and peeped in at him
opposite to itsitting in the chimney corner.

Mrs. Joe has been out a dozen times, looking for you, Pip. And
she's out now, making it a baker's dozen.

Is she?

Yes, Pip,said Joe; "and what's worseshe's got Tickler with

At this dismal intelligenceI twisted the only button on my
waistcoat round and roundand looked in great depression at the
fire. Tickler was a wax-ended piece of caneworn smooth by
collision with my tickled frame.

She sot down,said Joeand she got up, and she made a grab at
Tickler, and she Ram-paged out. That's what she did,said Joe
slowly clearing the fire between the lower bars with the pokerand
looking at it: "she Ram-paged outPip."

Has she been gone long, Joe?I always treated him as a larger
species of childand as no more than my equal.

Well,said Joeglancing up at the Dutch clockshe's been on
the Ram-page, this last spell, about five minutes, Pip. She's acoming!
Get behind the door, old chap, and have the jack-towel
betwixt you.

I took the advice. My sisterMrs. Joethrowing the door wide open
and finding an obstruction behind itimmediately divined the
causeand applied Tickler to its further investigation. She
concluded by throwing me - I often served as a connubial missile at
Joewhoglad to get hold of me on any termspassed me on into
the chimney and quietly fenced me up there with his great leg.

Where have you been, you young monkey?said Mrs. Joestamping her
foot. "Tell me directly what you've been doing to wear me away with
fret and fright and worritor I'd have you out of that corner if
you was fifty Pipsand he was five hundred Gargerys."

I have only been to the churchyard,said Ifrom my stoolcrying
and rubbing myself.

Churchyard!repeated my sister. "If it warn't for me you'd have
been to the churchyard long agoand stayed there. Who brought you
up by hand?"

You did,said I.

And why did I do it, I should like to know?exclaimed my sister.

I whimperedI don't know.

I don't!said my sister. "I'd never do it again! I know that. I
may truly say I've never had this apron of mine offsince born you
were. It's bad enough to be a blacksmith's wife (and him a Gargery)
without being your mother."

My thoughts strayed from that question as I looked disconsolately
at the fire. Forthe fugitive out on the marshes with the ironed
legthe mysterious young manthe filethe foodand the dreadful
pledge I was under to commit a larceny on those sheltering
premisesrose before me in the avenging coals.

Hah!said Mrs. Joerestoring Tickler to his station. "Churchyard
indeed! You may well say churchyardyou two." One of us
by-the-byehad not said it at all. "You'll drive me to the
churchyard betwixt youone of these daysand oha pr-r-recious
pair you'd be without me!"

As she applied herself to set the tea-thingsJoe peeped down at me
over his legas if he were mentally casting me and himself upand
calculating what kind of pair we practically should makeunder the
grievous circumstances foreshadowed. After thathe sat feeling his
right-side flaxen curls and whiskerand following Mrs. Joe about
with his blue eyesas his manner always was at squally times.

My sister had a trenchant way of cutting our bread-and-butter for
usthat never varied. Firstwith her left hand she jammed the
loaf hard and fast against her bib - where it sometimes got a pin
into itand sometimes a needlewhich we afterwards got into our
mouths. Then she took some butter (not too much) on a knife and
spread it on the loafin an apothecary kind of wayas if she were
making a plaister - using both sides of the knife with a slapping
dexterityand trimming and moulding the butter off round the
crust. Thenshe gave the knife a final smart wipe on the edge of
the plaisterand then sawed a very thick round off the loaf: which
she finallybefore separating from the loafhewed into two
halvesof which Joe got oneand I the other.

On the present occasionthough I was hungryI dared not eat my
slice. I felt that I must have something in reserve for my dreadful
acquaintanceand his ally the still more dreadful young man. I
knew Mrs. Joe's housekeeping to be of the strictest kindand that
my larcenous researches might find nothing available in the safe.
Therefore I resolved to put my hunk of bread-and-butter down the
leg of my trousers.

The effort of resolution necessary to the achievement of this
purposeI found to be quite awful. It was as if I had to make up
my mind to leap from the top of a high houseor plunge into a
great depth of water. And it was made the more difficult by the
unconscious Joe. In our already-mentioned freemasonry as
fellow-sufferersand in his good-natured companionship with meit
was our evening habit to compare the way we bit through our slices
by silently holding them up to each other's admiration now and then

-which stimulated us to new exertions. To-nightJoe several times
invited meby the display of his fast-diminishing sliceto enter
upon our usual friendly competition; but he found meeach time
with my yellow mug of tea on one kneeand my untouched
bread-and-butter on the other. At lastI desperately considered
that the thing I contemplated must be doneand that it had best be
done in the least improbable manner consistent with the
circumstances. I took advantage of a moment when Joe had just
looked at meand got my bread-and-butter down my leg.

Joe was evidently made uncomfortable by what he supposed to be my
loss of appetiteand took a thoughtful bite out of his slice
which he didn't seem to enjoy. He turned it about in his mouth much
longer than usualpondering over it a good dealand after all
gulped it down like a pill. He was about to take another biteand
had just got his head on one side for a good purchase on itwhen
his eye fell on meand he saw that my bread-and-butter was gone.

The wonder and consternation with which Joe stopped on the
threshold of his bite and stared at mewere too evident to escape
my sister's observation.

What's the matter now?said shesmartlyas she put down her

I say, you know!muttered Joeshaking his head at me in very
serious remonstrance. "Pipold chap! You'll do yourself a
mischief. It'll stick somewhere. You can't have chawed itPip."

What's the matter now?repeated my sistermore sharply than

If you can cough any trifle on it up, Pip, I'd recommend you to do
it,said Joeall aghast. "Manners is mannersbut still your
elth's your elth."

By this timemy sister was quite desperateso she pounced on Joe
andtaking him by the two whiskersknocked his head for a little
while against the wall behind him: while I sat in the corner
looking guiltily on.

Now, perhaps you'll mention what's the matter,said my sister
out of breathyou staring great stuck pig.

Joe looked at her in a helpless way; then took a helpless biteand
looked at me again.

You know, Pip,said Joesolemnlywith his last bite in his
cheek and speaking in a confidential voiceas if we two were quite
aloneyou and me is always friends, and I'd be the last to tell
upon you, any time. But such a--he moved his chair and looked
about the floor between usand then again at me - "such a most
oncommon Bolt as that!"

Been bolting his food, has he?cried my sister.

You know, old chap,said Joelooking at meand not at Mrs. Joe
with his bite still in his cheekI Bolted, myself, when I was
your age - frequent - and as a boy I've been among a many Bolters;
but I never see your Bolting equal yet, Pip, and it's a mercy you
ain't Bolted dead.

My sister made a dive at meand fished me up by the hair: saying
nothing more than the awful wordsYou come along and be dosed.

Some medical beast had revived Tar-water in those days as a fine
medicineand Mrs. Joe always kept a supply of it in the cupboard;
having a belief in its virtues correspondent to its nastiness. At
the best of timesso much of this elixir was administered to me as
a choice restorativethat I was conscious of going aboutsmelling
like a new fence. On this particular evening the urgency of my case
demanded a pint of this mixturewhich was poured down my throat
for my greater comfortwhile Mrs. Joe held my head under her arm

as a boot would be held in a boot-jack. Joe got off with half a
pint; but was made to swallow that (much to his disturbanceas he
sat slowly munching and meditating before the fire)because he had
had a turn.Judging from myselfI should say he certainly had a
turn afterwardsif he had had none before.

Conscience is a dreadful thing when it accuses man or boy; but
whenin the case of a boythat secret burden co-operates with
another secret burden down the leg of his trousersit is (as I can
testify) a great punishment. The guilty knowledge that I was going
to rob Mrs. Joe - I never thought I was going to rob Joefor I
never thought of any of the housekeeping property as his - united
to the necessity of always keeping one hand on my bread-and-butter
as I sator when I was ordered about the kitchen on any small
errandalmost drove me out of my mind. Thenas the marsh winds
made the fire glow and flareI thought I heard the voice outside
of the man with the iron on his leg who had sworn me to secrecy
declaring that he couldn't and wouldn't starve until to-morrowbut
must be fed now. At other timesI thoughtWhat if the young man
who was with so much difficulty restrained from imbruing his hands
in meshould yield to a constitutional impatienceor should
mistake the timeand should think himself accredited to my heart
and liver to-nightinstead of to-morrow! If ever anybody's hair
stood on end with terrormine must have done so then. But
perhapsnobody's ever did?

It was Christmas Eveand I had to stir the pudding for next day
with a copper-stickfrom seven to eight by the Dutch clock. I
tried it with the load upon my leg (and that made me think afresh
of the man with the load on his leg)and found the tendency of
exercise to bring the bread-and-butter out at my anklequite
unmanageable. HappilyI slipped awayand deposited that part of
my conscience in my garret bedroom.

Hark!said Iwhen I had done my stirringand was taking a final
warm in the chimney corner before being sent up to bed; "was that
great gunsJoe?"

Ah!said Joe. "There's another conwict off."

What does that mean, Joe?said I.

Mrs. Joewho always took explanations upon herselfsaid
snappishlyEscaped. Escaped.Administering the definition like

While Mrs. Joe sat with her head bending over her needleworkI put
my mouth into the forms of saying to JoeWhat's a convict?Joe
put his mouth into the forms of returning such a highly elaborate
answerthat I could make out nothing of it but the single word

There was a conwict off last night,said Joealoudafter
sun-set-gun. And they fired warning of him. And now, it appears
they're firing warning of another.

Who's firing?said I.

Drat that boy,interposed my sisterfrowning at me over her
workwhat a questioner he is. Ask no questions, and you'll be
told no lies.

It was not very polite to herselfI thoughtto imply that I should
be told lies by hereven if I did ask questions. But she never was

politeunless there was company.

At this pointJoe greatly augmented my curiosity by taking the
utmost pains to open his mouth very wideand to put it into the
form of a word that looked to me like "sulks." ThereforeI
naturally pointed to Mrs. Joeand put my mouth into the form of
saying "her?" But Joe wouldn't hear of thatat alland again
opened his mouth very wideand shook the form of a most emphatic
word out of it. But I could make nothing of the word.

Mrs. Joe,said Ias a last resortI should like to know - if
you wouldn't much mind - where the firing comes from?

Lord bless the boy!exclaimed my sisteras if she didn't quite
mean thatbut rather the contrary. "From the Hulks!"

Oh-h!said Ilooking at Joe. "Hulks!"

Joe gave a reproachful coughas much as to sayWell, I told you

And please what's Hulks?said I.

That's the way with this boy!exclaimed my sisterpointing me
out with her needle and threadand shaking her head at me. "Answer
him one questionand he'll ask you a dozen directly. Hulks are
prison-shipsright 'cross th' meshes." We always used that name
for marshesin our country.

I wonder who's put into prison-ships, and why they're put there?
said Iin a general wayand with quiet desperation.

It was too much for Mrs. Joewho immediately rose. "I tell you
whatyoung fellow said she, I didn't bring you up by hand to
badger people's lives out. It would be blame to meand not praise
if I had. People are put in the Hulks because they murderand
because they roband forgeand do all sorts of bad; and they
always begin by asking questions. Nowyou get along to bed!"

I was never allowed a candle to light me to bedandas I went
upstairs in the darkwith my head tingling - from Mrs. Joe's
thimble having played the tambourine upon itto accompany her last
words - I felt fearfully sensible of the great convenience that the
Hulks were handy for me. I was clearly on my way there. I had begun
by asking questionsand I was going to rob Mrs. Joe.

Since that timewhich is far enough away nowI have often thought
that few people know what secrecy there is in the youngunder
terror. No matter how unreasonable the terrorso that it be
terror. I was in mortal terror of the young man who wanted my heart
and liver; I was in mortal terror of my interlocutor with the
ironed leg; I was in mortal terror of myselffrom whom an awful
promise had been extracted; I had no hope of deliverance through my
all-powerful sisterwho repulsed me at every turn; I am afraid to
think of what I might have doneon requirementin the secrecy of
my terror.

If I slept at all that nightit was only to imagine myself
drifting down the river on a strong spring-tideto the Hulks; a
ghostly pirate calling out to me through a speaking-trumpetas I
passed the gibbet-stationthat I had better come ashore and be
hanged there at onceand not put it off. I was afraid to sleep
even if I had been inclinedfor I knew that at the first faint
dawn of morning I must rob the pantry. There was no doing it in the

nightfor there was no getting a light by easy friction then; to
have got oneI must have struck it out of flint and steeland
have made a noise like the very pirate himself rattling his chains.

As soon as the great black velvet pall outside my little window was
shot with greyI got up and went down stairs; every board upon the
wayand every crack in every boardcalling after meStop
thief!and "Get upMrs. Joe!" In the pantrywhich was far more
abundantly supplied than usualowing to the seasonI was very
much alarmedby a hare hanging up by the heelswhom I rather
thought I caughtwhen my back was half turnedwinking. I had no
time for verificationno time for selectionno time for anything
for I had no time to spare. I stole some breadsome rind of
cheeseabout half a jar of mincemeat (which I tied up in my
pocket-handkerchief with my last night's slice)some brandy from a
stone bottle (which I decanted into a glass bottle I had secretly
used for making that intoxicating fluidSpanish-liquorice-water
up in my room: diluting the stone bottle from a jug in the kitchen
cupboard)a meat bone with very little on itand a beautiful
round compact pork pie. I was nearly going away without the pie
but I was tempted to mount upon a shelfto look what it was that
was put away so carefully in a covered earthen ware dish in a
cornerand I found it was the pieand I took itin the hope that
it was not intended for early useand would not be missed for some

There was a door in the kitchencommunicating with the forge; I
unlocked and unbolted that doorand got a file from among Joe's
tools. ThenI put the fastenings as I had found themopened the
door at which I had entered when I ran home last nightshut it
and ran for the misty marshes.

Chapter 3

It was a rimy morningand very damp. I had seen the damp lying on
the outside of my little windowas if some goblin had been crying
there all nightand using the window for a pocket-handkerchief.
NowI saw the damp lying on the bare hedges and spare grasslike
a coarser sort of spiders' webs; hanging itself from twig to twig
and blade to blade. On every rail and gatewet lay clammy; and the
marsh-mist was so thickthat the wooden finger on the post
directing people to our village - a direction which they never
acceptedfor they never came there - was invisible to me until I
was quite close under it. Thenas I looked up at itwhile it
drippedit seemed to my oppressed conscience like a phantom
devoting me to the Hulks.

The mist was heavier yet when I got out upon the marshesso that
instead of my running at everythingeverything seemed to run at
me. This was very disagreeable to a guilty mind. The gates and
dykes and banks came bursting at me through the mistas if they
cried as plainly as could beA boy with Somebody-else's pork pie!
Stop him!The cattle came upon me with like suddennessstaring
out of their eyesand steaming out of their nostrilsHolloa,
young thief!One black oxwith a white cravat on - who even had
to my awakened conscience something of a clerical air - fixed me so
obstinately with his eyesand moved his blunt head round in such
an accusatory manner as I moved roundthat I blubbered out to him
I couldn't help it, sir! It wasn't for myself I took it!Upon
which he put down his headblew a cloud of smoke out of his nose
and vanished with a kick-up of his hind-legs and a flourish of his

All this timeI was getting on towards the river; but however fast
I wentI couldn't warm my feetto which the damp cold seemed
rivetedas the iron was riveted to the leg of the man I was
running to meet. I knew my way to the Batterypretty straightfor
I had been down there on a Sunday with Joeand Joesitting on an
old gunhad told me that when I was 'prentice to him regularly
boundwe would have such Larks there! Howeverin the confusion of
the mistI found myself at last too far to the rightand
consequently had to try back along the river-sideon the bank of
loose stones above the mud and the stakes that staked the tide out.
Making my way along here with all despatchI had just crossed a
ditch which I knew to be very near the Batteryand had just
scrambled up the mound beyond the ditchwhen I saw the man sitting
before me. His back was towards meand he had his arms foldedand
was nodding forwardheavy with sleep.

I thought he would be more glad if I came upon him with his
breakfastin that unexpected mannerso I went forward softly and
touched him on the shoulder. He instantly jumped upand it was not
the same manbut another man!

And yet this man was dressed in coarse greytooand had a great
iron on his legand was lameand hoarseand coldand was
everything that the other man was; except that he had not the same
faceand had a flat broad-brimmed low-crowned felt that on. All
thisI saw in a momentfor I had only a moment to see it in: he
swore an oath at memade a hit at me - it was a round weak blow
that missed me and almost knocked himself downfor it made him
stumble - and then he ran into the miststumbling twice as he went
and I lost him.

It's the young man!I thoughtfeeling my heart shoot as I
identified him. I dare say I should have felt a pain in my liver
tooif I had known where it was.

I was soon at the Batteryafter thatand there was the right
man-hugging himself and limping to and froas if he had never all
night left off hugging and limping - waiting for me. He was awfully
coldto be sure. I half expected to see him drop down before my
face and die of deadly cold. His eyes looked so awfully hungry
toothat when I handed him the file and he laid it down on the
grassit occurred to me he would have tried to eat itif he had
not seen my bundle. He did not turn me upside downthis timeto
get at what I hadbut left me right side upwards while I opened
the bundle and emptied my pockets.

What's in the bottle, boy?said he.

Brandy,said I.

He was already handing mincemeat down his throat in the most
curious manner - more like a man who was putting it away somewhere
in a violent hurrythan a man who was eating it - but he left off
to take some of the liquor. He shivered all the whileso
violentlythat it was quite as much as he could do to keep the
neck of the bottle between his teethwithout biting it off.

I think you have got the ague,said I.

I'm much of your opinion, boy,said he.

It's bad about here,I told him. "You've been lying out on the
meshesand they're dreadful aguish. Rheumatic too."

I'll eat my breakfast afore they're the death of me,said he.
I'd do that, if I was going to be strung up to that there gallows
as there is over there, directly afterwards. I'll beat the shivers
so far, I'll bet you.

He was gobbling mincemeatmeatbonebreadcheeseand pork pie
all at once: staring distrustfully while he did so at the mist all
round usand often stopping - even stopping his jaws - to listen.
Some real or fancied soundsome clink upon the river or breathing
of beast upon the marshnow gave him a startand he said

You're not a deceiving imp? You brought no one with you?

No, sir! No!

Nor giv' no one the office to follow you?


Well,said heI believe you. You'd be but a fierce young hound
indeed, if at your time of life you could help to hunt a wretched
warmint, hunted as near death and dunghill as this poor wretched
warmint is!

Something clicked in his throatas if he had works in him like a
clockand was going to strike. And he smeared his ragged rough
sleeve over his eyes.

Pitying his desolationand watching him as he gradually settled
down upon the pieI made bold to sayI am glad you enjoy it.

Did you speak?

I said I was glad you enjoyed it.

Thankee, my boy. I do.

I had often watched a large dog of ours eating his food; and I now
noticed a decided similarity between the dog's way of eatingand
the man's. The man took strong sharp sudden bitesjust like the
dog. He swallowedor rather snapped upevery mouthfultoo soon
and too fast; and he looked sideways here and there while he ate
as if he thought there was danger in every directionof somebody's
coming to take the pie away. He was altogether too unsettled in his
mind over itto appreciate it comfortablyI thoughtor to have
anybody to dine with himwithout making a chop with his jaws at
the visitor. In all of which particulars he was very like the dog.

I am afraid you won't leave any of it for him,said Itimidly;
after a silence during which I had hesitated as to the politeness
of making the remark. "There's no more to be got where that came
from." It was the certainty of this fact that impelled me to offer
the hint.

Leave any for him? Who's him?said my friendstopping in his
crunching of pie-crust.

The young man. That you spoke of. That was hid with you.

Oh ah!he returnedwith something like a gruff laugh. "Him? Yes
yes! He don't want no wittles."

I thought he looked as if he did,said I.

The man stopped eatingand regarded me with the keenest scrutiny
and the greatest surprise.

Looked? When?

Just now.


Yonder,said Ipointing; "over therewhere I found him nodding
asleepand thought it was you."

He held me by the collar and stared at me sothat I began to think
his first idea about cutting my throat had revived.

Dressed like you, you know, only with a hat,I explained
trembling; "and - and" - I was very anxious to put this delicately

-"and with - the same reason for wanting to borrow a file. Didn't
you hear the cannon last night?"
Then, there was firing!he said to himself.

I wonder you shouldn't have been sure of that,I returnedfor
we heard it up at home, and that's further away, and we were shut
in besides.

Why, see now!said he. "When a man's alone on these flatswith a
light head and a light stomachperishing of cold and wanthe
hears nothin' all nightbut guns firingand voices calling.
Hears? He sees the soldierswith their red coats lighted up by the
torches carried aforeclosing in round him. Hears his number
calledhears himself challengedhears the rattle of the muskets
hears the orders 'Make ready! Present! Cover him steadymen!' and
is laid hands on - and there's nothin'! Whyif I see one pursuing
party last night - coming up in orderDamn 'emwith their tramp
tramp - I see a hundred. And as to firing! WhyI see the mist
shake with the cannonarter it was broad day - But this man;" he
had said all the restas if he had forgotten my being there; "did
you notice anything in him?"

He had a badly bruised face,said Irecalling what I hardly knew
I knew.

Not here?exclaimed the manstriking his left cheek mercilessly
with the flat of his hand.

Yes, there!

Where is he?He crammed what little food was leftinto the
breast of his grey jacket. "Show me the way he went. I'll pull him
downlike a bloodhound. Curse this iron on my sore leg! Give us
hold of the fileboy."

I indicated in what direction the mist had shrouded the other man
and he looked up at it for an instant. But he was down on the rank
wet grassfiling at his iron like a madmanand not minding me or
minding his own legwhich had an old chafe upon it and was bloody
but which he handled as roughly as if it had no more feeling in it
than the file. I was very much afraid of him againnow that he had
worked himself into this fierce hurryand I was likewise very much
afraid of keeping away from home any longer. I told him I must go
but he took no noticeso I thought the best thing I could do was
to slip off. The last I saw of himhis head was bent over his knee

and he was working hard at his fettermuttering impatient
imprecations at it and at his leg. The last I heard of himI
stopped in the mist to listenand the file was still going.

Chapter 4

I fully expected to find a Constable in the kitchenwaiting to
take me up. But not only was there no Constable therebut no
discovery had yet been made of the robbery. Mrs. Joe was
prodigiously busy in getting the house ready for the festivities of
the dayand Joe had been put upon the kitchen door-step to keep
him out of the dust-pan - an article into which his destiny always
led him sooner or laterwhen my sister was vigorously reaping the
floors of her establishment.

And where the deuce ha' you been?was Mrs. Joe's Christmas
salutationwhen I and my conscience showed ourselves.

I said I had been down to hear the Carols. "Ah! well!" observed Mrs.
Joe. "You might ha' done worse." Not a doubt of thatI thought.

Perhaps if I warn't a blacksmith's wife, and (what's the same
thing) a slave with her apron never off, I should have been to hear
the Carols,said Mrs. Joe. "I'm rather partial to Carolsmyself
and that's the best of reasons for my never hearing any."

Joewho had ventured into the kitchen after me as the dust-pan had
retired before usdrew the back of his hand across his nose with a
conciliatory air when Mrs. Joe darted a look at himandwhen her
eyes were withdrawnsecretly crossed his two forefingersand
exhibited them to meas our token that Mrs. Joe was in a cross
temper. This was so much her normal statethat Joe and I would
oftenfor weeks togetherbeas to our fingerslike monumental
Crusaders as to their legs.

We were to have a superb dinnerconsisting of a leg of pickled
pork and greensand a pair of roast stuffed fowls. A handsome
mince-pie had been made yesterday morning (which accounted for the
mincemeat not being missed)and the pudding was already on the
boil. These extensive arrangements occasioned us to be cut off
unceremoniously in respect of breakfast; "for I an't said Mrs.
Joe, I an't a-going to have no formal cramming and busting and
washing up nowwith what I've got before meI promise you!"

Sowe had our slices served outas if we were two thousand troops
on a forced march instead of a man and boy at home; and we took
gulps of milk and waterwith apologetic countenancesfrom a jug
on the dresser. In the meantimeMrs. Joe put clean white curtains
upand tacked a new flowered-flounce across the wide chimney to
replace the old oneand uncovered the little state parlour across
the passagewhich was never uncovered at any other timebut
passed the rest of the year in a cool haze of silver paperwhich
even extended to the four little white crockery poodles on the
mantelshelfeach with a black nose and a basket of flowers in his
mouthand each the counterpart of the other. Mrs. Joe was a very
clean housekeeperbut had an exquisite art of making her
cleanliness more uncomfortable and unacceptable than dirt itself.
Cleanliness is next to Godlinessand some people do the same by
their religion.

My sister having so much to dowas going to church vicariously;
that is to sayJoe and I were going. In his working clothesJoe
was a well-knit characteristic-looking blacksmith; in his holiday

clotheshe was more like a scarecrow in good circumstancesthan
anything else. Nothing that he wore thenfitted him or seemed to
belong to him; and everything that he wore thengrazed him. On the
present festive occasion he emerged from his roomwhen the blithe
bells were goingthe picture of miseryin a full suit of Sunday
penitentials. As to meI think my sister must have had some
general idea that I was a young offender whom an Accoucheur
Policemen had taken up (on my birthday) and delivered over to her
to be dealt with according to the outraged majesty of the law. I
was always treated as if I had insisted on being bornin
opposition to the dictates of reasonreligionand moralityand
against the dissuading arguments of my best friends. Even when I
was taken to have a new suit of clothesthe tailor had orders to
make them like a kind of Reformatoryand on no account to let me
have the free use of my limbs.

Joe and I going to churchthereforemust have been a moving
spectacle for compassionate minds. Yetwhat I suffered outside
was nothing to what I underwent within. The terrors that had
assailed me whenever Mrs. Joe had gone near the pantryor out of
the roomwere only to be equalled by the remorse with which my
mind dwelt on what my hands had done. Under the weight of my wicked
secretI pondered whether the Church would be powerful enough to
shield me from the vengeance of the terrible young manif I
divulged to that establishment. I conceived the idea that the time
when the banns were read and when the clergyman saidYe are now
to declare it!would be the time for me to rise and propose a
private conference in the vestry. I am far from being sure that I
might not have astonished our small congregation by resorting to
this extreme measurebut for its being Christmas Day and no

Mr. Wopslethe clerk at churchwas to dine with us; and Mr. Hubble
the wheelwright and Mrs. Hubble; and Uncle Pumblechook (Joe's uncle
but Mrs. Joe appropriated him)who was a well-to-do corn-chandler
in the nearest townand drove his own chaise-cart. The dinner hour
was half-past one. When Joe and I got homewe found the table
laidand Mrs. Joe dressedand the dinner dressingand the front
door unlocked (it never was at any other time) for the company to
enter byand everything most splendid. And stillnot a word of
the robbery.

The time camewithout bringing with it any relief to my feelings
and the company came. Mr. Wopsleunited to a Roman nose and a
large shining bald foreheadhad a deep voice which he was
uncommonly proud of; indeed it was understood among his
acquaintance that if you could only give him his headhe would
read the clergyman into fits; he himself confessed that if the
Church was "thrown open meaning to competition, he would not
despair of making his mark in it. The Church not being thrown
open he was, as I have said, our clerk. But he punished the
Amens tremendously; and when he gave out the psalm - always giving
the whole verse - he looked all round the congregation first, as
much as to say, You have heard my friend overhead; oblige me with
your opinion of this style!"

I opened the door to the company - making believe that it was a
habit of ours to open that door - and I opened it first to Mr.
Wopslenext to Mr. and Mrs. Hubbleand last of all to Uncle
Pumblechook. N.B.I was not allowed to call him uncleunder the
severest penalties.

Mrs. Joe,said Uncle Pumblechook: a large hard-breathing
middle-aged slow manwith a mouth like a fishdull staring eyes

and sandy hair standing upright on his headso that he looked as
if he had just been all but chokedand had that moment come to;
I have brought you, as the compliments of the season - I have
brought you, Mum, a bottle of sherry wine - and I have brought you,
Mum, a bottle of port wine.

Every Christmas Day he presented himselfas a profound novelty
with exactly the same wordsand carrying the two bottles like
dumb-bells. Every Christmas DayMrs. Joe repliedas she now
repliedOh, Un - cle Pum - ble - chook! This IS kind!Every
Christmas Dayhe retortedas he now retortedIt's no more than
your merits. And now are you all bobbish, and how's Sixpennorth of
halfpence?meaning me.

We dined on these occasions in the kitchenand adjournedfor the
nuts and oranges and applesto the parlour; which was a change
very like Joe's change from his working clothes to his Sunday
dress. My sister was uncommonly lively on the present occasionand
indeed was generally more gracious in the society of Mrs. Hubble
than in other company. I remember Mrs. Hubble as a little curly
sharp-edged person in sky-bluewho held a conventionally juvenile
positionbecause she had married Mr. Hubble - I don't know at what
remote period - when she was much younger than he. I remember Mr
Hubble as a tough high-shouldered stooping old manof a sawdusty
fragrancewith his legs extraordinarily wide apart: so that in my
short days I always saw some miles of open country between them
when I met him coming up the lane.

Among this good company I should have felt myselfeven if I hadn't
robbed the pantryin a false position. Not because I was squeezed
in at an acute angle of the table-clothwith the table in my
chestand the Pumblechookian elbow in my eyenor because I was
not allowed to speak (I didn't want to speak)nor because I was
regaled with the scaly tips of the drumsticks of the fowlsand
with those obscure corners of pork of which the pigwhen living
had had the least reason to be vain. No; I should not have minded
thatif they would only have left me alone. But they wouldn't
leave me alone. They seemed to think the opportunity lostif they
failed to point the conversation at meevery now and thenand
stick the point into me. I might have been an unfortunate little
bull in a Spanish arenaI got so smartingly touched up by these
moral goads.

It began the moment we sat down to dinner. Mr. Wopsle said grace
with theatrical declamation - as it now appears to mesomething
like a religious cross of the Ghost in Hamlet with Richard the
Third - and ended with the very proper aspiration that we might be
truly grateful. Upon which my sister fixed me with her eyeand
saidin a low reproachful voiceDo you hear that? Be grateful.

Especially,said Mr. Pumblechookbe grateful, boy, to them which
brought you up by hand.

Mrs. Hubble shook her headand contemplating me with a mournful
presentiment that I should come to no goodaskedWhy is it that
the young are never grateful?This moral mystery seemed too much
for the company until Mr. Hubble tersely solved it by saying
Naterally wicious.Everybody then murmured "True!" and looked at
me in a particularly unpleasant and personal manner.

Joe's station and influence were something feebler (if possible)
when there was companythan when there was none. But he always
aided and comforted me when he couldin some way of his ownand
he always did so at dinner-time by giving me gravyif there were

any. There being plenty of gravy to-dayJoe spooned into my plate
at this pointabout half a pint.

A little later on in the dinnerMr. Wopsle reviewed the sermon with
some severityand intimated - in the usual hypothetical case of
the Church being "thrown open" - what kind of sermon he would have
given them. After favouring them with some heads of that discourse
he remarked that he considered the subject of the day's homily
ill-chosen; which was the less excusablehe addedwhen there were
so many subjects "going about."

True again,said Uncle Pumblechook. "You've hit itsir! Plenty of
subjects going aboutfor them that know how to put salt upon their
tails. That's what's wanted. A man needn't go far to find a
subjectif he's ready with his salt-box." Mr. Pumblechook added
after a short interval of reflectionLook at Pork alone. There's
a subject! If you want a subject, look at Pork!

True, sir. Many a moral for the young,returned Mr. Wopsle; and I
knew he was going to lug me inbefore he said it; "might be
deduced from that text."

("You listen to this said my sister to me, in a severe

Joe gave me some more gravy.

Swine pursued Mr. Wopsle, in his deepest voice, and pointing his
fork at my blushes, as if he were mentioning my Christian name;
Swine were the companions of the prodigal. The gluttony of Swine
is put before usas an example to the young." (I thought this
pretty well in him who had been praising up the pork for being so
plump and juicy.) "What is detestable in a pigis more detestable
in a boy."

Or girl,suggested Mr. Hubble.

Of course, or girl, Mr. Hubble,assented Mr. Wopslerather
irritablybut there is no girl present.

Besides,said Mr. Pumblechookturning sharp on methink what
you've got to be grateful for. If you'd been born a Squeaker--

He was, if ever a child was,said my sistermost emphatically.

Joe gave me some more gravy.

Well, but I mean a four-footed Squeaker,said Mr. Pumblechook. "If
you had been born suchwould you have been here now? Not you--"

Unless in that form,said Mr. Wopslenodding towards the dish.

But I don't mean in that form, sir,returned Mr. Pumblechookwho
had an objection to being interrupted; "I meanenjoying himself
with his elders and bettersand improving himself with their
conversationand rolling in the lap of luxury. Would he have been
doing that? Nohe wouldn't. And what would have been your
destination?" turning on me again. "You would have been disposed of
for so many shillings according to the market price of the article
and Dunstable the butcher would have come up to you as you lay in
your strawand he would have whipped you under his left armand
with his right he would have tucked up his frock to get a penknife
from out of his waistcoat-pocketand he would have shed your
blood and had your life. No bringing up by hand then. Not a bit of


Joe offered me more gravywhich I was afraid to take.

He was a world of trouble to you, ma'am,said Mrs. Hubble
commiserating my sister.

Trouble?echoed my sister; "trouble?" and then entered on a
fearful catalogue of all the illnesses I had been guilty ofand
all the acts of sleeplessness I had committedand all the high
places I had tumbled fromand all the low places I had tumbled
intoand all the injuries I had done myselfand all the times she
had wished me in my graveand I had contumaciously refused to go

I think the Romans must have aggravated one another very muchwith
their noses. Perhapsthey became the restless people they werein
consequence. AnyhowMr. Wopsle's Roman nose so aggravated me
during the recital of my misdemeanoursthat I should have liked to
pull it until he howled. Butall I had endured up to this time
was nothing in comparison with the awful feelings that took
possession of me when the pause was broken which ensued upon my
sister's recitaland in which pause everybody had looked at me (as
I felt painfully conscious) with indignation and abhorrence.

Yet,said Mr. Pumblechookleading the company gently back to the
theme from which they had strayedPork - regarded as biled - is
rich, too; ain't it?

Have a little brandy, uncle,said my sister.

O Heavensit had come at last! He would find it was weakhe would
say it was weakand I was lost! I held tight to the leg of the
table under the clothwith both handsand awaited my fate.

My sister went for the stone bottlecame back with the stone
bottleand poured his brandy out: no one else taking any. The
wretched man trifled with his glass - took it uplooked at it
through the lightput it down - prolonged my misery. All this
timeMrs. Joe and Joe were briskly clearing the table for the pie
and pudding.

I couldn't keep my eyes off him. Always holding tight by the leg of
the table with my hands and feetI saw the miserable creature
finger his glass playfullytake it upsmilethrow his head back
and drink the brandy off. Instantly afterwardsthe company were
seized with unspeakable consternationowing to his springing to
his feetturning round several times in an appalling spasmodic
whooping-cough danceand rushing out at the door; he then became
visible through the windowviolently plunging and expectorating
making the most hideous facesand apparently out of his mind.

I held on tightwhile Mrs. Joe and Joe ran to him. I didn't know
how I had done itbut I had no doubt I had murdered him somehow.
In my dreadful situationit was a relief when he was brought back
andsurveying the company all round as if they had disagreed with
himsank down into his chair with the one significant gaspTar!

I had filled up the bottle from the tar-water jug. I knew he would
be worse by-and-by. I moved the tablelike a Medium of the present
dayby the vigour of my unseen hold upon it.

Tar!cried my sisterin amazement. "Whyhow ever could Tar come

ButUncle Pumblechookwho was omnipotent in that kitchen
wouldn't hear the wordwouldn't hear of the subjectimperiously
waved it all away with his handand asked for hot gin-and-water.
My sisterwho had begun to be alarmingly meditativehad to employ
herself actively in getting the ginthe hot waterthe sugarand
the lemon-peeland mixing them. For the time being at leastI was
saved. I still held on to the leg of the tablebut clutched it now
with the fervour of gratitude.

By degreesI became calm enough to release my grasp and partake of
pudding. Mr. Pumblechook partook of pudding. All partook of pudding.
The course terminatedand Mr. Pumblechook had begun to beam under
the genial influence of gin-and-water. I began to think I should
get over the daywhen my sister said to JoeClean plates cold.

I clutched the leg of the table again immediatelyand pressed it
to my bosom as if it had been the companion of my youth and friend
of my soul. I foresaw what was comingand I felt that this time I
really was gone.

You must taste,said my sisteraddressing the guests with her
best graceYou must taste, to finish with, such a delightful and
delicious present of Uncle Pumblechook's!

Must they! Let them not hope to taste it!

You must know,said my sisterrisingit's a pie; a savoury
pork pie.

The company murmured their compliments. Uncle Pumblechooksensible
of having deserved well of his fellow-creaturessaid - quite
vivaciouslyall things considered - "WellMrs. Joewe'll do our
best endeavours; let us have a cut at this same pie."

My sister went out to get it. I heard her steps proceed to the
pantry. I saw Mr. Pumblechook balance his knife. I saw re-awakening
appetite in the Roman nostrils of Mr. Wopsle. I heard Mr. Hubble
remark that "a bit of savoury pork pie would lay atop of anything
you could mentionand do no harm and I heard Joe say, You shall
have somePip." I have never been absolutely certain whether I
uttered a shrill yell of terrormerely in spiritor in the bodily
hearing of the company. I felt that I could bear no moreand that
I must run away. I released the leg of the tableand ran for my

ButI ran no further than the house doorfor there I ran head
foremost into a party of soldiers with their muskets: one of whom
held out a pair of handcuffs to mesayingHere you are, look
sharp, come on!

Chapter 5

The apparition of a file of soldiers ringing down the butt-ends of
their loaded muskets on our door-stepcaused the dinner-party to
rise from table in confusionand caused Mrs. Joe re-entering the
kitchen empty-handedto stop short and starein her wondering
lament of "Gracious goodness gracious mewhat's gone - with the pie!"

The sergeant and I were in the kitchen when Mrs. Joe stood staring;
at which crisis I partially recovered the use of my senses. It was

the sergeant who had spoken to meand he was now looking round at
the companywith his handcuffs invitingly extended towards them in
his right handand his left on my shoulder.

Excuse me, ladies and gentleman,said the sergeantbut as I
have mentioned at the door to this smart young shaver(which he
hadn't)I am on a chase in the name of the king, and I want the

And pray what might you want with him?retorted my sisterquick
to resent his being wanted at all.

Missis,returned the gallant sergeantspeaking for myself, I
should reply, the honour and pleasure of his fine wife's
acquaintance; speaking for the king, I answer, a little job done.

This was received as rather neat in the sergeant; insomuch that Mr
Pumblechook cried audiblyGood again!

You see, blacksmith,said the sergeantwho had by this time
picked out Joe with his eyewe have had an accident with these,
and I find the lock of one of 'em goes wrong, and the coupling
don't act pretty. As they are wanted for immediate service, will
you throw your eye over them?

Joe threw his eye over themand pronounced that the job would
necessitate the lighting of his forge fireand would take nearer
two hours than oneWill it? Then will you set about it at once,
blacksmith?said the off-hand sergeantas it's on his Majesty's
service. And if my men can beat a hand anywhere, they'll make
themselves useful.With thathe called to his menwho came
trooping into the kitchen one after anotherand piled their arms
in a corner. And then they stood aboutas soldiers do; nowwith
their hands loosely clasped before them; nowresting a knee or a
shoulder; noweasing a belt or a pouch; nowopening the door to
spit stiffly over their high stocksout into the yard.

All these things I saw without then knowing that I saw themfor I
was in an agony of apprehension. Butbeginning to perceive that
the handcuffs were not for meand that the military had so far got
the better of the pie as to put it in the backgroundI collected a
little more of my scattered wits.

Would you give me the Time?said the sergeantaddressing himself
to Mr. Pumblechookas to a man whose appreciative powers justified
the inference that he was equal to the time.

It's just gone half-past two.

That's not so bad,said the sergeantreflecting; "even if I was
forced to halt here nigh two hoursthat'll do. How far might you
call yourselves from the marsheshereabouts? Not above a mileI

Just a mile,said Mrs. Joe.

That'll do. We begin to close in upon 'em about dusk. A little
before dusk, my orders are. That'll do.

Convicts, sergeant?asked Mr. Wopslein a matter-of-course way.

Ay!returned the sergeanttwo. They're pretty well known to be
out on the marshes still, and they won't try to get clear of 'em
before dusk. Anybody here seen anything of any such game?

Everybodymyself exceptedsaid nowith confidence. Nobody
thought of me.

Well!said the sergeantthey'll find themselves trapped in a
circle, I expect, sooner than they count on. Now, blacksmith! If
you're ready, his Majesty the King is.

Joe had got his coat and waistcoat and cravat offand his leather
apron onand passed into the forge. One of the soldiers opened its
wooden windowsanother lighted the fireanother turned to at
the bellowsthe rest stood round the blazewhich was soon
roaring. Then Joe began to hammer and clinkhammer and clinkand
we all looked on.

The interest of the impending pursuit not only absorbed the general
attentionbut even made my sister liberal. She drew a pitcher of
beer from the caskfor the soldiersand invited the sergeant to
take a glass of brandy. But Mr. Pumblechook saidsharplyGive him
wine, Mum. I'll engage there's no Tar in that:sothe sergeant
thanked him and said that as he preferred his drink without tarhe
would take wineif it was equally convenient. When it was given
himhe drank his Majesty's health and Compliments of the Season
and took it all at a mouthful and smacked his lips.

Good stuff, eh, sergeant?said Mr. Pumblechook.

I'll tell you something,returned the sergeant; "I suspect that
stuff's of your providing."

Mr. Pumblechookwith a fat sort of laughsaidAy, ay? Why?

Because,returned the sergeantclapping him on the shoulder
you're a man that knows what's what.

D'ye think so?said Mr. Pumblechookwith his former laugh. "Have
another glass!"

With you. Hob and nob,returned the sergeant. "The top of mine to
the foot of yours - the foot of yours to the top of mine - Ring
oncering twice - the best tune on the Musical Glasses! Your
health. May you live a thousand yearsand never be a worse judge
of the right sort than you are at the present moment of your life!"

The sergeant tossed off his glass again and seemed quite ready for
another glass. I noticed that Mr. Pumblechook in his hospitality
appeared to forget that he had made a present of the winebut took
the bottle from Mrs. Joe and had all the credit of handing it about
in a gush of joviality. Even I got some. And he was so very free of
the wine that he even called for the other bottleand handed that
about with the same liberalitywhen the first was gone.

As I watched them while they all stood clustering about the forge
enjoying themselves so muchI thought what terrible good sauce for
a dinner my fugitive friend on the marshes was. They had not
enjoyed themselves a quarter so muchbefore the entertainment was
brightened with the excitement he furnished. And nowwhen they
were all in lively anticipation of "the two villains" being taken
and when the bellows seemed to roar for the fugitivesthe fire to
flare for themthe smoke to hurry away in pursuit of themJoe to
hammer and clink for themand all the murky shadows on the wall to
shake at them in menace as the blaze rose and sank and the red-hot
sparks dropped and diedthe pale after-noon outsidealmost seemed
in my pitying young fancy to have turned pale on their account

poor wretches.

At lastJoe's job was doneand the ringing and roaring stopped.
As Joe got on his coathe mustered courage to propose that some of
us should go down with the soldiers and see what came of the hunt.
Mr. Pumblechook and Mr. Hubble declinedon the plea of a pipe and
ladies' society; but Mr. Wopsle said he would goif Joe would. Joe
said he was agreeableand would take meif Mrs. Joe approved. We
never should have got leave to goI am surebut for Mrs. Joe's
curiosity to know all about it and how it ended. As it wasshe
merely stipulatedIf you bring the boy back with his head blown
to bits by a musket, don't look to me to put it together again.

The sergeant took a polite leave of the ladiesand parted from Mr.
Pumblechook as from a comrade; though I doubt if he were quite as
fully sensible of that gentleman's merits under arid conditionsas
when something moist was going. His men resumed their muskets and
fell in. Mr. WopsleJoeand Ireceived strict charge to keep in
the rearand to speak no word after we reached the marshes. When
we were all out in the raw air and were steadily moving towards our
businessI treasonably whispered to JoeI hope, Joe, we shan't
find them.and Joe whispered to meI'd give a shilling if they
had cut and run, Pip.

We were joined by no stragglers from the villagefor the weather
was cold and threateningthe way drearythe footing baddarkness
coming onand the people had good fires in-doors and were keeping
the day. A few faces hurried to glowing windows and looked after
usbut none came out. We passed the finger-postand held straight
on to the churchyard. Therewe were stopped a few minutes by a
signal from the sergeant's handwhile two or three of his men
dispersed themselves among the gravesand also examined the porch.
They came in again without finding anythingand then we struck out
on the open marshesthrough the gate at the side of the
churchyard. A bitter sleet came rattling against us here on the
east windand Joe took me on his back.

Now that we were out upon the dismal wilderness where they little
thought I had been within eight or nine hours and had seen both men
hidingI considered for the first timewith great dreadif we
should come upon themwould my particular convict suppose that it
was I who had brought the soldiers there? He had asked me if I was
a deceiving impand he had said I should be a fierce young hound
if I joined the hunt against him. Would he believe that I was both
imp and hound in treacherous earnestand had betrayed him?

It was of no use asking myself this question now. There I wason
Joe's backand there was Joe beneath mecharging at the ditches
like a hunterand stimulating Mr. Wopsle not to tumble on his Roman
noseand to keep up with us. The soldiers were in front of us
extending into a pretty wide line with an interval between man and
man. We were taking the course I had begun withand from which I
had diverged in the mist. Either the mist was not out again yetor
the wind had dispelled it. Under the low red glare of sunsetthe
beaconand the gibbetand the mound of the Batteryand the
opposite shore of the riverwere plainthough all of a watery
lead colour.

With my heart thumping like a blacksmith at Joe's broad shoulderI
looked all about for any sign of the convicts. I could see noneI
could hear none. Mr. Wopsle had greatly alarmed me more than once
by his blowing and hard breathing; but I knew the sounds by this
timeand could dissociate them from the object of pursuit. I got a
dreadful startwhen I thought I heard the file still going; but it

was only a sheep bell. The sheep stopped in their eating and looked
timidly at us; and the cattletheir heads turned from the wind and
sleetstared angrily as if they held us responsible for both
annoyances; butexcept these thingsand the shudder of the dying
day in every blade of grassthere was no break in the bleak
stillness of the marshes.

The soldiers were moving on in the direction of the old Battery
and we were moving on a little way behind themwhenall of a
suddenwe all stopped. Forthere had reached us on the wings of
the wind and raina long shout. It was repeated. It was at a
distance towards the eastbut it was long and loud. Naythere
seemed to be two or more shouts raised together - if one might
judge from a confusion in the sound.

To this effect the sergeant and the nearest men were speaking under
their breathwhen Joe and I came up. After another moment's
listeningJoe (who was a good judge) agreedand Mr. Wopsle (who
was a bad judge) agreed. The sergeanta decisive manordered that
the sound should not be answeredbut that the course should be
changedand that his men should make towards it "at the double."
So we slanted to the right (where the East was)and Joe pounded
away so wonderfullythat I had to hold on tight to keep my seat.

It was a run indeed nowand what Joe calledin the only two words
he spoke all the timea Winder.Down banks and up banksand
over gatesand splashing into dykesand breaking among coarse
rushes: no man cared where he went. As we came nearer to the
shoutingit became more and more apparent that it was made by more
than one voice. Sometimesit seemed to stop altogetherand then
the soldiers stopped. When it broke out againthe soldiers made
for it at a greater rate than everand we after them. After a
whilewe had so run it downthat we could hear one voice calling
Murder!and another voiceConvicts! Runaways! Guard! This way
for the runaway convicts!Then both voices would seem to be
stifled in a struggleand then would break out again. And when it
had come to thisthe soldiers ran like deerand Joe too.

The sergeant ran in firstwhen we had run the noise quite down
and two of his men ran in close upon him. Their pieces were cocked
and levelled when we all ran in.

Here are both men!panted the sergeantstruggling at the bottom
of a ditch. "Surrenderyou two! and confound you for two wild
beasts! Come asunder!"

Water was splashingand mud was flyingand oaths were being
swornand blows were being struckwhen some more men went down
into the ditch to help the sergeantand dragged outseparately
my convict and the other one. Both were bleeding and panting and
execrating and struggling; but of course I knew them both directly.

Mind!said my convictwiping blood from his face with his ragged
sleevesand shaking torn hair from his fingers: "I took him! I give
him up to you! Mind that!"

It's not much to be particular about,said the sergeant; "it'll do
you small goodmy manbeing in the same plight yourself.
Handcuffs there!"

I don't expect it to do me any good. I don't want it to do me more
good than it does now,said my convictwith a greedy laugh. "I
took him. He knows it. That's enough for me."

The other convict was livid to look atandin addition to the old
bruised left side of his faceseemed to be bruised and torn all
over. He could not so much as get his breath to speakuntil they
were both separately handcuffedbut leaned upon a soldier to keep
himself from falling.

Take notice, guard - he tried to murder me,were his first words.

Tried to murder him?said my convictdisdainfully. "Tryand not
do it? I took himand giv' him up; that's what I done. I not only
prevented him getting off the marshesbut I dragged him here dragged
him this far on his way back. He's a gentlemanif you
pleasethis villain. Nowthe Hulks has got its gentleman again
through me. Murder him? Worth my whiletooto murder himwhen I
could do worse and drag him back!"

The other one still gaspedHe tried - he tried - to - murder me.
Bear - bear witness.

Lookee here!said my convict to the sergeant. "Single-handed I
got clear of the prison-ship; I made a dash and I done it. I could
ha' got clear of these death-cold flats likewise - look at my leg:
you won't find much iron on it - if I hadn't made the discovery that
he was here. Let him go free? Let him profit by the means as I found
out? Let him make a tool of me afresh and again? Once more? Nono
no. If I had died at the bottom there;" and he made an emphatic
swing at the ditch with his manacled hands; "I'd have held to him
with that gripthat you should have been safe to find him in my

The other fugitivewho was evidently in extreme horror of his
companionrepeatedHe tried to murder me. I should have been a
dead man if you had not come up.

He lies!said my convictwith fierce energy. "He's a liar born
and he'll die a liar. Look at his face; ain't it written there? Let
him turn those eyes of his on me. I defy him to do it."

The otherwith an effort at a scornful smile - which could not
howevercollect the nervous working of his mouth into any set
expression - looked at the soldiersand looked about at the
marshes and at the skybut certainly did not look at the speaker.

Do you see him?pursued my convict. "Do you see what a villain he
is? Do you see those grovelling and wandering eyes? That's how he
looked when we were tried together. He never looked at me."

The otheralways working and working his dry lips and turning his
eyes restlessly about him far and neardid at last turn them for a
moment on the speakerwith the wordsYou are not much to look
at,and with a half-taunting glance at the bound hands. At that
pointmy convict became so frantically exasperatedthat he would
have rushed upon him but for the interposition of the soldiers.
Didn't I tell you,said the other convict thenthat he would
murder me, if he could?And any one could see that he shook with
fearand that there broke out upon his lipscurious white flakes
like thin snow.

Enough of this parley,said the sergeant. "Light those torches."

As one of the soldierswho carried a basket in lieu of a gunwent
down on his knee to open itmy convict looked round him for the
first timeand saw me. I had alighted from Joe's back on the brink
of the ditch when we came upand had not moved since. I looked at

him eagerly when he looked at meand slightly moved my hands and
shook my head. I had been waiting for him to see methat I might
try to assure him of my innocence. It was not at all expressed to
me that he even comprehended my intentionfor he gave me a look
that I did not understandand it all passed in a moment. But if he
had looked at me for an hour or for a dayI could not have
remembered his face ever afterwardsas having been more attentive.

The soldier with the basket soon got a lightand lighted three or
four torchesand took one himself and distributed the others. It
had been almost dark beforebut now it seemed quite darkand soon
afterwards very dark. Before we departed from that spotfour
soldiers standing in a ringfired twice into the air. Presently we
saw other torches kindled at some distance behind usand others on
the marshes on the opposite bank of the river. "All right said
the sergeant. March."

We had not gone far when three cannon were fired ahead of us with a
sound that seemed to burst something inside my ear. "You are
expected on board said the sergeant to my convict; they know you
are coming. Don't stragglemy man. Close up here."

The two were kept apartand each walked surrounded by a separate
guard. I had hold of Joe's hand nowand Joe carried one of the
torches. Mr. Wopsle had been for going backbut Joe was resolved to
see it outso we went on with the party. There was a reasonably
good path nowmostly on the edge of the riverwith a divergence
here and there where a dyke camewith a miniature windmill on it
and a muddy sluice-gate. When I looked roundI could see the other
lights coming in after us. The torches we carrieddropped great
blotches of fire upon the trackand I could see thosetoolying
smoking and flaring. I could see nothing else but black darkness.
Our lights warmed the air about us with their pitchy blazeand the
two prisoners seemed rather to like thatas they limped along in
the midst of the muskets. We could not go fastbecause of their
lameness; and they were so spentthat two or three times we had to
halt while they rested.

After an hour or so of this travellingwe came to a rough wooden
hut and a landing-place. There was a guard in the hutand they
challengedand the sergeant answered. Thenwe went into the hut
where there was a smell of tobacco and whitewashand a bright
fireand a lampand a stand of musketsand a drumand a low
wooden bedsteadlike an overgrown mangle without the machinery
capable of holding about a dozen soldiers all at once. Three or
four soldiers who lay upon it in their great-coatswere not much
interested in usbut just lifted their heads and took a sleepy
stareand then lay down again. The sergeant made some kind of
reportand some entry in a bookand then the convict whom I call
the other convict was drafted off with his guardto go on board

My convict never looked at meexcept that once. While we stood in
the huthe stood before the fire looking thoughtfully at itor
putting up his feet by turns upon the hoband looking thoughtfully
at them as if he pitied them for their recent adventures. Suddenly
he turned to the sergeantand remarked:

I wish to say something respecting this escape. It may prevent
some persons laying under suspicion alonger me.

You can say what you like,returned the sergeantstanding coolly
looking at him with his arms foldedbut you have no call to say
it here. You'll have opportunity enough to say about it, and hear

about it, before it's done with, you know.

I know, but this is another pint, a separate matter. A man can't
starve; at least I can't. I took some wittles, up at the willage
over yonder - where the church stands a'most out on the marshes.

You mean stole,said the sergeant.

And I'll tell you where from. From the blacksmith's.

Halloa!said the sergeantstaring at Joe.

Halloa, Pip!said Joestaring at me.

It was some broken wittles - that's what it was - and a dram of
liquor, and a pie.

Have you happened to miss such an article as a pie, blacksmith?
asked the sergeantconfidentially.

My wife did, at the very moment when you came in. Don't you know,

So,said my convictturning his eyes on Joe in a moody manner
and without the least glance at me; "so you're the blacksmithare
you? Than I'm sorry to sayI've eat your pie."

God knows you're welcome to it - so far as it was ever mine,
returned Joewith a saving remembrance of Mrs. Joe. "We don't know
what you have donebut we wouldn't have you starved to death for
itpoor miserable fellow-creatur. - Would usPip?"

The something that I had noticed beforeclicked in the man's
throat againand he turned his back. The boat had returnedand
his guard were readyso we followed him to the landing-place made
of rough stakes and stonesand saw him put into the boatwhich
was rowed by a crew of convicts like himself. No one seemed
surprised to see himor interested in seeing himor glad to see
himor sorry to see himor spoke a wordexcept that somebody in
the boat growled as if to dogsGive way, you!which was the
signal for the dip of the oars. By the light of the torcheswe saw
the black Hulk lying out a little way from the mud of the shorelike
a wicked Noah's ark. Cribbed and barred and moored by massive rusty
chainsthe prison-ship seemed in my young eyes to be ironed like
the prisoners. We saw the boat go alongsideand we saw him taken
up the side and disappear. Thenthe ends of the torches were flung
hissing into the waterand went outas if it were all over with

Chapter 6

My state of mind regarding the pilfering from which I had been so
unexpectedly exonerateddid not impel me to frank disclosure; but
I hope it had some dregs of good at the bottom of it.

I do not recall that I felt any tenderness of conscience in
reference to Mrs. Joewhen the fear of being found out was lifted
off me. But I loved Joe - perhaps for no better reason in those
early days than because the dear fellow let me love him - andas
to himmy inner self was not so easily composed. It was much upon
my mind (particularly when I first saw him looking about for his
file) that I ought to tell Joe the whole truth. Yet I did notand
for the reason that I mistrusted that if I didhe would think me

worse than I was. The fear of losing Joe's confidenceand of
thenceforth sitting in the chimney-corner at night staring drearily
at my for ever lost companion and friendtied up my tongue. I
morbidly represented to myself that if Joe knew itI never
afterwards could see him at the fireside feeling his fair whisker
without thinking that he was meditating on it. Thatif Joe knew
itI never afterwards could see him glancehowever casuallyat
yesterday's meat or pudding when it came on to-day's tablewithout
thinking that he was debating whether I had been in the pantry.
Thatif Joe knew itand at any subsequent period of our joint
domestic life remarked that his beer was flat or thickthe
conviction that he suspected Tar in itwould bring a rush of blood
to my face. In a wordI was too cowardly to do what I knew to be
rightas I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be
wrong. I had had no intercourse with the world at that timeand I
imitated none of its many inhabitants who act in this manner. Quite
an untaught geniusI made the discovery of the line of action for

As I was sleepy before we were far away from the prison-shipJoe
took me on his back again and carried me home. He must have had a
tiresome journey of itfor Mr. Wopslebeing knocked upwas in
such a very bad temper that if the Church had been thrown openhe
would probably have excommunicated the whole expeditionbeginning
with Joe and myself. In his lay capacityhe persisted in sitting
down in the damp to such an insane extentthat when his coat was
taken off to be dried at the kitchen firethe circumstantial
evidence on his trousers would have hanged him if it had been a
capital offence.

By that timeI was staggering on the kitchen floor like a little
drunkardthrough having been newly set upon my feetand through
having been fast asleepand through waking in the heat and lights
and noise of tongues. As I came to myself (with the aid of a heavy
thump between the shouldersand the restorative exclamation "Yah!
Was there ever such a boy as this!" from my sister)I found Joe
telling them about the convict's confessionand all the visitors
suggesting different ways by which he had got into the pantry. Mr.
Pumblechook made outafter carefully surveying the premisesthat
he had first got upon the roof of the forgeand had then got upon
the roof of the houseand had then let himself down the kitchen
chimney by a rope made of his bedding cut into strips; and as Mr.
Pumblechook was very positive and drove his own chaise-cart - over
everybody - it was agreed that it must be so. Mr. Wopsleindeed
wildly cried out "No!" with the feeble malice of a tired man; but
as he had no theoryand no coat onhe was unanimously set at
nought - not to mention his smoking hard behindas he stood with
his back to the kitchen fire to draw the damp out: which was not
calculated to inspire confidence.

This was all I heard that night before my sister clutched meas a
slumberous offence to the company's eyesightand assisted me up to
bed with such a strong hand that I seemed to have fifty boots on
and to be dangling them all against the edges of the stairs. My
state of mindas I have described itbegan before I was up in the
morningand lasted long after the subject had died outand had
ceased to be mentioned saving on exceptional occasions.

Chapter 7

At the time when I stood in the churchyardreading the family
tombstonesI had just enough learning to be able to spell them
out. My construction even of their simple meaning was not very

correctfor I read "wife of the Above" as a complimentary
reference to my father's exaltation to a better world; and if any
one of my deceased relations had been referred to as "Below I
have no doubt I should have formed the worst opinions of that
member of the family. Neither, were my notions of the theological
positions to which my Catechism bound me, at all accurate; for, I
have a lively remembrance that I supposed my declaration that I was
to walk in the same all the days of my life laid me under an
obligation always to go through the village from our house in one
particular direction, and never to vary it by turning down by the
wheelwright's or up by the mill.

When I was old enough, I was to be apprenticed to Joe, and until I
could assume that dignity I was not to be what Mrs. Joe called
Pompeyed or (as I render it) pampered. Therefore, I was not only
odd-boy about the forge, but if any neighbour happened to want an
extra boy to frighten birds, or pick up stones, or do any such job,
I was favoured with the employment. In order, however, that our
superior position might not be compromised thereby, a money-box was
kept on the kitchen mantel-shelf, in to which it was publicly made
known that all my earnings were dropped. I have an impression that
they were to be contributed eventually towards the liquidation of
the National Debt, but I know I had no hope of any personal
participation in the treasure.

Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt kept an evening school in the village; that
is to say, she was a ridiculous old woman of limited means and
unlimited infirmity, who used to go to sleep from six to seven
every evening, in the society of youth who paid twopence per week
each, for the improving opportunity of seeing her do it. She rented
a small cottage, and Mr. Wopsle had the room up-stairs, where we
students used to overhear him reading aloud in a most dignified and
terrific manner, and occasionally bumping on the ceiling. There was
a fiction that Mr. Wopsle examined" the scholarsonce a quarter.
What he did on those occasions was to turn up his cuffsstick up
his hairand give us Mark Antony's oration over the body of
Caesar. This was always followed by Collins's Ode on the Passions
wherein I particularly venerated Mr. Wopsle as Revengethrowing his
blood-stained sword in thunder downand taking the War-denouncing
trumpet with a withering look. It was not with me thenas it was
in later lifewhen I fell into the society of the Passionsand
compared them with Collins and Wopslerather to the disadvantage
of both gentlemen.

Mr. Wopsle's great-auntbesides keeping this Educational
Institutionkept - in the same room - a little general shop. She
had no idea what stock she hador what the price of anything in it
was; but there was a little greasy memorandum-book kept in a
drawerwhich served as a Catalogue of Pricesand by this oracle
Biddy arranged all the shop transaction. Biddy was Mr. Wopsle's
great-aunt's granddaughter; I confess myself quiet unequal to the
working out of the problemwhat relation she was to Mr. Wopsle. She
was an orphan like myself; like metoohad been brought up by
hand. She was most noticeableI thoughtin respect of her
extremities; forher hair always wanted brushingher hands always
wanted washingand her shoes always wanted mending and pulling up
at heel. This description must be received with a week-day
limitation. On Sundaysshe went to church elaborated.

Much of my unassisted selfand more by the help of Biddy than of
Mr. Wopsle's great-auntI struggled through the alphabet as if it
had been a bramble-bush; getting considerably worried and scratched
by every letter. After thatI fell among those thievesthe nine
figureswho seemed every evening to do something new to disguise

themselves and baffle recognition. Butat last I beganin a
purblind groping wayto readwriteand cipheron the very
smallest scale.

One nightI was sitting in the chimney-corner with my slate
expending great efforts on the production of a letter to Joe. I
think it must have been a fully year after our hunt upon the
marshesfor it was a long time afterand it was winter and a hard
frost. With an alphabet on the hearth at my feet for referenceI
contrived in an hour or two to print and smear this epistle:


There was no indispensable necessity for my communicating with Joe
by letterinasmuch as he sat beside me and we were alone. ButI
delivered this written communication (slate and all) with my own
handand Joe received it as a miracle of erudition.

I say, Pip, old chap!cried Joeopening his blue eyes wide
what a scholar you are! An't you?

I should like to be,said Iglancing at the slate as he held it:
with a misgiving that the writing was rather hilly.

Why, here's a J,said Joeand a O equal to anythink! Here's a J
and a O, Pip, and a J-O, Joe.

I had never heard Joe read aloud to any greater extent than this
monosyllableand I had observed at church last Sunday when I
accidentally held our Prayer-Book upside downthat it seemed to
suit his convenience quite as well as if it had been all right.
Wishing to embrace the present occasion of finding out whether in
teaching JoeI should have to begin quite at the beginningI
saidAh! But read the rest, Jo.

The rest, eh, Pip?said Joelooking at it with a slowly
searching eyeOne, two, three. Why, here's three Js, and three
Os, and three J-O, Joes in it, Pip!

I leaned over Joeandwith the aid of my forefingerread him the
whole letter.

Astonishing!said Joewhen I had finished. "You ARE a scholar."

How do you spell Gargery, Joe?I asked himwith a modest

I don't spell it at all,said Joe.

But supposing you did?

It can't be supposed,said Joe. "Tho' I'm oncommon fond of

Are you, Joe?

On-common. Give me,said Joea good book, or a good newspaper,
and sit me down afore a good fire, and I ask no better. Lord!he
continuedafter rubbing his knees a littlewhen you do come to a
J and a O, and says you, Hereat lastis a J-OJoe how
interesting reading is!

I derived from this lastthat Joe's educationlike Steamwas yet
in its infancyPursuing the subjectI inquired:

Didn't you ever go to school, Joe, when you were as little as me?

No, Pip.

Why didn't you ever go to school, Joe, when you were as little as

Well, Pip,said Joetaking up the pokerand settling himself to
his usual occupation when he was thoughtfulof slowly raking the
fire between the lower bars: "I'll tell you. My fatherPiphe
were given to drinkand when he were overtook with drinkhe
hammered away at my mothermost onmerciful. It were a'most the
only hammering he didindeed'xcepting at myself. And he hammered
at me with a wigour only to be equalled by the wigour with which he
didn't hammer at his anwil. - You're a-listening and understanding

Yes, Joe.

'Consequence, my mother and me we ran away from my father,
several times; and then my mother she'd go out to work, and she'd
say, Joe she'd say, nowplease Godyou shall have some
schoolingchild and she'd put me to school. But my father were
that good in his hart that he couldn't abear to be without us. So,
he'd come with a most tremenjous crowd and make such a row at the
doors of the houses where we was, that they used to be obligated to
have no more to do with us and to give us up to him. And then he
took us home and hammered us. Which, you see, Pip,said Joe
pausing in his meditative raking of the fireand looking at me
were a drawback on my learning.

Certainly, poor Joe!

Though mind you, Pip,said Joewith a judicial touch or two of
the poker on the top barrendering unto all their doo, and
maintaining equal justice betwixt man and man, my father were that
good in his hart, don't you see?

I didn't see; but I didn't say so.

Well!Joe pursuedsomebody must keep the pot a biling, Pip, or
the pot won't bile, don't you know?

I saw thatand said so.

'Consequence, my father didn't make objections to my going to
work; so I went to work to work at my present calling, which were
his too, if he would have followed it, and I worked tolerable hard,
I assure you, Pip. In time I were able to keep him, and I kept him
till he went off in a purple leptic fit. And it were my intentions
to have had put upon his tombstone that Whatsume'er the failings on
his part, Remember reader he were that good in his hart.

Joe recited this couplet with such manifest pride and careful
perspicuitythat I asked him if he had made it himself.

I made it,said Joemy own self. I made it in a moment. It was
like striking out a horseshoe complete, in a single blow. I never
was so much surprised in all my life - couldn't credit my own ed to
tell you the truth, hardly believed it were my own ed. As I was
saying, Pip, it were my intentions to have had it cut over him; but

poetry costs money, cut it how you will, small or large, and it
were not done. Not to mention bearers, all the money that could be
spared were wanted for my mother. She were in poor elth, and quite
broke. She weren't long of following, poor soul, and her share of
peace come round at last.

Joe's blue eyes turned a little watery; he rubbedfirst one of
themand then the otherin a most uncongenial and uncomfortable
mannerwith the round knob on the top of the poker.

It were but lonesome then,said Joeliving here alone, and I
got acquainted with your sister. Now, Pip;Joe looked firmly at
meas if he knew I was not going to agree with him; "your sister
is a fine figure of a woman."

I could not help looking at the firein an obvious state of doubt.

Whatever family opinions, or whatever the world's opinions, on
that subject may be, Pip, your sister is,Joe tapped the top bar
with the poker after every word followinga - fine - figure - of

-a - woman!
I could think of nothing better to say than "I am glad you think

So am I,returned Joecatching me up. "I am glad I think so
Pip. A little redness or a little matter of Bonehere or there
what does it signify to Me?"

I sagaciously observedif it didn't signify to himto whom did it

Certainly!assented Joe. "That's it. You're rightold chap! When
I got acquainted with your sisterit were the talk how she was
bringing you up by hand. Very kind of her tooall the folks said
and I saidalong with all the folks. As to you Joe pursued with
a countenance expressive of seeing something very nasty indeed: if
you could have been aware how small and flabby and mean you was
dear meyou'd have formed the most contemptible opinion of

Not exactly relishing thisI saidNever mind me, Joe.

But I did mind you, Pip,he returned with tender simplicity.
When I offered to your sister to keep company, and to be asked in
church at such times as she was willing and ready to come to the
forge, I said to her, 'And bring the poor little child. God bless
the poor little child,' I said to your sister, 'there's room for
him at the forge!'

I broke out crying and begging pardonand hugged Joe round the
neck: who dropped the poker to hug meand to sayEver the best
of friends; an't us, Pip? Don't cry, old chap!

When this little interruption was overJoe resumed:

Well, you see, Pip, and here we are! That's about where it lights;
here we are! Now, when you take me in hand in my learning, Pip (and
I tell you beforehand I am awful dull, most awful dull), Mrs. Joe
mustn't see too much of what we're up to. It must be done, as I may
say, on the sly. And why on the sly? I'll tell you why, Pip.

He had taken up the poker again; without whichI doubt if he could
have proceeded in his demonstration.

Your sister is given to government.

Given to government, Joe?I was startledfor I had some shadowy
idea (and I am afraid I must addhope) that Joe had divorced her
in a favour of the Lords of the Admiraltyor Treasury.

Given to government,said Joe. "Which I meantersay the government
of you and myself."


And she an't over partial to having scholars on the premises,Joe
continuedand in partickler would not be over partial to my being
a scholar, for fear as I might rise. Like a sort or rebel, don't
you see?

I was going to retort with an inquiryand had got as far as
Why--when Joe stopped me.

Stay a bit. I know what you're a-going to say, Pip; stay a bit! I
don't deny that your sister comes the Mo-gul over us, now and
again. I don't deny that she do throw us back-falls, and that she
do drop down upon us heavy. At such times as when your sister is on
the Ram-page, Pip,Joe sank his voice to a whisper and glanced at
the doorcandour compels fur to admit that she is a Buster.

Joe pronounced this wordas if it began with at least twelve
capital Bs.

Why don't I rise? That were your observation when I broke it off,

Yes, Joe.

Well,said Joepassing the poker into his left handthat he
might feel his whisker; and I had no hope of him whenever he took
to that placid occupation; "your sister's a master-mind. A

What's that?I askedin some hope of bringing him to a stand.
ButJoe was readier with his definition than I had expectedand
completely stopped me by arguing circularlyand answering with a
fixed lookHer.

And I an't a master-mind,Joe resumedwhen he had unfixed his
lookand got back to his whisker. "And last of allPip - and this
I want to say very serious to youold chap - I see so much in my
poor motherof a woman drudging and slaving and breaking her
honest hart and never getting no peace in her mortal daysthat I'm
dead afeerd of going wrong in the way of not doing what's right by
a womanand I'd fur rather of the two go wrong the t'other way
and be a little ill-conwenienced myself. I wish it was only me that
got put outPip; I wish there warn't no Tickler for youold chap;
I wish I could take it all on myself; but this is the
up-and-down-and-straight on itPipand I hope you'll overlook

Young as I wasI believe that I dated a new admiration of Joe from
that night. We were equals afterwardsas we had been before; but
afterwards at quiet times when I sat looking at Joe and thinking
about himI had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was
looking up to Joe in my heart.

However,said Joerising to replenish the fire; "here's the
Dutch-clock a working himself up to being equal to strike Eight of
'emand she's not come home yet! I hope Uncle Pumblechook's mare
mayn't have set a fore-foot on a piece o' iceand gone down."

Mrs. Joe made occasional trips with Uncle Pumblechook on
market-daysto assist him in buying such household stuffs and
goods as required a woman's judgment; Uncle Pumblechook being a
bachelor and reposing no confidences in his domestic servant. This
was market-dayand Mrs. Joe was out on one of these expeditions.

Joe made the fire and swept the hearthand then we went to the
door to listen for the chaise-cart. It was a dry cold nightand
the wind blew keenlyand the frost was white and hard. A man would
die to-night of lying out on the marshesI thought. And then I
looked at the starsand considered how awful if would be for a man
to turn his face up to them as he froze to deathand see no help
or pity in all the glittering multitude.

Here comes the mare,said Joeringing like a peal of bells!

The sound of her iron shoes upon the hard road was quite musical
as she came along at a much brisker trot than usual. We got a chair
outready for Mrs. Joe's alightingand stirred up the fire that
they might see a bright windowand took a final survey of the
kitchen that nothing might be out of its place. When we had
completed these preparationsthey drove upwrapped to the eyes.
Mrs. Joe was soon landedand Uncle Pumblechook was soon down too
covering the mare with a clothand we were soon all in the
kitchencarrying so much cold air in with us that it seemed to
drive all the heat out of the fire.

Now,said Mrs. Joeunwrapping herself with haste and excitement
and throwing her bonnet back on her shoulders where it hung by the
strings: "if this boy an't grateful this nighthe never will be!"

I looked as grateful as any boy possibly couldwho was wholly
uninformed why he ought to assume that expression.

It's only to be hoped,said my sisterthat he won't be
Pomp-eyed. But I have my fears.

She an't in that line, Mum,said Mr. Pumblechook. "She knows

She? I looked at Joemaking the motion with my lips and eyebrows
She?Joe looked at memaking the motion with his lips and
eyebrowsShe?My sister catching him in the acthe drew the
back of his hand across his nose with his usual conciliatory air on
such occasionsand looked at her.

Well?said my sisterin her snappish way. "What are you staring
at? Is the house a-fire?"

- Which some individual,Joe politely hintedmentioned - she.

And she is a she, I suppose?said my sister. "Unless you call
Miss Havisham a he. And I doubt if even you'll go so far as that."

Miss Havisham, up town?said Joe.

Is there any Miss Havisham down town?returned my sister.

She wants this boy to go and play there. And of course he's going.

And he had better play there,said my sistershaking her head at
me as an encouragement to be extremely light and sportiveor I'll
work him.

I had heard of Miss Havisham up town - everybody for miles round
had heard of Miss Havisham up town - as an immensely rich and grim
lady who lived in a large and dismal house barricaded against
robbersand who led a life of seclusion.

Well to be sure!said Joeastounded. "I wonder how she come to
know Pip!"

Noodle!cried my sister. "Who said she knew him?"

- Which some individual,Joe again politely hintedmentioned
that she wanted him to go and play there.

And couldn't she ask Uncle Pumblechook if he knew of a boy to go
and play there? Isn't it just barely possible that Uncle
Pumblechook may be a tenant of hers, and that he may sometimes - we
won't say quarterly or half-yearly, for that would be requiring too
much of you - but sometimes - go there to pay his rent? And
couldn't she then ask Uncle Pumblechook if he knew of a boy to go
and play there? And couldn't Uncle Pumblechook, being always
considerate and thoughtful for us - though you may not think it,
Joseph,in a tone of the deepest reproachas if he were the most
callous of nephewsthen mention this boy, standing Prancing here

-which I solemnly declare I was not doing - "that I have for ever
been a willing slave to?"
Good again!cried Uncle Pumblechook. "Well put! Prettily pointed!
Good indeed! Now Josephyou know the case."

No, Joseph,said my sisterstill in a reproachful mannerwhile
Joe apologetically drew the back of his hand across and across his
noseyou do not yet - though you may not think it - know the
case. You may consider that you do, but you do not, Joseph. For you
do not know that Uncle Pumblechook, being sensible that for
anything we can tell, this boy's fortune may be made by his going
to Miss Havisham's, has offered to take him into town to-night in
his own chaise-cart, and to keep him to-night, and to take him with
his own hands to Miss Havisham's to-morrow morning. And Lor-a-mussy
me!cried my sistercasting off her bonnet in sudden desperation
here I stand talking to mere Mooncalfs, with Uncle Pumblechook
waiting, and the mare catching cold at the door, and the boy grimed
with crock and dirt from the hair of his head to the sole of his

With thatshe pounced upon melike an eagle on a lamband my
face was squeezed into wooden bowls in sinksand my head was put
under taps of water-buttsand I was soapedand kneadedand
towelledand thumpedand harrowedand raspeduntil I really was
quite beside myself. (I may here remark that I suppose myself to be
better acquainted than any living authoritywith the ridgy effect
of a wedding-ringpassing unsympathetically over the human

When my ablutions were completedI was put into clean linen of the
stiffest characterlike a young penitent into sackclothand was
trussed up in my tightest and fearfullest suit. I was then
delivered over to Mr. Pumblechookwho formally received me as if he
were the Sheriffand who let off upon me the speech that I knew he
had been dying to make all along: "Boybe for ever grateful to all
friendsbut especially unto them which brought you up by hand!"

Good-bye, Joe!

God bless you, Pip, old chap!

I had never parted from him beforeand what with my feelings and
what with soap-sudsI could at first see no stars from the
chaise-cart. But they twinkled out one by onewithout throwing any
light on the questions why on earth I was going to play at Miss
Havisham'sand what on earth I was expected to play at.

Chapter 8

Mr. Pumblechook's premises in the High-street of the market town
were of a peppercorny and farinaceous characteras the premises of
a corn-chandler and seedsman should be. It appeared to me that he
must be a very happy man indeedto have so many little drawers in
his shop; and I wondered when I peeped into one or two on the lower
tiersand saw the tied-up brown paper packets insidewhether the
flower-seeds and bulbs ever wanted of a fine day to break out of
those jailsand bloom.

It was in the early morning after my arrival that I entertained
this speculation. On the previous nightI had been sent straight
to bed in an attic with a sloping roofwhich was so low in the
corner where the bedstead wasthat I calculated the tiles as being
within a foot of my eyebrows. In the same early morningI
discovered a singular affinity between seeds and corduroys. Mr.
Pumblechook wore corduroysand so did his shopman; and somehow
there was a general air and flavour about the corduroysso much in
the nature of seedsand a general air and flavour about the seeds
so much in the nature of corduroysthat I hardly knew which was
which. The same opportunity served me for noticing that Mr.
Pumblechook appeared to conduct his business by looking across the
street at the saddlerwho appeared to transact his business by
keeping his eye on the coach-makerwho appeared to get on in life
by putting his hands in his pockets and contemplating the baker
who in his turn folded his arms and stared at the grocerwho stood
at his door and yawned at the chemist. The watch-makeralways
poring over a little desk with a magnifying glass at his eyeand
always inspected by a group of smock-frocks poring over him through
the glass of his shop-windowseemed to be about the only person in
the High-street whose trade engaged his attention.

Mr. Pumblechook and I breakfasted at eight o'clock in the parlour
behind the shopwhile the shopman took his mug of tea and hunch of
bread-and-butter on a sack of peas in the front premises. I
considered Mr. Pumblechook wretched company. Besides being possessed
by my sister's idea that a mortifying and penitential character
ought to be imparted to my diet - besides giving me as much crumb
as possible in combination with as little butterand putting such
a quantity of warm water into my milk that it would have been more
candid to have left the milk out altogether - his conversation
consisted of nothing but arithmetic. On my politely bidding him
Good morninghe saidpompouslySeven times nine, boy?And how
should I be able to answerdodged in that wayin a strange place
on an empty stomach! I was hungrybut before I had swallowed a
morselhe began a running sum that lasted all through the
breakfast. "Seven?" "And four?" "And eight?" "And six?" "And two?"
And ten?And so on. And after each figure was disposed ofit was
as much as I could do to get a bite or a supbefore the next came;
while he sat at his ease guessing nothingand eating bacon and hot
rollin (if I may be allowed the expression) a gorging and

gormandising manner.

For such reasons I was very glad when ten o'clock came and we
started for Miss Havisham's; though I was not at all at my ease
regarding the manner in which I should acquit myself under that
lady's roof. Within a quarter of an hour we came to Miss Havisham's
housewhich was of old brickand dismaland had a great many
iron bars to it. Some of the windows had been walled up; of those
that remainedall the lower were rustily barred. There was a
court-yard in frontand that was barred; sowe had to waitafter
ringing the belluntil some one should come to open it. While we
waited at the gateI peeped in (even then Mr. Pumblechook said
And fourteen?but I pretended not to hear him)and saw that at
the side of the house there was a large brewery. No brewing was going
on in itand none seemed to have gone on for a long long time.

A window was raisedand a clear voice demanded "What name?" To
which my conductor repliedPumblechook.The voice returned
Quite right,and the window was shut againand a young lady came
across the court-yardwith keys in her hand.

This,said Mr. Pumblechookis Pip.

This is Pip, is it?returned the young ladywho was very pretty
and seemed very proud; "come inPip."

Mr. Pumblechook was coming in alsowhen she stopped him with the

Oh!she said. "Did you wish to see Miss Havisham?"

If Miss Havisham wished to see me,returned Mr. Pumblechook

Ah!said the girl; "but you see she don't."

She said it so finallyand in such an undiscussible waythat Mr.
Pumblechookthough in a condition of ruffled dignitycould not
protest. But he eyed me severely - as if I had done anything to
him! - and departed with the words reproachfully delivered: "Boy!
Let your behaviour here be a credit unto them which brought you up
by hand!" I was not free from apprehension that he would come back
to propound through the gateAnd sixteen?But he didn't.

My young conductress locked the gateand we went across the
court-yard. It was paved and cleanbut grass was growing in every
crevice. The brewery buildings had a little lane of communication
with itand the wooden gates of that lane stood openand all the
brewery beyondstood openaway to the high enclosing wall; and
all was empty and disused. The cold wind seemed to blow colder
therethan outside the gate; and it made a shrill noise in howling
in and out at the open sides of the brewerylike the noise of wind
in the rigging of a ship at sea.

She saw me looking at itand she saidYou could drink without
hurt all the strong beer that's brewed there now, boy.

I should think I could, miss,said Iin a shy way.

Better not try to brew beer there now, or it would turn out sour,
boy; don't you think so?

It looks like it, miss.

Not that anybody means to try,she addedfor that's all done
with, and the place will stand as idle as it is, till it falls. As
to strong beer, there's enough of it in the cellars already, to
drown the Manor House.

Is that the name of this house, miss?

One of its names, boy.

It has more than one, then, miss?

One more. Its other name was Satis; which is Greek, or Latin, or
Hebrew, or all three - or all one to me - for enough.

Enough House,said I; "that's a curious namemiss."

Yes,she replied; "but it meant more than it said. It meantwhen
it was giventhat whoever had this housecould want nothing else.
They must have been easily satisfied in those daysI should think.
But don't loiterboy."

Though she called me "boy" so oftenand with a carelessness that
was far from complimentaryshe was of about my own age. She seemed
much older than Iof coursebeing a girland beautiful and
self-possessed; and she was as scornful of me as if she had been
one-and-twentyand a queen.

We went into the house by a side door - the great front entrance
had two chains across it outside - and the first thing I noticed
wasthat the passages were all darkand that she had left a
candle burning there. She took it upand we went through more
passages and up a staircaseand still it was all darkand only
the candle lighted us.

At last we came to the door of a roomand she saidGo in.

I answeredmore in shyness than politenessAfter you, miss.

To thisshe returned: "Don't be ridiculousboy; I am not going
in." And scornfully walked awayand - what was worse - took the
candle with her.

This was very uncomfortableand I was half afraid. Howeverthe
only thing to be done being to knock at the doorI knockedand
was told from within to enter. I enteredthereforeand found
myself in a pretty large roomwell lighted with wax candles. No
glimpse of daylight was to be seen in it. It was a dressing-room
as I supposed from the furniturethough much of it was of forms
and uses then quite unknown to me. But prominent in it was a draped
table with a gilded looking-glassand that I made out at first
sight to be a fine lady's dressing-table.

Whether I should have made out this object so soonif there had
been no fine lady sitting at itI cannot say. In an arm-chair
with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that
handsat the strangest lady I have ever seenor shall ever see.

She was dressed in rich materials - satinsand laceand silks all
of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil
dependent from her hairand she had bridal flowers in her hair
but her hair was white. Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and
on her handsand some other jewels lay sparkling on the table.
Dressesless splendid than the dress she woreand half-packed
trunkswere scattered about. She had not quite finished dressing

for she had but one shoe on - the other was on the table near her
hand - her veil was but half arrangedher watch and chain were not
put onand some lace for her bosom lay with those trinketsand
with her handkerchiefand glovesand some flowersand a
prayer-bookall confusedly heaped about the looking-glass.

It was not in the first few moments that I saw all these things
though I saw more of them in the first moments than might be
supposed. ButI saw that everything within my view which ought to
be whitehad been white long agoand had lost its lustreand was
faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had
withered like the dressand like the flowersand had no
brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that
the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman
and that the figure upon which it now hung loosehad shrunk to
skin and bone. OnceI had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork
at the Fairrepresenting I know not what impossible personage
lying in state. OnceI had been taken to one of our old marsh
churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dressthat had
been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Nowwaxwork and
skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I
should have cried outif I could.

Who is it?said the lady at the table.

Pip, ma'am.


Mr. Pumblechook's boy, ma'am. Come - to play.

Come nearer; let me look at you. Come close.

It was when I stood before heravoiding her eyesthat I took note
of the surrounding objects in detailand saw that her watch had
stopped at twenty minutes to nineand that a clock in the room had
stopped at twenty minutes to nine.

Look at me,said Miss Havisham. "You are not afraid of a woman
who has never seen the sun since you were born?"

I regret to state that I was not afraid of telling the enormous lie
comprehended in the answer "No."

Do you know what I touch here?she saidlaying her handsone
upon the otheron her left side.

Yes, ma'am.(It made me think of the young man.)

What do I touch?

Your heart.


She uttered the word with an eager lookand with strong emphasis
and with a weird smile that had a kind of boast in it. Afterwards
she kept her hands there for a little whileand slowly took them
away as if they were heavy.

I am tired,said Miss Havisham. "I want diversionand I have
done with men and women. Play."

I think it will be conceded by my most disputatious readerthat

she could hardly have directed an unfortunate boy to do anything in
the wide world more difficult to be done under the circumstances.

I sometimes have sick fancies,she went onand I have a sick
fancy that I want to see some play. There there!with an impatient
movement of the fingers of her right hand; "playplayplay!"

For a momentwith the fear of my sister's working me before my
eyesI had a desperate idea of starting round the room in the
assumed character of Mr. Pumblechook's chaise-cart. ButI felt
myself so unequal to the performance that I gave it upand stood
looking at Miss Havisham in what I suppose she took for a dogged
mannerinasmuch as she saidwhen we had taken a good look at each

Are you sullen and obstinate?

No, ma'am, I am very sorry for you, and very sorry I can't play
just now. If you complain of me I shall get into trouble with my
sister, so I would do it if I could; but it's so new here, and so
strange, and so fine - and melancholy--.I stoppedfearing I might
say too muchor had already said itand we took another look at
each other.

Before she spoke againshe turned her eyes from meand looked at
the dress she woreand at the dressing-tableand finally at
herself in the looking-glass.

So new to him,she mutteredso old to me; so strange to him, so
familiar to me; so melancholy to both of us! Call Estella.

As she was still looking at the reflection of herselfI thought
she was still talking to herselfand kept quiet.

Call Estella,she repeatedflashing a look at me. "You can do
that. Call Estella. At the door."

To stand in the dark in a mysterious passage of an unknown house
bawling Estella to a scornful young lady neither visible nor
responsiveand feeling it a dreadful liberty so to roar out her
namewas almost as bad as playing to order. Butshe answered at
lastand her light came along the dark passage like a star.

Miss Havisham beckoned her to come closeand took up a jewel from
the tableand tried its effect upon her fair young bosom and
against her pretty brown hair. "Your ownone daymy dearand you
will use it well. Let me see you play cards with this boy."

With this boy? Why, he is a common labouring-boy!

I thought I overheard Miss Havisham answer - only it seemed so
unlikely - "Well? You can break his heart."

What do you play, boy?asked Estella of myselfwith the greatest

Nothing but beggar my neighbour, miss.

Beggar him,said Miss Havisham to Estella. So we sat down to

It was then I began to understand that everything in the room had
stoppedlike the watch and the clocka long time ago. I noticed
that Miss Havisham put down the jewel exactly on the spot from

which she had taken it up. As Estella dealt the cardsI glanced at
the dressing-table againand saw that the shoe upon itonce
whitenow yellowhad never been worn. I glanced down at the foot
from which the shoe was absentand saw that the silk stocking on
itonce whitenow yellowhad been trodden ragged. Without this
arrest of everythingthis standing still of all the pale decayed
objectsnot even the withered bridal dress on the collapsed from
could have looked so like grave-clothesor the long veil so like a

So she satcorpse-likeas we played at cards; the frillings and
trimmings on her bridal dresslooking like earthy paper. I knew
nothing thenof the discoveries that are occasionally made of
bodies buried in ancient timeswhich fall to powder in the moment
of being distinctly seen; butI have often thought sincethat she
must have looked as if the admission of the natural light of day
would have struck her to dust.

He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!said Estella with disdain
before our first game was out. "And what coarse hands he has! And
what thick boots!"

I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I
began to consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me
was so strongthat it became infectiousand I caught it.

She won the gameand I dealt. I misdealtas was only natural
when I knew she was lying in wait for me to do wrong; and she
denounced me for a stupidclumsy labouring-boy.

You say nothing of her,remarked Miss Havisham to meas she
looked on. "She says many hard things of youbut you say nothing
of her. What do you think of her?"

I don't like to say,I stammered.

Tell me in my ear,said Miss Havishambending down.

I think she is very proud,I repliedin a whisper.

Anything else?

I think she is very pretty.

Anything else?

I think she is very insulting.(She was looking at me then with a
look of supreme aversion.)

Anything else?

I think I should like to go home.

And never see her again, though she is so pretty?

I am not sure that I shouldn't like to see her again, but I should
like to go home now.

You shall go soon,said Miss Havishamaloud. "Play the game

Saving for the one weird smile at firstI should have felt almost
sure that Miss Havisham's face could not smile. It had dropped into
a watchful and brooding expression - most likely when all the

things about her had become transfixed - and it looked as if
nothing could ever lift it up again. Her chest had droppedso that
she stooped; and her voice had droppedso that she spoke lowand
with a dead lull upon her; altogethershe had the appearance of
having droppedbody and soulwithin and withoutunder the weight
of a crushing blow.

I played the game to an end with Estellaand she beggared me. She
threw the cards down on the table when she had won them allas if
she despised them for having been won of me.

When shall I have you here again?said miss Havisham. "Let me

I was beginning to remind her that to-day was Wednesdaywhen she
checked me with her former impatient movement of the fingers of her
right hand.

There, there! I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing
of weeks of the year. Come again after six days. You hear?

Yes, ma'am.

Estella, take him down. Let him have something to eat, and let him
roam and look about him while he eats. Go, Pip.

I followed the candle downas I had followed the candle upand
she stood it in the place where we had found it. Until she opened
the side entranceI had fanciedwithout thinking about itthat
it must necessarily be night-time. The rush of the daylight quite
confounded meand made me feel as if I had been in the candlelight
of the strange room many hours.

You are to wait here, you boy,said Estella; and disappeared and
closed the door.

I took the opportunity of being alone in the court-yardto look at
my coarse hands and my common boots. My opinion of those
accessories was not favourable. They had never troubled me before
but they troubled me nowas vulgar appendages. I determined to ask
Joe why he had ever taught me to call those picture-cardsJacks
which ought to be called knaves. I wished Joe had been rather more
genteelly brought upand then I should have been so too.

She came backwith some bread and meat and a little mug of beer.
She put the mug down on the stones of the yardand gave me the
bread and meat without looking at meas insolently as if I were a
dog in disgrace. I was so humiliatedhurtspurnedoffended
angrysorry - I cannot hit upon the right name for the smart - God
knows what its name was - that tears started to my eyes. The moment
they sprang therethe girl looked at me with a quick delight in
having been the cause of them. This gave me power to keep them back
and to look at her: soshe gave a contemptuous toss - but with a
senseI thoughtof having made too sure that I was so wounded and
left me.

Butwhen she was goneI looked about me for a place to hide my
face inand got behind one of the gates in the brewery-laneand
leaned my sleeve against the wall thereand leaned my forehead on
it and cried. As I criedI kicked the walland took a hard twist
at my hair; so bitter were my feelingsand so sharp was the smart
without a namethat needed counteraction.

My sister's bringing up had made me sensitive. In the little world

in which children have their existence whosoever brings them up
there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely feltas
injustice. It may be only small injustice that the child can be
exposed to; but the child is smalland its world is smalland its
rocking-horse stands as many hands highaccording to scaleas a
big-boned Irish hunter. Within myselfI had sustainedfrom my
babyhooda perpetual conflict with injustice. I had knownfrom
the time when I could speakthat my sisterin her capricious and
violent coercionwas unjust to me. I had cherished a profound
conviction that her bringing me up by handgave her no right to
bring me up by jerks. Through all my punishmentsdisgracesfasts
and vigilsand other penitential performancesI had nursed this
assurance; and to my communing so much with itin a solitary and
unprotected wayI in great part refer the fact that I was morally
timid and very sensitive.

I got rid of my injured feelings for the timeby kicking them into
the brewery walland twisting them out of my hairand then I
smoothed my face with my sleeveand came from behind the gate. The
bread and meat were acceptableand the beer was warming and
tinglingand I was soon in spirits to look about me.

To be sureit was a deserted placedown to the pigeon-house in
the brewery-yardwhich had been blown crooked on its pole by some
high windand would have made the pigeons think themselves at sea
if there had been any pigeons there to be rocked by it. Butthere
were no pigeons in the dove-cotno horses in the stableno pigs
in the styno malt in the store-houseno smells of grains and
beer in the copper or the vat. All the uses and scents of the
brewery might have evaporated with its last reek of smoke. In a
by-yardthere was a wilderness of empty caskswhich had a certain
sour remembrance of better days lingering about them; but it was
too sour to be accepted as a sample of the beer that was gone - and
in this respect I remember those recluses as being like most

Behind the furthest end of the brewerywas a rank garden with an
old wall: not so high but that I could struggle up and hold on long
enough to look over itand see that the rank garden was the garden
of the houseand that it was overgrown with tangled weedsbut
that there was a track upon the green and yellow pathsas if some
one sometimes walked thereand that Estella was walking away from
me even then. But she seemed to be everywhere. Forwhen I yielded
to the temptation presented by the casksand began to walk on
them. I saw her walking on them at the end of the yard of casks.
She had her back towards meand held her pretty brown hair spread
out in her two handsand never looked roundand passed out of my
view directly. Soin the brewery itself - by which I mean the
large paved lofty place in which they used to make the beerand
where the brewing utensils still were. When I first went into it
andrather oppressed by its gloomstood near the door looking
about meI saw her pass among the extinguished firesand ascend
some light iron stairsand go out by a gallery high overheadas
if she were going out into the sky.

It was in this placeand at this momentthat a strange thing
happened to my fancy. I thought it a strange thing thenand I
thought it a stranger thing long afterwards. I turned my eyes - a
little dimmed by looking up at the frosty light - towards a great
wooden beam in a low nook of the building near me on my right hand
and I saw a figure hanging there by the neck. A figure all in
yellow whitewith but one shoe to the feet; and it hung sothat I
could see that the faded trimmings of the dress were like earthy
paperand that the face was Miss Havisham'swith a movement going

over the whole countenance as if she were trying to call to me. In
the terror of seeing the figureand in the terror of being certain
that it had not been there a moment beforeI at first ran from it
and then ran towards it. And my terror was greatest of allwhen I
found no figure there.

Nothing less than the frosty light of the cheerful skythe sight
of people passing beyond the bars of the court-yard gateand the
reviving influence of the rest of the bread and meat and beer
would have brought me round. Even with those aidsI might not have
come to myself as soon as I didbut that I saw Estella approaching
with the keysto let me out. She would have some fair reason for
looking down upon meI thoughtif she saw me frightened; and she
would have no fair reason.

She gave me a triumphant glance in passing meas if she rejoiced
that my hands were so coarse and my boots were so thickand she
opened the gateand stood holding it. I was passing out without
looking at herwhen she touched me with a taunting hand.

Why don't you cry?

Because I don't want to.

You do,said she. "You have been crying till you are half blind
and you are near crying again now."

She laughed contemptuouslypushed me outand locked the gate upon
me. I went straight to Mr. Pumblechook'sand was immensely relieved
to find him not at home. Soleaving word with the shopman on what
day I was wanted at Miss Havisham's againI set off on the
four-mile walk to our forge; ponderingas I went alongon all I
had seenand deeply revolving that I was a common labouring-boy;
that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I had
fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was
much more ignorant than I had considered myself last nightand
generally that I was in a low-lived bad way.

Chapter 9

When I reached homemy sister was very curious to know all about
Miss Havisham'sand asked a number of questions. And I soon found
myself getting heavily bumped from behind in the nape of the neck
and the small of the backand having my face ignominiously shoved
against the kitchen wallbecause I did not answer those questions
at sufficient length.

If a dread of not being understood be hidden in the breasts of
other young people to anything like the extent to which it used to
be hidden in mine - which I consider probableas I have no
particular reason to suspect myself of having been a monstrosity it
is the key to many reservations. I felt convinced that if I
described Miss Havisham's as my eyes had seen itI should not be
understood. Not only thatbut I felt convinced that Miss Havisham
too would not be understood; and although she was perfectly
incomprehensible to meI entertained an impression that there
would be something coarse and treacherous in my dragging her as she
really was (to say nothing of Miss Estella) before the
contemplation of Mrs. Joe. ConsequentlyI said as little as I
couldand had my face shoved against the kitchen wall.

The worst of it was that that bullying old Pumblechookpreyed upon
by a devouring curiosity to be informed of all I had seen and

heardcame gaping over in his chaise-cart at tea-timeto have the
details divulged to him. And the mere sight of the tormentwith
his fishy eyes and mouth openhis sandy hair inquisitively on end
and his waistcoat heaving with windy arithmeticmade me vicious in
my reticence.

Well, boy,Uncle Pumblechook beganas soon as he was seated in
the chair of honour by the fire. "How did you get on up town?"

I answeredPretty well, sir,and my sister shook her fist at me.

Pretty well?Mr. Pumblechook repeated. "Pretty well is no answer.
Tell us what you mean by pretty wellboy?"

Whitewash on the forehead hardens the brain into a state of
obstinacy perhaps. Anyhowwith whitewash from the wall on my
foreheadmy obstinacy was adamantine. I reflected for some time
and then answered as if I had discovered a new ideaI mean pretty

My sister with an exclamation of impatience was going to fly at me

-I had no shadow of defencefor Joe was busy in the forge when Mr.
Pumblechook interposed with "No! Don't lose your temper. Leave this
lad to mema'am; leave this lad to me." Mr. Pumblechook then turned
me towards himas if he were going to cut my hairand said:
First (to get our thoughts in order): Forty-three pence?

I calculated the consequences of replying "Four Hundred Pound and
finding them against me, went as near the answer as I could - which
was somewhere about eightpence off. Mr. Pumblechook then put me
through my pence-table from twelve pence make one shilling up to
forty pence make three and fourpence and then triumphantly
demanded, as if he had done for me, Now! How much is forty-three
pence?" To which I repliedafter a long interval of reflectionI
don't know.And I was so aggravated that I almost doubt if I did

Mr. Pumblechook worked his head like a screw to screw it out of me
and saidIs forty-three pence seven and sixpence three fardens,
for instance?

Yes!said I. And although my sister instantly boxed my earsit
was highly gratifying to me to see that the answer spoilt his joke
and brought him to a dead stop.

Boy! What like is Miss Havisham?Mr. Pumblechook began again when
he had recovered; folding his arms tight on his chest and applying
the screw.

Very tall and dark,I told him.

Is she, uncle?asked my sister.

Mr. Pumblechook winked assent; from which I at once inferred that he
had never seen Miss Havishamfor she was nothing of the kind.

Good!said Mr. Pumblechook conceitedly. ("This is the way to have
him! We are beginning to hold our ownI thinkMum?")

I am sure, uncle,returned Mrs. JoeI wish you had him always:
you know so well how to deal with him.

Now, boy! What was she a-doing of, when you went in today?asked

Mr. Pumblechook.

She was sitting,I answeredin a black velvet coach.

Mr. Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe stared at one another - as they well
might - and both repeatedIn a black velvet coach?

Yes,said I. "And Miss Estella - that's her nieceI think handed
her in cake and wine at the coach-windowon a gold plate.
And we all had cake and wine on gold plates. And I got up behind
the coach to eat minebecause she told me to."

Was anybody else there?asked Mr. Pumblechook.

Four dogs,said I.

Large or small?

Immense,said I. "And they fought for veal cutlets out of a
silver basket."

Mr. Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe stared at one another againin utter
amazement. I was perfectly frantic - a reckless witness under the
torture - and would have told them anything.

Where was this coach, in the name of gracious?asked my sister.

In Miss Havisham's room.They stared again. "But there weren't
any horses to it." I added this saving clausein the moment of
rejecting four richly caparisoned coursers which I had had wild
thoughts of harnessing.

Can this be possible, uncle?asked Mrs. Joe. "What can the boy

I'll tell you, Mum,said Mr. Pumblechook. "My opinion isit's a
sedan-chair. She's flightyyou know - very flighty - quite flighty
enough to pass her days in a sedan-chair."

Did you ever see her in it, uncle?asked Mrs. Joe.

How could I,he returnedforced to the admissionwhen I never
see her in my life? Never clapped eyes upon her!

Goodness, uncle! And yet you have spoken to her?

Why, don't you know,said Mr. Pumblechooktestilythat when I
have been there, I have been took up to the outside of her door,
and the door has stood ajar, and she has spoke to me that way.
Don't say you don't know that, Mum. Howsever, the boy went there to
play. What did you play at, boy?

We played with flags,I said. (I beg to observe that I think of
myself with amazementwhen I recall the lies I told on this

Flags!echoed my sister.

Yes,said I. "Estella waved a blue flagand I waved a red one
and Miss Havisham waved one sprinkled all over with little gold
starsout at the coach-window. And then we all waved our swords
and hurrahed."

Swords!repeated my sister. "Where did you get swords from?"

Out of a cupboard,said I. "And I saw pistols in it - and jam and
pills. And there was no daylight in the roombut it was all
lighted up with candles."

That's true, Mum,said Mr. Pumblechookwith a grave nod. "That's
the state of the casefor that much I've seen myself." And then
they both stared at meand Iwith an obtrusive show of
artlessness on my countenancestared at themand plaited the
right leg of my trousers with my right hand.

If they had asked me any more questions I should undoubtedly have
betrayed myselffor I was even then on the point of mentioning
that there was a balloon in the yardand should have hazarded the
statement but for my invention being divided between that
phenomenon and a bear in the brewery. They were so much occupied
howeverin discussing the marvels I had already presented for
their considerationthat I escaped. The subject still held them
when Joe came in from his work to have a cup of tea. To whom my
sistermore for the relief of her own mind than for the
gratification of hisrelated my pretended experiences.

Nowwhen I saw Joe open his blue eyes and roll them all round the
kitchen in helpless amazementI was overtaken by penitence; but
only as regarded him - not in the least as regarded the other two.
Towards Joeand Joe onlyI considered myself a young monster
while they sat debating what results would come to me from Miss
Havisham's acquaintance and favour. They had no doubt that Miss
Havisham would "do something" for me; their doubts related to the
form that something would take. My sister stood out for "property."
Mr. Pumblechook was in favour of a handsome premium for binding me
apprentice to some genteel trade - saythe corn and seed trade
for instance. Joe fell into the deepest disgrace with bothfor
offering the bright suggestion that I might only be presented with
one of the dogs who had fought for the veal-cutlets. "If a fool's
head can't express better opinions than that said my sister, and
you have got any work to doyou had better go and do it." So he

After Mr. Pumblechook had driven offand when my sister was washing
upI stole into the forge to Joeand remained by him until he had
done for the night. Then I saidBefore the fire goes out, Joe, I
should like to tell you something.

Should you, Pip?said Joedrawing his shoeing-stool near the
forge. "Then tell us. What is itPip?"

Joe,said Itaking hold of his rolled-up shirt sleeveand
twisting it between my finger and thumbyou remember all that
about Miss Havisham's?

Remember?said Joe. "I believe you! Wonderful!"

It's a terrible thing, Joe; it ain't true.

What are you telling of, Pip?cried Joefalling back in the
greatest amazement. "You don't mean to say it's--"

Yes I do; it's lies, Joe.

But not all of it? Why sure you don't mean to say, Pip, that there
was no black welwet coach?ForI stood shaking my head. "But at
least there was dogsPip? ComePip said Joe, persuasively, if
there warn't no weal-cutletsat least there was dogs?"

No, Joe.

A dog?said Joe. "A puppy? Come?"

No, Joe, there was nothing at all of the kind.

As I fixed my eyes hopelessly on JoeJoe contemplated me in
dismay. "Pipold chap! This won't doold fellow! I say! Where do
you expect to go to?"

It's terrible, Joe; an't it?

Terrible?cried Joe. "Awful! What possessed you?"

I don't know what possessed me, Joe,I repliedletting his shirt
sleeve goand sitting down in the ashes at his feethanging my
head; "but I wish you hadn't taught me to call Knaves at cards
Jacks; and I wish my boots weren't so thick nor my hands so

And then I told Joe that I felt very miserableand that I hadn't
been able to explain myself to Mrs. Joe and Pumblechook who were so
rude to meand that there had been a beautiful young lady at Miss
Havisham's who was dreadfully proudand that she had said I was
commonand that I knew I was commonand that I wished I was not
commonand that the lies had come of it somehowthough I didn't
know how.

This was a case of metaphysicsat least as difficult for Joe to
deal withas for me. But Joe took the case altogether out of the
region of metaphysicsand by that means vanquished it.

There's one thing you may be sure of, Pip,said Joeafter some
ruminationnamely, that lies is lies. Howsever they come, they
didn't ought to come, and they come from the father of lies, and
work round to the same. Don't you tell no more of 'em, Pip. That
ain't the way to get out of being common, old chap. And as to being
common, I don't make it out at all clear. You are oncommon in some
things. You're oncommon small. Likewise you're a oncommon scholar.

No, I am ignorant and backward, Joe.

Why, see what a letter you wrote last night! Wrote in print even!
I've seen letters - Ah! and from gentlefolks! - that I'll swear
weren't wrote in print,said Joe.

I have learnt next to nothing, Joe. You think much of me. It's
only that.

Well, Pip,said Joebe it so or be it son't, you must be a
common scholar afore you can be a oncommon one, I should hope! The
king upon his throne, with his crown upon his 'ed, can't sit and
write his acts of Parliament in print, without having begun, when
he were a unpromoted Prince, with the alphabet - Ah!added Joe
with a shake of the head that was full of meaningand begun at A
too, and worked his way to Z. And I know what that is to do, though
I can't say I've exactly done it.

There was some hope in this piece of wisdomand it rather
encouraged me.

Whether common ones as to callings and earnings,pursued Joe
reflectivelymightn't be the better of continuing for a keep

company with common ones, instead of going out to play with
oncommon ones - which reminds me to hope that there were a flag,

No, Joe.

(I'm sorry there weren't a flag, Pip). Whether that might be, or
mightn't be, is a thing as can't be looked into now, without
putting your sister on the Rampage; and that's a thing not to be
thought of, as being done intentional. Lookee here, Pip, at what is
said to you by a true friend. Which this to you the true friend
say. If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight, you'll
never get to do it through going crooked. So don't tell no more on
'em, Pip, and live well and die happy.

You are not angry with me, Joe?

No, old chap. But bearing in mind that them were which I
meantersay of a stunning and outdacious sort - alluding to them
which bordered on weal-cutlets and dog-fighting - a sincere
wellwisher would adwise, Pip, their being dropped into your
meditations, when you go up-stairs to bed. That's all, old chap,
and don't never do it no more.

When I got up to my little room and said my prayersI did not
forget Joe's recommendationand yet my young mind was in that
disturbed and unthankful statethat I thought long after I laid me
downhow common Estella would consider Joea mere blacksmith: how
thick his bootsand how coarse his hands. I thought how Joe and my
sister were then sitting in the kitchenand how I had come up to
bed from the kitchenand how Miss Havisham and Estella never sat
in a kitchenbut were far above the level of such common doings. I
fell asleep recalling what I "used to do" when I was at Miss
Havisham's; as though I had been there weeks or monthsinstead of
hours; and as though it were quite an old subject of remembrance
instead of one that had arisen only that day.

That was a memorable day to mefor it made great changes in me.
Butit is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck
out of itand think how different its course would have been.
Pause you who read thisand think for a moment of the long chain
of iron or goldof thorns or flowersthat would never have bound
youbut for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.

Chapter 10

The felicitous idea occurred to me a morning or two later when I
wokethat the best step I could take towards making myself
uncommon was to get out of Biddy everything she knew. In pursuance
of this luminous conception I mentioned to Biddy when I went to Mr.
Wopsle's great-aunt's at nightthat I had a particular reason for
wishing to get on in lifeand that I should feel very much obliged
to her if she would impart all her learning to me. Biddywho was
the most obliging of girlsimmediately said she wouldand indeed
began to carry out her promise within five minutes.

The Educational scheme or Course established by Mr. Wopsle's
great-aunt may be resolved into the following synopsis. The pupils
ate apples and put straws down one another's backsuntil Mr
Wopsle's great-aunt collected her energiesand made an
indiscriminate totter at them with a birch-rod. After receiving the
charge with every mark of derisionthe pupils formed in line and
buzzingly passed a ragged book from hand to hand. The book had an

alphabet in itsome figures and tablesand a little spelling that
is to sayit had had once. As soon as this volume began to
circulateMr. Wopsle's great-aunt fell into a state of coma;
arising either from sleep or a rheumatic paroxysm. The pupils then
entered among themselves upon a competitive examination on the
subject of Bootswith the view of ascertaining who could tread the
hardest upon whose toes. This mental exercise lasted until Biddy
made a rush at them and distributed three defaced Bibles (shaped as
if they had been unskilfully cut off the chump-end of something)
more illegibly printed at the best than any curiosities of
literature I have since met withspeckled all over with ironmould
and having various specimens of the insect world smashed between
their leaves. This part of the Course was usually lightened by
several single combats between Biddy and refractory students. When
the fights were overBiddy gave out the number of a pageand then
we all read aloud what we could - or what we couldn't - in a
frightful chorus; Biddy leading with a high shrill monotonous
voiceand none of us having the least notion ofor reverence for
what we were reading about. When this horrible din had lasted a
certain timeit mechanically awoke Mr. Wopsle's great-auntwho
staggered at a boy fortuitouslyand pulled his ears. This was
understood to terminate the Course for the eveningand we emerged
into the air with shrieks of intellectual victory. It is fair to
remark that there was no prohibition against any pupil's
entertaining himself with a slate or even with the ink (when there
was any)but that it was not easy to pursue that branch of study
in the winter seasonon account of the little general shop in
which the classes were holden - and which was also Mr. Wopsle's
great-aunt's sitting-room and bed-chamber - being but faintly
illuminated through the agency of one low-spirited dip-candle and
no snuffers.

It appeared to me that it would take timeto become uncommon under
these circumstances: neverthelessI resolved to try itand that
very evening Biddy entered on our special agreementby imparting
some information from her little catalogue of Pricesunder the
head of moist sugarand lending meto copy at homea large old
English D which she had imitated from the heading of some
newspaperand which I supposeduntil she told me what it wasto
be a design for a buckle.

Of course there was a public-house in the villageand of course
Joe liked sometimes to smoke his pipe there. I had received strict
orders from my sister to call for him at the Three Jolly Bargemen
that eveningon my way from schooland bring him home at my
peril. To the Three Jolly BargementhereforeI directed my steps.

There was a bar at the Jolly Bargemenwith some alarmingly long
chalk scores in it on the wall at the side of the doorwhich
seemed to me to be never paid off. They had been there ever since I
could rememberand had grown more than I had. But there was a
quantity of chalk about our countryand perhaps the people
neglected no opportunity of turning it to account.

It being Saturday nightI found the landlord looking rather grimly
at these recordsbut as my business was with Joe and not with him
I merely wished him good eveningand passed into the common room
at the end of the passagewhere there was a bright large kitchen
fireand where Joe was smoking his pipe in company with Mr. Wopsle
and a stranger. Joe greeted me as usual with "HalloaPipold
chap!" and the moment he said thatthe stranger turned his head
and looked at me.

He was a secret-looking man whom I had never seen before. His head

was all on one sideand one of his eyes was half shut upas if he
were taking aim at something with an invisible gun. He had a pipe
in his mouthand he took it outandafter slowly blowing all his
smoke away and looking hard at me all the timenodded. SoI
noddedand then he nodded againand made room on the settle
beside him that I might sit down there.

Butas I was used to sit beside Joe whenever I entered that place
of resortI said "Nothank yousir and fell into the space Joe
made for me on the opposite settle. The strange man, after glancing
at Joe, and seeing that his attention was otherwise engaged, nodded
to me again when I had taken my seat, and then rubbed his leg - in
a very odd way, as it struck me.

You was saying said the strange man, turning to Joe, that you
was a blacksmith."

Yes. I said it, you know,said Joe.

What'll you drink, Mr. - ? You didn't mention your name,

Joe mentioned it nowand the strange man called him by it.
What'll you drink, Mr. Gargery? At my expense? To top up with?

Well,said Joeto tell you the truth, I ain't much in the habit
of drinking at anybody's expense but my own.

Habit? No,returned the strangerbut once and away, and on a
Saturday night too. Come! Put a name to it, Mr. Gargery.

I wouldn't wish to be stiff company,said Joe. "Rum."

Rum,repeated the stranger. "And will the other gentleman
originate a sentiment."

Rum,said Mr. Wopsle.

Three Rums!cried the strangercalling to the landlord. "Glasses

This other gentleman,observed Joeby way of introducing Mr.
Wopsleis a gentleman that you would like to hear give it out.
Our clerk at church.

Aha!said the strangerquicklyand cocking his eye at me. "The
lonely churchright out on the marsheswith graves round it!"

That's it,said Joe.

The strangerwith a comfortable kind of grunt over his pipeput
his legs up on the settle that he had to himself. He wore a
flapping broad-brimmed traveller's hatand under it a handkerchief
tied over his head in the manner of a cap: so that he showed no
hair. As he looked at the fireI thought I saw a cunning
expressionfollowed by a half-laughcome into his face.

I am not acquainted with this country, gentlemen, but it seems a
solitary country towards the river.

Most marshes is solitary,said Joe.

No doubt, no doubt. Do you find any gipsies, now, or tramps, or
vagrants of any sort, out there?

No,said Joe; "none but a runaway convict now and then. And we
don't find themeasy. EhMr. Wopsle?"

Mr. Wopslewith a majestic remembrance of old discomfiture
assented; but not warmly.

Seems you have been out after such?asked the stranger.

Once,returned Joe. "Not that we wanted to take themyou
understand; we went out as lookers on; meand Mr. Wopsleand Pip.
Didn't usPip?"

Yes, Joe.

The stranger looked at me again - still cocking his eyeas if he
were expressly taking aim at me with his invisible gun - and said
He's a likely young parcel of bones that. What is it you call

Pip,said Joe.

Christened Pip?

No, not christened Pip.

Surname Pip?

No,said Joeit's a kind of family name what he gave himself
when a infant, and is called by.

Son of yours?

Well,said Joemeditatively - notof coursethat it could be
in anywise necessary to consider about itbut because it was the
way at the Jolly Bargemen to seem to consider deeply about
everything that was discussed over pipes; "well - no. Nohe

Nevvy?said the strange man.

Well,said Joewith the same appearance of profound cogitation
he is not - no, not to deceive you, he is not - my nevvy.

What the Blue Blazes is he?asked the stranger. Which appeared to
me to be an inquiry of unnecessary strength.

Mr. Wopsle struck in upon that; as one who knew all about
relationshipshaving professional occasion to bear in mind what
female relations a man might not marry; and expounded the ties
between me and Joe. Having his hand inMr. Wopsle finished off with
a most terrifically snarling passage from Richard the Thirdand
seemed to think he had done quite enough to account for it when he
added- "as the poet says."

And here I may remark that when Mr. Wopsle referred to mehe
considered it a necessary part of such reference to rumple my hair
and poke it into my eyes. I cannot conceive why everybody of his
standing who visited at our house should always have put me through
the same inflammatory process under similar circumstances. Yet I do
not call to mind that I was ever in my earlier youth the subject of
remark in our social family circlebut some large-handed person
took some such ophthalmic steps to patronize me.

All this whilethe strange man looked at nobody but meand looked
at me as if he were determined to have a shot at me at lastand
bring me down. But he said nothing after offering his Blue Blazes
observationuntil the glasses of rum-and-water were brought; and
then he made his shotand a most extraordinary shot it was.

It was not a verbal remarkbut a proceeding in dump showand was
pointedly addressed to me. He stirred his rum-and-water pointedly
at meand he tasted his rum-and-water pointedly at me. And he
stirred it and he tasted it: not with a spoon that was brought to
himbut with a file.

He did this so that nobody but I saw the file; and when he had done
it he wiped the file and put it in a breast-pocket. I knew it to be
Joe's fileand I knew that he knew my convictthe moment I saw
the instrument. I sat gazing at himspell-bound. But he now
reclined on his settletaking very little notice of meand
talking principally about turnips.

There was a delicious sense of cleaning-up and making a quiet pause
before going on in life afreshin our village on Saturday nights
which stimulated Joe to dare to stay out half an hour longer on
Saturdays than at other times. The half hour and the rum-and-water
running out togetherJoe got up to goand took me by the hand.

Stop half a moment, Mr. Gargery,said the strange man. "I think
I've got a bright new shilling somewhere in my pocketand if I
havethe boy shall have it."

He looked it out from a handful of small changefolded it in some
crumpled paperand gave it to me. "Yours!" said he. "Mind! Your

I thanked himstaring at him far beyond the bounds of good
mannersand holding tight to Joe. He gave Joe good-nightand he
gave Mr. Wopsle good-night (who went out with us)and he gave me
only a look with his aiming eye - nonot a lookfor he shut it
upbut wonders may be done with an eye by hiding it.

On the way homeif I had been in a humour for talkingthe talk
must have been all on my sidefor Mr. Wopsle parted from us at the
door of the Jolly Bargemenand Joe went all the way home with his
mouth wide opento rinse the rum out with as much air as possible.
But I was in a manner stupefied by this turning up of my old
misdeed and old acquaintanceand could think of nothing else.

My sister was not in a very bad temper when we presented ourselves
in the kitchenand Joe was encouraged by that unusual circumstance
to tell her about the bright shilling. "A bad unI'll be bound
said Mrs. Joe triumphantly, or he wouldn't have given it to the
boy! Let's look at it."

I took it out of the paperand it proved to be a good one. "But
what's this?" said Mrs. Joethrowing down the shilling and catching
up the paper. "Two One-Pound notes?"

Nothing less than two fat sweltering one-pound notes that seemed to
have been on terms of the warmest intimacy with all the cattle
markets in the county. Joe caught up his hat againand ran with
them to the Jolly Bargemen to restore them to their owner. While he
was goneI sat down on my usual stool and looked vacantly at my
sisterfeeling pretty sure that the man would not be there.

PresentlyJoe came backsaying that the man was gonebut that

heJoehad left word at the Three Jolly Bargemen concerning the
notes. Then my sister sealed them up in a piece of paperand put
them under some dried rose-leaves in an ornamental tea-pot on the
top of a press in the state parlour. There they remaineda
nightmare to memany and many a night and day.

I had sadly broken sleep when I got to bedthrough thinking of the
strange man taking aim at me with his invisible gunand of the
guiltily coarse and common thing it wasto be on secret terms of
conspiracy with convicts - a feature in my low career that I had
previously forgotten. I was haunted by the file too. A dread
possessed me that when I least expected itthe file would
reappear. I coaxed myself to sleep by thinking of Miss Havisham's
next Wednesday; and in my sleep I saw the file coming at me out of
a doorwithout seeing who held itand I screamed myself awake.

Chapter 11

At the appointed time I returned to Miss Havisham'sand my
hesitating ring at the gate brought out Estella. She locked it
after admitting meas she had done beforeand again preceded me
into the dark passage where her candle stood. She took no notice of
me until she had the candle in her handwhen she looked over her
shouldersuperciliously sayingYou are to come this way today,
and took me to quite another part of the house.

The passage was a long oneand seemed to pervade the whole square
basement of the Manor House. We traversed but one side of the
squarehoweverand at the end of it she stoppedand put her
candle down and opened a door. Herethe daylight reappearedand I
found myself in a small paved court-yardthe opposite side of
which was formed by a detached dwelling-housethat looked as if it
had once belonged to the manager or head clerk of the extinct
brewery. There was a clock in the outer wall of this house. Like
the clock in Miss Havisham's roomand like Miss Havisham's watch
it had stopped at twenty minutes to nine.

We went in at the doorwhich stood openand into a gloomy room
with a low ceilingon the ground floor at the back. There was some
company in the roomand Estella said to me as she joined itYou
are to go and stand there, boy, till you are wanted.There
being the windowI crossed to itand stood "there in a very
uncomfortable state of mind, looking out.

It opened to the ground, and looked into a most miserable corner of
the neglected garden, upon a rank ruin of cabbage-stalks, and one
box tree that had been clipped round long ago, like a pudding, and
had a new growth at the top of it, out of shape and of a different
colour, as if that part of the pudding had stuck to the saucepan
and got burnt. This was my homely thought, as I contemplated the
box-tree. There had been some light snow, overnight, and it lay
nowhere else to my knowledge; but, it had not quite melted from the
cold shadow of this bit of garden, and the wind caught it up in
little eddies and threw it at the window, as if it pelted me for
coming there.

I divined that my coming had stopped conversation in the room, and
that its other occupants were looking at me. I could see nothing of
the room except the shining of the fire in the window glass, but I
stiffened in all my joints with the consciousness that I was under
close inspection.

There were three ladies in the room and one gentleman. Before I had

been standing at the window five minutes, they somehow conveyed to
me that they were all toadies and humbugs, but that each of them
pretended not to know that the others were toadies and humbugs:
because the admission that he or she did know it, would have made
him or her out to be a toady and humbug.

They all had a listless and dreary air of waiting somebody's
pleasure, and the most talkative of the ladies had to speak quite
rigidly to repress a yawn. This lady, whose name was Camilla, very
much reminded me of my sister, with the difference that she was
older, and (as I found when I caught sight of her) of a blunter
cast of features. Indeed, when I knew her better I began to think
it was a Mercy she had any features at all, so very blank and high
was the dead wall of her face.

Poor dear soul!" said this ladywith an abruptness of manner
quite my sister's. "Nobody's enemy but his own!"

It would be much more commendable to be somebody else's enemy,
said the gentleman; "far more natural."

Cousin Raymond,observed another ladywe are to love our

Sarah Pocket,returned Cousin Raymondif a man is not his own
neighbour, who is?

Miss Pocket laughedand Camilla laughed and said (checking a
yawn)The idea!But I thought they seemed to think it rather a
good idea too. The other ladywho had not spoken yetsaid gravely
and emphaticallyVery true!

Poor soul!Camilla presently went on (I knew they had all been
looking at me in the mean time)he is so very strange! Would
anyone believe that when Tom's wife died, he actually could not be
induced to see the importance of the children's having the deepest
of trimmings to their mourning? 'Good Lord!' says he, 'Camilla,
what can it signify so long as the poor bereaved little things are
in black?' So like Matthew! The idea!

Good points in him, good points in him,said Cousin Raymond;
Heaven forbid I should deny good points in him; but he never had,
and he never will have, any sense of the proprieties.

You know I was obliged,said CamillaI was obliged to be firm.
I said, 'It WILL NOT DO, for the credit of the family.' I told him
that, without deep trimmings, the family was disgraced. I cried
about it from breakfast till dinner. I injured my digestion. And at
last he flung out in his violent way, and said, with a D, 'Then do
as you like.' Thank Goodness it will always be a consolation to me
to know that I instantly went out in a pouring rain and bought the

He paid for them, did he not?asked Estella.

It's not the question, my dear child, who paid for them,returned
Camilla. "I bought them. And I shall often think of that with
peacewhen I wake up in the night."

The ringing of a distant bellcombined with the echoing of some
cry or call along the passage by which I had comeinterrupted the
conversation and caused Estella to say to meNow, boy!On my
turning roundthey all looked at me with the utmost contemptand
as I went outI heard Sarah Pocket sayWell I am sure! What

next!and Camilla addwith indignationWas there ever such a
fancy! The i-de-a!

As we were going with our candle along the dark passageEstella
stopped all of a suddenandfacing roundsaid in her taunting
manner with her face quite close to mine:


Well, miss?I answeredalmost falling over her and checking

She stood looking at meandof courseI stood looking at her.

Am I pretty?

Yes; I think you are very pretty.

Am I insulting?

Not so much so as you were last time,said I.

Not so much so?


She fired when she asked the last questionand she slapped my face
with such force as she hadwhen I answered it.

Now?said she. "You little coarse monsterwhat do you think of
me now?"

I shall not tell you.

Because you are going to tell, up-stairs. Is that it?

No,said Ithat's not it.

Why don't you cry again, you little wretch?

Because I'll never cry for you again,said I. Which wasI
supposeas false a declaration as ever was made; for I was
inwardly crying for her thenand I know what I know of the pain
she cost me afterwards.

We went on our way up-stairs after this episode; andas we were
going upwe met a gentleman groping his way down.

Whom have we here?asked the gentlemanstopping and looking at

A boy,said Estella.

He was a burly man of an exceedingly dark complexionwith an
exceedingly large head and a corresponding large hand. He took my
chin in his large hand and turned up my face to have a look at me
by the light of the candle. He was prematurely bald on the top of
his headand had bushy black eyebrows that wouldn't lie down but
stood up bristling. His eyes were set very deep in his headand
were disagreeably sharp and suspicious. He had a large watchchain
and strong black dots where his beard and whiskers would have been
if he had let them. He was nothing to meand I could have had no
foresight thenthat he ever would be anything to mebut it
happened that I had this opportunity of observing him well.

Boy of the neighbourhood? Hey?said he.

Yes, sir,said I.

How do you come here?

Miss Havisham sent for me, sir,I explained.

Well! Behave yourself. I have a pretty large experience of boys,
and you're a bad set of fellows. Now mind!said hebiting the
side of his great forefinger as he frowned at meyou behave

With those wordshe released me - which I was glad offor his
hand smelt of scented soap - and went his way down-stairs. I
wondered whether he could be a doctor; but noI thought; he
couldn't be a doctoror he would have a quieter and more
persuasive manner. There was not much time to consider the subject
for we were soon in Miss Havisham's roomwhere she and everything
else were just as I had left them. Estella left me standing near
the doorand I stood there until Miss Havisham cast her eyes upon
me from the dressing-table.

So!she saidwithout being startled or surprised; "the days have
worn awayhave they?"

Yes, ma'am. To-day is--

There, there, there!with the impatient movement of her fingers.
I don't want to know. Are you ready to play?

I was obliged to answer in some confusionI don't think I am,

Not at cards again?she demandedwith a searching look.

Yes, ma'am; I could do that, if I was wanted.

Since this house strikes you old and grave, boy,said Miss
Havishamimpatientlyand you are unwilling to play, are you
willing to work?

I could answer this inquiry with a better heart than I had been
able to find for the other questionand I said I was quite

Then go into that opposite room,said shepointing at the door
behind me with her withered handand wait there till I come.

I crossed the staircase landingand entered the room she
indicated. From that roomtoothe daylight was completely
excludedand it had an airless smell that was oppressive. A fire
had been lately kindled in the damp old-fashioned grateand it was
more disposed to go out than to burn upand the reluctant smoke
which hung in the room seemed colder than the clearer air - like
our own marsh mist. Certain wintry branches of candles on the high
chimneypiece faintly lighted the chamber: orit would be more
expressive to sayfaintly troubled its darkness. It was spacious
and I dare say had once been handsomebut every discernible thing
in it was covered with dust and mouldand dropping to pieces. The
most prominent object was a long table with a tablecloth spread on
itas if a feast had been in preparation when the house and the
clocks all stopped together. An epergne or centrepiece of some kind

was in the middle of this cloth; it was so heavily overhung with
cobwebs that its form was quite undistinguishable; andas I looked
along the yellow expanse out of which I remember its seeming to
growlike a black fungusI saw speckled-legged spiders with
blotchy bodies running home to itand running out from itas if
some circumstances of the greatest public importance had just
transpired in the spider community.

I heard the mice toorattling behind the panelsas if the same
occurrence were important to their interests. Butthe blackbeetles
took no notice of the agitationand groped about the hearth in a
ponderous elderly wayas if they were short-sighted and hard of
hearingand not on terms with one another.

These crawling things had fascinated my attention and I was
watching them from a distancewhen Miss Havisham laid a hand upon
my shoulder. In her other hand she had a crutch-headed stick on
which she leanedand she looked like the Witch of the place.

This,said shepointing to the long table with her stickis
where I will be laid when I am dead. They shall come and look at me

With some vague misgiving that she might get upon the table then
and there and die at oncethe complete realization of the ghastly
waxwork at the FairI shrank under her touch.

What do you think that is?she asked meagain pointing with her
stick; "thatwhere those cobwebs are?"

I can't guess what it is, ma'am.

It's a great cake. A bride-cake. Mine!

She looked all round the room in a glaring mannerand then said
leaning on me while her hand twitched my shoulderCome, come,
come! Walk me, walk me!

I made out from thisthat the work I had to dowas to walk Miss
Havisham round and round the room. AccordinglyI started at once
and she leaned upon my shoulderand we went away at a pace that
might have been an imitation (founded on my first impulse under
that roof) of Mr. Pumblechook's chaise-cart.

She was not physically strongand after a little time said
Slower!Stillwe went at an impatient fitful speedand as we
wentshe twitched the hand upon my shoulderand worked her mouth
and led me to believe that we were going fast because her thoughts
went fast. After a while she saidCall Estella!so I went out on
the landing and roared that name as I had done on the previous
occasion. When her light appearedI returned to Miss Havishamand
we started away again round and round the room.

If only Estella had come to be a spectator of our proceedingsI
should have felt sufficiently discontented; butas she brought
with her the three ladies and the gentleman whom I had seen below
I didn't know what to do. In my politenessI would have stopped;
butMiss Havisham twitched my shoulderand we posted on - with a
shame-faced consciousness on my part that they would think it was
all my doing.

Dear Miss Havisham,said Miss Sarah Pocket. "How well you look!"

I do not,returned Miss Havisham. "I am yellow skin and bone."

Camilla brightened when Miss Pocket met with this rebuff; and she
murmuredas she plaintively contemplated Miss HavishamPoor dear
soul! Certainly not to be expected to look well, poor thing. The

And how are you?said Miss Havisham to Camilla. As we were close
to Camilla thenI would have stopped as a matter of courseonly
Miss Havisham wouldn't stop. We swept onand I felt that I was
highly obnoxious to Camilla.

Thank you, Miss Havisham,she returnedI am as well as can be

Why, what's the matter with you?asked Miss Havishamwith
exceeding sharpness.

Nothing worth mentioning,replied Camilla. "I don't wish to make
a display of my feelingsbut I have habitually thought of you more
in the night than I am quite equal to."

Then don't think of me,retorted Miss Havisham.

Very easily said!remarked Camillaamiably repressing a sob
while a hitch came into her upper lipand her tears overflowed.
Raymond is a witness what ginger and sal volatile I am obliged to
take in the night. Raymond is a witness what nervous jerkings I
have in my legs. Chokings and nervous jerkings, however, are
nothing new to me when I think with anxiety of those I love. If I
could be less affectionate and sensitive, I should have a better
digestion and an iron set of nerves. I am sure I wish it could be
so. But as to not thinking of you in the night - The idea!Herea
burst of tears.

The Raymond referred toI understood to be the gentleman present
and him I understood to be Mr. Camilla. He came to the rescue at
this pointand said in a consolatory and complimentary voice
Camilla, my dear, it is well known that your family feelings are
gradually undermining you to the extent of making one of your legs
shorter than the other.

I am not aware,observed the grave lady whose voice I had heard
but oncethat to think of any person is to make a great claim
upon that person, my dear.

Miss Sarah Pocketwhom I now saw to be a little dry brown
corrugated old womanwith a small face that might have been made
of walnut shellsand a large mouth like a cat's without the
whiskerssupported this position by sayingNo, indeed, my dear.

Thinking is easy enough,said the grave lady.

What is easier, you know?assented Miss Sarah Pocket.

Oh, yes, yes!cried Camillawhose fermenting feelings appeared
to rise from her legs to her bosom. "It's all very true! It's a
weakness to be so affectionatebut I can't help it. No doubt my
health would be much better if it was otherwisestill I wouldn't
change my disposition if I could. It's the cause of much suffering
but it's a consolation to know I posses itwhen I wake up in the
night." Here another burst of feeling.

Miss Havisham and I had never stopped all this timebut kept going

round and round the room: nowbrushing against the skirts of the
visitors: nowgiving them the whole length of the dismal chamber.

There's Matthew!said Camilla. "Never mixing with any natural
tiesnever coming here to see how Miss Havisham is! I have taken
to the sofa with my staylace cutand have lain there hours
insensiblewith my head over the sideand my hair all downand
my feet I don't know where--"

("Much higher than your headmy love said Mr. Camilla.)

I have gone off into that statehours and hourson account of
Matthew's strange and inexplicable conductand nobody has thanked

Really I must say I should think not!interposed the grave lady.

You see, my dear,added Miss Sarah Pocket (a blandly vicious
personage)the question to put to yourself is, who did you expect
to thank you, my love?

Without expecting any thanks, or anything of the sort,resumed
CamillaI have remained in that state, hours and hours, and
Raymond is a witness of the extent to which I have choked, and what
the total inefficacy of ginger has been, and I have been heard at
the pianoforte-tuner's across the street, where the poor mistaken
children have even supposed it to be pigeons cooing at a
distance-and now to be told--.Here Camilla put her hand to her
throatand began to be quite chemical as to the formation of new
combinations there.

When this same Matthew was mentionedMiss Havisham stopped me and
herselfand stood looking at the speaker. This change had a great
influence in bringing Camilla's chemistry to a sudden end.

Matthew will come and see me at last,said Miss Havisham
sternlywhen I am laid on that table. That will be his place there
striking the table with her stick, at my head! And yours
will be there! And your husband's there! And Sarah Pocket's there!
And Georgiana's there! Now you all know where to take your stations
when you come to feast upon me. And now go!"

At the mention of each nameshe had struck the table with her
stick in a new place. She now saidWalk me, walk me!and we went
on again.

I suppose there's nothing to be done,exclaimed Camillabut
comply and depart. It's something to have seen the object of one's
love and duty, for even so short a time. I shall think of it with a
melancholy satisfaction when I wake up in the night. I wish Matthew
could have that comfort, but he sets it at defiance. I am
determined not to make a display of my feelings, but it's very hard
to be told one wants to feast on one's relations - as if one was a
Giant - and to be told to go. The bare idea!

Mr. Camilla interposingas Mrs. Camilla laid her hand upon her
heaving bosomthat lady assumed an unnatural fortitude of manner
which I supposed to be expressive of an intention to drop and choke
when out of viewand kissing her hand to Miss Havishamwas
escorted forth. Sarah Pocket and Georgiana contended who should
remain last; butSarah was too knowing to be outdoneand ambled
round Georgiana with that artful slipperinessthat the latter was
obliged to take precedence. Sarah Pocket then made her separate
effect of departing with "Bless youMiss Havisham dear!" and with

a smile of forgiving pity on her walnut-shell countenance for the
weaknesses of the rest.

While Estella was away lighting them downMiss Havisham still
walked with her hand on my shoulderbut more and more slowly. At
last she stopped before the fireand saidafter muttering and
looking at it some seconds:

This is my birthday, Pip.

I was going to wish her many happy returnswhen she lifted her

I don't suffer it to be spoken of. I don't suffer those who were
here just now, or any one, to speak of it. They come here on the
day, but they dare not refer to it.

Of course I made no further effort to refer to it.

On this day of the year, long before you were born, this heap of
decay,stabbing with her crutched stick at the pile of cobwebs on
the table but not touching itwas brought here. It and I have
worn away together. The mice have gnawed at it, and sharper teeth
than teeth of mice have gnawed at me.

She held the head of her stick against her heart as she stood
looking at the table; she in her once white dressall yellow and
withered; the once white cloth all yellow and withered; everything
aroundin a state to crumble under a touch.

When the ruin is complete,said shewith a ghastly lookand
when they lay me dead, in my bride's dress on the bride's table which
shall be done, and which will be the finished curse upon him

-so much the better if it is done on this day!
She stood looking at the table as if she stood looking at her own
figure lying there. I remained quiet. Estella returnedand she too
remained quiet. It seemed to me that we continued thus for a long
time. In the heavy air of the roomand the heavy darkness that
brooded in its remoter cornersI even had an alarming fancy that
Estella and I might presently begin to decay.

At lengthnot coming out of her distraught state by degreesbut
in an instantMiss Havisham saidLet me see you two play cards;
why have you not begun?With thatwe returned to her roomand
sat down as before; I was beggaredas before; and againas
beforeMiss Havisham watched us all the timedirected my
attention to Estella's beautyand made me notice it the more by
trying her jewels on Estella's breast and hair.

Estellafor her partlikewise treated me as before; except that
she did not condescend to speak. When we had played some halfdozen
gamesa day was appointed for my returnand I was taken down into
the yard to be fed in the former dog-like manner. TheretooI was
again left to wander about as I liked.

It is not much to the purpose whether a gate in that garden wall
which I had scrambled up to peep over on the last occasion wason
that last occasionopen or shut. Enough that I saw no gate then
and that I saw one now. As it stood openand as I knew that
Estella had let the visitors out - forshe had returned with the
keys in her hand - I strolled into the garden and strolled all over
it. It was quite a wildernessand there were old melon-frames and
cucumber-frames in itwhich seemed in their decline to have

produced a spontaneous growth of weak attempts at pieces of old
hats and bootswith now and then a weedy offshoot into the
likeness of a battered saucepan.

When I had exhausted the gardenand a greenhouse with nothing in
it but a fallen-down grape-vine and some bottlesI found myself in
the dismal corner upon which I had looked out of the window. Never
questioning for a moment that the house was now emptyI looked in
at another windowand found myselfto my great surprise
exchanging a broad stare with a pale young gentleman with red
eyelids and light hair.

This pale young gentleman quickly disappearedand re-appeared
beside me. He had been at his books when I had found myself staring
at himand I now saw that he was inky.

Halloa!said heyoung fellow!

Halloa being a general observation which I had usually observed to
be best answered by itselfI saidHalloa!politely omitting
young fellow.

Who let you in?said he.

Miss Estella.

Who gave you leave to prowl about?

Miss Estella.

Come and fight,said the pale young gentleman.

What could I do but follow him? I have often asked myself the
question since: butwhat else could I do? His manner was so final
and I was so astonishedthat I followed where he ledas if I had
been under a spell.

Stop a minute, though,he saidwheeling round before we had gone
many paces. "I ought to give you a reason for fightingtoo. There
it is!" In a most irritating manner he instantly slapped his hands
against one anotherdaintily flung one of his legs up behind him
pulled my hairslapped his hands againdipped his headand
butted it into my stomach.

The bull-like proceeding last mentionedbesides that it was
unquestionably to be regarded in the light of a libertywas
particularly disagreeable just after bread and meat. I therefore
hit out at him and was going to hit out againwhen he said
Aha! Would you?and began dancing backwards and forwards in a
manner quite unparalleled within my limited experience.

Laws of the game!said he. Herehe skipped from his left leg on
to his right. "Regular rules!" Herehe skipped from his right leg
on to his left. "Come to the groundand go through the
preliminaries!" Herehe dodged backwards and forwardsand did all
sorts of things while I looked helplessly at him.

I was secretly afraid of him when I saw him so dexterous; butI
felt morally and physically convinced that his light head of hair
could have had no business in the pit of my stomachand that I had
a right to consider it irrelevant when so obtruded on my attention.
ThereforeI followed him without a wordto a retired nook of the
gardenformed by the junction of two walls and screened by some
rubbish. On his asking me if I was satisfied with the groundand

on my replying Yeshe begged my leave to absent himself for a
momentand quickly returned with a bottle of water and a sponge
dipped in vinegar. "Available for both he said, placing these
against the wall. And then fell to pulling off, not only his jacket
and waistcoat, but his shirt too, in a manner at once
light-hearted, businesslike, and bloodthirsty.

Although he did not look very healthy - having pimples on his face,
and a breaking out at his mouth - these dreadful preparations quite
appalled me. I judged him to be about my own age, but he was much
taller, and he had a way of spinning himself about that was full of
appearance. For the rest, he was a young gentleman in a grey suit
(when not denuded for battle), with his elbows, knees, wrists, and
heels, considerably in advance of the rest of him as to

My heart failed me when I saw him squaring at me with every
demonstration of mechanical nicety, and eyeing my anatomy as if he
were minutely choosing his bone. I never have been so surprised in
my life, as I was when I let out the first blow, and saw him lying
on his back, looking up at me with a bloody nose and his face
exceedingly fore-shortened.

But, he was on his feet directly, and after sponging himself with a
great show of dexterity began squaring again. The second greatest
surprise I have ever had in my life was seeing him on his back
again, looking up at me out of a black eye.

His spirit inspired me with great respect. He seemed to have no
strength, and he never once hit me hard, and he was always knocked
down; but, he would be up again in a moment, sponging himself or
drinking out of the water-bottle, with the greatest satisfaction in
seconding himself according to form, and then came at me with an
air and a show that made me believe he really was going to do for
me at last. He got heavily bruised, for I am sorry to record that
the more I hit him, the harder I hit him; but, he came up again and
again and again, until at last he got a bad fall with the back of
his head against the wall. Even after that crisis in our affairs,
he got up and turned round and round confusedly a few times, not
knowing where I was; but finally went on his knees to his sponge
and threw it up: at the same time panting out, That means you have

He seemed so brave and innocentthat although I had not proposed
the contest I felt but a gloomy satisfaction in my victory. Indeed
I go so far as to hope that I regarded myself while dressingas a
species of savage young wolfor other wild beast. HoweverI got
dresseddarkly wiping my sanguinary face at intervalsand I said
Can I help you?and he said "No thankee and I said Good
afternoon and he said Same to you."

When I got into the court-yardI found Estella waiting with the
keys. Butshe neither asked me where I had beennor why I had
kept her waiting; and there was a bright flush upon her faceas
though something had happened to delight her. Instead of going
straight to the gatetooshe stepped back into the passageand
beckoned me.

Come here! You may kiss me, if you like.

I kissed her cheek as she turned it to me. I think I would have
gone through a great deal to kiss her cheek. ButI felt that the
kiss was given to the coarse common boy as a piece of money might
have beenand that it was worth nothing.

What with the birthday visitorsand what with the cardsand what
with the fightmy stay had lasted so longthat when I neared home
the light on the spit of sand off the point on the marshes was
gleaming against a black night-skyand Joe's furnace was flinging
a path of fire across the road.

Chapter 12

My mind grew very uneasy on the subject of the pale young
gentleman. The more I thought of the fightand recalled the pale
young gentleman on his back in various stages of puffy and
incrimsoned countenancethe more certain it appeared that
something would be done to me. I felt that the pale young
gentleman's blood was on my headand that the Law would avenge it.
Without having any definite idea of the penalties I had incurred
it was clear to me that village boys could not go stalking about
the countryravaging the houses of gentlefolks and pitching into
the studious youth of Englandwithout laying themselves open to
severe punishment. For some daysI even kept close at homeand
looked out at the kitchen door with the greatest caution and
trepidation before going on an errandlest the officers of the
County Jail should pounce upon me. The pale young gentleman's nose
had stained my trousersand I tried to wash out that evidence of
my guilt in the dead of night. I had cut my knuckles against the
pale young gentleman's teethand I twisted my imagination into a
thousand tanglesas I devised incredible ways of accounting for
that damnatory circumstance when I should be haled before the

When the day came round for my return to the scene of the deed of
violencemy terrors reached their height. Whether myrmidons of
Justicespecially sent down from Londonwould be lying in ambush
behind the gate? Whether Miss Havishampreferring to take personal
vengeance for an outrage done to her housemight rise in those
grave-clothes of hersdraw a pistoland shoot me dead? Whether
suborned boys - a numerous band of mercenaries - might be engaged
to fall upon me in the breweryand cuff me until I was no more? It
was high testimony to my confidence in the spirit of the pale young
gentlemanthat I never imagined him accessory to these
retaliations; they always came into my mind as the acts of
injudicious relatives of hisgoaded on by the state of his visage
and an indignant sympathy with the family features.

Howevergo to Miss Havisham's I mustand go I did. And behold!
nothing came of the late struggle. It was not alluded to in any
wayand no pale young gentleman was to be discovered on the
premises. I found the same gate openand I explored the garden
and even looked in at the windows of the detached house; butmy
view was suddenly stopped by the closed shutters withinand all
was lifeless. Only in the corner where the combat had taken place
could I detect any evidence of the young gentleman's existence.
There were traces of his gore in that spotand I covered them with
garden-mould from the eye of man.

On the broad landing between Miss Havisham's own room and that
other room in which the long table was laid outI saw a
garden-chair - a light chair on wheelsthat you pushed from
behind. It had been placed there since my last visitand I
enteredthat same dayon a regular occupation of pushing Miss
Havisham in this chair (when she was tired of walking with her hand
upon my shoulder) round her own roomand across the landingand
round the other room. Over and over and over againwe would make

these journeysand sometimes they would last as long as three
hours at a stretch. I insensibly fall into a general mention of
these journeys as numerousbecause it was at once settled that I
should return every alternate day at noon for these purposesand
because I am now going to sum up a period of at least eight or ten

As we began to be more used to one anotherMiss Havisham talked
more to meand asked me such questions as what had I learnt and
what was I going to be? I told her I was going to be apprenticed to
JoeI believed; and I enlarged upon my knowing nothing and wanting
to know everythingin the hope that she might offer some help
towards that desirable end. Butshe did not; on the contraryshe
seemed to prefer my being ignorant. Neither did she ever give me
any money - or anything but my daily dinner - nor ever stipulate
that I should be paid for my services.

Estella was always aboutand always let me in and outbut never
told me I might kiss her again. Sometimesshe would coldly
tolerate me; sometimesshe would condescend to me; sometimesshe
would be quite familiar with me; sometimesshe would tell me
energetically that she hated me. Miss Havisham would often ask me
in a whisperor when we were aloneDoes she grow prettier and
prettier, Pip?And when I said yes (for indeed she did)would
seem to enjoy it greedily. Alsowhen we played at cards Miss
Havisham would look onwith a miserly relish of Estella's moods
whatever they were. And sometimeswhen her moods were so many and
so contradictory of one another that I was puzzled what to say or
doMiss Havisham would embrace her with lavish fondnessmurmuring
something in her ear that sounded like "Break their hearts my pride
and hopebreak their hearts and have no mercy!"

There was a song Joe used to hum fragments of at the forgeof
which the burden was Old Clem. This was not a very ceremonious way
of rendering homage to a patron saint; butI believe Old Clem
stood in that relation towards smiths. It was a song that imitated
the measure of beating upon ironand was a mere lyrical excuse for
the introduction of Old Clem's respected name. Thusyou were to
hammer boys round - Old Clem! With a thump and a sound - Old Clem!
Beat it outbeat it out - Old Clem! With a clink for the stout -
Old Clem! Blow the fireblow the fire - Old Clem! Roaring dryer
soaring higher - Old Clem! One day soon after the appearance of the
chairMiss Havisham suddenly saying to mewith the impatient
movement of her fingersThere, there, there! Sing!I was
surprised into crooning this ditty as I pushed her over the floor.
It happened so to catch her fancythat she took it up in a low
brooding voice as if she were singing in her sleep. After thatit
became customary with us to have it as we moved aboutand Estella
would often join in; though the whole strain was so subduedeven
when there were three of usthat it made less noise in the grim
old house than the lightest breath of wind.

What could I become with these surroundings? How could my character
fail to be influenced by them? Is it to be wondered at if my
thoughts were dazedas my eyes werewhen I came out into the
natural light from the misty yellow rooms?

PerhapsI might have told Joe about the pale young gentlemanif I
had not previously been betrayed into those enormous inventions to
which I had confessed. Under the circumstancesI felt that Joe
could hardly fail to discern in the pale young gentlemanan
appropriate passenger to be put into the black velvet coach;
thereforeI said nothing of him. Besides: that shrinking from
having Miss Havisham and Estella discussedwhich had come upon me

in the beginninggrew much more potent as time went on. I reposed
complete confidence in no one but Biddy; butI told poor Biddy
everything. Why it came natural to me to do soand why Biddy had a
deep concern in everything I told herI did not know thenthough
I think I know now.

Meanwhilecouncils went on in the kitchen at homefraught with
almost insupportable aggravation to my exasperated spirit. That
assPumblechookused often to come over of a night for the purpose
of discussing my prospects with my sister; and I really do believe
(to this hour with less penitence than I ought to feel)that if
these hands could have taken a linchpin out of his chaise-cart
they would have done it. The miserable man was a man of that
confined stolidity of mindthat he could not discuss my prospects
without having me before him - as it wereto operate upon - and he
would drag me up from my stool (usually by the collar) where I was
quiet in a cornerandputting me before the fire as if I were
going to be cookedwould begin by sayingNow, Mum, here is this
boy! Here is this boy which you brought up by hand. Hold up your
head, boy, and be for ever grateful unto them which so did do. Now,
Mum, with respections to this boy!And then he would rumple my
hair the wrong way - which from my earliest remembranceas already
hintedI have in my soul denied the right of any fellow-creature
to do - and would hold me before him by the sleeve: a spectacle of
imbecility only to be equalled by himself.

Thenhe and my sister would pair off in such nonsensical
speculations about Miss Havishamand about what she would do with
me and for methat I used to want - quite painfully - to burst
into spiteful tearsfly at Pumblechookand pummel him all over.
In these dialoguesmy sister spoke to me as if she were morally
wrenching one of my teeth out at every reference; while Pumblechook
himselfself-constituted my patronwould sit supervising me with
a depreciatory eyelike the architect of my fortunes who thought
himself engaged on a very unremunerative job.

In these discussionsJoe bore no part. But he was often talked at
while they were in progressby reason of Mrs. Joe's perceiving that
he was not favourable to my being taken from the forge. I was fully
old enough nowto be apprenticed to Joe; and when Joe sat with the
poker on his knees thoughtfully raking out the ashes between the
lower barsmy sister would so distinctly construe that innocent
action into opposition on his partthat she would dive at him
take the poker out of his handsshake himand put it away. There
was a most irritating end to every one of these debates. All in a
momentwith nothing to lead up to itmy sister would stop herself
in a yawnand catching sight of me as it were incidentallywould
swoop upon me withCome! there's enough of you! You get along to
bed; you've given trouble enough for one night, I hope!As if I
had besought them as a favour to bother my life out.

We went on in this way for a long timeand it seemed likely that
we should continue to go on in this way for a long timewhenone
dayMiss Havisham stopped short as she and I were walkingshe
leaning on my shoulder; and said with some displeasure:

You are growing tall, Pip!

I thought it best to hintthrough the medium of a meditative look
that this might be occasioned by circumstances over which I had no

She said no more at the time; butshe presently stopped and looked
at me again; and presently again; and after thatlooked frowning

and moody. On the next day of my attendance when our usual exercise
was overand I had landed her at her dressingtableshe stayed me
with a movement of her impatient fingers:

Tell me the name again of that blacksmith of yours.

Joe Gargery, ma'am.

Meaning the master you were to be apprenticed to?

Yes, Miss Havisham.

You had better be apprenticed at once. Would Gargery come here
with you, and bring your indentures, do you think?

I signified that I had no doubt he would take it as an honour to be

Then let him come.

At any particular time, Miss Havisham?

There, there! I know nothing about times. Let him come soon, and
come along with you.

When I got home at nightand delivered this message for Joemy
sister "went on the Rampage in a more alarming degree than at any
previous period. She asked me and Joe whether we supposed she was
door-mats under our feet, and how we dared to use her so, and what
company we graciously thought she was fit for? When she had
exhausted a torrent of such inquiries, she threw a candlestick at
Joe, burst into a loud sobbing, got out the dustpan - which was
always a very bad sign - put on her coarse apron, and began
cleaning up to a terrible extent. Not satisfied with a dry
cleaning, she took to a pail and scrubbing-brush, and cleaned us
out of house and home, so that we stood shivering in the back-yard.
It was ten o'clock at night before we ventured to creep in again,
and then she asked Joe why he hadn't married a Negress Slave at
once? Joe offered no answer, poor fellow, but stood feeling his
whisker and looking dejectedly at me, as if he thought it really
might have been a better speculation.

Chapter 13

It was a trial to my feelings, on the next day but one, to see Joe
arraying himself in his Sunday clothes to accompany me to Miss
Havisham's. However, as he thought his court-suit necessary to the
occasion, it was not for me tell him that he looked far better in
his working dress; the rather, because I knew he made himself so
dreadfully uncomfortable, entirely on my account, and that it was
for me he pulled up his shirt-collar so very high behind, that it
made the hair on the crown of his head stand up like a tuft of

At breakfast time my sister declared her intention of going to town
with us, and being left at Uncle Pumblechook's and called for when
we had done with our fine ladies" - a way of putting the casefrom
which Joe appeared inclined to augur the worst. The forge was shut
up for the dayand Joe inscribed in chalk upon the door (as it was
his custom to do on the very rare occasions when he was not at
work) the monosyllable HOUTaccompanied by a sketch of an arrow
supposed to be flying in the direction he had taken.

We walked to townmy sister leading the way in a very large beaver
bonnetand carrying a basket like the Great Seal of England in
plaited strawa pair of pattensa spare shawland an umbrella
though it was a fine bright day. I am not quite clear whether these
articles were carried penitentially or ostentatiously; butI
rather think they were displayed as articles of property - much as
Cleopatra or any other sovereign lady on the Rampage might exhibit
her wealth in a pageant or procession.

When we came to Pumblechook'smy sister bounced in and left us. As
it was almost noonJoe and I held straight on to Miss Havisham's
house. Estella opened the gate as usualandthe moment she
appearedJoe took his hat off and stood weighing it by the brim in
both his hands: as if he had some urgent reason in his mind for
being particular to half a quarter of an ounce.

Estella took no notice of either of usbut led us the way that I
knew so well. I followed next to herand Joe came last. When I
looked back at Joe in the long passagehe was still weighing his
hat with the greatest careand was coming after us in long strides
on the tips of his toes.

Estella told me we were both to go inso I took Joe by the
coat-cuff and conducted him into Miss Havisham's presence. She was
seated at her dressing-tableand looked round at us immediately.

Oh!said she to Joe. "You are the husband of the sister of this

I could hardly have imagined dear old Joe looking so unlike himself
or so like some extraordinary bird; standingas he did
speechlesswith his tuft of feathers ruffledand his mouth open
as if he wanted a worm.

You are the husband,repeated Miss Havishamof the sister of
this boy?

It was very aggravating; butthroughout the interview Joe
persisted in addressing Me instead of Miss Havisham.

Which I meantersay, Pip,Joe now observed in a manner that was at
once expressive of forcible argumentationstrict confidenceand
great politenessas I hup and married your sister, and I were at
the time what you might call (if you was anyways inclined) a single

Well!said Miss Havisham. "And you have reared the boywith the
intention of taking him for your apprentice; is that soMr.

You know, Pip,replied Joeas you and me were ever friends, and
it were looked for'ard to betwixt us, as being calc'lated to lead
to larks. Not but what, Pip, if you had ever made objections to the
business - such as its being open to black and sut, or such-like not
but what they would have been attended to, don't you see?

Has the boy,said Miss Havishamever made any objection? Does
he like the trade?

Which it is well beknown to yourself, Pip,returned Joe
strengthening his former mixture of argumentationconfidenceand
politenessthat it were the wish of your own hart.(I saw the
idea suddenly break upon him that he would adapt his epitaph to the
occasionbefore he went on to say) "And there weren't no objection

on your partand Pip it were the great wish of your heart!"

It was quite in vain for me to endeavour to make him sensible that
he ought to speak to Miss Havisham. The more I made faces and
gestures to him to do itthe more confidentialargumentativeand
politehe persisted in being to Me.

Have you brought his indentures with you?asked Miss Havisham.

Well, Pip, you know,replied Joeas if that were a little
unreasonableyou yourself see me put 'em in my 'at, and therefore
you know as they are here.With which he took them outand gave
themnot to Miss Havishambut to me. I am afraid I was ashamed of
the dear good fellow - I know I was ashamed of him - when I saw
that Estella stood at the back of Miss Havisham's chairand that
her eyes laughed mischievously. I took the indentures out of his
hand and gave them to Miss Havisham.

You expected,said Miss Havishamas she looked them overno
premium with the boy?

Joe!I remonstrated; for he made no reply at all. "Why don't you

Pip,returned Joecutting me short as if he were hurtwhich I
meantersay that were not a question requiring a answer betwixt
yourself and me, and which you know the answer to be full well No.
You know it to be No, Pip, and wherefore should I say it?

Miss Havisham glanced at him as if she understood what he really
wasbetter than I had thought possibleseeing what he was there;
and took up a little bag from the table beside her.

Pip has earned a premium here,she saidand here it is. There
are five-and-twenty guineas in this bag. Give it to your master,

As if he were absolutely out of his mind with the wonder awakened
in him by her strange figure and the strange roomJoeeven at
this passpersisted in addressing me.

This is wery liberal on your part, Pip,said Joeand it is as
such received and grateful welcome, though never looked for, far
nor near nor nowheres. And now, old chap,said Joeconveying to
me a sensationfirst of burning and then of freezingfor I felt
as if that familiar expression were applied to Miss Havisham; "and
nowold chapmay we do our duty! May you and me do our dutyboth
on us by one and anotherand by them which your liberal present have
- conweyed - to be - for the satisfaction of mind - of - them
as never--" here Joe showed that he felt he had fallen into
frightful difficultiesuntil he triumphantly rescued himself with
the wordsand from myself far be it!These words had such a
round and convincing sound for him that he said them twice.

Good-bye, Pip!said Miss Havisham. "Let them outEstella."

Am I to come again, Miss Havisham?I asked.

No. Gargery is your master now. Gargery! One word!

Thus calling him back as I went out of the doorI heard her say to
Joein a distinct emphatic voiceThe boy has been a good boy
here, and that is his reward. Of course, as an honest man, you will
expect no other and no more.

How Joe got out of the roomI have never been able to determine;
butI know that when he did get out he was steadily proceeding
up-stairs instead of coming downand was deaf to all remonstrances
until I went after him and laid hold of him. In another minute we
were outside the gateand it was lockedand Estella was gone.

When we stood in the daylight alone againJoe backed up against a
walland said to meAstonishing!And there he remained so long
saying "Astonishing" at intervalsso oftenthat I began to think
his senses were never coming back. At length he prolonged his
remark into "PipI do assure you this is as-TONishing!" and soby
degreesbecame conversational and able to walk away.

I have reason to think that Joe's intellects were brightened by the
encounter they had passed throughand that on our way to
Pumblechook's he invented a subtle and deep design. My reason is to
be found in what took place in Mr. Pumblechook's parlour: whereon
our presenting ourselvesmy sister sat in conference with that
detested seedsman.

Well?cried my sisteraddressing us both at once. "And what's
happened to you? I wonder you condescend to come back to such poor
society as thisI am sure I do!"

Miss Havisham,said Joewith a fixed look at melike an effort
of remembrancemade it wery partick'ler that we should give her were
it compliments or respects, Pip?

Compliments,I said.

Which that were my own belief,answered Joe - "her compliments to
Mrs. J. Gargery--"

Much good they'll do me!observed my sister; but rather gratified

And wishing,pursued Joewith another fixed look at melike
another effort of remembrancethat the state of Miss Havisham's
elth were sitch as would have - allowed, were it, Pip?

Of her having the pleasure,I added.

Of ladies' company,said Joe. And drew a long breath.

Well!cried my sisterwith a mollified glance at Mr. Pumblechook.
She might have had the politeness to send that message at first,
but it's better late than never. And what did she give young
Rantipole here?

She giv' him,said Joenothing.

Mrs. Joe was going to break outbut Joe went on.

What she giv',said Joeshe giv' to his friends. 'And by his
friends,' were her explanation, 'I mean into the hands of his
sister Mrs. J. Gargery.' Them were her words; 'Mrs. J. Gargery.' She
mayn't have know'd,added Joewith an appearance of reflection
whether it were Joe, or Jorge.

My sister looked at Pumblechook: who smoothed the elbows of his
wooden armchairand nodded at her and at the fireas if he had
known all about it beforehand.

And how much have you got?asked my sisterlaughing. Positively

What would present company say to ten pound?demanded Joe.

They'd say,returned my sistercurtlypretty well. Not too
much, but pretty well.

It's more than that, then,said Joe.

That fearful ImpostorPumblechookimmediately noddedand said
as he rubbed the arms of his chair: "It's more than thatMum."

Why, you don't mean to say--began my sister.

Yes I do, Mum,said Pumblechook; "but wait a bit. Go onJoseph.
Good in you! Go on!"

What would present company say,proceeded Joeto twenty pound?

Handsome would be the word,returned my sister.

Well, then,said JoeIt's more than twenty pound.

That abject hypocritePumblechooknodded againand saidwith a
patronizing laughIt's more than that, Mum. Good again! Follow her
up, Joseph!

Then to make an end of it,said Joedelightedly handing the bag
to my sister; "it's five-and-twenty pound."

It's five-and-twenty pound, Mum,echoed that basest of swindlers
Pumblechookrising to shake hands with her; "and it's no more than
your merits (as I said when my opinion was asked)and I wish you
joy of the money!"

If the villain had stopped herehis case would have been
sufficiently awfulbut he blackened his guilt by proceeding to
take me into custodywith a right of patronage that left all his
former criminality far behind.

Now you see, Joseph and wife,said Pumblechookas he took me by
the arm above the elbowI am one of them that always go right
through with what they've begun. This boy must be bound, out of
hand. That's my way. Bound out of hand.

Goodness knows, Uncle Pumblechook,said my sister (grasping the
money)we're deeply beholden to you.

Never mind me, Mum, returned that diabolical corn-chandler. A
pleasure's a pleasureall the world over. But this boyyou know;
we must have him bound. I said I'd see to it - to tell you the

The Justices were sitting in the Town Hall near at handand we at
once went over to have me bound apprentice to Joe in the
Magisterial presence. I saywe went overbut I was pushed over by
Pumblechookexactly as if I had that moment picked a pocket or
fired a rick; indeedit was the general impression in Court that I
had been taken red-handedforas Pumblechook shoved me before him
through the crowdI heard some people sayWhat's he done?and
othersHe's a young 'un, too, but looks bad, don't he? One person
of mild and benevolent aspect even gave me a tract ornamented with
a woodcut of a malevolent young man fitted up with a perfect

sausage-shop of fetters, and entitled, TO BE READ IN MY CELL.

The Hall was a queer place, I thought, with higher pews in it than
a church - and with people hanging over the pews looking on - and
with mighty Justices (one with a powdered head) leaning back in
chairs, with folded arms, or taking snuff, or going to sleep, or
writing, or reading the newspapers - and with some shining black
portraits on the walls, which my unartistic eye regarded as a
composition of hardbake and sticking-plaister. Here, in a corner,
my indentures were duly signed and attested, and I was bound;" Mr.
Pumblechook holding me all the while as if we had looked in on our
way to the scaffoldto have those little preliminaries disposed

When we had come out againand had got rid of the boys who had
been put into great spirits by the expectation of seeing me
publicly torturedand who were much disappointed to find that my
friends were merely rallying round mewe went back to
Pumblechook's. And there my sister became so excited by the
twenty-five guineasthat nothing would serve her but we must have
a dinner out of that windfallat the Blue Boarand that
Pumblechook must go over in his chaise-cartand bring the Hubbles
and Mr. Wopsle.

It was agreed to be done; and a most melancholy day I passed. For
it inscrutably appeared to stand to reasonin the minds of the
whole companythat I was an excrescence on the entertainment. And
to make it worsethey all asked me from time to time - in short
whenever they had nothing else to do - why I didn't enjoy myself.
And what could I possibly do thenbut say I was enjoying myself when
I wasn't?

Howeverthey were grown up and had their own wayand they made
the most of it. That swindling Pumblechookexalted into the
beneficent contriver of the whole occasionactually took the top
of the table; andwhen he addressed them on the subject of my
being boundand had fiendishly congratulated them on my being
liable to imprisonment if I played at cardsdrank strong liquors
kept late hours or bad companyor indulged in other vagaries which
the form of my indentures appeared to contemplate as next to
inevitablehe placed me standing on a chair beside himto
illustrate his remarks.

My only other remembrances of the great festival areThat they
wouldn't let me go to sleepbut whenever they saw me dropping off
woke me up and told me to enjoy myself. Thatrather late in the
evening Mr. Wopsle gave us Collins's odeand threw his bloodstain'd
sword in thunder downwith such effectthat a waiter came in and
saidThe Commercials underneath sent up their compliments, and it
wasn't the Tumblers' Arms.Thatthey were all in excellent
spirits on the road homeand sang O Lady Fair! Mr. Wopsle taking
the bassand asserting with a tremendously strong voice (in reply
to the inquisitive bore who leads that piece of music in a most
impertinent mannerby wanting to know all about everybody's
private affairs) that he was the man with his white locks flowing
and that he was upon the whole the weakest pilgrim going.

FinallyI remember that when I got into my little bedroom I was
truly wretchedand had a strong conviction on me that I should
never like Joe's trade. I had liked it oncebut once was not now.

Chapter 14

It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home. There may be
black ingratitude in the thingand the punishment may be
retributive and well deserved; butthat it is a miserable thingI
can testify.

Home had never been a very pleasant place to mebecause of my
sister's temper. ButJoe had sanctified itand I had believed in
it. I had believed in the best parlour as a most elegant saloon; I
had believed in the front dooras a mysterious portal of the
Temple of State whose solemn opening was attended with a sacrifice
of roast fowls; I had believed in the kitchen as a chaste though
not magnificent apartment; I had believed in the forge as the
glowing road to manhood and independence. Within a single yearall
this was changed. Nowit was all coarse and commonand I would
not have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account.

How much of my ungracious condition of mind may have been my own
faulthow much Miss Havisham'show much my sister'sis now of no
moment to me or to any one. The change was made in me; the thing
was done. Well or ill doneexcusably or inexcusablyit was done.

Onceit had seemed to me that when I should at last roll up my
shirt-sleeves and go into the forgeJoe's 'prenticeI should be
distinguished and happy. Now the reality was in my holdI only
felt that I was dusty with the dust of small coaland that I had a
weight upon my daily remembrance to which the anvil was a feather.
There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most
lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen
on all its interest and romanceto shut me out from anything save
dull endurance any more. Never has that curtain dropped so heavy
and blankas when my way in life lay stretched out straight before
me through the newly-entered road of apprenticeship to Joe.

I remember that at a later period of my "time I used to stand
about the churchyard on Sunday evenings when night was falling,
comparing my own perspective with the windy marsh view, and making
out some likeness between them by thinking how flat and low both
were, and how on both there came an unknown way and a dark mist and
then the sea. I was quite as dejected on the first working-day of
my apprenticeship as in that after-time; but I am glad to know that
I never breathed a murmur to Joe while my indentures lasted. It is
about the only thing I am glad to know of myself in that

For, though it includes what I proceed to add, all the merit of
what I proceed to add was Joe's. It was not because I was faithful,
but because Joe was faithful, that I never ran away and went for a
soldier or a sailor. It was not because I had a strong sense of the
virtue of industry, but because Joe had a strong sense of the
virtue of industry, that I worked with tolerable zeal against the
grain. It is not possible to know how far the influence of any
amiable honest-hearted duty-doing man flies out into the world; but
it is very possible to know how it has touched one's self in going
by, and I know right well, that any good that intermixed itself
with my apprenticeship came of plain contented Joe, and not of
restlessly aspiring discontented me.

What I wanted, who can say? How can I say, when I never knew? What
I dreaded was, that in some unlucky hour I, being at my grimiest
and commonest, should lift up my eyes and see Estella looking in at
one of the wooden windows of the forge. I was haunted by the fear
that she would, sooner or later, find me out, with a black face and
hands, doing the coarsest part of my work, and would exult over me
and despise me. Often after dark, when I was pulling the bellows

for Joe, and we were singing Old Clem, and when the thought how we
used to sing it at Miss Havisham's would seem to show me Estella's
face in the fire, with her pretty hair fluttering in the wind and
her eyes scorning me, - often at such a time I would look towards
those panels of black night in the wall which the wooden windows
then were, and would fancy that I saw her just drawing her face
away, and would believe that she had come at last.

After that, when we went in to supper, the place and the meal would
have a more homely look than ever, and I would feel more ashamed of
home than ever, in my own ungracious breast.

Chapter 15

As I was getting too big for Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt's room, my
education under that preposterous female terminated. Not, however,
until Biddy had imparted to me everything she knew, from the little
catalogue of prices, to a comic song she had once bought for a
halfpenny. Although the only coherent part of the latter piece of
literature were the opening lines,

When I went to Lunnon town sirs, Too rul loo rul Too rul loo rul
Wasn't I done very brown sirs? Too rul loo rul Too rul loo rul

-still, in my desire to be wiser, I got this composition by heart
with the utmost gravity; nor do I recollect that I questioned its
merit, except that I thought (as I still do) the amount of Too rul
somewhat in excess of the poetry. In my hunger for information, I
made proposals to Mr. Wopsle to bestow some intellectual crumbs upon
me; with which he kindly complied. As it turned out, however, that
he only wanted me for a dramatic lay-figure, to be contradicted and
embraced and wept over and bullied and clutched and stabbed and
knocked about in a variety of ways, I soon declined that course of
instruction; though not until Mr. Wopsle in his poetic fury had
severely mauled me.
Whatever I acquired, I tried to impart to Joe. This statement
sounds so well, that I cannot in my conscience let it pass
unexplained. I wanted to make Joe less ignorant and common, that he
might be worthier of my society and less open to Estella's

The old Battery out on the marshes was our place of study, and a
broken slate and a short piece of slate pencil were our educational
implements: to which Joe always added a pipe of tobacco. I never
knew Joe to remember anything from one Sunday to another, or to
acquire, under my tuition, any piece of information whatever. Yet
he would smoke his pipe at the Battery with a far more sagacious
air than anywhere else - even with a learned air - as if he
considered himself to be advancing immensely. Dear fellow, I hope
he did.

It was pleasant and quiet, out there with the sails on the river
passing beyond the earthwork, and sometimes, when the tide was low,
looking as if they belonged to sunken ships that were still sailing
on at the bottom of the water. Whenever I watched the vessels
standing out to sea with their white sails spread, I somehow
thought of Miss Havisham and Estella; and whenever the light struck
aslant, afar off, upon a cloud or sail or green hill-side or
water-line, it was just the same. - Miss Havisham and Estella and
the strange house and the strange life appeared to have something
to do with everything that was picturesque.

One Sunday when Joe, greatly enjoying his pipe, had so plumed
himself on being most awful dull that I had given him up for the
day, I lay on the earthwork for some time with my chin on my hand,
descrying traces of Miss Havisham and Estella all over the
prospect, in the sky and in the water, until at last I resolved to
mention a thought concerning them that had been much in my head.

Joe said I; don't you think I ought to make Miss Havisham a

Well, Pip,returned Joeslowly considering. "What for?"

What for, Joe? What is any visit made for?

There is some wisits, p'r'aps,said Joeas for ever remains
open to the question, Pip. But in regard to wisiting Miss Havisham.
She might think you wanted something - expected something of her.

Don't you think I might say that I did not, Joe?

You might, old chap,said Joe. "And she might credit it.
Similarly she mightn't."

Joe feltas I didthat he had made a point thereand he pulled
hard at his pipe to keep himself from weakening it by repetition.

You see, Pip,Joe pursuedas soon as he was past that danger
Miss Havisham done the handsome thing by you. When Miss Havisham
done the handsome thing by you, she called me back to say to me as
that were all.

Yes, Joe. I heard her.

ALL,Joe repeatedvery emphatically.

Yes, Joe. I tell you, I heard her.

Which I meantersay, Pip, it might be that her meaning were - Make
a end on it! - As you was! - Me to the North, and you to the South!

-Keep in sunders!
I had thought of that tooand it was very far from comforting to
me to find that he had thought of it; for it seemed to render it
more probable.

But, Joe.

Yes, old chap.

Here am I, getting on in the first year of my time, and, since the
day of my being bound, I have never thanked Miss Havisham, or asked
after her, or shown that I remember her.

That's true, Pip; and unless you was to turn her out a set of
shoes all four round - and which I meantersay as even a set of
shoes all four round might not be acceptable as a present, in a
total wacancy of hoofs--

I don't mean that sort of remembrance, Joe; I don't mean a

But Joe had got the idea of a present in his head and must harp
upon it. "Or even said he, if you was helped to knocking her up
a new chain for the front door - or say a gross or two of

shark-headed screws for general use - or some light fancy article
such as a toasting-fork when she took her muffins - or a gridiron
when she took a sprat or such like--"

I don't mean any present at all, Joe,I interposed.

Well,said Joestill harping on it as though I had particularly
pressed itif I was yourself, Pip, I wouldn't. No, I would not.
For what's a door-chain when she's got one always up? And
shark-headers is open to misrepresentations. And if it was a
toasting-fork, you'd go into brass and do yourself no credit. And
the oncommonest workman can't show himself oncommon in a gridiron for
a gridiron IS a gridiron,said Joesteadfastly impressing it
upon meas if he were endeavouring to rouse me from a fixed
delusionand you may haim at what you like, but a gridiron it
will come out, either by your leave or again your leave, and you
can't help yourself--

My dear Joe,I criedin desperationtaking hold of his coat
don't go on in that way. I never thought of making Miss Havisham
any present.

No, Pip,Joe assentedas if he had been contending for thatall
along; "and what I say to you isyou are rightPip."

Yes, Joe; but what I wanted to say, was, that as we are rather
slack just now, if you would give me a half-holiday to-morrow, I
think I would go up-town and make a call on Miss Est - Havisham.

Which her name,said Joegravelyain't Estavisham, Pip, unless
she have been rechris'ened.

I know, Joe, I know. It was a slip of mine. What do you think of
it, Joe?

In briefJoe thought that if I thought well of ithe thought well
of it. Buthe was particular in stipulating that if I were not
received with cordialityor if I were not encouraged to repeat my
visit as a visit which had no ulterior object but was simply one of
gratitude for a favour receivedthen this experimental trip should
have no successor. By these conditions I promised to abide.

NowJoe kept a journeyman at weekly wages whose name was Orlick.
He pretended that his Christian name was Dolge - a clear
impossibility - but he was a fellow of that obstinate disposition
that I believe him to have been the prey of no delusion in this
particularbut wilfully to have imposed that name upon the village
as an affront to its understanding. He was a broadshouldered
loose-limbed swarthy fellow of great strengthnever in a hurry
and always slouching. He never even seemed to come to his work on
purposebut would slouch in as if by mere accident; and when he
went to the Jolly Bargemen to eat his dinneror went away at
nighthe would slouch outlike Cain or the Wandering Jewas if
he had no idea where he was going and no intention of ever coming
back. He lodged at a sluice-keeper's out on the marshesand on
working days would come slouching from his hermitagewith 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-gatesor stood against ricks and barns. He always
slouchedlocomotivelywith his eyes on the ground; andwhen
accosted or otherwise required to raise themhe looked up in a
half resentfulhalf puzzled wayas though the only thought he
ever hadwasthat 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 timidhe gave me to understand that the Devil lived in a black
corner of the forgeand that he knew the fiend very well: also
that it was necessary to make up the fireonce in seven years
with a live boyand that I might consider myself fuel. When I
became Joe's 'prenticeOrlick was perhaps confirmed in some
suspicion that I should displace him; howbeithe liked me still
less. Not that he ever said anythingor did anythingopenly
importing hostility; I only noticed that he always beat his sparks
in my directionand that whenever I sang Old Clemhe came in out
of time.

Dolge Orlick was at work and presentnext daywhen I reminded Joe
of my half-holiday. He said nothing at the momentfor he and Joe
had just got a piece of hot iron between themand I was at the
bellows; but by-and-by he saidleaning 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-twentybut he usually spoke of himself as an
ancient person.

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 temperOrlick plunged at the furnacedrew out a
red-hot barmade at me with it as if he were going to run it
through my bodywhisked it round my headlaid it on the anvil
hammered it out - as if it were II thoughtand the sparks were
my spirting blood - and finally saidwhen he had hammered himself
hot and the iron coldand he again leaned on his hammer:

Now, master!

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 Joelet it be a half-holiday for all.

My sister had been standing silent in the yardwithin 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 Joegiving 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 Orlickwith

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 noodleswithout being a match for your
masterwho's the dunder-headed king of the noodles. And I couldn't
be a match for the rogueswithout being a match for youwho are
the blackest-looking and the worst rogue between this and France.

You're a foul shrew, Mother Gargery, growled the journeyman. If
that makes a judge of roguesyou ought to be a good'un."

("Let her alonewill you?" said Joe.)

What did you say?cried my sisterbeginning to scream. "What did
you say? What did that fellow Orlick say to mePip? What did he
call mewith my husband standing by? O! O! O!" Each of these
exclamations was a shriek; and I must remark of my sisterwhat is
equally true of all the violent women I have ever seenthat
passion was no excuse for herbecause it is undeniable that
instead of lapsing into passionshe consciously and deliberately
took extraordinary pains to force herself into itand became
blindly furious by regular stages; "what was the name he gave me
before the base man who swore to defend me? O! Hold me! O!"

Ah-h-h!growled the journeymanbetween his teethI'd hold you,
if you was my wife. I'd hold you under the pump, and choke it out
of you.

("I tell youlet her alone said Joe.)

Oh! To hear him!" cried my sisterwith a clap of her hands and a
scream together - which was her next stage. "To hear the names he's
giving me! That Orlick! In my own house! Mea married woman! With
my husband standing by! O! O!" Here my sisterafter a fit of
clappings and screamingsbeat her hands upon her bosom and upon
her kneesand threw her cap offand pulled her hair down - which
were the last stages on her road to frenzy. Being by this time a
perfect Fury and a complete successshe made a dash at the door
which I had fortunately locked.

What could the wretched Joe do nowafter his disregarded
parenthetical interruptionsbut stand up to his journeymanand
ask him what he meant by interfering betwixt himself and Mrs. Joe;
and further whether he was man enough to come on? Old Orlick felt
that the situation admitted of nothing less than coming onand was
on his defence straightway; sowithout so much as pulling off
their singed and burnt apronsthey went at one anotherlike two
giants. Butif any man in that neighbourhood could stand up long
against JoeI never saw the man. Orlickas if he had been of no
more account than the pale young gentlemanwas very soon among the
coal-dustand in no hurry to come out of it. ThenJoe unlocked
the door and picked up my sisterwho had dropped insensible at the
window (but who had seen the fight firstI think)and who was
carried into the house and laid downand who was recommended to
reviveand would do nothing but struggle and clench her hands in
Joe's hair. Thencame that singular calm and silence which succeed
all uproars; and thenwith the vague sensation which I have always
connected with such a lull - namelythat it was Sundayand
somebody was dead - I went up-stairs to dress myself.

When I came down againI found Joe and Orlick sweeping upwithout
any other traces of discomposure than a slit in one of Orlick's
nostrilswhich was neither expressive nor ornamental. A pot of
beer had appeared from the Jolly Bargemenand they were sharing it
by turns in a peaceable manner. The lull had a sedative and
philosophical influence on Joewho followed me out into the road
to sayas a parting observation that might do me goodOn the
Rampage, Pip, and off the Rampage, Pip - such is Life!

With what absurd emotions (forwe think the feelings that are very
serious in a man quite comical in a boy) I found myself again going
to Miss Havisham'smatters little here. Norhow I passed and
repassed the gate many times before I could make up my mind to
ring. Norhow I debated whether I should go away without ringing;
norhow I should undoubtedly have goneif my time had been my
ownto come back.

Miss Sarah Pocket came to the gate. No Estella.

How, then? You here again?said Miss Pocket. "What do you want?"

When I said that I only came to see how Miss Havisham wasSarah
evidently deliberated whether or no she should send me about my
business. Butunwilling to hazard the responsibilityshe let me
inand presently brought the sharp message that I was to "come

Everything was unchangedand Miss Havisham was alone.

Well?said shefixing her eyes upon me. "I hope you want
nothing? You'll get nothing."

No, indeed, Miss Havisham. I only wanted you to know that I am
doing very well in my apprenticeship, and am always much obliged to

There, there!with the old restless fingers. "Come now and then;
come on your birthday. - Ay!" she cried suddenlyturning herself
and her chair towards meYou are looking round for Estella? Hey?

I had been looking round - in factfor Estella - and I stammered
that I hoped she was well.

Abroad,said Miss Havisham; "educating for a lady; far out of
reach; prettier than ever; admired by all who see her. Do you feel
that you have lost her?"

There was such a malignant enjoyment in her utterance of the last
wordsand she broke into such a disagreeable laughthat I was at
a loss what to say. She spared me the trouble of consideringby
dismissing me. When the gate was closed upon me by Sarah of the
walnut-shell countenanceI felt more than ever dissatisfied with
my home and with my trade and with everything; and that was all I
took by that motion.

As I was loitering along the High-streetlooking in disconsolately
at the shop windowsand thinking what I would buy if I were a
gentlemanwho should come out of the bookshop but Mr. Wopsle. Mr
Wopsle had in his hand the affecting tragedy of George Barnwellin
which he had that moment invested sixpencewith the view of
heaping every word of it on the head of Pumblechookwith whom he
was going to drink tea. No sooner did he see methan he appeared
to consider that a special Providence had put a 'prentice in his
way to be read at; and he laid hold of meand insisted on my

accompanying him to the Pumblechookian parlour. As I knew it would
be miserable at homeand as the nights were dark and the way was
drearyand almost any companionship on the road was better than
noneI made no great resistance; consequentlywe turned into
Pumblechook's just as the street and the shops were lighting up.

As I never assisted at any other representation of George Barnwell
I don't know how long it may usually take; but I know very well
that it took until half-past nine o' clock that nightand that
when Mr. Wopsle got into NewgateI thought he never would go to the
scaffoldhe became so much slower than at any former period of his
disgraceful career. I thought it a little too much that he should
complain of being cut short in his flower after allas if he had
not been running to seedleaf after leafever since his course
began. Thishoweverwas a mere question of length and
wearisomeness. What stung mewas the identification of the whole
affair with my unoffending self. When Barnwell began to go wrongI
declare that I felt positively apologeticPumblechook's indignant
stare so taxed me with it. Wopsletootook pains to present me in
the worst light. At once ferocious and maudlinI was made to
murder my uncle with no extenuating circumstances whatever;
Millwood put me down in argumenton every occasion; it became
sheer monomania in my master's daughter to care a button for me;
and all I can say for my gasping and procrastinating conduct on the
fatal morningisthat it was worthy of the general feebleness of
my character. Even after I was happily hanged and Wopsle had closed
the bookPumblechook sat staring at meand shaking his headand
sayingTake warning, boy, take warning!as if it were a
well-known fact that I contemplated murdering a near relation
provided I could only induce one to have the weakness to become my

It was a very dark night when it was all overand when I set out
with Mr. Wopsle on the walk home. Beyond townwe found a heavy
mist outand it fell wet and thick. The turnpike lamp was a blur
quite out of the lamp's usual place apparentlyand its rays looked
solid substance on the fog. We were noticing thisand saying how
that the mist rose with a change of wind from a certain quarter of
our marsheswhen we came upon a manslouching under the lee of
the turnpike house.

Halloa!we saidstopping. "Orlickthere?"

Ah!he answeredslouching out. "I was standing bya minuteon
the chance of company."

You are late,I remarked.

Orlick not unnaturally answeredWell? And you're late.

We have been,said Mr. Wopsleexalted with his late performance
we have been indulging, Mr. Orlick, in an intellectual evening.

Old Orlick growledas if he had nothing to say about thatand we
all went on together. I asked him presently whether he had been
spending his half-holiday up and down town?

Yes,said heall of it. I come in behind yourself. I didn't see
you, but I must have been pretty close behind you. By-the-bye, the
guns is going again.

At the Hulks?said I.

Ay! There's some of the birds flown from the cages. The guns have

been going since dark, about. You'll hear one presently.

In effectwe had not walked many yards furtherwhen the
wellremembered boom came towards usdeadened by the mistand
heavily rolled away along the low grounds by the riveras if it
were pursuing and threatening the fugitives.

A good night for cutting off in,said Orlick. "We'd be puzzled
how to bring down a jail-bird on the wingto-night."

The subject was a suggestive one to meand I thought about it in
silence. Mr. Wopsleas the ill-requited uncle of the evening's
tragedyfell to meditating aloud in his garden at Camberwell.
Orlickwith his hands in his pocketsslouched heavily at my side.
It was very darkvery wetvery muddyand so we splashed along.
Now and thenthe sound of the signal cannon broke upon us again
and again rolled sulkily along the course of the river. I kept
myself to myself and my thoughts. Mr. Wopsle died amiably at
Camberwelland exceedingly game on Bosworth Fieldand in the
greatest agonies at Glastonbury. Orlick sometimes growledBeat it
out, beat it out - Old Clem! With a clink for the stout - Old
Clem!I thought he had been drinkingbut he was not drunk.

Thuswe came to the village. The way by which we approached it
took us past the Three Jolly Bargemenwhich we were surprised to
find - it being eleven o'clock - in a state of commotionwith the
door wide openand unwonted lights that had been hastily caught up
and put downscattered about. Mr. Wopsle dropped in to ask what was
the matter (surmising that a convict had been taken)but came
running out in a great hurry.

There's something wrong,said hewithout stoppingup at your
place, Pip. Run all!

What is it?I askedkeeping up with him. So did Orlickat my

I can't quite understand. The house seems to have been violently
entered when Joe Gargery was out. Supposed by convicts. Somebody
has been attacked and hurt.

We were running too fast to admit of more being saidand we made
no stop until we got into our kitchen. It was full of people; the
whole village was thereor in the yard; and there was a surgeon
and there was Joeand there was a group of womenall on the floor
in the midst of the kitchen. The unemployed bystanders drew back
when they saw meand so I became aware of my sister - lying
without sense or movement on the bare boards where she had been
knocked down by a tremendous blow on the back of the headdealt by
some unknown hand when her face was turned towards the fire destined
never to be on the Rampage againwhile she was the wife
of Joe.

Chapter 16

With my head full of George BarnwellI was at first disposed to
believe that I must have had some hand in the attack upon my
sisteror at all events that as her near relationpopularly known
to be under obligations to herI was a more legitimate object of
suspicion than any one else. But whenin the clearer light of next
morningI began to reconsider the matter and to hear it discussed
around me on all sidesI took another view of the casewhich was
more reasonable.

Joe had been at the Three Jolly Bargemensmoking his pipefrom a
quarter after eight o'clock to a quarter before ten. While he was
theremy sister had been seen standing at the kitchen doorand
had exchanged Good Night with a farm-labourer going home. The man
could not be more particular as to the time at which he saw her (he
got into dense confusion when he tried to be)than that it must
have been before nine. When Joe went home at five minutes before
tenhe found her struck down on the floorand promptly called in
assistance. The fire had not then burnt unusually lownor was the
snuff of the candle very long; the candlehoweverhad been blown

Nothing had been taken away from any part of the house. Neither
beyond the blowing out of the candle - which stood on a table
between the door and my sisterand was behind her when she stood
facing the fire and was struck - was there any disarrangement of
the kitchenexcepting such as she herself had madein falling and
bleeding. Butthere was one remarkable piece of evidence on the
spot. She had been struck with something blunt and heavyon the
head and spine; after the blows were dealtsomething heavy had
been thrown down at her with considerable violenceas she lay on
her face. And on the ground beside herwhen Joe picked her upwas
a convict's leg-iron which had been filed asunder.

NowJoeexamining this iron with a smith's eyedeclared it to
have been filed asunder some time ago. The hue and cry going off to
the Hulksand people coming thence to examine the ironJoe's
opinion was corroborated. They did not undertake to say when it had
left the prison-ships to which it undoubtedly had once belonged;
but they claimed to know for certain that that particular manacle
had not been worn by either of the two convicts who had escaped last
night. Furtherone of those two was already re-takenand had not
freed himself of his iron.

Knowing what I knewI set up an inference of my own here. I
believed the iron to be my convict's iron - the iron I had seen and
heard him filing aton the marshes - but my mind did not accuse
him of having put it to its latest use. ForI believed one of two
other persons to have become possessed of itand to have turned it
to this cruel account. Either Orlickor the strange man who had
shown me the file.

Nowas to Orlick; he had gone to town exactly as he told us when
we picked him up at the turnpikehe had been seen about town all
the eveninghe had been in divers companies in several
public-housesand he had come back with myself and Mr. Wopsle.
There was nothing against himsave the quarrel; and my sister had
quarrelled with himand with everybody else about herten
thousand times. As to the strange man; if he had come back for his
two bank-notes there could have been no dispute about thembecause
my sister was fully prepared to restore them. Besidesthere had
been no altercation; the assailant had come in so silently and
suddenlythat she had been felled before she could look round.

It was horrible to think that I had provided the weaponhowever
undesignedlybut I could hardly think otherwise. I suffered
unspeakable trouble while I considered and reconsidered whether I
should at last dissolve that spell of my childhoodand tell Joe
all the story. For months afterwardsI every day settled the
question finally in the negativeand reopened and reargued it next
morning. The contention cameafter allto this; - the secret was
such an old one nowhad so grown into me and become a part of
myselfthat I could not tear it away. In addition to the dread

thathaving led up to so much mischiefit would be now more
likely than ever to alienate Joe from me if he believed itI had a
further restraining dread that he would not believe itbut would
assort it with the fabulous dogs and veal-cutlets as a monstrous
invention. HoweverI temporized with myselfof course - forwas
I not wavering between right and wrongwhen the thing is always
done? - and resolved to make a full disclosure if I should see any
such new occasion as a new chance of helping in the discovery of
the assailant.

The Constablesand the Bow Street men from London - forthis
happened in the days of the extinct red-waistcoated police - were
about the house for a week or twoand did pretty much what I have
heard and read of like authorities doing in other such cases. They
took up several obviously wrong peopleand they ran their heads
very hard against wrong ideasand persisted in trying to fit the
circumstances to the ideasinstead of trying to extract ideas from
the circumstances. Alsothey stood about the door of the Jolly
Bargemenwith knowing and reserved looks that filled the whole
neighbourhood with admiration; and they had a mysterious manner of
taking their drinkthat was almost as good as taking the culprit.
But not quitefor they never did it.

Long after these constitutional powers had dispersedmy sister lay
very ill in bed. Her sight was disturbedso that she saw objects
multipliedand grasped at visionary teacups and wine-glasses
instead of the realities; her hearing was greatly impaired; her
memory also; and her speech was unintelligible. Whenat lastshe
came round so far as to be helped down-stairsit was still
necessary to keep my slate always by herthat she might indicate
in writing what she could not indicate in speech. As she was (very
bad handwriting apart) a more than indifferent spellerand as Joe
was a more than indifferent readerextraordinary complications
arose between themwhich I was always called in to solve. The
administration of mutton instead of medicinethe substitution of
Tea for Joeand the baker for baconwere among the mildest of my
own mistakes.

Howeverher temper was greatly improvedand she was patient. A
tremulous uncertainty of the action of all her limbs soon became a
part of her regular stateand afterwardsat intervals of two or
three monthsshe would often put her hands to her headand would
then remain for about a week at a time in some gloomy aberration of
mind. We were at a loss to find a suitable attendant for heruntil
a circumstance happened conveniently to relieve us. Mr. Wopsle's
great-aunt conquered a confirmed habit of living into which she had
fallenand Biddy became a part of our establishment.

It may have been about a month after my sister's reappearance in
the kitchenwhen Biddy came to us with a small speckled box
containing the whole of her worldly effectsand became a blessing
to the household. Above allshe was a blessing to Joefor the
dear old fellow was sadly cut up by the constant contemplation of
the wreck of his wifeand had been accustomedwhile attending on
her of an eveningto turn to me every now and then and saywith
his blue eyes moistenedSuch a fine figure of a woman as she once
were, Pip!Biddy instantly taking the cleverest charge of her as
though she had studied her from infancyJoe became able in some
sort to appreciate the greater quiet of his lifeand to get down
to the Jolly Bargemen now and then for a change that did him good.
It was characteristic of the police people that they had all more
or less suspected poor Joe (though he never knew it)and that they
had to a man concurred in regarding him as one of the deepest
spirits they had ever encountered.

Biddy's first triumph in her new officewas to solve a difficulty
that had completely vanquished me. I had tried hard at itbut had
made nothing of it. Thus it was:

Again and again and againmy sister had traced upon the slatea
character that looked like a curious Tand then with the utmost
eagerness had called our attention to it as something she
particularly wanted. I had in vain tried everything producible that
began with a Tfrom tar to toast and tub. At length it had come
into my head that the sign looked like a hammerand on my lustily
calling that word in my sister's earshe had begun to hammer on
the table and had expressed a qualified assent. ThereuponI had
brought in all our hammersone after anotherbut without avail.
Then I bethought me of a crutchthe shape being much the sameand
I borrowed one in the villageand displayed it to my sister with
considerable confidence. But she shook her head to that extent when
she was shown itthat we were terrified lest in her weak and
shattered state she should dislocate her neck.

When my sister found that Biddy was very quick to understand her
this mysterious sign reappeared on the slate. Biddy looked
thoughtfully at itheard my explanationlooked thoughtfully at my
sisterlooked thoughtfully at Joe (who was always represented on
the slate by his initial letter)and ran into the forgefollowed
by Joe and me.

Why, of course!cried Biddywith an exultant face. "Don't you
see? It's him!"

Orlickwithout a doubt! She had lost his nameand could only
signify him by his hammer. We told him why we wanted him to come
into the kitchenand he slowly laid down his hammerwiped his
brow with his armtook another wipe at it with his apronand came
slouching outwith a curious loose vagabond bend in the knees that
strongly distinguished him.

I confess that I expected to see my sister denounce himand that I
was disappointed by the different result. She manifested the
greatest anxiety to be on good terms with himwas evidently much
pleased by his being at length producedand motioned that she
would have him given something to drink. She watched his
countenance as if she were particularly wishful to be assured that
he took kindly to his receptionshe showed every possible desire
to conciliate himand there was an air of humble propitiation in
all she didsuch as I have seen pervade the bearing of a child
towards a hard master. After that daya day rarely passed without
her drawing the hammer on her slateand without Orlick's slouching
in and standing doggedly before heras if he knew no more than I
did what to make of it.

Chapter 17

I now fell into a regular routine of apprenticeship lifewhich was
variedbeyond the limits of the village and the marshesby no
more remarkable circumstance than the arrival of my birthday and my
paying another visit to Miss Havisham. I found Miss Sarah Pocket
still on duty at the gateI found Miss Havisham just as I had left
herand she spoke of Estella in the very same wayif not in the
very same words. The interview lasted but a few minutesand she
gave me a guinea when I was goingand told me to come again on my
next birthday. I may mention at once that this became an annual
custom. I tried to decline taking the guinea on the first occasion

but with no better effect than causing her to ask me very angrily
if I expected more? Thenand after thatI took it.

So unchanging was the dull old housethe yellow light in the
darkened roomthe faded spectre in the chair by the dressing-table
glassthat I felt as if the stopping of the clocks had stopped
Time in that mysterious placeandwhile I and everything else
outside it grew olderit stood still. Daylight never entered the
house as to my thoughts and remembrances of itany more than as to
the actual fact. It bewildered meand under its influence I
continued at heart to hate my trade and to be ashamed of home.

Imperceptibly I became conscious of a change in Biddyhowever. Her
shoes came up at the heelher hair grew bright and neather hands
were always clean. She was not beautiful - she was commonand
could not be like Estella - but she was pleasant and wholesome and
sweet-tempered. She had not been with us more than a year (I
remember her being newly out of mourning at the time it struck me)
when I observed to myself one evening that she had curiously
thoughtful and attentive eyes; eyes that were very pretty and very

It came of my lifting up my own eyes from a task I was poring at writing
some passages from a bookto improve myself in two ways at
once by a sort of stratagem - and seeing Biddy observant of what I
was about. I laid down my penand Biddy stopped in her needlework
without laying it down.

Biddy,said Ihow do you manage it? Either I am very stupid, or
you are very clever.

What is it that I manage? I don't know,returned Biddysmiling.

She managed our whole domestic lifeand wonderfully too; but I did
not mean thatthough that made what I did meanmore surprising.

How do you manage, Biddy,said Ito learn everything that I
learn, and always to keep up with me?I was beginning to be rather
vain of my knowledgefor I spent my birthday guineas on itand
set aside the greater part of my pocket-money for similar
investment; though I have no doubtnowthat the little I knew was
extremely dear at the price.

I might as well ask you,said Biddyhow you manage?

No; because when I come in from the forge of a night, any one can
see me turning to at it. But you never turn to at it, Biddy.

I suppose I must catch it - like a cough,said Biddyquietly;
and went on with her sewing.

Pursuing my idea as I leaned back in my wooden chair and looked at
Biddy sewing away with her head on one sideI began to think her
rather an extraordinary girl. ForI called to mind nowthat she
was equally accomplished in the terms of our tradeand the names
of our different sorts of workand our various tools. In short
whatever I knewBiddy knew. Theoreticallyshe was already as good
a blacksmith as Ior better.

You are one of those, Biddy,said Iwho make the most of every
chance. You never had a chance before you came here, and see how
improved you are!

Biddy looked at me for an instantand went on with her sewing. "I

was your first teacher though; wasn't I?" said sheas she sewed.

Biddy!I exclaimedin amazement. "Whyyou are crying!"

No I am not,said Biddylooking up and laughing. "What put that
in your head?"

What could have put it in my headbut the glistening of a tear as
it dropped on her work? I sat silentrecalling what a drudge she
had been until Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt successfully overcame that
bad habit of livingso highly desirable to be got rid of by some
people. I recalled the hopeless circumstances by which she had been
surrounded in the miserable little shop and the miserable little
noisy evening schoolwith that miserable old bundle of
incompetence always to be dragged and shouldered. I reflected that
even in those untoward times there must have been latent in Biddy
what was now developingforin my first uneasiness and discontent
I had turned to her for helpas a matter of course. Biddy sat
quietly sewingshedding no more tearsand while I looked at her
and thought about it allit occurred to me that perhaps I had not
been sufficiently grateful to Biddy. I might have been too
reservedand should have patronized her more (though I did not use
that precise word in my meditations)with my confidence.

Yes, Biddy,I observedwhen I had done turning it overyou
were my first teacher, and that at a time when we little thought of
ever being together like this, in this kitchen.

Ah, poor thing!replied Biddy. It was like her
self-forgetfulnessto transfer the remark to my sisterand to get
up and be busy about hermaking her more comfortable; "that's
sadly true!"

Well!said Iwe must talk together a little more, as we used to
do. And I must consult you a little more, as I used to do. Let us
have a quiet walk on the marshes next Sunday, Biddy, and a long

My sister was never left alone now; but Joe more than readily
undertook the care of her on that Sunday afternoonand Biddy and I
went out together. It was summer-timeand lovely weather. When we
had passed the village and the church and the churchyardand were
out on the marshes and began to see the sails of the ships as they
sailed onI began to combine Miss Havisham and Estella with the
prospectin my usual way. When we came to the river-side and sat
down on the bankwith the water rippling at our feetmaking it
all more quiet than it would have been without that soundI
resolved that it was a good time and place for the admission of
Biddy into my inner confidence.

Biddy,said Iafter binding her to secrecyI want to be a

Oh, I wouldn't, if I was you!she returned. "I don't think it
would answer."

Biddy,said Iwith some severityI have particular reasons for
wanting to be a gentleman.

You know best, Pip; but don't you think you are happier as you

Biddy,I exclaimedimpatientlyI am not at all happy as I am.
I am disgusted with my calling and with my life. I have never taken

to either, since I was bound. Don't be absurd.

Was I absurd?said Biddyquietly raising her eyebrows; "I am
sorry for that; I didn't mean to be. I only want you to do well
and to be comfortable."

Well then, understand once for all that I never shall or can be
comfortable - or anything but miserable - there, Biddy! - unless I
can lead a very different sort of life from the life I lead now.

That's a pity!said Biddyshaking her head with a sorrowful air.

NowI too had so often thought it a pitythatin the singular
kind of quarrel with myself which I was always carrying onI was
half inclined to shed tears of vexation and distress when Biddy
gave utterance to her sentiment and my own. I told her she was
rightand I knew it was much to be regrettedbut still it was not
to be helped.

If I could have settled down,I said to Biddyplucking up the
short grass within reachmuch as I had once upon a time pulled my
feelings out of my hair and kicked them into the brewery wall: "if
I could have settled down and been but half as fond of the forge as
I was when I was littleI know it would have been much better for
me. You and I and Joe would have wanted nothing thenand Joe and I
would perhaps have gone partners when I was out of my timeand I
might even have grown up to keep company with youand we might
have sat on this very bank on a fine Sundayquite different
people. I should have been good enough for you; shouldn't I

Biddy sighed as she looked at the ships sailing onand returned
for answerYes; I am not over-particular.It scarcely sounded
flatteringbut I knew she meant well.

Instead of that,said Iplucking up more grass and chewing a
blade or twosee how I am going on. Dissatisfied, and
uncomfortable, and - what would it signify to me, being coarse and
common, if nobody had told me so!

Biddy turned her face suddenly towards mineand looked far more
attentively at me than she had looked at the sailing ships.

It was neither a very true nor a very polite thing to say,she
remarkeddirecting her eyes to the ships again. "Who said it?"

I was disconcertedfor I had broken away without quite seeing
where I was going to. It was not to be shuffled off nowhowever
and I answeredThe beautiful young lady at Miss Havisham's, and
she's more beautiful than anybody ever was, and I admire her
dreadfully, and I want to be a gentleman on her account.Having
made this lunatic confessionI began to throw my torn-up grass
into the riveras if I had some thoughts of following it.

Do you want to be a gentleman, to spite her or to gain her over?
Biddy quietly asked meafter a pause.

I don't know,I moodily answered.

Because, if it is to spite her,Biddy pursuedI should think but
you know best - that might be better and more independently
done by caring nothing for her words. And if it is to gain her
over, I should think - but you know best - she was not worth
gaining over.

Exactly what I myself had thoughtmany times. Exactly what was
perfectly manifest to me at the moment. But how could Ia poor
dazed village ladavoid that wonderful inconsistency into which
the best and wisest of men fall every day?

It may be all quite true,said I to Biddybut I admire her

In shortI turned over on my face when I came to thatand got a
good grasp on the hair on each side of my headand wrenched it
well. All the while knowing the madness of my heart to be so very
mad and misplacedthat I was quite conscious it would have served
my face rightif I had lifted it up by my hairand knocked it
against the pebbles as a punishment for belonging to such an idiot.

Biddy was the wisest of girlsand she tried to reason no more with
me. She put her handwhich was a comfortable hand though roughened
by workupon my handsone after anotherand gently took them out
of my hair. Then she softly patted my shoulder in a soothing way
while with my face upon my sleeve I cried a little - exactly as I
had done in the brewery yard - and felt vaguely convinced that I
was very much ill-used by somebodyor by everybody; I can't say

I am glad of one thing,said Biddyand that is, that you have
felt you could give me your confidence, Pip. And I am glad of
another thing, and that is, that of course you know you may depend
upon my keeping it and always so far deserving it. If your first
teacher (dear! such a poor one, and so much in need of being taught
herself!) had been your teacher at the present time, she thinks she
knows what lesson she would set. But It would be a hard one to
learn, and you have got beyond her, and it's of no use now.So
with a quiet sigh for meBiddy rose from the bankand saidwith
a fresh and pleasant change of voiceShall we walk a little
further, or go home?

Biddy,I criedgetting upputting my arm round her neckand
giving her a kissI shall always tell you everything.

Till you're a gentleman,said Biddy.

You know I never shall be, so that's always. Not that I have any
occasion to tell you anything, for you know everything I know - as
I told you at home the other night.

Ah!said Biddyquite in a whisperas she looked away at the
ships. And then repeatedwith her former pleasant change; "shall
we walk a little furtheror go home?"

I said to Biddy we would walk a little furtherand we did soand
the summer afternoon toned down into the summer eveningand it was
very beautiful. I began to consider whether I was not more
naturally and wholesomely situatedafter allin these
circumstancesthan playing beggar my neighbour by candlelight in
the room with the stopped clocksand being despised by Estella. I
thought it would be very good for me if I could get her out of my
headwith all the rest of those remembrances and fanciesand
could go to work determined to relish what I had to doand stick
to itand make the best of it. I asked myself the question whether
I did not surely know that if Estella were beside me at that moment
instead of Biddyshe would make me miserable? I was obliged to
admit that I did know it for a certaintyand I said to myself
Pip, what a fool you are!

We talked a good deal as we walkedand all that Biddy said seemed
right. Biddy was never insultingor capriciousor Biddy to-day
and somebody else to-morrow; she would have derived only painand
no pleasurefrom giving me pain; she would far rather have wounded
her own breast than mine. How could it bethenthat I did not
like her much the better of the two?

Biddy,said Iwhen we were walking homewardI wish you could
put me right.

I wish I could!said Biddy.

If I could only get myself to fall in love with you - you don't
mind my speaking so openly to such an old acquaintance?

Oh dear, not at all!said Biddy. "Don't mind me."

If I could only get myself to do it, that would be the thing for

But you never will, you see,said Biddy.

It did not appear quite so unlikely to me that eveningas it would
have done if we had discussed it a few hours before. I therefore
observed I was not quite sure of that. But Biddy said she wasand
she said it decisively. In my heart I believed her to be right; and
yet I took it rather illtoothat she should be so positive on
the point.

When we came near the churchyardwe had to cross an embankment
and get over a stile near a sluice gate. There started upfrom the
gateor from the rushesor from the ooze (which was quite in his
stagnant way)Old Orlick.

Halloa!he growledwhere are you two going?

Where should we be going, but home?

Well then,said heI'm jiggered if I don't see you home!

This penalty of being jiggered was a favourite supposititious case
of his. He attached no definite meaning to the word that I am aware
ofbut used itlike his own pretended Christian nameto affront
mankindand convey an idea of something savagely damaging. When I
was youngerI had had a general belief that if he had jiggered me
personallyhe would have done it with a sharp and twisted hook.

Biddy was much against his going with usand said to me in a
whisperDon't let him come; I don't like him.As I did not like
him eitherI took the liberty of saying that we thanked himbut
we didn't want seeing home. He received that piece of information
with a yell of laughterand dropped backbut came slouching after
us at a little distance.

Curious to know whether Biddy suspected him of having had a hand in
that murderous attack of which my sister had never been able to
give any accountI asked her why she did not like him.

Oh!she repliedglancing over her shoulder as he slouched after
usbecause I - I am afraid he likes me.

Did he ever tell you he liked you?I askedindignantly.

No,said Biddyglancing over her shoulder againhe never told
me so; but he dances at me, whenever he can catch my eye.

However novel and peculiar this testimony of attachmentI did not
doubt the accuracy of the interpretation. I was very hot indeed
upon Old Orlick's daring to admire her; as hot as if it were an
outrage on myself.

But it makes no difference to you, you know,said Biddycalmly.

No, Biddy, it makes no difference to me; only I don't like it; I
don't approve of it.

Nor I neither,said Biddy. "Though that makes no difference to

Exactly,said I; "but I must tell you I should have no opinion of
youBiddyif he danced at you with your own consent."

I kept an eye on Orlick after that nightandwhenever
circumstances were favourable to his dancing at Biddygot before
himto obscure that demonstration. He had struck root in Joe's
establishmentby reason of my sister's sudden fancy for himor I
should have tried to get him dismissed. He quite understood and
reciprocated my good intentionsas I had reason to know

And nowbecause my mind was not confused enough beforeI
complicated its confusion fifty thousand-foldby having states and
seasons when I was clear that Biddy was immeasurably better than
Estellaand that the plain honest working life to which I was
bornhad nothing in it to be ashamed ofbut offered me sufficient
means of self-respect and happiness. At those timesI would decide
conclusively that my disaffection to dear old Joe and the forge
was goneand that I was growing up in a fair way to be partners
with Joe and to keep company with Biddy - when all in a moment some
confounding remembrance of the Havisham days would fall upon me
like a destructive missileand scatter my wits again. Scattered
wits take a long time picking up; and oftenbefore I had got them
well togetherthey would be dispersed in all directions by one
stray thoughtthat perhaps after all Miss Havisham was going to
make my fortune when my time was out.

If my time had run outit would have left me still at the height
of my perplexitiesI dare say. It never did run outhoweverbut
was brought to a premature endas I proceed to relate.

Chapter 18

It was in the fourth year of my apprenticeship to Joeand it was a
Saturday night. There was a group assembled round the fire at the
Three Jolly Bargemenattentive to Mr. Wopsle as he read the
newspaper aloud. Of that group I was one.

A highly popular murder had been committedand Mr. Wopsle was
imbrued in blood to the eyebrows. He gloated over every abhorrent
adjective in the descriptionand identified himself with every
witness at the Inquest. He faintly moanedI am done for,as the
victimand he barbarously bellowedI'll serve you out,as the
murderer. He gave the medical testimonyin pointed imitation of
our local practitioner; and he piped and shookas the aged
turnpike-keeper who had heard blowsto an extent so very paralytic
as to suggest a doubt regarding the mental competency of that

witness. The coronerin Mr. Wopsle's handsbecame Timon of Athens;
the beadleCoriolanus. He enjoyed himself thoroughlyand we all
enjoyed ourselvesand were delightfully comfortable. In this cozy
state of mind we came to the verdict Wilful Murder.

Thenand not soonerI became aware of a strange gentleman leaning
over the back of the settle opposite melooking on. There was an
expression of contempt on his faceand he bit the side of a great
forefinger as he watched the group of faces.

Well!said the stranger to Mr. Wopslewhen the reading was done
you have settled it all to your own satisfaction, I have no

Everybody started and looked upas if it were the murderer. He
looked at everybody coldly and sarcastically.

Guilty, of course?said he. "Out with it. Come!"

Sir,returned Mr. Wopslewithout having the honour of your
acquaintance, I do say Guilty.Upon thiswe all took courage to
unite in a confirmatory murmur.

I know you do,said the stranger; "I knew you would. I told you
so. But now I'll ask you a question. Do you knowor do you not
knowthat the law of England supposes every man to be innocent
until he is proved - proved - to be guilty?"

Sir,Mr. Wopsle began to replyas an Englishman myself, I--

Come!said the strangerbiting his forefinger at him. "Don't
evade the question. Either you know itor you don't know it. Which
is it to be?"

He stood with his head on one side and himself on one sidein a
bullying interrogative mannerand he threw his forefinger at Mr.
Wopsle - as it were to mark him out - before biting it again.

Now!said he. "Do you know itor don't you know it?"

Certainly I know it,replied Mr. Wopsle.

Certainly you know it. Then why didn't you say so at first? Now,
I'll ask you another question;taking possession of Mr. Wopsleas
if he had a right to him. "Do you know that none of these witnesses
have yet been cross-examined?"

Mr. Wopsle was beginningI can only say--when the stranger
stopped him.

What? You won't answer the question, yes or no? Now, I'll try you
again.Throwing his finger at him again. "Attend to me. Are you
awareor are you not awarethat none of these witnesses have yet
been cross-examined? ComeI only want one word from you. Yesor

Mr. Wopsle hesitatedand we all began to conceive rather a poor
opinion of him.

Come!said the strangerI'll help you. You don't deserve help,
but I'll help you. Look at that paper you hold in your hand. What
is it?

What is it?repeated Mr. Wopsleeyeing itmuch at a loss.

Is it,pursued the stranger in his most sarcastic and suspicious
mannerthe printed paper you have just been reading from?


Undoubtedly. Now, turn to that paper, and tell me whether it
distinctly states that the prisoner expressly said that his legal
advisers instructed him altogether to reserve his defence?

I read that just now,Mr. Wopsle pleaded.

Never mind what you read just now, sir; I don't ask you what you
read just now. You may read the Lord's Prayer backwards, if you
like - and, perhaps, have done it before to-day. Turn to the paper.
No, no, no my friend; not to the top of the column; you know better
than that; to the bottom, to the bottom.(We all began to think Mr.
Wopsle full of subterfuge.) "Well? Have you found it?"

Here it is,said Mr. Wopsle.

Now, follow that passage with your eye, and tell me whether it
distinctly states that the prisoner expressly said that he was
instructed by his legal advisers wholly to reserve his defence?
Come! Do you make that of it?

Mr. Wopsle answeredThose are not the exact words.

Not the exact words!repeated the gentlemanbitterly. "Is that
the exact substance?"

Yes,said Mr. Wopsle.

Yes,repeated the strangerlooking round at the rest of the
company with his right hand extended towards the witnessWopsle.
And now I ask you what you say to the conscience of that man who,
with that passage before his eyes, can lay his head upon his pillow
after having pronounced a fellow-creature guilty, unheard?

We all began to suspect that Mr. Wopsle was not the man we had
thought himand that he was beginning to be found out.

And that same man, remember,pursued the gentlemanthrowing his
finger at Mr. Wopsle heavily; "that same man might be summoned as a
juryman upon this very trialandhaving thus deeply committed
himselfmight return to the bosom of his family and lay his head
upon his pillowafter deliberately swearing that he would well and
truly try the issue joined between Our Sovereign Lord the King and
the prisoner at the barand would a true verdict give according to
the evidenceso help him God!"

We were all deeply persuaded that the unfortunate Wopsle had gone
too farand had better stop in his reckless career while there was
yet time.

The strange gentlemanwith an air of authority not to be disputed
and with a manner expressive of knowing something secret about
every one of us that would effectually do for each individual if he
chose to disclose itleft the back of the settleand came into
the space between the two settlesin front of the firewhere he
remained standing: his left hand in his pocketand he biting the
forefinger of his right.

From information I have received,said helooking round at us as

we all quailed before himI have reason to believe there is a
blacksmith among you, by name Joseph - or Joe - Gargery. Which is
the man?

Here is the man,said Joe.

The strange gentleman beckoned him out of his placeand Joe went.

You have an apprentice,pursued the strangercommonly known as
Pip? Is he here?

I am here!I cried.

The stranger did not recognize mebut I recognized him as the
gentleman I had met on the stairson the occasion of my second
visit to Miss Havisham. I had known him the moment I saw him
looking over the settleand now that I stood confronting him with
his hand upon my shoulderI checked off again in detailhis large
headhis dark complexionhis deep-set eyeshis bushy black
eyebrowshis large watch-chainhis strong black dots of beard and
whiskerand even the smell of scented soap on his great hand.

I wish to have a private conference with you two,said hewhen
he had surveyed me at his leisure. "It will take a little time.
Perhaps we had better go to your place of residence. I prefer not
to anticipate my communication here; you will impart as much or as
little of it as you please to your friends afterwards; I have
nothing to do with that."

Amidst a wondering silencewe three walked out of the Jolly
Bargemenand in a wondering silence walked home. While going
alongthe strange gentleman occasionally looked at meand
occasionally bit the side of his finger. As we neared homeJoe
vaguely acknowledging the occasion as an impressive and ceremonious
onewent on ahead to open the front door. Our conference was held
in the state parlourwhich was feebly lighted by one candle.

It began with the strange gentleman's sitting down at the table
drawing the candle to himand looking over some entries in his
pocket-book. He then put up the pocket-book and set the candle a
little aside: after peering round it into the darkness at Joe and
meto ascertain which was which.

My name,he saidis Jaggers, and I am a lawyer in London. I am
pretty well known. I have unusual business to transact with you,
and I commence by explaining that it is not of my originating. If
my advice had been asked, I should not have been here. It was not
asked, and you see me here. What I have to do as the confidential
agent of another, I do. No less, no more.

Finding that he could not see us very well from where he sathe
got upand threw one leg over the back of a chair and leaned upon
it; thus having one foot on the seat of the chairand one foot on
the ground.

Now, Joseph Gargery, I am the bearer of an offer to relieve you of
this young fellow your apprentice. You would not object to cancel
his indentures, at his request and for his good? You would want
nothing for so doing?

Lord forbid that I should want anything for not standing in Pip's
way,said Joestaring.

Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the purpose,returned Mr

Jaggers. "The question isWould you want anything? Do you want

The answer is,returned JoesternlyNo.

I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joeas if he considered him a fool
for his disinterestedness. But I was too much bewildered between
breathless curiosity and surpriseto be sure of it.

Very well,said Mr. Jaggers. "Recollect the admission you have
madeand don't try to go from it presently."

Who's a-going to try?retorted Joe.

I don't say anybody is. Do you keep a dog?

Yes, I do keep a dog.

Bear in mind then, that Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a
better. Bear that in mind, will you?repeated Mr. Jaggersshutting
his eyes and nodding his head at Joeas if he were forgiving him
something. "NowI return to this young fellow. And the
communication I have got to make isthat he has great

Joe and I gaspedand looked at one another.

I am instructed to communicate to him,said Mr. Jaggersthrowing
his finger at me sidewaysthat he will come into a handsome
property. Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor
of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present
sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a
gentleman - in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations.

My dream was out; my wild fancy was surpassed by sober reality;
Miss Havisham was going to make my fortune on a grand scale.

Now, Mr. Pip,pursued the lawyerI address the rest of what I
have to say, to you. You are to understand, first, that it is the
request of the person from whom I take my instructions, that you
always bear the name of Pip. You will have no objection, I dare
say, to your great expectations being encumbered with that easy
condition. But if you have any objection, this is the time to
mention it.

My heart was beating so fastand there was such a singing in my
earsthat I could scarcely stammer I had no objection.

I should think not! Now you are to understand, secondly, Mr. Pip,
that the name of the person who is your liberal benefactor remains
a profound secret, until the person chooses to reveal it. I am
empowered to mention that it is the intention of the person to
reveal it at first hand by word of mouth to yourself. When or where
that intention may be carried out, I cannot say; no one can say. It
may be years hence. Now, you are distinctly to understand that you
are most positively prohibited from making any inquiry on this
head, or any allusion or reference, however distant, to any
individual whomsoever as the individual, in all the communications
you may have with me. If you have a suspicion in your own breast,
keep that suspicion in your own breast. It is not the least to the
purpose what the reasons of this prohibition are; they may be the
strongest and gravest reasons, or they may be mere whim. This is
not for you to inquire into. The condition is laid down. Your
acceptance of it, and your observance of it as binding, is the only

remaining condition that I am charged with, by the person from whom
I take my instructions, and for whom I am not otherwise
responsible. That person is the person from whom you derive your
expectations, and the secret is solely held by that person and by
me. Again, not a very difficult condition with which to encumber
such a rise in fortune; but if you have any objection to it, this
is the time to mention it. Speak out.

Once moreI stammered with difficulty that I had no objection.

I should think not! Now, Mr. Pip, I have done with stipulations.
Though he called me Mr. Pipand began rather to make up to mehe
still could not get rid of a certain air of bullying suspicion; and
even now he occasionally shut his eyes and threw his finger at me
while he spokeas much as to express that he knew all kinds of
things to my disparagementif he only chose to mention them. "We
come nextto mere details of arrangement. You must know that
although I have used the term "expectations" more than onceyou
are not endowed with expectations only. There is already lodged in
my handsa sum of money amply sufficient for your suitable
education and maintenance. You will please consider me your
guardian. Oh!" for I was going to thank himI tell you at once, I
am paid for my services, or I shouldn't render them. It is
considered that you must be better educated, in accordance with
your altered position, and that you will be alive to the importance
and necessity of at once entering on that advantage.

I said I had always longed for it.

Never mind what you have always longed for, Mr. Pip,he retorted;
keep to the record. If you long for it now, that's enough. Am I
answered that you are ready to be placed at once, under some proper
tutor? Is that it?

I stammered yesthat was it.

Good. Now, your inclinations are to be consulted. I don't think
that wise, mind, but it's my trust. Have you ever heard of any
tutor whom you would prefer to another?

I had never heard of any tutor but Biddy and Mr. Wopsle's greataunt;
soI replied in the negative.

There is a certain tutor, of whom I have some knowledge, who I
think might suit the purpose,said Mr. Jaggers. "I don't recommend
himobserve; because I never recommend anybody. The gentleman I
speak ofis one Mr. Matthew Pocket."

Ah! I caught at the name directly. Miss Havisham's relation. The
Matthew whom Mr. and Mrs. Camilla had spoken of. The Matthew whose
place was to be at Miss Havisham's headwhen she lay deadin her
bride's dress on the bride's table.

You know the name?said Mr. Jaggerslooking shrewdly at meand
then shutting up his eyes while he waited for my answer.

My answer wasthat I had heard of the name.

Oh!said he. "You have heard of the name. But the question is
what do you say of it?"

I saidor tried to saythat I was much obliged to him for his

No, my young friend!he interruptedshaking his great head very
slowly. "Recollect yourself!"

Not recollecting myselfI began again that I was much obliged to
him for his recommendation-

No, my young friend,he interruptedshaking his head and
frowning and smiling both at once; "nonono; it's very well
donebut it won't do; you are too young to fix me with it.
Recommendation is not the wordMr. Pip. Try another."

Correcting myselfI said that I was much obliged to him for his
mention of Mr. Matthew Pocket-

That's more like it!cried Mr. Jaggers.

-And (I added)I would gladly try that gentleman.
Good. You had better try him in his own house. The way shall be
prepared for you, and you can see his son first, who is in London.
When will you come to London?

I said (glancing at Joewho stood looking onmotionless)that I
supposed I could come directly.

First,said Mr. Jaggersyou should have some new clothes to come
in, and they should not be working clothes. Say this day week.
You'll want some money. Shall I leave you twenty guineas?

He produced a long pursewith the greatest coolnessand counted
them out on the table and pushed them over to me. This was the
first time he had taken his leg from the chair. He sat astride of
the chair when he had pushed the money overand sat swinging his
purse and eyeing Joe.

Well, Joseph Gargery? You look dumbfoundered?

I am!said Joein a very decided manner.

It was understood that you wanted nothing for yourself, remember?

It were understood,said Joe. "And it are understood. And it ever
will be similar according."

But what,said Mr. Jaggersswinging his pursewhat if it was in
my instructions to make you a present, as compensation?

As compensation what for?Joe demanded.

For the loss of his services.

Joe laid his hand upon my shoulder with the touch of a woman. I
have often thought him sincelike the steam-hammerthat can crush
a man or pat an egg-shellin his combination of strength with
gentleness. "Pip is that hearty welcome said Joe, to go free
with his servicesto honour and fortun'as no words can tell him.
But if you think as Money can make compensation to me for the loss
of the little child - what come to the forge - and ever the best of

O dear good Joewhom I was so ready to leave and so unthankful to
I see you againwith your muscular blacksmith's arm before your
eyesand your broad chest heavingand your voice dying away. O
dear good faithful tender JoeI feel the loving tremble of your

hand upon my armas solemnly this day as if it had been the rustle
of an angel's wing!

But I encouraged Joe at the time. I was lost in the mazes of my
future fortunesand could not retrace the by-paths we had trodden
together. I begged Joe to be comfortedfor (as he said) we had
ever been the best of friendsand (as I said) we ever would be so.
Joe scooped his eyes with his disengaged wristas if he were bent
on gouging himselfbut said not another word.

Mr. Jaggers had looked on at thisas one who recognized in Joe the
village idiotand in me his keeper. When it was overhe said
weighing in his hand the purse he had ceased to swing:

Now, Joseph Gargery, I warn you this is your last chance. No half
measures with me. If you mean to take a present that I have it in
charge to make you, speak out, and you shall have it. If on the
contrary you mean to say--Hereto his great amazementhe was
stopped by Joe's suddenly working round him with every
demonstration of a fell pugilistic purpose.

Which I meantersay,cried Joethat if you come into my place
bull-baiting and badgering me, come out! Which I meantersay as sech
if you're a man, come on! Which I meantersay that what I say, I
meantersay and stand or fall by!

I drew Joe awayand he immediately became placable; merely stating
to mein an obliging manner and as a polite expostulatory notice
to any one whom it might happen to concernthat he were not a
going to be bull-baited and badgered in his own place. Mr. Jaggers
had risen when Joe demonstratedand had backed near the door.
Without evincing any inclination to come in againhe there
delivered his valedictory remarks. They were these:

Well, Mr. Pip, I think the sooner you leave here - as you are to be
a gentleman - the better. Let it stand for this day week, and you
shall receive my printed address in the meantime. You can take a
hackney-coach at the stage-coach office in London, and come
straight to me. Understand, that I express no opinion, one way or
other, on the trust I undertake. I am paid for undertaking it, and
I do so. Now, understand that, finally. Understand that!

He was throwing his finger at both of usand I think would have
gone onbut for his seeming to think Joe dangerousand going off.

Something came into my head which induced me to run after himas
he was going down to the Jolly Bargemen where he had left a hired

I beg your pardon, Mr. Jaggers.

Halloa!said hefacing roundwhat's the matter?

I wish to be quite right, Mr. Jaggers, and to keep to your
directions; so I thought I had better ask. Would there be any
objection to my taking leave of any one I know, about here, before
I go away?

No,said helooking as if he hardly understood me.

I don't mean in the village only, but up-town?

No,said he. "No objection."

I thanked him and ran home againand there I found that Joe had
already locked the front door and vacated the state parlourand
was seated by the kitchen fire with a hand on each kneegazing
intently at the burning coals. I too sat down before the fire and
gazed at the coalsand nothing was said for a long time.

My sister was in her cushioned chair in her cornerand Biddy sat
at her needlework before the fireand Joe sat next Biddyand I
sat next Joe in the corner opposite my sister. The more I looked
into the glowing coalsthe more incapable I became of looking at
Joe; the longer the silence lastedthe more unable I felt to

At length I got outJoe, have you told Biddy?

No, Pip,returned Joestill looking at the fireand holding his
knees tightas if he had private information that they intended to
make off somewherewhich I left it to yourself, Pip.

I would rather you told, Joe.

Pip's a gentleman of fortun' then,said Joeand God bless him
in it!

Biddy dropped her workand looked at me. Joe held his knees and
looked at me. I looked at both of them. After a pausethey both
heartily congratulated me; but there was a certain touch of sadness
in their congratulationsthat I rather resented.

I took it upon myself to impress Biddy (and through BiddyJoe)
with the grave obligation I considered my friends underto know
nothing and say nothing about the maker of my fortune. It would all
come out in good timeI observedand in the meanwhile nothing was
to be saidsave that I had come into great expectations from a
mysterious patron. Biddy nodded her head thoughtfully at the fire
as she took up her work againand said she would be very
particular; and Joestill detaining his kneessaidAy, ay, I'll
be ekervally partickler, Pip;and then they congratulated me
againand went on to express so much wonder at the notion of my
being a gentlemanthat I didn't half like it.

Infinite pains were then taken by Biddy to convey to my sister some
idea of what had happened. To the best of my beliefthose efforts
entirely failed. She laughed and nodded her head a great many
timesand even repeated after Biddythe words "Pip" and
Property.But I doubt if they had more meaning in them than an
election cryand I cannot suggest a darker picture of her state of

I never could have believed it without experiencebut as Joe and
Biddy became more at their cheerful ease againI became quite
gloomy. Dissatisfied with my fortuneof course I could not be; but
it is possible that I may have beenwithout quite knowing it
dissatisfied with myself.

AnyhowI sat with my elbow on my knee and my face upon my hand
looking into the fireas those two talked about my going awayand
about what they should do without meand all that. And whenever I
caught one of them looking at methough never so pleasantly (and
they often looked at me - particularly Biddy)I felt offended: as
if they were expressing some mistrust of me. Though Heaven knows
they never did by word or sign.

At those times I would get up and look out at the door; forour

kitchen door opened at once upon the nightand stood open on
summer evenings to air the room. The very stars to which I then
raised my eyesI am afraid I took to be but poor and humble stars
for glittering on the rustic objects among which I had passed my

Saturday night,said Iwhen we sat at our supper of
bread-and-cheese and beer. "Five more daysand then the day before
the day! They'll soon go."

Yes, Pip,observed Joewhose voice sounded hollow in his beer
mug. "They'll soon go."

Soon, soon go,said Biddy.

I have been thinking, Joe, that when I go down town on Monday, and
order my new clothes, I shall tell the tailor that I'll come and
put them on there, or that I'll have them sent to Mr. Pumblechook's.
It would be very disagreeable to be stared at by all the people

Mr. and Mrs. Hubble might like to see you in your new genteel figure
too, Pip,said Joeindustriously cutting his breadwith his
cheese on itin the palm of his left handand glancing at my
untasted supper as if he thought of the time when we used to
compare slices. "So might Wopsle. And the Jolly Bargemen might take
it as a compliment."

That's just what I don't want, Joe. They would make such a
business of it - such a coarse and common business - that I
couldn't bear myself.

Ah, that indeed, Pip!said Joe. "If you couldn't abear

Biddy asked me hereas she sat holding my sister's plateHave
you thought about when you'll show yourself to Mr. Gargery, and your
sister, and me? You will show yourself to us; won't you?

Biddy,I returned with some resentmentyou are so exceedingly
quick that it's difficult to keep up with you.

("She always were quick observed Joe.)

If you had waited another momentBiddyyou would have heard me
say that I shall bring my clothes here in a bundle one evening most
likely on the evening before I go away."

Biddy said no more. Handsomely forgiving herI soon exchanged an
affectionate good-night with her and Joeand went up to bed. When
I got into my little roomI sat down and took a long look at it
as a mean little room that I should soon be parted from and raised
abovefor everIt was furnished with fresh young remembrances
tooand even at the same moment I fell into much the same confused
division of mind between it and the better rooms to which I was
goingas I had been in so often between the forge and Miss
Havisham'sand Biddy and Estella.

The sun had been shining brightly all day on the roof of my attic
and the room was warm. As I put the window open and stood looking
outI saw Joe come slowly forth at the dark door belowand take a
turn or two in the air; and then I saw Biddy comeand bring him a
pipe and light it for him. He never smoked so lateand it seemed
to hint to me that he wanted comfortingfor some reason or other.

He presently stood at the door immediately beneath mesmoking his
pipeand Biddy stood there tooquietly talking to himand I knew
that they talked of mefor I heard my name mentioned in an
endearing tone by both of them more than once. I would not have
listened for moreif I could have heard more: soI drew away from
the windowand sat down in my one chair by the bedsidefeeling it
very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my bright
fortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known.

Looking towards the open windowI saw light wreaths from Joe's
pipe floating thereand I fancied it was like a blessing from Joe

-not obtruded on me or paraded before mebut pervading the air we
shared together. I put my light outand crept into bed; and it was
an uneasy bed nowand I never slept the old sound sleep in it any
Chapter 19

Morning made a considerable difference in my general prospect of
Lifeand brightened it so much that it scarcely seemed the same.
What lay heaviest on my mindwasthe consideration that six days
intervened between me and the day of departure; forI could not
divest myself of a misgiving that something might happen to London
in the meanwhileand thatwhen I got thereit would be either
greatly deteriorated or clean gone.

Joe and Biddy were very sympathetic and pleasant when I spoke of
our approaching separation; but they only referred to it when I
did. After breakfastJoe brought out my indentures from the press
in the best parlourand we put them in the fireand I felt that I
was free. With all the novelty of my emancipation on meI went to
church with Joeand thoughtperhaps the clergyman wouldn't have
read that about the rich man and the kingdom of Heavenif he had
known all.

After our early dinner I strolled out alonepurposing to finish
off the marshes at onceand get them done with. As I passed the
churchI felt (as I had felt during service in the morning) a
sublime compassion for the poor creatures who were destined to go
thereSunday after Sundayall their lives throughand to lie
obscurely at last among the low green mounds. I promised myself
that I would do something for them one of these daysand formed a
plan in outline for bestowing a dinner of roast-beef and
plumpuddinga pint of aleand a gallon of condescensionupon
everybody in the village.

If I had often thought beforewith something allied to shameof
my companionship with the fugitive whom I had once seen limping
among those graveswhat were my thoughts on this Sundaywhen the
place recalled the wretchragged and shiveringwith his felon
iron and badge! My comfort wasthat it happened a long time ago
and that he had doubtless been transported a long way offand that
he was dead to meand might be veritably dead into the bargain.

No more low wet groundsno more dykes and sluicesno more of
these grazing cattle - though they seemedin their dull mannerto
wear a more respectful air nowand to face roundin order that
they might stare as long as possible at the possessor of such great
expectations - farewellmonotonous acquaintances of my childhood
henceforth I was for London and greatness: not for smith's work in
general and for you! I made my exultant way to the old Battery
andlying down there to consider the question whether Miss

Havisham intended me for Estellafell asleep.

When I awokeI was much surprised to find Joe sitting beside me
smoking his pipe. He greeted me with a cheerful smile on my opening
my eyesand said:

As being the last time, Pip, I thought I'd foller.

And Joe, I am very glad you did so.

Thankee, Pip.

You may be sure, dear Joe,I went onafter we had shaken hands
that I shall never forget you.

No, no, Pip!said Joein a comfortable toneI'm sure of that.
Ay, ay, old chap! Bless you, it were only necessary to get it well
round in a man's mind, to be certain on it. But it took a bit of
time to get it well round, the change come so oncommon plump;
didn't it?

SomehowI was not best pleased with Joe's being so mightily secure
of me. I should have liked him to have betrayed emotionor to have
saidIt does you credit, Pip,or something of that sort.
ThereforeI made no remark on Joe's first head: merely saying as
to his secondthat the tidings had indeed come suddenlybut that
I had always wanted to be a gentlemanand had often and often
speculated on what I would doif I were one.

Have you though?said Joe. "Astonishing!"

It's a pity now, Joe,said Ithat you did not get on a little
more, when we had our lessons here; isn't it?

Well, I don't know,returned Joe. "I'm so awful dull. I'm only
master of my own trade. It were always a pity as I was so awful
dull; but it's no more of a pity nowthan it was - this day
twelvemonth - don't you see?"

What I had meant wasthat when I came into my property and was
able to do something for Joeit would have been much more
agreeable if he had been better qualified for a rise in station. He
was so perfectly innocent of my meaninghoweverthat I thought I
would mention it to Biddy in preference.

Sowhen we had walked home and had had teaI took Biddy into our
little garden by the side of the laneandafter throwing out in a
general way for the elevation of her spiritsthat I should never
forget hersaid I had a favour to ask of her.

And it is, Biddy,said Ithat you will not omit any opportunity
of helping Joe on, a little.

How helping him on?asked Biddywith a steady sort of glance.

Well! Joe is a dear good fellow - in fact, I think he is the
dearest fellow that ever lived - but he is rather backward in some
things. For instance, Biddy, in his learning and his manners.

Although I was looking at Biddy as I spokeand although she opened
her eyes very wide when I had spokenshe did not look at me.

Oh, his manners! won't his manners do, then?asked Biddy
plucking a black-currant leaf.

My dear Biddy, they do very well here--

Oh! they do very well here?interrupted Biddylooking closely at
the leaf in her hand.

Hear me out - but if I were to remove Joe into a higher sphere, as
I shall hope to remove him when I fully come into my property, they
would hardly do him justice.

And don't you think he knows that?asked Biddy.

It was such a very provoking question (for it had never in the most
distant manner occurred to me)that I saidsnappishlyBiddy,
what do you mean?

Biddy having rubbed the leaf to pieces between her hands - and the
smell of a black-currant bush has ever since recalled to me that
evening in the little garden by the side of the lane - saidHave
you never considered that he may be proud?

Proud?I repeatedwith disdainful emphasis.

Oh! there are many kinds of pride,said Biddylooking full at me
and shaking her head; "pride is not all of one kind--"

Well? What are you stopping for?said I.

Not all of one kind,resumed Biddy. "He may be too proud to let
any one take him out of a place that he is competent to filland
fills well and with respect. To tell you the truthI think he is:
though it sounds bold in me to say sofor you must know him far
better than I do."

Now, Biddy,said II am very sorry to see this in you. I did
not expect to see this in you. You are envious, Biddy, and
grudging. You are dissatisfied on account of my rise in fortune,
and you can't help showing it.

If you have the heart to think so,returned Biddysay so. Say
so over and over again, if you have the heart to think so.

If you have the heart to be so, you mean, Biddy,said Iin a
virtuous and superior tone; "don't put it off upon me. I am very
sorry to see itand it's a - it's a bad side of human nature. I
did intend to ask you to use any little opportunities you might
have after I was goneof improving dear Joe. But after thisI ask
you nothing. I am extremely sorry to see this in youBiddy I
repeated. It's a - it's a bad side of human nature."

Whether you scold me or approve of me,returned poor Biddyyou
may equally depend upon my trying to do all that lies in my power,
here, at all times. And whatever opinion you take away of me, shall
make no difference in my remembrance of you. Yet a gentleman should
not be unjust neither,said Biddyturning away her head.

I again warmly repeated that it was a bad side of human nature (in
which sentimentwaiving its applicationI have since seen reason
to think I was right)and I walked down the little path away from
Biddyand Biddy went into the houseand I went out at the garden
gate and took a dejected stroll until supper-time; again feeling it
very sorrowful and strange that thisthe second night of my bright
fortunesshould be as lonely and unsatisfactory as the first.

Butmorning once more brightened my viewand I extended my
clemency to Biddyand we dropped the subject. Putting on the best
clothes I hadI went into town as early as I could hope to find
the shops openand presented myself before Mr. Trabbthe tailor:
who was having his breakfast in the parlour behind his shopand
who did not think it worth his while to come out to mebut called
me in to him.

Well!said Mr. Trabbin a hail-fellow-well-met kind of way. "How
are youand what can I do for you?"

Mr. Trabb had sliced his hot roll into three feather bedsand was
slipping butter in between the blanketsand covering it up. He was
a prosperous old bachelorand his open window looked into a
prosperous little garden and orchardand there was a prosperous
iron safe let into the wall at the side of his fireplaceand I did
not doubt that heaps of his prosperity were put away in it in bags.

Mr. Trabb,said Iit's an unpleasant thing to have to mention,
because it looks like boasting; but I have come into a handsome

A change passed over Mr. Trabb. He forgot the butter in bedgot up
from the bedsideand wiped his fingers on the table-cloth
exclaimingLord bless my soul!

I am going up to my guardian in London,said Icasually drawing
some guineas out of my pocket and looking at them; "and I want a
fashionable suit of clothes to go in. I wish to pay for them I
added - otherwise I thought he might only pretend to make them
with ready money."

My dear sir,said Mr. Trabbas he respectfully bent his body
opened his armsand took the liberty of touching me on the outside
of each elbowdon't hurt me by mentioning that. May I venture to
congratulate you? Would you do me the favour of stepping into the

Mr. Trabb's boy was the most audacious boy in all that countryside.
When I had entered he was sweeping the shopand he had sweetened
his labours by sweeping over me. He was still sweeping when I came
out into the shop with Mr. Trabband he knocked the broom against
all possible corners and obstaclesto express (as I understood it)
equality with any blacksmithalive or dead.

Hold that noise,said Mr. Trabbwith the greatest sternnessor
I'll knock your head off! Do me the favour to be seated, sir. Now,
this,said Mr. Trabbtaking down a roll of clothand tiding it
out in a flowing manner over the counterpreparatory to getting
his hand under it to show the glossis a very sweet article. I
can recommend it for your purpose, sir, because it really is extra
super. But you shall see some others. Give me Number Four, you!
(To the boyand with a dreadfully severe stare: foreseeing the
danger of that miscreant's brushing me with itor making some
other sign of familiarity.)

Mr. Trabb never removed his stern eye from the boy until he had
deposited number four on the counter and was at a safe distance
again. Thenhe commanded him to bring number fiveand number
eight. "And let me have none of your tricks here said Mr. Trabb,
or you shall repent ityou young scoundrelthe longest day you
have to live."

Mr. Trabb then bent over number fourand in a sort of deferential

confidence recommended it to me as a light article for summer wear
an article much in vogue among the nobility and gentryan article
that it would ever be an honour to him to reflect upon a
distinguished fellow-townsman's (if he might claim me for a
fellow-townsman) having worn. "Are you bringing numbers five and
eightyou vagabond said Mr. Trabb to the boy after that, or
shall I kick you out of the shop and bring them myself?"

I selected the materials for a suitwith the assistance of Mr.
Trabb's judgmentand re-entered the parlour to be measured. For
although Mr. Trabb had my measure alreadyand had previously been
quite contented with ithe said apologetically that it "wouldn't
do under existing circumstancessir - wouldn't do at all." SoMr.
Trabb measured and calculated mein the parlouras if I were an
estate and he the finest species of surveyorand gave himself such
a world of trouble that I felt that no suit of clothes could
possibly remunerate him for his pains. When he had at last done and
had appointed to send the articles to Mr. Pumblechook's on the
Thursday eveninghe saidwith his hand upon the parlour lockI
know, sir, that London gentlemen cannot be expected to patronize
local work, as a rule; but if you would give me a turn now and then
in the quality of a townsman, I should greatly esteem it. Good
morning, sir, much obliged. - Door!

The last word was flung at the boywho had not the least notion
what it meant. But I saw him collapse as his master rubbed me out
with his handsand my first decided experience of the stupendous
power of moneywasthat it had morally laid upon his back
Trabb's boy.

After this memorable eventI went to the hatter'sand the
bootmaker'sand the hosier'sand felt rather like Mother
Hubbard's dog whose outfit required the services of so many trades.
I also went to the coach-office and took my place for seven o'clock
on Saturday morning. It was not necessary to explain everywhere
that I had come into a handsome property; but whenever I said
anything to that effectit followed that the officiating tradesman
ceased to have his attention diverted through the window by the
High-streetand concentrated his mind upon me. When I had ordered
everything I wantedI directed my steps towards Pumblechook's
andas I approached that gentleman's place of businessI saw him
standing at his door.

He was waiting for me with great impatience. He had been out early
in the chaise-cartand had called at the forge and heard the
news. He had prepared a collation for me in the Barnwell parlour
and he too ordered his shopman to "come out of the gangway" as my
sacred person passed.

My dear friend,said Mr. Pumblechooktaking me by both hands
when he and I and the collation were aloneI give you joy of your
good fortune. Well deserved, well deserved!

This was coming to the pointand I thought it a sensible way of
expressing himself.

To think,said Mr. Pumblechookafter snorting admiration at me
for some momentsthat I should have been the humble instrument of
leading up to this, is a proud reward.

I begged Mr. Pumblechook to remember that nothing was to be ever
said or hintedon that point.

My dear young friend,said Mr. Pumblechookif you will allow me

to call you so--

I murmured "Certainly and Mr. Pumblechook took me by both hands
again, and communicated a movement to his waistcoat, which had an
emotional appearance, though it was rather low down, My dear young
friendrely upon my doing my little all in your absenceby
keeping the fact before the mind of Joseph. - Joseph!" said Mr.
Pumblechookin the way of a compassionate adjuration. "Joseph!!
Joseph!!!" Thereupon he shook his head and tapped itexpressing
his sense of deficiency in Joseph.

But my dear young friend,said Mr. Pumblechookyou must be
hungry, you must be exhausted. Be seated. Here is a chicken had
round from the Boar, here is a tongue had round from the Boar,
here's one or two little things had round from the Boar, that I
hope you may not despise. But do I,said Mr. Pumblechookgetting
up again the moment after he had sat downsee afore me, him as I
ever sported with in his times of happy infancy? And may I - may
I - ?

This May Imeant might he shake hands? I consentedand he was
ferventand then sat down again.

Here is wine,said Mr. Pumblechook. "Let us drinkThanks to
Fortuneand may she ever pick out her favourites with equal
judgment! And yet I cannot said Mr. Pumblechook, getting up again,
see afore me One - and likewise drink to One - without again
expressing - May I - may I - ?"

I said he mightand he shook hands with me againand emptied his
glass and turned it upside down. I did the same; and if I had
turned myself upside down before drinkingthe wine could not have
gone more direct to my head.

Mr. Pumblechook helped me to the liver wingand to the best slice
of tongue (none of those out-of-the-way No Thoroughfares of Pork
now)and tookcomparatively speakingno care of himself at all.
Ah! poultry, poultry! You little thought,said Mr. Pumblechook
apostrophizing the fowl in the dishwhen you was a young
fledgling, what was in store for you. You little thought you was to
be refreshment beneath this humble roof for one as - Call it a
weakness, if you will,said Mr. Pumblechookgetting up againbut
may I? may I - ?

It began to be unnecessary to repeat the form of saying he might
so he did it at once. How he ever did it so often without wounding
himself with my knifeI don't know.

And your sister,he resumedafter a little steady eatingwhich
had the honour of bringing you up by hand! It's a sad picter, to
reflect that she's no longer equal to fully understanding the
honour. May--

I saw he was about to come at me againand I stopped him.

We'll drink her health,said I.

Ah!cried Mr. Pumblechookleaning back in his chairquite
flaccid with admirationthat's the way you know 'em, sir!(I
don't know who Sir wasbut he certainly was not Iand there was
no third person present); "that's the way you know the nobleminded
sir! Ever forgiving and ever affable. It might said the servile
Pumblechook, putting down his untasted glass in a hurry and getting
up again, to a common personhave the appearance of repeating

but may I - ?"

When he had done ithe resumed his seat and drank to my sister.
Let us never be blind,said Mr. Pumblechookto her faults of
temper, but it is to be hoped she meant well.

At about this timeI began to observe that he was getting flushed
in the face; as to myselfI felt all facesteeped in wine and

I mentioned to Mr. Pumblechook that I wished to have my new clothes
sent to his houseand he was ecstatic on my so distinguishing him.
I mentioned my reason for desiring to avoid observation in the
villageand he lauded it to the skies. There was nobody but
himselfhe intimatedworthy of my confidenceand - in short
might he? Then he asked me tenderly if I remembered our boyish
games at sumsand how we had gone together to have me bound
apprenticeandin effecthow he had ever been my favourite fancy
and my chosen friend? If I had taken ten times as many glasses of
wine as I hadI should have known that he never had stood in that
relation towards meand should in my heart of hearts have
repudiated the idea. Yet for all thatI remember feeling convinced
that I had been much mistaken in himand that he was a sensible
practical good-hearted prime fellow.

By degrees he fell to reposing such great confidence in meas to
ask my advice in reference to his own affairs. He mentioned that
there was an opportunity for a great amalgamation and monopoly of
the corn and seed trade on those premisesif enlargedsuch as had
never occurred before in thator any other neighbourhood. What
alone was wanting to the realization of a vast fortunehe
considered to be More Capital. Those were the two little words
more capital. Now it appeared to him (Pumblechook) that if that
capital were got into the businessthrough a sleeping partnersir

-which sleeping partner would have nothing to do but walk inby
self or deputywhenever he pleasedand examine the books - and
walk in twice a year and take his profits away in his pocketto
the tune of fifty per cent. - it appeared to him that that might be
an opening for a young gentleman of spirit combined with property
which would be worthy of his attention. But what did I think? He
had great confidence in my opinionand what did I think? I gave it
as my opinion. "Wait a bit!" The united vastness and distinctness
of this view so struck himthat he no longer asked if he might
shake hands with mebut said he really must - and did.
We drank all the wineand Mr. Pumblechook pledged himself over and
over again to keep Joseph up to the mark (I don't know what mark)
and to render me efficient and constant service (I don't know what
service). He also made known to me for the first time in my life
and certainly after having kept his secret wonderfully wellthat
he had always said of meThat boy is no common boy, and mark me,
his fortun' will be no common fortun'.He said with a tearful
smile that it was a singular thing to think of nowand I said so
too. FinallyI went out into the airwith a dim perception that
there was something unwonted in the conduct of the sunshineand
found that I had slumberously got to the turn-pike without having
taken any account of the road.

ThereI was roused by Mr. Pumblechook's hailing me. He was a long
way down the sunny streetand was making expressive gestures for
me to stop. I stoppedand he came up breathless.

No, my dear friend,said hewhen he had recovered wind for
speech. "Not if I can help it. This occasion shall not entirely

pass without that affability on your part. - May Ias an old
friend and well-wisher? May I?"

We shook hands for the hundredth time at leastand he ordered a
young carter out of my way with the greatest indignation. Thenhe
blessed me and stood waving his hand to me until I had passed the
crook in the road; and then I turned into a field and had a long
nap under a hedge before I pursued my way home.

I had scant luggage to take with me to Londonfor little of the
little I possessed was adapted to my new station. ButI began
packing that same afternoonand wildly packed up things that I
knew I should want next morningin a fiction that there was not a
moment to be lost.

SoTuesdayWednesdayand Thursdaypassed; and on Friday morning
I went to Mr. Pumblechook'sto put on my new clothes and pay my
visit to Miss Havisham. Mr. Pumblechook's own room was given up to
me to dress inand was decorated with clean towels expressly for
the event. My clothes were rather a disappointmentof course.
Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since
clothes came infell a trifle short of the wearer's expectation.
But after I had had my new suit onsome half an hourand had gone
through an immensity of posturing with Mr. Pumblechook's very
limited dressing-glassin the futile endeavour to see my legsit
seemed to fit me better. It being market morning at a neighbouring
town some ten miles offMr. Pumblechook was not at home. I had not
told him exactly when I meant to leaveand was not likely to shake
hands with him again before departing. This was all as it should
beand I went out in my new array: fearfully ashamed of having to
pass the shopmanand suspicious after all that I was at a personal
disadvantagesomething like Joe's in his Sunday suit.

I went circuitously to Miss Havisham's by all the back waysand
rang at the bell constrainedlyon account of the stiff long
fingers of my gloves. Sarah Pocket came to the gateand positively
reeled back when she saw me so changed; her walnut-shell
countenance likewiseturned from brown to green and yellow.

You?said she. "Yougood gracious! What do you want?"

I am going to London, Miss Pocket,said Iand want to say
good-bye to Miss Havisham.

I was not expectedfor she left me locked in the yardwhile she
went to ask if I were to be admitted. After a very short delayshe
returned and took me upstaring at me all the way.

Miss Havisham was taking exercise in the room with the long spread
tableleaning on her crutch stick. The room was lighted as of
yoreand at the sound of our entranceshe stopped and turned. She
was then just abreast of the rotted bride-cake.

Don't go, Sarah,she said. "WellPip?"

I start for London, Miss Havisham, to-morrow,I was exceedingly
careful what I saidand I thought you would kindly not mind my
taking leave of you.

This is a gay figure, Pip,said shemaking her crutch stick play
round meas if shethe fairy godmother who had changed mewere
bestowing the finishing gift.

I have come into such good fortune since I saw you last, Miss

Havisham,I murmured. "And I am so grateful for itMiss

Ay, ay!said shelooking at the discomfited and envious Sarah
with delight. "I have seen Mr. Jaggers. I have heard about itPip.
So you go to-morrow?"

Yes, Miss Havisham.

And you are adopted by a rich person?

Yes, Miss Havisham.

Not named?

No, Miss Havisham.

And Mr. Jaggers is made your guardian?

Yes, Miss Havisham.

She quite gloated on these questions and answersso keen was her
enjoyment of Sarah Pocket's jealous dismay. "Well!" she went on;
you have a promising career before you. Be good - deserve it - and
abide by Mr. Jaggers's instructions.She looked at meand looked
at Sarahand Sarah's countenance wrung out of her watchful face a
cruel smile. "Good-byePip! - you will always keep the name of
Pipyou know."

Yes, Miss Havisham.

Good-bye, Pip!

She stretched out her handand I went down on my knee and put it
to my lips. I had not considered how I should take leave of her; it
came naturally to me at the momentto do this. She looked at Sarah
Pocket with triumph in her weird eyesand so I left my fairy
godmotherwith both her hands on her crutch stickstanding in the
midst of the dimly lighted room beside the rotten bridecake that
was hidden in cobwebs.

Sarah Pocket conducted me downas if I were a ghost who must be
seen out. She could not get over my appearanceand was in the last
degree confounded. I said "Good-byeMiss Pocket;" but she merely
staredand did not seem collected enough to know that I had
spoken. Clear of the houseI made the best of my way back to
Pumblechook'stook off my new clothesmade them into a bundle
and went back home in my older dresscarrying it - to speak the
truth - much more at my ease toothough I had the bundle to carry.

And nowthose six days which were to have run out so slowlyhad
run out fast and were goneand to-morrow looked me in the face
more steadily than I could look at it. As the six evenings had
dwindled awayto fiveto fourto threeto twoI had become
more and more appreciative of the society of Joe and Biddy. On this
last eveningI dressed my self out in my new clothesfor their
delightand sat in my splendour until bedtime. We had a hot supper
on the occasiongraced by the inevitable roast fowland we had
some flip to finish with. We were all very lowand none the higher
for pretending to be in spirits.

I was to leave our village at five in the morningcarrying my
little hand-portmanteauand I had told Joe that I wished to walk
away all alone. I am afraid - sore afraid - that this purpose

originated in my sense of the contrast there would be between me
and Joeif we went to the coach together. I had pretended with
myself that there was nothing of this taint in the arrangement; but
when I went up to my little room on this last nightI felt
compelled to admit that it might be soand had an impulse upon me
to go down again and entreat Joe to walk with me in the morning. I
did not.

All night there were coaches in my broken sleepgoing to wrong
places instead of to Londonand having in the tracesnow dogs
now catsnow pigsnow men - never horses. Fantastic failures of
journeys occupied me until the day dawned and the birds were
singing. ThenI got up and partly dressedand sat at the window
to take a last look outand in taking it fell asleep.

Biddy was astir so early to get my breakfastthatalthough I did
not sleep at the window an hourI smelt the smoke of the kitchen
fire when I started up with a terrible idea that it must be late in
the afternoon. But long after thatand long after I had heard the
clinking of the teacups and was quite readyI wanted the
resolution to go down stairs. After allI remained up there
repeatedly unlocking and unstrapping my small portmanteau and
locking and strapping it up againuntil Biddy called to me that I
was late.

It was a hurried breakfast with no taste in it. I got up from the
mealsaying with a sort of brisknessas if it had only just
occurred to meWell! I suppose I must be off!and then I kissed
my sister who was laughing and nodding and shaking in her usual
chairand kissed Biddyand threw my arms around Joe's neck. Then
I took up my little portmanteau and walked out. The last I saw of
them waswhen I presently heard a scuffle behind meand looking
backsaw Joe throwing an old shoe after me and Biddy throwing
another old shoe. I stopped thento wave my hatand dear old Joe
waved his strong right arm above his headcrying huskily
Hooroar!and Biddy put her apron to her face.

I walked away at a good pacethinking it was easier to go than I
had supposed it would beand reflecting that it would never have
done to have had an old shoe thrown after the coachin sight of
all the High-street. I whistled and made nothing of going. But the
village was very peaceful and quietand the light mists were
solemnly risingas if to show me the worldand I had been so
innocent and little thereand all beyond was so unknown and great
that in a moment with a strong heave and sob I broke into tears. It
was by the finger-post at the end of the villageand I laid my
hand upon itand saidGood-bye O my dear, dear friend!

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tearsfor they are
rain upon the blinding dust of earthoverlying our hard hearts. I
was better after I had criedthan before - more sorrymore aware
of my own ingratitudemore gentle. If I had cried beforeI should
have had Joe with me then.

So subdued I was by those tearsand by their breaking out again in
the course of the quiet walkthat when I was on the coachand it
was clear of the townI deliberated with an aching heart whether I
would not get down when we changed horses and walk backand have
another evening at homeand a better parting. We changedand I
had not made up my mindand still reflected for my comfort that it
would be quite practicable to get down and walk backwhen we
changed again. And while I was occupied with these deliberationsI
would fancy an exact resemblance to Joe in some man coming along
the road towards usand my heart would beat high. - As if he could

possibly be there!

We changed againand yet againand it was now too late and too
far to go backand I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen
nowand the world lay spread before me.


Chapter 20

The journey from our town to the metropoliswas a journey of about
five hours. It was a little past mid-day when the fourhorse
stage-coach by which I was a passengergot into the ravel of
traffic frayed out about the Cross KeysWood-streetCheapside

We Britons had at that time particularly settled that it was
treasonable to doubt our having and our being the best of
everything: otherwisewhile I was scared by the immensity of
LondonI think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was
not rather uglycrookednarrowand dirty.

Mr. Jaggers had duly sent me his address; it wasLittle Britain
and he had written after it on his cardjust out of Smithfield,
and close by the coach-office.Neverthelessa hackney-coachman
who seemed to have as many capes to his greasy great-coat as he was
years oldpacked me up in his coach and hemmed me in with a
folding and jingling barrier of stepsas if he were going to take
me fifty miles. His getting on his boxwhich I remember to have
been decorated with an old weather-stained pea-green hammercloth
moth-eaten into ragswas quite a work of time. It was a wonderful
equipagewith six great coronets outsideand ragged things behind
for I don't know how many footmen to hold on byand a harrow below
themto prevent amateur footmen from yielding to the temptation.

I had scarcely had time to enjoy the coach and to think how like a
straw-yard it wasand yet how like a rag-shopand to wonder why
the horses' nose-bags were kept insidewhen I observed the
coachman beginning to get downas if we were going to stop
presently. And stop we presently didin a gloomy streetat
certain offices with an open doorwhereon was painted MR. JAGGERS.

How much?I asked the coachman.

The coachman answeredA shilling - unless you wish to make it

I naturally said I had no wish to make it more.

Then it must be a shilling,observed the coachman. "I don't want
to get into trouble. I know him!" He darkly closed an eye at Mr
Jaggers's nameand shook his head.

When he had got his shillingand had in course of time completed
the ascent to his boxand had got away (which appeared to relieve
his mind)I went into the front office with my little portmanteau
in my hand and askedWas Mr. Jaggers at home?

He is not,returned the clerk. "He is in Court at present. Am I
addressing Mr. Pip?"

I signified that he was addressing Mr. Pip.

Mr. Jaggers left word would you wait in his room. He couldn't say
how long he might be, having a case on. But it stands to reason,
his time being valuable, that he won't be longer than he can help.

With those wordsthe clerk opened a doorand ushered me into an
inner chamber at the back. Herewe found a gentleman with one eye
in a velveteen suit and knee-breecheswho wiped his nose with his
sleeve on being interrupted in the perusal of the newspaper.

Go and wait outside, Mike,said the clerk.

I began to say that I hoped I was not interrupting - when the clerk
shoved this gentleman out with as little ceremony as I ever saw
usedand tossing his fur cap out after himleft me alone.

Mr. Jaggers's room was lighted by a skylight onlyand was a most
dismal place; the skylighteccentrically pitched like a broken
headand the distorted adjoining houses looking as if they had
twisted themselves to peep down at me through it. There were not so
many papers aboutas I should have expected to see; and there were
some odd objects aboutthat I should not have expected to see such
as an old rusty pistola sword in a scabbardseveral
strange-looking boxes and packagesand two dreadful casts on a
shelfof faces peculiarly swollenand twitchy about the nose. Mr.
Jaggers's own high-backed chair was of deadly black horse-hair
with rows of brass nails round itlike a coffin; and I fancied I
could see how he leaned back in itand bit his forefinger at the
clients. The room was but smalland the clients seemed to have had
a habit of backing up against the wall: the wallespecially
opposite to Mr. Jaggers's chairbeing greasy with shoulders. I
recalledtoothat the one-eyed gentleman had shuffled forth
against the wall when I was the innocent cause of his being turned

I sat down in the cliental chair placed over against Mr. Jaggers's
chairand became fascinated by the dismal atmosphere of the place.
I called to mind that the clerk had the same air of knowing
something to everybody else's disadvantageas his master had. I
wondered how many other clerks there were up-stairsand whether
they all claimed to have the same detrimental mastery of their
fellow-creatures. I wondered what was the history of all the odd
litter about the roomand how it came there. I wondered whether
the two swollen faces were of Mr. Jaggers's familyandif he were
so unfortunate as to have had a pair of such ill-looking relations
why he stuck them on that dusty perch for the blacks and flies to
settle oninstead of giving them a place at home. Of course I had
no experience of a London summer dayand my spirits may have been
oppressed by the hot exhausted airand by the dust and grit that
lay thick on everything. But I sat wondering and waiting in Mr.
Jaggers's close roomuntil I really could not bear the two casts
on the shelf above Mr. Jaggers's chairand got up and went out.

When I told the clerk that I would take a turn in the air while I
waitedhe advised me to go round the corner and I should come into
Smithfield. SoI came into Smithfield; and the shameful place
being all asmear with filth and fat and blood and foamseemed to
stick to me. SoI rubbed it off with all possible speed by turning
into a street where I saw the great black dome of Saint Paul's
bulging at me from behind a grim stone building which a bystander
said was Newgate Prison. Following the wall of the jailI found
the roadway covered with straw to deaden the noise of passing
vehicles; and from thisand from the quantity of people standing
aboutsmelling strongly of spirits and beerI inferred that the
trials were on.

While I looked about me herean exceedingly dirty and partially
drunk minister of justice asked me if I would like to step in and
hear a trial or so: informing me that he could give me a front
place for half-a-crownwhence I should command a full view of the
Lord Chief Justice in his wig and robes - mentioning that awful
personage like waxworkand presently offering him at the reduced
price of eighteenpence. As I declined the proposal on the plea of
an appointmenthe was so good as to take me into a yard and show
me where the gallows was keptand also where people were publicly
whippedand then he showed me the Debtors' Doorout of which
culprits came to be hanged: heightening the interest of that
dreadful portal by giving me to understand that "four on 'em" would
come out at that door the day after to-morrow at eight in the
morningto be killed in a row. This was horribleand gave me a
sickening idea of London: the more so as the Lord Chief Justice's
proprietor wore (from his hat down to his boots and up again to his
pocket-handkerchief inclusive) mildewed clotheswhich had
evidently not belonged to him originallyand whichI took it into
my headhe had bought cheap of the executioner. Under these
circumstances I thought myself well rid of him for a shilling.

I dropped into the office to ask if Mr. Jaggers had come in yetand
I found he had notand I strolled out again. This timeI made the
tour of Little Britainand turned into Bartholomew Close; and now
I became aware that other people were waiting about for Mr. Jaggers
as well as I. There were two men of secret appearance lounging in
Bartholomew Closeand thoughtfully fitting their feet into the
cracks of the pavement as they talked togetherone of whom said to
the other when they first passed methat "Jaggers would do it if
it was to be done." There was a knot of three men and two women
standing at a cornerand one of the women was crying on her dirty
shawland the other comforted her by sayingas she pulled her own
shawl over her shouldersJaggers is for him, 'Melia, and what
more could you have?There was a red-eyed little Jew who came into
the Close while I was loitering therein company with a second
little Jew whom he sent upon an errand; and while the messenger was
goneI remarked this Jewwho was of a highly excitable
temperamentperforming a jig of anxiety under a lamp-post and
accompanying himselfin a kind of frenzywith the wordsOh
Jaggerth, Jaggerth, Jaggerth! all otherth ith Cag-Maggerth, give me
Jaggerth!These testimonies to the popularity of my guardian made
a deep impression on meand I admired and wondered more than ever.

At lengthas I was looking out at the iron gate of Bartholomew
Close into Little BritainI saw Mr. Jaggers coming across the road
towards me. All the others who were waitingsaw him at the same
timeand there was quite a rush at him. Mr. Jaggersputting a hand
on my shoulder and walking me on at his side without saying
anything to meaddressed himself to his followers.

Firsthe took the two secret men.

Now, I have nothing to say to you,said Mr. Jaggersthrowing his
finger at them. "I want to know no more than I know. As to the
resultit's a toss-up. I told you from the first it was a toss-up.
Have you paid Wemmick?"

We made the money up this morning, sir,said one of the men
submissivelywhile the other perused Mr. Jaggers's face.

I don't ask you when you made it up, or where, or whether you made
it up at all. Has Wemmick got it?

Yes, sir,said both the men together.

Very well; then you may go. Now, I won't have it!said Mr
Jaggerswaving his hand at them to put them behind him. "If you
say a word to meI'll throw up the case."

We thought, Mr. Jaggers--one of the men beganpulling off his

That's what I told you not to do,said Mr. Jaggers. "You thought!
I think for you; that's enough for you. If I want youI know where
to find you; I don't want you to find me. Now I won't have it.
won't hear a word."

The two men looked at one another as Mr. Jaggers waved them behind
againand humbly fell back and were heard no more.

And now you!said Mr. Jaggerssuddenly stoppingand turning on
the two women with the shawlsfrom whom the three men had meekly
separated. - "Oh! Ameliais it?"

Yes, Mr. Jaggers.

And do you remember,retorted Mr. Jaggersthat but for me you
wouldn't be here and couldn't be here?

Oh yes, sir!exclaimed both women together. "Lord bless yousir
well we knows that!"

Then why,said Mr. Jaggersdo you come here?

My Bill, sir!the crying woman pleaded.

Now, I tell you what!said Mr. Jaggers. "Once for all. If you
don't know that your Bill's in good handsI know it. And if you
come herebothering about your BillI'll make an example of both
your Bill and youand let him slip through my fingers. Have you
paid Wemmick?"

Oh yes, sir! Every farden.

Very well. Then you have done all you have got to do. Say another
word - one single word - and Wemmick shall give you your money

This terrible threat caused the two women to fall off immediately.
No one remained now but the excitable Jewwho had already raised
the skirts of Mr. Jaggers's coat to his lips several times.

I don't know this man!said Mr. Jaggersin the same devastating
strain: "What does this fellow want?"

Ma thear Mithter Jaggerth. Hown brother to Habraham Latharuth?

Who's he?said Mr. Jaggers. "Let go of my coat."

The suitorkissing the hem of the garment again before
relinquishing itrepliedHabraham Latharuth, on thuthpithion of

You're too late,said Mr. Jaggers. "I am over the way."

Holy father, Mithter Jaggerth!cried my excitable acquaintance
turning whitedon't thay you're again Habraham Latharuth!

I am,said Mr. Jaggersand there's an end of it. Get out of the

Mithter Jaggerth! Half a moment! My hown cuthen'th gone to Mithter
Wemmick at thith prethent minute, to hoffer him hany termth.
Mithter Jaggerth! Half a quarter of a moment! If you'd have the
condethenthun to be bought off from the t'other thide - at hany
thuperior prithe! - money no object! - Mithter Jaggerth - Mithter !

My guardian threw his supplicant off with supreme indifferenceand
left him dancing on the pavement as if it were red-hot. Without
further interruptionwe reached the front officewhere we found
the clerk and the man in velveteen with the fur cap.

Here's Mike,said the clerkgetting down from his stooland
approaching Mr. Jaggers confidentially.

Oh!said Mr. Jaggersturning to the manwho was pulling a lock
of hair in the middle of his foreheadlike the Bull in Cock Robin
pulling at the bell-rope; "your man comes on this afternoon. Well?"

Well, Mas'r Jaggers,returned Mikein the voice of a sufferer
from a constitutional cold; "arter a deal o' troubleI've found
onesiras might do."

What is he prepared to swear?

Well, Mas'r Jaggers,said Mikewiping his nose on his fur cap
this time; "in a general wayanythink."

Mr. Jaggers suddenly became most irate. "NowI warned you before
said he, throwing his forefinger at the terrified client, that if
you ever presumed to talk in that way hereI'd make an example of
you. You infernal scoundrelhow dare you tell ME that?"

The client looked scaredbut bewildered tooas if he were
unconscious what he had done.

Spooney!said the clerkin a low voicegiving him a stir with
his elbow. "Soft Head! Need you say it face to face?"

Now, I ask you, you blundering booby,said my guardianvery
sternlyonce more and for the last time, what the man you have
brought here is prepared to swear?

Mike looked hard at my guardianas if he were trying to learn a
lesson from his faceand slowly repliedAyther to character, or
to having been in his company and never left him all the night in

Now, be careful. In what station of life is this man?

Mike looked at his capand looked at the floorand looked at the
ceilingand looked at the clerkand even looked at mebefore
beginning to reply in a nervous mannerWe've dressed him up
like--when my guardian blustered out:

What? You WILL, will you?

("Spooney!" added the clerk againwith another stir.)

After some helpless casting aboutMike brightened and began again:

He is dressed like a 'spectable pieman. A sort of a pastry-cook.

Is he here?asked my guardian.

I left him,said Mikea settin on some doorsteps round the

Take him past that window, and let me see him.

The window indicatedwas the office window. We all three went to
itbehind the wire blindand presently saw the client go by in an
accidental mannerwith a murderous-looking tall individualin a
short suit of white linen and a paper cap. This guileless
confectioner was not by any means soberand had a black eye in the
green stage of recoverywhich was painted over.

Tell him to take his witness away directly,said my guardian to
the clerkin extreme disgustand ask him what he means by
bringing such a fellow as that.

My guardian then took me into his own roomand while he lunched
standingfrom a sandwich-box and a pocket flask of sherry (he
seemed to bully his very sandwich as he ate it)informed me what
arrangements he had made for me. I was to go to "Barnard's Inn to
young Mr. Pocket's rooms, where a bed had been sent in for my
accommodation; I was to remain with young Mr. Pocket until Monday;
on Monday I was to go with him to his father's house on a visit,
that I might try how I liked it. Also, I was told what my allowance
was to be - it was a very liberal one - and had handed to me from
one of my guardian's drawers, the cards of certain tradesmen with
whom I was to deal for all kinds of clothes, and such other things
as I could in reason want. You will find your credit goodMr.
Pip said my guardian, whose flask of sherry smelt like a whole
cask-full, as he hastily refreshed himself, but I shall by this
means be able to check your billsand to pull you up if I find you
outrunning the constable. Of course you'll go wrong somehowbut
that's no fault of mine."

After I had pondered a little over this encouraging sentimentI
asked Mr. Jaggers if I could send for a coach? He said it was not
worth whileI was so near my destination; Wemmick should walk
round with meif I pleased.

I then found that Wemmick was the clerk in the next room. Another
clerk was rung down from up-stairs to take his place while he was
outand I accompanied him into the streetafter shaking hands
with my guardian. We found a new set of people lingering outside
but Wemmick made a way among them by saying coolly yet decisively
I tell you it's no use; he won't have a word to say to one of
you;and we soon got clear of themand went on side by side.

Chapter 21

Casting my eyes on Mr. Wemmick as we went alongto see what he was
like in the light of dayI found him to be a dry manrather short
in staturewith a square wooden facewhose expression seemed to
have been imperfectly chipped out with a dull-edged chisel. There
were some marks in it that might have been dimplesif the material
had been softer and the instrument finerbut whichas it was
were only dints. The chisel had made three or four of these
attempts at embellishment over his nosebut had given them up
without an effort to smooth them off. I judged him to be a bachelor

from the frayed condition of his linenand he appeared to have
sustained a good many bereavements; forhe wore at least four
mourning ringsbesides a brooch representing a lady and a weeping
willow at a tomb with an urn on it. I noticedtoothat several
rings and seals hung at his watch chainas if he were quite laden
with remembrances of departed friends. He had glittering eyes small
keenand black - and thin wide mottled lips. He had had
themto the best of my belieffrom forty to fifty years.

So you were never in London before?said Mr. Wemmick to me.

No,said I.

I was new here once,said Mr. Wemmick. "Rum to think of now!"

You are well acquainted with it now?

Why, yes,said Mr. Wemmick. "I know the moves of it."

Is it a very wicked place?I askedmore for the sake of saying
something than for information.

You may get cheated, robbed, and murdered, in London. But there
are plenty of people anywhere, who'll do that for you.

If there is bad blood between you and them,said Ito soften it
off a little.

Oh! I don't know about bad blood,returned Mr. Wemmick; "there's
not much bad blood about. They'll do itif there's anything to be
got by it."

That makes it worse.

You think so?returned Mr. Wemmick. "Much about the sameI should

He wore his hat on the back of his headand looked straight before
him: walking in a self-contained way as if there were nothing in
the streets to claim his attention. His mouth was such a postoffice
of a mouth that he had a mechanical appearance of smiling. We had
got to the top of Holborn Hill before I knew that it was merely a
mechanical appearanceand that he was not smiling at all.

Do you know where Mr. Matthew Pocket lives?I asked Mr. Wemmick.

Yes,said henodding in the direction. "At Hammersmithwest of

Is that far?

Well! Say five miles.

Do you know him?

Why, you're a regular cross-examiner!said Mr. Wemmicklooking at
me with an approving air. "YesI know him. I know him!"

There was an air of toleration or depreciation about his utterance
of these wordsthat rather depressed me; and I was still looking
sideways at his block of a face in search of any encouraging note
to the textwhen he said here we were at Barnard's Inn. My
depression was not alleviated by the announcementforI had
supposed that establishment to be an hotel kept by Mr. Barnardto

which the Blue Boar in our town was a mere public-house. Whereas I
now found Barnard to be a disembodied spiritor a fictionand his
inn the dingiest collection of shabby buildings ever squeezed
together in a rank corner as a club for Tom-cats.

We entered this haven through a wicket-gateand were disgorged by
an introductory passage into a melancholy little square that looked
to me like a flat burying-ground. I thought it had the most dismal
trees in itand the most dismal sparrowsand the most dismal
catsand the most dismal houses (in number half a dozen or so)
that I had ever seen. I thought the windows of the sets of chambers
into which those houses were dividedwere in every stage of
dilapidated blind and curtaincrippled flower-potcracked glass
dusty decayand miserable makeshift; while To Let To Let To Let
glared at me from empty roomsas if no new wretches ever came
thereand the vengeance of the soul of Barnard were being slowly
appeased by the gradual suicide of the present occupants and their
unholy interment under the gravel. A frouzy mourning of soot and
smoke attired this forlorn creation of Barnardand it had strewn
ashes on its headand was undergoing penance and humiliation as a
mere dust-hole. Thus far my sense of sight; while dry rot and wet
rot and all the silent rots that rot in neglected roof and cellar rot
of rat and mouse and bug and coaching-stables near at hand
besides - addressed themselves faintly to my sense of smelland
moanedTry Barnard's Mixture.

So imperfect was this realization of the first of my great
expectationsthat I looked in dismay at Mr. Wemmick. "Ah!" said he
mistaking me; "the retirement reminds you of the country. So it
does me."

He led me into a corner and conducted me up a flight of stairs which
appeared to me to be slowly collapsing into sawdustso that
one of those days the upper lodgers would look out at their doors
and find themselves without the means of coming down - to a set of
chambers on the top floor. MR. POCKETJUN.was painted on the
doorand there was a label on the letter-boxReturn shortly.

He hardly thought you'd come so soon,Mr. Wemmick explained. "You
don't want me any more?"

No, thank you,said I.

As I keep the cash,Mr. Wemmick observedwe shall most likely
meet pretty often. Good day.

Good day.

I put out my handand Mr. Wemmick at first looked at it as if he
thought I wanted something. Then he looked at meand said
correcting himself

To be sure! Yes. You're in the habit of shaking hands?

I was rather confusedthinking it must be out of the London
fashionbut said yes.

I have got so out of it!said Mr. Wemmick - "except at last. Very
gladI'm sureto make your acquaintance. Good day!"

When we had shaken hands and he was goneI opened the staircase
window and had nearly beheaded myselfforthe lines had rotted
awayand it came down like the guillotine. Happily it was so quick
that I had not put my head out. After this escapeI was content to

take a foggy view of the Inn through the window's encrusting dirt
and to stand dolefully looking outsaying to myself that London
was decidedly overrated.

Mr. PocketJunior'sidea of Shortly was not minefor I had nearly
maddened myself with looking out for half an hourand had written
my name with my finger several times in the dirt of every pane in
the windowbefore I heard footsteps on the stairs. Gradually there
arose before me the hatheadneckclothwaistcoattrousers
bootsof a member of society of about my own standing. He had a
paper-bag under each arm and a pottle of strawberries in one hand
and was out of breath.

Mr. Pip?said he.

Mr. Pocket?said I.

Dear me!he exclaimed. "I am extremely sorry; but I knew there
was a coach from your part of the country at middayand I thought
you would come by that one. The fact isI have been out on your
account - not that that is any excuse - for I thoughtcoming from
the countryyou might like a little fruit after dinnerand I went
to Covent Garden Market to get it good."

For a reason that I hadI felt as if my eyes would start out of my
head. I acknowledged his attention incoherentlyand began to think
this was a dream.

Dear me!said Mr. PocketJunior. "This door sticks so!"

As he was fast making jam of his fruit by wrestling with the door
while the paper-bags were under his armsI begged him to allow me
to hold them. He relinquished them with an agreeable smileand
combated with the door as if it were a wild beast. It yielded so
suddenly at lastthat he staggered back upon meand I staggered
back upon the opposite doorand we both laughed. But still I felt
as if my eyes must start out of my headand as if this must be a

Pray come in,said Mr. PocketJunior. "Allow me to lead the way.
I am rather bare herebut I hope you'll be able to make out
tolerably well till Monday. My father thought you would get on more
agreeably through to-morrow with me than with himand might like
to take a walk about London. I am sure I shall be very happy to
show London to you. As to our tableyou won't find that badI
hopefor it will be supplied from our coffee-house hereand (it
is only right I should add) at your expensesuch being Mr.
Jaggers's directions. As to our lodgingit's not by any means
splendidbecause I have my own bread to earnand my father hasn't
anything to give meand I shouldn't be willing to take itif he
had. This is our sitting-room - just such chairs and tables and
carpet and so forthyou seeas they could spare from home. You
mustn't give me credit for the tablecloth and spoons and castors
because they come for you from the coffee-house. This is my little
bedroom; rather mustybut Barnard's is musty. This is your
bed-room; the furniture's hired for the occasionbut I trust it
will answer the purpose; if you should want anythingI'll go and
fetch it. The chambers are retiredand we shall be alone together
but we shan't fightI dare say. Butdear meI beg your pardon
you're holding the fruit all this time. Pray let me take these bags
from you. I am quite ashamed."

As I stood opposite to Mr. PocketJuniordelivering him the bags
OneTwoI saw the starting appearance come into his own eyes that

I knew to be in mineand he saidfalling back:

Lord bless me, you're the prowling boy!

And you,said Iare the pale young gentleman!

Chapter 22

The pale young gentleman and I stood contemplating one another in
Barnard's Innuntil we both burst out laughing. "The idea of its
being you!" said he. "The idea of its being you!" said I. And then
we contemplated one another afreshand laughed again. "Well!" said
the pale young gentlemanreaching out his hand goodhumouredly
it's all over now, I hope, and it will be magnanimous in you if
you'll forgive me for having knocked you about so.

I derived from this speech that Mr. Herbert Pocket (for Herbert was
the pale young gentleman's name) still rather confounded his
intention with his execution. But I made a modest replyand we
shook hands warmly.

You hadn't come into your good fortune at that time?said Herbert

No,said I.

No,he acquiesced: "I heard it had happened very lately. I was
rather on the look-out for good-fortune then."


Yes. Miss Havisham had sent for me, to see if she could take a
fancy to me. But she couldn't - at all events, she didn't.

I thought it polite to remark that I was surprised to hear that.

Bad taste,said Herbertlaughingbut a fact. Yes, she had sent
for me on a trial visit, and if I had come out of it successfully,
I suppose I should have been provided for; perhaps I should have
been what-you-may-called it to Estella.

What's that?I askedwith sudden gravity.

He was arranging his fruit in plates while we talkedwhich divided
his attentionand was the cause of his having made this lapse of a
word. "Affianced he explained, still busy with the fruit.
Betrothed. Engaged. What's-his-named. Any word of that sort."

How did you bear your disappointment?I asked.

Pooh!said heI didn't care much for it. She's a Tartar.

Miss Havisham?

I don't say no to that, but I meant Estella. That girl's hard and
haughty and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up
by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex.

What relation is she to Miss Havisham?

None,said he. "Only adopted."

Why should she wreak revenge on all the male sex? What revenge?

Lord, Mr. Pip!said he. "Don't you know?"

No,said I.

Dear me! It's quite a story, and shall be saved till dinner-time.
And now let me take the liberty of asking you a question. How did
you come there, that day?

I told himand he was attentive until I had finishedand then
burst out laughing againand asked me if I was sore afterwards? I
didn't ask him if he wasfor my conviction on that point was
perfectly established.

Mr. Jaggers is your guardian, I understand?he went on.


You know he is Miss Havisham's man of business and solicitor, and
has her confidence when nobody else has?

This was bringing me (I felt) towards dangerous ground. I answered
with a constraint I made no attempt to disguisethat I had seen Mr.
Jaggers in Miss Havisham's house on the very day of our combatbut
never at any other timeand that I believed he had no recollection
of having ever seen me there.

He was so obliging as to suggest my father for your tutor, and he
called on my father to propose it. Of course he knew about my
father from his connexion with Miss Havisham. My father is Miss
Havisham's cousin; not that that implies familiar intercourse
between them, for he is a bad courtier and will not propitiate

Herbert Pocket had a frank and easy way with him that was very
taking. I had never seen any one thenand I have never seen any
one sincewho more strongly expressed to mein every look and
tonea natural incapacity to do anything secret and mean. There
was something wonderfully hopeful about his general airand
something that at the same time whispered to me he would never be
very successful or rich. I don't know how this was. I became imbued
with the notion on that first occasion before we sat down to
dinnerbut I cannot define by what means.

He was still a pale young gentlemanand had a certain conquered
languor about him in the midst of his spirits and brisknessthat
did not seem indicative of natural strength. He had not a handsome
facebut it was better than handsome: being extremely amiable and
cheerful. His figure was a little ungainlyas in the days when my
knuckles had taken such liberties with itbut it looked as if it
would always be light and young. Whether Mr. Trabb's local work
would have sat more gracefully on him than on memay be a
question; but I am conscious that he carried off his rather old
clothesmuch better than I carried off my new suit.

As he was so communicativeI felt that reserve on my part would be
a bad return unsuited to our years. I therefore told him my small
storyand laid stress on my being forbidden to inquire who my
benefactor was. I further mentioned that as I had been brought up a
blacksmith in a country placeand knew very little of the ways of
politenessI would take it as a great kindness in him if he would
give me a hint whenever he saw me at a loss or going wrong.

With pleasure,said hethough I venture to prophesy that you'll

want very few hints. I dare say we shall be often together, and I
should like to banish any needless restraint between us. Will you
do me the favour to begin at once to call me by my Christian name,

I thanked himand said I would. I informed him in exchange that my
Christian name was Philip.

I don't take to Philip,said hesmilingfor it sounds like a
moral boy out of the spelling-book, who was so lazy that he fell
into a pond, or so fat that he couldn't see out of his eyes, or so
avaricious that he locked up his cake till the mice ate it, or so
determined to go a bird's-nesting that he got himself eaten by
bears who lived handy in the neighbourhood. I tell you what I
should like. We are so harmonious, and you have been a blacksmith would
you mind it?

I shouldn't mind anything that you propose,I answeredbut I
don't understand you.

Would you mind Handel for a familiar name? There's a charming
piece of music by Handel, called the Harmonious Blacksmith.

I should like it very much.

Then, my dear Handel,said heturning round as the door opened
here is the dinner, and I must beg of you to take the top of the
table, because the dinner is of your providing.

This I would not hear ofso he took the topand I faced him. It
was a nice little dinner - seemed to me thena very Lord Mayor's
Feast - and it acquired additional relish from being eaten under
those independent circumstanceswith no old people byand with
London all around us. This again was heightened by a certain gipsy
character that set the banquet off; forwhile the table wasas Mr.
Pumblechook might have saidthe lap of luxury - being entirely
furnished forth from the coffee-house - the circumjacent region of
sitting-room was of a comparatively pastureless and shifty
character: imposing on the waiter the wandering habits of putting
the covers on the floor (where he fell over them)the melted
butter in the armchairthe bread on the bookshelvesthe cheese in
the coalscuttleand the boiled fowl into my bed in the next room where
I found much of its parsley and butter in a state of
congelation when I retired for the night. All this made the feast
delightfuland when the waiter was not there to watch memy
pleasure was without alloy.

We had made some progress in the dinnerwhen I reminded Herbert of
his promise to tell me about Miss Havisham.

True,he replied. "I'll redeem it at once. Let me introduce the
topicHandelby mentioning that in London it is not the custom to
put the knife in the mouth - for fear of accidents - and that while
the fork is reserved for that useit is not put further in than
necessary. It is scarcely worth mentioningonly it's as well to do
as other people do. Alsothe spoon is not generally used
over-handbut under. This has two advantages. You get at your
mouth better (which after all is the object)and you save a good
deal of the attitude of opening oysterson the part of the right

He offered these friendly suggestions in such a lively waythat we
both laughed and I scarcely blushed.

Now,he pursuedconcerning Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham, you
must know, was a spoilt child. Her mother died when she was a baby,
and her father denied her nothing. Her father was a country
gentleman down in your part of the world, and was a brewer. I don't
know why it should be a crack thing to be a brewer; but it is
indisputable that while you cannot possibly be genteel and bake,
you may be as genteel as never was and brew. You see it every day.

Yet a gentleman may not keep a public-house; may he?said I.

Not on any account,returned Herbert; "but a public-house may
keep a gentleman. Well! Mr. Havisham was very rich and very proud.
So was his daughter."

Miss Havisham was an only child?I hazarded.

Stop a moment, I am coming to that. No, she was not an only child;
she had a half-brother. Her father privately married again - his
cook, I rather think.

I thought he was proud,said I.

My good Handel, so he was. He married his second wife privately,
because he was proud, and in course of time she died. When she was
dead, I apprehend he first told his daughter what he had done, and
then the son became a part of the family, residing in the house you
are acquainted with. As the son grew a young man, he turned out
riotous, extravagant, undutiful - altogether bad. At last his
father disinherited him; but he softened when he was dying, and
left him well off, though not nearly so well off as Miss Havisham.

-Take another glass of wine, and excuse my mentioning that society
as a body does not expect one to be so strictly conscientious in
emptying one's glass, as to turn it bottom upwards with the rim on
one's nose.
I had been doing thisin an excess of attention to his recital. I
thanked himand apologized. He saidNot at all,and resumed.

Miss Havisham was now an heiress, and you may suppose was looked
after as a great match. Her half-brother had now ample means again,
but what with debts and what with new madness wasted them most
fearfully again. There were stronger differences between him and
her, than there had been between him and his father, and it is
suspected that he cherished a deep and mortal grudge against her,
as having influenced the father's anger. Now, I come to the cruel
part of the story - merely breaking off, my dear Handel, to remark
that a dinner-napkin will not go into a tumbler.

Why I was trying to pack mine into my tumblerI am wholly unable
to say. I only know that I found myselfwith a perseverance worthy
of a much better causemaking the most strenuous exertions to
compress it within those limits. Again I thanked him and
apologizedand again he said in the cheerfullest mannerNot at
all, I am sure!and resumed.

There appeared upon the scene - say at the races, or the public
balls, or anywhere else you like - a certain man, who made love to
Miss Havisham. I never saw him, for this happened five-and-twenty
years ago (before you and I were, Handel), but I have heard my
father mention that he was a showy-man, and the kind of man for the
purpose. But that he was not to be, without ignorance or prejudice,
mistaken for a gentleman, my father most strongly asseverates;
because it is a principle of his that no man who was not a true
gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true

gentleman in manner. He says, no varnish can hide the grain of the
wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will
express itself. Well! This man pursued Miss Havisham closely, and
professed to be devoted to her. I believe she had not shown much
susceptibility up to that time; but all the susceptibility she
possessed, certainly came out then, and she passionately loved him.
There is no doubt that she perfectly idolized him. He practised on
her affection in that systematic way, that he got great sums of
money from her, and he induced her to buy her brother out of a
share in the brewery (which had been weakly left him by his father)
at an immense price, on the plea that when he was her husband he
must hold and manage it all. Your guardian was not at that time in
Miss Havisham's councils, and she was too haughty and too much in
love, to be advised by any one. Her relations were poor and
scheming, with the exception of my father; he was poor enough, but
not time-serving or jealous. The only independent one among them,
he warned her that she was doing too much for this man, and was
placing herself too unreservedly in his power. She took the first
opportunity of angrily ordering my father out of the house, in his
presence, and my father has never seen her since.

I thought of her having saidMatthew will come and see me at last
when I am laid dead upon that table;and I asked Herbert whether
his father was so inveterate against her?

It's not that,said hebut she charged him, in the presence of
her intended husband, with being disappointed in the hope of
fawning upon her for his own advancement, and, if he were to go to
her now, it would look true - even to him - and even to her. To
return to the man and make an end of him. The marriage day was
fixed, the wedding dresses were bought, the wedding tour was
planned out, the wedding guests were invited. The day came, but not
the bridegroom. He wrote her a letter--

Which she received,I struck inwhen she was dressing for her
marriage? At twenty minutes to nine?

At the hour and minute,said Herbertnoddingat which she
afterwards stopped all the clocks. What was in it, further than
that it most heartlessly broke the marriage off, I can't tell you,
because I don't know. When she recovered from a bad illness that
she had, she laid the whole place waste, as you have seen it, and
she has never since looked upon the light of day.

Is that all the story?I askedafter considering it.

All I know of it; and indeed I only know so much, through piecing
it out for myself; for my father always avoids it, and, even when
Miss Havisham invited me to go there, told me no more of it than it
was absolutely requisite I should understand. But I have forgotten
one thing. It has been supposed that the man to whom she gave her
misplaced confidence, acted throughout in concert with her
half-brother; that it was a conspiracy between them; and that they
shared the profits.

I wonder he didn't marry her and get all the property,said I.

He may have been married already, and her cruel mortification may
have been a part of her half-brother's scheme,said Herbert.

Mind! I don't know that.

What became of the two men?I askedafter again considering the

They fell into deeper shame and degradation - if there can be
deeper - and ruin.

Are they alive now?

I don't know.

You said just now, that Estella was not related to Miss Havisham,
but adopted. When adopted?

Herbert shrugged his shoulders. "There has always been an Estella
since I have heard of a Miss Havisham. I know no more. And now
Handel said he, finally throwing off the story as it were, there
is a perfectly open understanding between us. All that I know about
Miss Havishamyou know."

And all that I know,I retortedyou know.

I fully believe it. So there can be no competition or perplexity
between you and me. And as to the condition on which you hold your
advancement in life - namely, that you are not to inquire or
discuss to whom you owe it - you may be very sure that it will
never be encroached upon, or even approached, by me, or by any one
belonging to me.

In truthhe said this with so much delicacythat I felt the
subject done witheven though I should be under his father's roof
for years and years to come. Yet he said it with so much meaning
toothat I felt he as perfectly understood Miss Havisham to be my
benefactressas I understood the fact myself.

It had not occurred to me beforethat he had led up to the theme
for the purpose of clearing it out of our way; but we were so much
the lighter and easier for having broached itthat I now perceived
this to be the case. We were very gay and sociableand I asked
himin the course of conversationwhat he was? He repliedA
capitalist - an Insurer of Ships.I suppose he saw me glancing
about the room in search of some tokens of Shippingor capital
for he addedIn the City.

I had grand ideas of the wealth and importance of Insurers of Ships
in the Cityand I began to think with aweof having laid a young
Insurer on his backblackened his enterprising eyeand cut his
responsible head open. Butagainthere came upon mefor my
reliefthat odd impression that Herbert Pocket would never be very
successful or rich.

I shall not rest satisfied with merely employing my capital in
insuring ships. I shall buy up some good Life Assurance shares, and
cut into the Direction. I shall also do a little in the mining way.
None of these things will interfere with my chartering a few
thousand tons on my own account. I think I shall trade,said he
leaning back in his chairto the East Indies, for silks, shawls,
spices, dyes, drugs, and precious woods. It's an interesting

And the profits are large?said I.

Tremendous!said he.

I wavered againand began to think here were greater expectations
than my own.

I think I shall trade, also,said heputting his thumbs in his
waistcoat pocketsto the West Indies, for sugar, tobacco, and
rum. Also to Ceylon, specially for elephants' tusks.

You will want a good many ships,said I.

A perfect fleet,said he.

Quite overpowered by the magnificence of these transactionsI
asked him where the ships he insured mostly traded to at present?

I haven't begun insuring yet,he replied. "I am looking about

Somehowthat pursuit seemed more in keeping with Barnard's Inn. I
said (in a tone of conviction)Ah-h!

Yes. I am in a counting-house, and looking about me.

Is a counting-house profitable?I asked.

To - do you mean to the young fellow who's in it?he askedin

Yes; to you.

Why, n-no: not to me.He said this with the air of one carefully
reckoning up and striking a balance. "Not directly profitable. That
isit doesn't pay me anythingand I have to - keep myself."

This certainly had not a profitable appearanceand I shook my head
as if I would imply that it would be difficult to lay by much
accumulative capital from such a source of income.

But the thing is,said Herbert Pocketthat you look about you.
That's the grand thing. You are in a counting-house, you know, and
you look about you.

It struck me as a singular implication that you couldn't be out of
a counting-houseyou knowand look about you; but I silently
deferred to his experience.

Then the time comes,said Herbertwhen you see your opening.
And you go in, and you swoop upon it and you make your capital, and
then there you are! When you have once made your capital, you have
nothing to do but employ it.

This was very like his way of conducting that encounter in the
garden; very like. His manner of bearing his povertytooexactly
corresponded to his manner of bearing that defeat. It seemed to me
that he took all blows and buffets nowwith just the same air as
he had taken mine then. It was evident that he had nothing around
him but the simplest necessariesfor everything that I remarked
upon turned out to have been sent in on my account from the
coffee-house or somewhere else.

Yethaving already made his fortune in his own mindhe was so
unassuming with it that I felt quite grateful to him for not being
puffed up. It was a pleasant addition to his naturally pleasant
waysand we got on famously. In the evening we went out for a walk
in the streetsand went half-price to the Theatre; and next day we
went to church at Westminster Abbeyand in the afternoon we walked
in the Parks; and I wondered who shod all the horses thereand
wished Joe did.

On a moderate computationit was many monthsthat Sundaysince I
had left Joe and Biddy. The space interposed between myself and
thempartook of that expansionand our marshes were any distance
off. That I could have been at our old church in my old
church-going clotheson the very last Sunday that ever wasseemed
a combination of impossibilitiesgeographical and socialsolar
and lunar. Yet in the London streetsso crowded with people and so
brilliantly lighted in the dusk of eveningthere were depressing
hints of reproaches for that I had put the poor old kitchen at home
so far away; and in the dead of nightthe footsteps of some
incapable impostor of a porter mooning about Barnard's Innunder
pretence of watching itfell hollow on my heart.

On the Monday morning at a quarter before nineHerbert went to the
counting-house to report himself - to look about himtooI
suppose - and I bore him company. He was to come away in an hour or
two to attend me to Hammersmithand I was to wait about for him.
It appeared to me that the eggs from which young Insurers were
hatchedwere incubated in dust and heatlike the eggs of
ostrichesjudging from the places to which those incipient giants
repaired on a Monday morning. Nor did the counting-house where
Herbert assistedshow in my eyes as at all a good Observatory;
being a back second floor up a yardof a grimy presence in all
particularsand with a look into another back second floorrather
than a look out.

I waited about until it was noonand I went upon 'Changeand I
saw fluey men sitting there under the bills about shippingwhom I
took to be great merchantsthough I couldn't understand why they
should all be out of spirits. When Herbert camewe went and had
lunch at a celebrated house which I then quite veneratedbut now
believe to have been the most abject superstition in Europeand
where I could not help noticingeven thenthat there was much
more gravy on the tablecloths and knives and waiters' clothesthan
in the steaks. This collation disposed of at a moderate price
(considering the grease: which was not charged for)we went back
to Barnard's Inn and got my little portmanteauand then took coach
for Hammersmith. We arrived there at two or three o'clock in the
afternoonand had very little way to walk to Mr. Pocket's house.
Lifting the latch of a gatewe passed direct into a little garden
overlooking the riverwhere Mr. Pocket's children were playing
about. And unless I deceive myself on a point where my interests or
prepossessions are certainly not concernedI saw that Mr. and Mrs.
Pocket's children were not growing up or being brought upbut were
tumbling up.

Mrs. Pocket was sitting on a garden chair under a treereading
with her legs upon another garden chair; and Mrs. Pocket's two
nursemaids were looking about them while the children played.
Mamma,said Herbertthis is young Mr. Pip.Upon which Mrs.
Pocket received me with an appearance of amiable dignity.

Master Alick and Miss Jane,cried one of the nurses to two of the
childrenif you go a-bouncing up against them bushes you'll fall
over into the river and be drownded, and what'll your pa say then?

At the same time this nurse picked up Mrs. Pocket's handkerchief
and saidIf that don't make six times you've dropped it, Mum!
Upon which Mrs. Pocket laughed and saidThank you, Flopson,and
settling herself in one chair onlyresumed her book. Her
countenance immediately assumed a knitted and intent expression as
if she had been reading for a weekbut before she could have read
half a dozen linesshe fixed her eyes upon meand saidI hope

your mamma is quite well?This unexpected inquiry put me into such
a difficulty that I began saying in the absurdest way that if there
had been any such person I had no doubt she would have been quite
well and would have been very much obliged and would have sent her
complimentswhen the nurse came to my rescue.

Well!she criedpicking up the pocket handkerchiefif that
don't make seven times! What ARE you a-doing of this afternoon,
Mum!Mrs. Pocket received her propertyat first with a look of
unutterable surprise as if she had never seen it beforeand then
with a laugh of recognitionand saidThank you, Flopson,and
forgot meand went on reading.

I foundnow I had leisure to count themthat there were no fewer
than six little Pockets presentin various stages of tumbling up.
I had scarcely arrived at the total when a seventh was heardas in
the region of airwailing dolefully.

If there ain't Baby!said Flopsonappearing to think it most
surprising. "Make haste upMillers."

Millerswho was the other nurseretired into the houseand by
degrees the child's wailing was hushed and stoppedas if it were a
young ventriloquist with something in its mouth. Mrs. Pocket read
all the timeand I was curious to know what the book could be.

We were waitingI supposedfor Mr. Pocket to come out to us; at
any rate we waited thereand so I had an opportunity of observing
the remarkable family phenomenon that whenever any of the children
strayed near Mrs. Pocket in their playthey always tripped
themselves up and tumbled over her - always very much to her
momentary astonishmentand their own more enduring lamentation. I
was at a loss to account for this surprising circumstanceand
could not help giving my mind to speculations about ituntil
by-and-by Millers came down with the babywhich baby was handed to
Flopsonwhich Flopson was handing it to Mrs. Pocketwhen she too
went fairly head foremost over Mrs. Pocketbaby and alland was
caught by Herbert and myself.

Gracious me, Flopson!said Mrs. Pocketlooking off her book for a
momenteverybody's tumbling!

Gracious you, indeed, Mum!returned Flopsonvery red in the
face; "what have you got there?"

I got here, Flopson?asked Mrs. Pocket.

Why, if it ain't your footstool!cried Flopson. "And if you keep
it under your skirts like thatwho's to help tumbling? Here! Take
the babyMumand give me your book."

Mrs. Pocket acted on the adviceand inexpertly danced the infant a
little in her lapwhile the other children played about it. This
had lasted but a very short timewhen Mrs. Pocket issued summary
orders that they were all to be taken into the house for a nap.
Thus I made the second discovery on that first occasionthat the
nurture of the little Pockets consisted of alternately tumbling up
and lying down.

Under these circumstanceswhen Flopson and Millers had got the
children into the houselike a little flock of sheepand Mr.
Pocket came out of it to make my acquaintanceI was not much
surprised to find that Mr. Pocket was a gentleman with a rather
perplexed expression of faceand with his very grey hair

disordered on his headas if he didn't quite see his way to
putting anything straight.

Chapter 23

Mr. Pocket said he was glad to see meand he hoped I was not sorry
to see him. "ForI really am not he added, with his son's smile,
an alarming personage." He was a young-looking manin spite of
his perplexities and his very grey hairand his manner seemed
quite natural. I use the word naturalin the sense of its being
unaffected; there was something comic in his distraught wayas
though it would have been downright ludicrous but for his own
perception that it was very near being so. When he had talked with
me a littlehe said to Mrs. Pocketwith a rather anxious
contraction of his eyebrowswhich were black and handsome
Belinda, I hope you have welcomed Mr. Pip?And she looked up from
her bookand saidYes.She then smiled upon me in an absent
state of mindand asked me if I liked the taste of orange-flower
water? As the question had no bearingnear or remoteon any
foregone or subsequent transactionI consider it to have been
thrown outlike her previous approachesin general conversational

I found out within a few hoursand may mention at oncethat Mrs.
Pocket was the only daughter of a certain quite accidental deceased
Knightwho had invented for himself a conviction that his deceased
father would have been made a Baronet but for somebody's determined
opposition arising out of entirely personal motives - I forget
whoseif I ever knew - the Sovereign'sthe Prime Minister'sthe
Lord Chancellor'sthe Archbishop of Canterbury'sanybody's - and
had tacked himself on to the nobles of the earth in right of this
quite supposititious fact. I believe he had been knighted himself
for storming the English grammar at the point of the penin a
desperate address engrossed on vellumon the occasion of the
laying of the first stone of some building or otherand for
handing some Royal Personage either the trowel or the mortar. Be
that as it mayhe had directed Mrs. Pocket to be brought up from
her cradle as one who in the nature of things must marry a title
and who was to be guarded from the acquisition of plebeian domestic

So successful a watch and ward had been established over the young
lady by this judicious parentthat she had grown up highly
ornamentalbut perfectly helpless and useless. With her character
thus happily formedin the first bloom of her youth she had
encountered Mr. Pocket: who was also in the first bloom of youth
and not quite decided whether to mount to the Woolsackor to roof
himself in with a mitre. As his doing the one or the other was a
mere question of timehe and Mrs. Pocket had taken Time by the
forelock (whento judge from its lengthit would seem to have
wanted cutting)and had married without the knowledge of the
judicious parent. The judicious parenthaving nothing to bestow or
withhold but his blessinghad handsomely settled that dower upon
them after a short struggleand had informed Mr. Pocket that his
wife was "a treasure for a Prince." Mr. Pocket had invested the
Prince's treasure in the ways of the world ever sinceand it was
supposed to have brought him in but indifferent interest. Still
Mrs. Pocket was in general the object of a queer sort of respectful
pitybecause she had not married a title; while Mr. Pocket was the
object of a queer sort of forgiving reproachbecause he had never
got one.

Mr. Pocket took me into the house and showed me my room: which was a

pleasant oneand so furnished as that I could use it with comfort
for my own private sitting-room. He then knocked at the doors of
two other similar roomsand introduced me to their occupantsby
name Drummle and Startop. Drummlean old-looking young man of a
heavy order of architecturewas whistling. Startopyounger in
years and appearancewas reading and holding his headas if he
thought himself in danger of exploding it with too strong a charge
of knowledge.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Pocket had such a noticeable air of being in
somebody else's handsthat I wondered who really was in possession
of the house and let them live thereuntil I found this unknown
power to be the servants. It was a smooth way of going onperhaps
in respect of saving trouble; but it had the appearance of being
expensivefor the servants felt it a duty they owed to themselves
to be nice in their eating and drinkingand to keep a deal of
company down stairs. They allowed a very liberal table to Mr. and
Mrs. Pocketyet it always appeared to me that by far the best part
of the house to have boarded inwould have been the kitchen always
supposing the boarder capable of self-defenceforbefore I
had been there a weeka neighbouring lady with whom the family
were personally unacquaintedwrote in to say that she had seen
Millers slapping the baby. This greatly distressed Mrs. Pocketwho
burst into tears on receiving the noteand said that it was an
extraordinary thing that the neighbours couldn't mind their own

By degrees I learntand chiefly from Herbertthat Mr. Pocket had
been educated at Harrow and at Cambridgewhere he had
distinguished himself; but that when he had had the happiness of
marrying Mrs. Pocket very early in lifehe had impaired his
prospects and taken up the calling of a Grinder. After grinding a
number of dull blades - of whom it was remarkable that their
fatherswhen influentialwere always going to help him to
prefermentbut always forgot to do it when the blades had left the
Grindstone - he had wearied of that poor work and had come to
London. Hereafter gradually failing in loftier hopeshe had
readwith divers who had lacked opportunities or neglected them
and had refurbished divers others for special occasionsand had
turned his acquirements to the account of literary compilation and
correctionand on such meansadded to some very moderate private
resourcesstill maintained the house I saw.

Mr. and Mrs. Pocket had a toady neighbour; a widow lady of that
highly sympathetic nature that she agreed with everybodyblessed
everybodyand shed smiles and tears on everybodyaccording to
circumstances. This lady's name was Mrs. Coilerand I had the
honour of taking her down to dinner on the day of my installation.
She gave me to understand on the stairsthat it was a blow to dear
Mrs. Pocket that dear Mr. Pocket should be under the necessity of
receiving gentlemen to read with him. That did not extend to me
she told me in a gush of love and confidence (at that timeI had
known her something less than five minutes); if they were all like
Meit would be quite another thing.

But dear Mrs. Pocket,said Mrs. Coilerafter her early
disappointment (not that dear Mr. Pocket was to blame in that),
requires so much luxury and elegance--

Yes, ma'am,I saidto stop herfor I was afraid she was going
to cry.

And she is of so aristocratic a disposition--

Yes, ma'am,I said againwith the same object as before.

- that it is hard,said Mrs. Coilerto have dear Mr. Pocket's
time and attention diverted from dear Mrs. Pocket.

I could not help thinking that it might be harder if the butcher's
time and attention were diverted from dear Mrs. Pocket; but I said
nothingand indeed had enough to do in keeping a bashful watch
upon my company-manners.

It came to my knowledgethrough what passed between Mrs. Pocket and
Drummle while I was attentive to my knife and forkspoonglasses
and other instruments of self-destructionthat Drummlewhose
Christian name was Bentleywas actually the next heir but one to a
baronetcy. It further appeared that the book I had seen Mrs. Pocket
reading in the gardenwas all about titlesand that she knew the
exact date at which her grandpapa would have come into the bookif
he ever had come at all. Drummle didn't say muchbut in his
limited way (he struck me as a sulky kind of fellow) he spoke as
one of the electand recognized Mrs. Pocket as a woman and a
sister. No one but themselves and Mrs. Coiler the toady neighbour
showed any interest in this part of the conversationand it
appeared to me that it was painful to Herbert; but it promised to
last a long timewhen the page came in with the announcement of a
domestic affliction. It wasin effectthat the cook had mislaid
the beef. To my unutterable amazementI nowfor the first time
saw Mr. Pocket relieve his mind by going through a performance that
struck me as very extraordinarybut which made no impression on
anybody elseand with which I soon became as familiar as the rest.
He laid down the carving-knife and fork - being engaged in carving
at the moment - put his two hands into his disturbed hairand
appeared to make an extraordinary effort to lift himself up by it.
When he had done thisand had not lifted himself up at allhe
quietly went on with what he was about.

Mrs. Coiler then changed the subjectand began to flatter me. I
liked it for a few momentsbut she flattered me so very grossly
that the pleasure was soon over. She had a serpentine way of coming
close at me when she pretended to be vitally interested in the
friends and localities I had leftwhich was altogether snaky and
fork-tongued; and when she made an occasional bounce upon Startop
(who said very little to her)or upon Drummle (who said less)I
rather envied them for being on the opposite side of the table.

After dinner the children were introducedand Mrs. Coiler made
admiring comments on their eyesnosesand legs - a sagacious way
of improving their minds. There were four little girlsand two
little boysbesides the baby who might have been eitherand the
baby's next successor who was as yet neither. They were brought in
by Flopson and Millersmuch as though those two noncommissioned
officers had been recruiting somewhere for children and had
enlisted these: while Mrs. Pocket looked at the young Nobles that
ought to have beenas if she rather thought she had had the
pleasure of inspecting them beforebut didn't quite know what to
make of them.

Here! Give me your fork, Mum, and take the baby,said Flopson.
Don't take it that way, or you'll get its head under the table.

Thus advisedMrs. Pocket took it the other wayand got its head
upon the table; which was announced to all present by a prodigious

Dear, dear! Give it me back, Mum,said Flopson; "and Miss Jane

come and dance to babydo!"

One of the little girlsa mere mite who seemed to have prematurely
taken upon herself some charge of the othersstepped out of her
place by meand danced to and from the baby until it left off
cryingand laughed. Thenall the children laughedand Mr. Pocket
(who in the meantime had twice endeavoured to lift himself up by
the hair) laughedand we all laughed and were glad.

Flopsonby dint of doubling the baby at the joints like a Dutch
dollthen got it safely into Mrs. Pocket's lapand gave it the
nutcrackers to play with: at the same time recommending Mrs. Pocket
to take notice that the handles of that instrument were not likely
to agree with its eyesand sharply charging Miss Jane to look
after the same. Thenthe two nurses left the roomand had a
lively scuffle on the staircase with a dissipated page who had
waited at dinnerand who had clearly lost half his buttons at the

I was made very uneasy in my mind by Mrs. Pocket's falling into a
discussion with Drummle respecting two baronetcieswhile she ate a
sliced orange steeped in sugar and wineand forgetting all about
the baby on her lap: who did most appalling things with the
nutcrackers. At lengthlittle Jane perceiving its young brains to
be imperilledsoftly left her placeand with many small artifices
coaxed the dangerous weapon away. Mrs. Pocket finishing her orange
at about the same timeand not approving of thissaid to Jane:

You naughty child, how dare you? Go and sit down this instant!

Mamma dear,lisped the little girlbaby ood have put hith eyeth

How dare you tell me so?retorted Mrs. Pocket. "Go and sit down in
your chair this moment!"

Mrs. Pocket's dignity was so crushingthat I felt quite abashed: as
if I myself had done something to rouse it.

Belinda,remonstrated Mr. Pocketfrom the other end of the table
how can you be so unreasonable? Jane only interfered for the
protection of baby.

I will not allow anybody to interfere,said Mrs. Pocket. "I am
surprisedMatthewthat you should expose me to the affront of

Good God!cried Mr. Pocketin an outbreak of desolate
desperation. "Are infants to be nutcrackered into their tombsand
is nobody to save them?"

I will not be interfered with by Jane,said Mrs. Pocketwith a
majestic glance at that innocent little offender. "I hope I know my
poor grandpapa's position. Janeindeed!"

Mr. Pocket got his hands in his hair againand this time really did
lift himself some inches out of his chair. "Hear this!" he
helplessly exclaimed to the elements. "Babies are to be
nutcrackered deadfor people's poor grandpapa's positions!" Then
he let himself down againand became silent.

We all looked awkwardly at the table-cloth while this was going on.
A pause succeededduring which the honest and irrepressible baby
made a series of leaps and crows at little Janewho appeared to me

to be the only member of the family (irrespective of servants) with
whom it had any decided acquaintance.

Mr. Drummle,said Mrs. Pocketwill you ring for Flopson? Jane,
you undutiful little thing, go and lie down. Now, baby darling,
come with ma!

The baby was the soul of honourand protested with all its might.
It doubled itself up the wrong way over Mrs. Pocket's armexhibited
a pair of knitted shoes and dimpled ankles to the company in lieu
of its soft faceand was carried out in the highest state of
mutiny. And it gained its point after allfor I saw it through the
window within a few minutesbeing nursed by little Jane.

It happened that the other five children were left behind at the
dinner-tablethrough Flopson's having some private engagementand
their not being anybody else's business. I thus became aware of the
mutual relations between them and Mr. Pocketwhich were exemplified
in the following manner. Mr. Pocketwith the normal perplexity of
his face heightened and his hair rumpledlooked at them for some
minutesas if he couldn't make out how they came to be boarding
and lodging in that establishmentand why they hadn't been
billeted by Nature on somebody else. Thenin a distantMissionary
way he asked them certain questions - as why little Joe had that
hole in his frill: who saidPaFlopson was going to mend it when
she had time - and how little Fanny came by that whitlow: who said
PaMillers was going to poultice it when she didn't forget. Then
he melted into parental tendernessand gave them a shilling apiece
and told them to go and play; and then as they went outwith one
very strong effort to lift himself up by the hair he dismissed the
hopeless subject.

In the evening there was rowing on the river. As Drummle and
Startop had each a boatI resolved to set up mineand to cut them
both out. I was pretty good at most exercises in which countryboys
are adeptsbutas I was conscious of wanting elegance of style
for the Thames - not to say for other waters - I at once engaged to
place myself under the tuition of the winner of a prizewherry who
plied at our stairsand to whom I was introduced by my new allies.
This practical authority confused me very muchby saying I had the
arm of a blacksmith. If he could have known how nearly the
compliment lost him his pupilI doubt if he would have paid it.

There was a supper-tray after we got home at nightand I think we
should all have enjoyed ourselvesbut for a rather disagreeable
domestic occurrence. Mr. Pocket was in good spiritswhen a
housemaid came inand saidIf you please, sir, I should wish to
speak to you.

Speak to your master?said Mrs. Pocketwhose dignity was roused
again. "How can you think of such a thing? Go and speak to Flopson.
Or speak to me - at some other time."

Begging your pardon, ma'am,returned the housemaidI should
wish to speak at once, and to speak to master.

HereuponMr. Pocket went out of the roomand we made the best of
ourselves until he came back.

This is a pretty thing, Belinda!said Mr. Pocketreturning with a
countenance expressive of grief and despair. "Here's the cook lying
insensibly drunk on the kitchen floorwith a large bundle of fresh
butter made up in the cupboard ready to sell for grease!"

Mrs. Pocket instantly showed much amiable emotionand saidThis
is that odious Sophia's doing!

What do you mean, Belinda?demanded Mr. Pocket.

Sophia has told you,said Mrs. Pocket. "Did I not see her with my
own eyes and hear her with my own earscome into the room just now
and ask to speak to you?"

But has she not taken me down stairs, Belinda,returned Mr.
Pocketand shown me the woman, and the bundle too?

And do you defend her, Matthew,said Mrs. Pocketfor making

Mr. Pocket uttered a dismal groan.

Am I, grandpapa's granddaughter, to be nothing in the house?said
Mrs. Pocket. "Besidesthe cook has always been a very nice
respectful womanand said in the most natural manner when she came
to look after the situationthat she felt I was born to be a

There was a sofa where Mr. Pocket stoodand he dropped upon it in
the attitude of the Dying Gladiator. Still in that attitude he
saidwith a hollow voiceGood night, Mr. Pip,when I deemed it
advisable to go to bed and leave him.

Chapter 24

After two or three dayswhen I had established myself in my room
and had gone backwards and forwards to London several timesand
had ordered all I wanted of my tradesmenMr. Pocket and I had a
long talk together. He knew more of my intended career than I knew
myselffor he referred to his having been told by Mr. Jaggers that
I was not designed for any professionand that I should be well
enough educated for my destiny if I could "hold my own" with the
average of young men in prosperous circumstances. I acquiescedof
courseknowing nothing to the contrary.

He advised my attending certain places in Londonfor the
acquisition of such mere rudiments as I wantedand my investing
him with the functions of explainer and director of all my studies.
He hoped that with intelligent assistance I should meet with little
to discourage meand should soon be able to dispense with any aid
but his. Through his way of saying thisand much more to similar
purposehe placed himself on confidential terms with me in an
admirable manner; and I may state at once that he was always so
zealous and honourable in fulfilling his compact with methat he
made me zealous and honourable in fulfilling mine with him. If he
had shown indifference as a masterI have no doubt I should have
returned the compliment as a pupil; he gave me no such excuseand
each of us did the other justice. Nordid I ever regard him as
having anything ludicrous about him - or anything but what was
serioushonestand good - in his tutor communication with me.

When these points were settledand so far carried out as that I
had begun to work in earnestit occurred to me that if I could
retain my bedroom in Barnard's Innmy life would be agreeably
variedwhile my manners would be none the worse for Herbert's
society. Mr. Pocket did not object to this arrangementbut urged
that before any step could possibly be taken in itit must be
submitted to my guardian. I felt that this delicacy arose out of

the consideration that the plan would save Herbert some expenseso
I went off to Little Britain and imparted my wish to Mr. Jaggers.

If I could buy the furniture now hired for me,said Iand one
or two other little things, I should be quite at home there.

Go it!said Mr. Jaggerswith a short laugh. "I told you you'd get
on. Well! How much do you want?"

I said I didn't know how much.

Come!retorted Mr. Jaggers. "How much? Fifty pounds?"

Oh, not nearly so much.

Five pounds?said Mr. Jaggers.

This was such a great fallthat I said in discomfitureOh! more
than that.

More than that, eh!retorted Mr. Jaggerslying in wait for me
with his hands in his pocketshis head on one sideand his eyes
on the wall behind me; "how much more?"

It is so difficult to fix a sum,said Ihesitating.

Come!said Mr. Jaggers. "Let's get at it. Twice five; will that
do? Three times five; will that do? Four times five; will that do?"

I said I thought that would do handsomely.

Four times five will do handsomely, will it?said Mr. Jaggers
knitting his brows. "Nowwhat do you make of four times five?"

What do I make of it?

Ah!said Mr. Jaggers; "how much?"

I suppose you make it twenty pounds,said Ismiling.

Never mind what I make it, my friend,observed Mr. Jaggerswith a
knowing and contradictory toss of his head. "I want to know what
you make it."

Twenty pounds, of course.

Wemmick!said Mr. Jaggersopening his office door. "Take Mr. Pip's
written orderand pay him twenty pounds."

This strongly marked way of doing business made a strongly marked
impression on meand that not of an agreeable kind. Mr. Jaggers
never laughed; but he wore great bright creaking bootsandin
poising himself on these bootswith his large head bent down and
his eyebrows joined togetherawaiting an answerhe sometimes
caused the boots to creakas if they laughed in a dry and
suspicious way. As he happened to go out nowand as Wemmick was
brisk and talkativeI said to Wemmick that I hardly knew what to
make of Mr. Jaggers's manner.

Tell him that, and he'll take it as a compliment,answered
Wemmick; "he don't mean that you should know what to make of it. -
Oh!" for I looked surprisedit's not personal; it's professional:
only professional.

Wemmick was at his desklunching - and crunching - on a dry hard
biscuit; pieces of which he threw from time to time into his slit
of a mouthas if he were posting them.

Always seems to me,said Wemmickas if he had set a mantrap and
was watching it. Suddenly - click - you're caught!

Without remarking that mantraps were not among the amenities of
lifeI said I supposed he was very skilful?

Deep,said Wemmickas Australia.Pointing with his pen at the
office floorto express that Australia was understoodfor the
purposes of the figureto be symmetrically on the opposite spot of
the globe. "If there was anything deeper added Wemmick, bringing
his pen to paper, he'd be it."

ThenI said I supposed he had a fine businessand Wemmick said
Ca-pi-tal!Then I asked if there were many clerks? to which he

We don't run much into clerks, because there's only one Jaggers,
and people won't have him at second-hand. There are only four of
us. Would you like to see 'em? You are one of us, as I may say.

I accepted the offer. When Mr. Wemmick had put all the biscuit into
the postand had paid me my money from a cash-box in a safethe
key of which safe he kept somewhere down his back and produced from
his coat-collar like an iron pigtailwe went up-stairs. The house
was dark and shabbyand the greasy shoulders that had left their
mark in Mr. Jaggers's roomseemed to have been shuffling up and
down the staircase for years. In the front first floora clerk who
looked something between a publican and a rat-catcher - a large
pale puffed swollen man - was attentively engaged with three or
four people of shabby appearancewhom he treated as
unceremoniously as everybody seemed to be treated who contributed
to Mr. Jaggers's coffers. "Getting evidence together said Mr.
Wemmick, as we came out, for the Bailey."

In the room over thata little flabby terrier of a clerk with
dangling hair (his cropping seemed to have been forgotten when he
was a puppy) was similarly engaged with a man with weak eyeswhom
Mr. Wemmick presented to me as a smelter who kept his pot always
boilingand who would melt me anything I pleased - and who was in
an excessive white-perspirationas if he had been trying his art on
himself. In a back rooma high-shouldered man with a face-ache tied
up in dirty flannelwho was dressed in old black clothes that bore
the appearance of having been waxedwas stooping over his work of
making fair copies of the notes of the other two gentlemenfor Mr.
Jaggers's own use.

This was all the establishment. When we went down-stairs again
Wemmick led me into my guardian's roomand saidThis you've seen

Pray,said Ias the two odious casts with the twitchy leer upon
them caught my sight againwhose likenesses are those?

These?said Wemmickgetting upon a chairand blowing the dust
off the horrible heads before bringing them down. "These are two
celebrated ones. Famous clients of ours that got us a world of
credit. This chap (why you must have come down in the night and
been peeping into the inkstandto get this blot upon your eyebrow
you old rascal!) murdered his masterandconsidering that he
wasn't brought up to evidencedidn't plan it badly."

Is it like him?I askedrecoiling from the bruteas Wemmick
spat upon his eyebrow and gave it a rub with his sleeve.

Like him? It's himself, you know. The cast was made in Newgate,
directly after he was taken down. You had a particular fancy for
me, hadn't you, Old Artful?said Wemmick. He then explained this
affectionate apostropheby touching his brooch representing the
lady and the weeping willow at the tomb with the urn upon itand
sayingHad it made for me, express!

Is the lady anybody?said I.

No,returned Wemmick. "Only his game. (You liked your bit of
gamedidn't you?) No; deuce a bit of a lady in the caseMr. Pip
except one - and she wasn't of this slender ladylike sortand you
wouldn't have caught her looking after this urn - unless there was
something to drink in it." Wemmick's attention being thus directed
to his broochhe put down the castand polished the brooch with
his pocket-handkerchief.

Did that other creature come to the same end?I asked. "He has
the same look."

You're right,said Wemmick; "it's the genuine look. Much as if
one nostril was caught up with a horsehair and a little fish-hook.
Yeshe came to the same end; quite the natural end hereI assure
you. He forged willsthis blade didif he didn't also put the
supposed testators to sleep too. You were a gentlemanly Cove
though" (Mr. Wemmick was again apostrophizing)and you said you
could write Greek. Yah, Bounceable! What a liar you were! I never
met such a liar as you!Before putting his late friend on his
shelf againWemmick touched the largest of his mourning rings and
saidSent out to buy it for me, only the day before.

While he was putting up the other cast and coming down from the
chairthe thought crossed my mind that all his personal jewellery
was derived from like sources. As he had shown no diffidence on the
subjectI ventured on the liberty of asking him the questionwhen
he stood before medusting his hands.

Oh yes,he returnedthese are all gifts of that kind. One
brings another, you see; that's the way of it. I always take 'em.
They're curiosities. And they're property. They may not be worth
much, but, after all, they're property and portable. It don't
signify to you with your brilliant look-out, but as to myself, my
guidingstar always is, Get hold of portable property"."

When I had rendered homage to this lighthe went on to sayin a
friendly manner:

If at any odd time when you have nothing better to do, you
wouldn't mind coming over to see me at Walworth, I could offer you
a bed, and I should consider it an honour. I have not much to show
you; but such two or three curiosities as I have got, you might
like to look over; and I am fond of a bit of garden and a

I said I should be delighted to accept his hospitality.

Thankee,said he; "then we'll consider that it's to come off
when convenient to you. Have you dined with Mr. Jaggers yet?"

Not yet.

Well,said Wemmickhe'll give you wine, and good wine. I'll
give you punch, and not bad punch. and now I'll tell you something.
When you go to dine with Mr. Jaggers, look at his housekeeper.

Shall I see something very uncommon?

Well,said Wemmickyou'll see a wild beast tamed. Not so very
uncommon, you'll tell me. I reply, that depends on the original
wildness of the beast, and the amount of taming. It won't lower
your opinion of Mr. Jaggers's powers. Keep your eye on it.

I told him I would do sowith all the interest and curiosity that
his preparation awakened. As I was taking my departurehe asked me
if I would like to devote five minutes to seeing Mr. Jaggers "at

For several reasonsand not least because I didn't clearly know
what Mr. Jaggers would be found to be "at I replied in the
affirmative. We dived into the City, and came up in a crowded
policecourt, where a blood-relation (in the murderous sense) of the
deceased with the fanciful taste in brooches, was standing at the
bar, uncomfortably chewing something; while my guardian had a woman
under examination or cross-examination - I don't know which - and
was striking her, and the bench, and everybody present, with awe.
If anybody, of whatsoever degree, said a word that he didn't
approve of, he instantly required to have it taken down." If
anybody wouldn't make an admissionhe saidI'll have it out of
you!and if anybody made an admissionhe saidNow I have got
you!the magistrates shivered under a single bite of his finger.
Thieves and thieftakers hung in dread rapture on his wordsand
shrank when a hair of his eyebrows turned in their direction. Which
side he was onI couldn't make outfor he seemed to me to be
grinding the whole place in a mill; I only know that when I stole
out on tiptoehe was not on the side of the bench; forhe was
making the legs of the old gentleman who presidedquite convulsive
under the tableby his denunciations of his conduct as the
representative of British law and justice in that chair that day.

Chapter 25

Bentley Drummlewho was so sulky a fellow that he even took up a
book as if its writer had done him an injurydid not take up an
acquaintance in a more agreeable spirit. Heavy in figuremovement
and comprehension - in the sluggish complexion of his faceand in
the large awkward tongue that seemed to loll about in his mouth as
he himself lolled about in a room - he was idleproudniggardly
reservedand suspicious. He came of rich people down in
Somersetshirewho had nursed this combination of qualities until
they made the discovery that it was just of age and a blockhead.
ThusBentley Drummle had come to Mr. Pocket when he was a head
taller than that gentlemanand half a dozen heads thicker than
most gentlemen.

Startop had been spoilt by a weak mother and kept at home when he
ought to have been at schoolbut he was devotedly attached to her
and admired her beyond measure. He had a woman's delicacy of
featureand was - "as you may seethough you never saw her said
Herbert to me - exactly like his mother. It was but natural that I
should take to him much more kindly than to Drummle, and that, even
in the earliest evenings of our boating, he and I should pull
homeward abreast of one another, conversing from boat to boat,
while Bentley Drummle came up in our wake alone, under the

overhanging banks and among the rushes. He would always creep
in-shore like some uncomfortable amphibious creature, even when the
tide would have sent him fast upon his way; and I always think of
him as coming after us in the dark or by the back-water, when our
own two boats were breaking the sunset or the moonlight in

Herbert was my intimate companion and friend. I presented him with
a half-share in my boat, which was the occasion of his often coming
down to Hammersmith; and my possession of a halfshare in his
chambers often took me up to London. We used to walk between the
two places at all hours. I have an affection for the road yet
(though it is not so pleasant a road as it was then), formed in the
impressibility of untried youth and hope.

When I had been in Mr. Pocket's family a month or two, Mr. and Mrs.
Camilla turned up. Camilla was Mr. Pocket's sister. Georgiana, whom
I had seen at Miss Havisham's on the same occasion, also turned up.
she was a cousin - an indigestive single woman, who called her
rigidity religion, and her liver love. These people hated me with
the hatred of cupidity and disappointment. As a matter of course,
they fawned upon me in my prosperity with the basest meanness.
Towards Mr. Pocket, as a grown-up infant with no notion of his own
interests, they showed the complacent forbearance I had heard them
express. Mrs. Pocket they held in contempt; but they allowed the
poor soul to have been heavily disappointed in life, because that
shed a feeble reflected light upon themselves.

These were the surroundings among which I settled down, and applied
myself to my education. I soon contracted expensive habits, and
began to spend an amount of money that within a few short months I
should have thought almost fabulous; but through good and evil I
stuck to my books. There was no other merit in this, than my having
sense enough to feel my deficiencies. Between Mr. Pocket and Herbert
I got on fast; and, with one or the other always at my elbow to
give me the start I wanted, and clear obstructions out of my road,
I must have been as great a dolt as Drummle if I had done less.

I had not seen Mr. Wemmick for some weeks, when I thought I would
write him a note and propose to go home with him on a certain
evening. He replied that it would give him much pleasure, and that
he would expect me at the office at six o'clock. Thither I went,
and there I found him, putting the key of his safe down his back as
the clock struck.

Did you think of walking down to Walworth?" said he.

Certainly,said Iif you approve.

Very much,was Wemmick's replyfor I have had my legs under the
desk all day, and shall be glad to stretch them. Now, I'll tell you
what I have got for supper, Mr. Pip. I have got a stewed steak which
is of home preparation - and a cold roast fowl - which is
from the cook's-shop. I think it's tender, because the master of
the shop was a Juryman in some cases of ours the other day, and we
let him down easy. I reminded him of it when I bought the fowl, and
I said, Pick us out a good oneold Britonbecause if we had
chosen to keep you in the box another day or twowe could easily
have done it." He said to thatLet me make you a present of the
best fowl in the shop.I let himof course. As far as it goes
it's property and portable. You don't object to an aged parentI

I really thought he was still speaking of the fowluntil he added

Because I have got an aged parent at my place.I then said what
politeness required.

So, you haven't dined with Mr. Jaggers yet?he pursuedas we
walked along.

Not yet.

He told me so this afternoon when he heard you were coming. I
expect you'll have an invitation to-morrow. He's going to ask your
pals, too. Three of 'em; ain't there?

Although I was not in the habit of counting Drummle as one of my
intimate associatesI answeredYes.

Well, he's going to ask the whole gang;I hardly felt
complimented by the word; "and whatever he gives youhe'll give
you good. Don't look forward to varietybut you'll have
excellence. And there'sa nother rum thing in his house proceeded
Wemmick, after a moment's pause, as if the remark followed on the
housekeeper understood; he never lets a door or window be fastened
at night."

Is he never robbed?

That's it!returned Wemmick. "He saysand gives it out publicly
I want to see the man who'll rob me.Lord bless youI have heard
hima hundred times if I have heard him oncesay to regular
cracksmen in our front officeYou know where I live; now, no bolt
is ever drawn there; why don't you do a stroke of business with me?
Come; can't I tempt you?Not a man of themsirwould be bold
enough to try it onfor love or money."

They dread him so much?said I.

Dread him,said Wemmick. "I believe you they dread him. Not but
what he's artfuleven in his defiance of them. No silversir.
Britannia metalevery spoon."

So they wouldn't have much,I observedeven if they--

Ah! But he would have much,said Wemmickcutting me shortand
they know it. He'd have their lives, and the lives of scores of
'em. He'd have all he could get. And it's impossible to say what he
couldn't get, if he gave his mind to it.

I was falling into meditation on my guardian's greatnesswhen
Wemmick remarked:

As to the absence of plate, that's only his natural depth, you
know. A river's its natural depth, and he's his natural depth. Look
at his watch-chain. That's real enough.

It's very massive,said I.

Massive?repeated Wemmick. "I think so. And his watch is a gold
repeaterand worth a hundred pound if it's worth a penny. Mr. Pip
there are about seven hundred thieves in this town who know all
about that watch; there's not a mana womanor a childamong
themwho wouldn't identify the smallest link in that chainand
drop it as if it was red-hotif inveigled into touching it."

At first with such discourseand afterwards with conversation of a
more general naturedid Mr. Wemmick and I beguile the time and the

roaduntil he gave me to understand that we had arrived in the
district of Walworth.

It appeared to be a collection of back lanesditchesand little
gardensand to present the aspect of a rather dull retirement.
Wemmick's house was a little wooden cottage in the midst of plots
of gardenand the top of it was cut out and painted like a battery
mounted with guns.

My own doing,said Wemmick. "Looks pretty; don't it?"

I highly commended itI 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 dooralmost too small to get in at.

That's a real flagstaff, you see,said Wemmickand 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 plankand 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 sowith a
relish and not merely mechanically.

At nine o'clock every night, Greenwich time,said Wemmickthe
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 towas mounted in a separate
fortressconstructed 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 Wemmickout 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 saiddecidedly.

- 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 a salad I can
raise. So, sir,said Wemmicksmiling againbut seriously tooas
he shook his headif you can suppose the little place besieged,
it would hold out a devil of a time in point of provisions.

Thenhe conducted me to a bower about a dozen yards offbut 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 lakeon 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 formand he had constructed a fountain in itwhichwhen
you set a little mill going and took a cork out of a pipeplayed
to that powerful extent that it made the back of your hand quite

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 thingyou
know. It brushes the Newgate cobwebs awayand pleases the Aged.
You wouldn't mind being at once introduced to the Agedwould you?
It wouldn't put you out?"

I expressed the readiness I feltand we went into the castle.
Therewe foundsitting by a firea very old man in a flannel
coat: cleancheerfulcomfortableand well cared forbut
intensely deaf.

Well aged parent,said Wemmickshaking hands with him in a
cordial and jocose wayhow am you?

All right, John; all right!replied the old man.

Here's Mr. Pip, aged parent,said Wemmickand 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 manwhile I
nodded as hard as I possibly could. "This is a pretty
pleasure-groundsir. This spot and these beautiful works upon it
ought to be kept together by the Nationafter my son's timefor
the people's enjoyment."

You're as proud of it as Punch; ain't you, Aged?said Wemmick
contemplating the old manwith his hard face really softened;
there's a nod for you;giving him a tremendous one; "there's
another for you;" giving him a still more tremendous one; "you like
thatdon't you? If you're not tiredMr. Pip - though I know it's
tiring to strangers - will you tip him one more? You can't think
how it pleases him."

I tipped him several moreand he was in great spirits. We left him
bestirring himself to feed the fowlsand we sat down to our punch
in the arbour; where Wemmick told me as he smoked a pipe that it
had taken him a good many years to bring the property up to its
present pitch of perfection.

Is it your own, Mr. Wemmick?

O yes,said WemmickI have got hold of it, a bit at a time.
It's a freehold, by George!

Is it, indeed? I hope Mr. Jaggers admires it?

Never seen it,said Wemmick. "Never heard of it. Never seen the
Aged. Never heard of him. No; the office is one thingand private
life is another. When I go into the officeI leave the Castle
behind meand when I come into the CastleI leave the office
behind me. If it's not in any way disagreeable to youyou'll
oblige me by doing the same. I don't wish it professionally spoken

Of course I felt my good faith involved in the observance of his
request. The punch being very nicewe sat there drinking it and
talkinguntil it was almost nine o'clock. "Getting near gun-fire
said Wemmick then, as he laid down his pipe; it's the Aged's

Proceeding into the Castle againwe found the Aged heating the
pokerwith expectant eyesas a preliminary to the performance of
this great nightly ceremony. Wemmick stood with his watch in his
handuntil the moment was come for him to take the red-hot poker
from the Agedand repair to the battery. He took itand went out
and presently the Stinger went off with a Bang that shook the crazy
little box of a cottage as if it must fall to piecesand made
every glass and teacup in it ring. Upon thisthe Aged - who I

believe would have been blown out of his arm-chair but for holding
on by the elbows - cried out exultinglyHe's fired! I heerd him!
and I nodded at the old gentleman until it is no figure of speech
to declare that I absolutely could not see him.

The interval between that time and supperWemmick devoted to
showing me his collection of curiosities. They were mostly of a
felonious character; comprising the pen with which a celebrated
forgery had been committeda distinguished razor or twosome
locks of hairand several manuscript confessions written under
condemnation - upon which Mr. Wemmick set particular value as being
to use his own wordsevery one of 'em Lies, sir.These were
agreeably dispersed among small specimens of china and glass
various neat trifles made by the proprietor of the museumand some
tobacco-stoppers carved by the Aged. They were all displayed in
that chamber of the Castle into which I had been first inducted
and which servednot only as the general sitting-room but as the
kitchen tooif I might judge from a saucepan on the hoband a
brazen bijou over the fireplace designed for the suspension of a

There was a neat little girl in attendancewho looked after the
Aged in the day. When she had laid the supper-cloththe bridge was
lowered to give her means of egressand she withdrew for the
night. The supper was excellent; and though the Castle was rather
subject to dry-rot insomuch that it tasted like a bad nutand
though the pig might have been farther offI was heartily pleased
with my whole entertainment. Nor was there any drawback on my
little turret bedroombeyond there being such a very thin ceiling
between me and the flagstaffthat when I lay down on my back in
bedit seemed as if I had to balance that pole on my forehead all

Wemmick was up early in the morningand I am afraid I heard him
cleaning my boots. After thathe fell to gardeningand I saw him
from my gothic window pretending to employ the Agedand nodding at
him in a most devoted manner. Our breakfast was as good as the
supperand at half-past eight precisely we started for Little
Britain. By degreesWemmick got dryer and harder as we went along
and his mouth tightened into a post-office again. At lastwhen we
got to his place of business and he pulled out his key from his
coat-collarhe looked as unconscious of his Walworth property as
if the Castle and the drawbridge and the arbour and the lake and
the fountain and the Agedhad all been blown into space together
by the last discharge of the Stinger.

Chapter 26

It fell out as Wemmick had told me it wouldthat I had an early
opportunity of comparing my guardian's establishment with that of
his cashier and clerk. My guardian was in his roomwashing his
hands with his scented soapwhen I went into the office from
Walworth; and he called me to himand gave me the invitation for
myself and friends which Wemmick had prepared me to receive. "No
ceremony he stipulated, and no dinner dressand say tomorrow."
I asked him where we should come to (for I had no idea where he
lived)and I believe it was in his general objection to make
anything like an admissionthat he repliedCome here, and I'll
take you home with me.I embrace this opportunity of remarking
that he washed his clients offas if he were a surgeon or a
dentist. He had a closet in his roomfitted up for the purpose
which smelt of the scented soap like a perfumer's shop. It had an
unusually large jack-towel on a roller inside the doorand he

would wash his handsand wipe them and dry them all over this
towelwhenever he came in from a police-court or dismissed a
client from his room. When I and my friends repaired to him at six
o'clock next dayhe seemed to have been engaged on a case of a
darker complexion than usualforwe found him with his head
butted into this closetnot only washing his handsbut laving his
face and gargling his throat. And even when he had done all that
and had gone all round the jack-towelhe took out his penknife and
scraped the case out of his nails before he put his coat on.

There were some people slinking about as usual when we passed out
into the streetwho were evidently anxious to speak with him; but
there was something so conclusive in the halo of scented soap which
encircled his presencethat they gave it up for that day. As we
walked along westwardhe was recognized ever and again by some
face in the crowd of the streetsand whenever that happened he
talked louder to me; but he never otherwise recognized anybodyor
took notice that anybody recognized him.

He conducted us to Gerrard-streetSohoto a house on the south
side of that street. Rather a stately house of its kindbut
dolefully in want of paintingand with dirty windows. He took out
his key and opened the doorand we all went into a stone hall
baregloomyand little used. Soup a dark brown staircase into a
series of three dark brown rooms on the first floor. There were
carved garlands on the panelled wallsand as he stood among them
giving us welcomeI know what kind of loops I thought they looked

Dinner was laid in the best of these rooms; the second was his
dressing-room; the thirdhis bedroom. He told us that he held the
whole housebut rarely used more of it than we saw. The table was
comfortably laid - no silver in the serviceof course - and at the
side of his chair was a capacious dumb-waiterwith a variety of
bottles and decanters on itand four dishes of fruit for dessert.
I noticed throughoutthat he kept everything under his own hand
and distributed everything himself.

There was a bookcase in the room; I sawfrom the backs of the
booksthat they were about evidencecriminal lawcriminal
biographytrialsacts of parliamentand such things. The
furniture was all very solid and goodlike his watch-chain. It had
an official lookhoweverand there was nothing merely ornamental
to be seen. In a cornerwas a little table of papers with a shaded
lamp: so that he seemed to bring the office home with him in that
respect tooand to wheel it out of an evening and fall to work.

As he had scarcely seen my three companions until now - forhe and
I had walked together - he stood on the hearth-rugafter ringing
the belland took a searching look at them. To my surprisehe
seemed at once to be principally if not solely interested in

Pip,said heputting his large hand on my shoulder and moving me
to the windowI don't know one from the other. Who's the Spider?

The spider?said I.

The blotchy, sprawly, sulky fellow.

That's Bentley Drummle,I replied; "the one with the delicate
face is Startop."

Not making the least account of "the one with the delicate face

he returned, Bentley Drummle is his nameis it? I like the look
of that fellow."

He immediately began to talk to Drummle: not at all deterred by his
replying in his heavy reticent waybut apparently led on by it to
screw discourse out of him. I was looking at the twowhen there
came between me and themthe housekeeperwith the first dish for
the table.

She was a woman of about fortyI supposed - but I may have thought
her younger than she was. Rather tallof a lithe nimble figure
extremely palewith large faded eyesand a quantity of streaming
hair. I cannot say whether any diseased affection of the heart
caused her lips to be parted as if she were pantingand her face
to bear a curious expression of suddenness and flutter; but I know
that I had been to see Macbeth at the theatrea night or two
beforeand that her face looked to me as if it were all disturbed
by fiery airlike the faces I had seen rise out of the Witches'

She set the dish ontouched my guardian quietly on the arm with a
finger to notify that dinner was readyand vanished. We took our
seats at the round tableand my guardian kept Drummle on one side
of himwhile Startop sat on the other. It was a noble dish of fish
that the housekeeper had put on tableand we had a joint of
equally choice mutton afterwardsand then an equally choice bird.
Sauceswinesall the accessories we wantedand all of the best
were given out by our host from his dumb-waiter; and when they had
made the circuit of the tablehe always put them back again.
Similarlyhe dealt us clean plates and knives and forksfor each
courseand dropped those just disused into two baskets on the
ground by his chair. No other attendant than the housekeeper
appeared. She set on every dish; and I always saw in her facea
face rising out of the caldron. Years afterwardsI made a dreadful
likeness of that womanby causing a face that had no other natural
resemblance to it than it derived from flowing hairto pass behind
a bowl of flaming spirits in a dark room.

Induced to take particular notice of the housekeeperboth by her
own striking appearance and by Wemmick's preparationI observed
that whenever she was in the roomshe kept her eyes attentively on
my guardianand that she would remove her hands from any dish she
put before himhesitatinglyas if she dreaded his calling her
backand wanted him to speak when she was nighif he had anything
to say. I fancied that I could detect in his manner a consciousness
of thisand a purpose of always holding her in suspense.

Dinner went off gailyandalthough my guardian seemed to follow
rather than originate subjectsI knew that he wrenched the weakest
part of our dispositions out of us. For myselfI found that I was
expressing my tendency to lavish expenditureand to patronize
Herbertand to boast of my great prospectsbefore I quite knew
that I had opened my lips. It was so with all of usbut with no
one more than Drummle: the development of whose inclination to gird
in a grudging and suspicious way at the restwas screwed out of
him before the fish was taken off.

It was not thenbut when we had got to the cheesethat our
conversation turned upon our rowing featsand that Drummle was
rallied for coming up behind of a night in that slow amphibious way
of his. Drummle upon thisinformed our host that he much preferred
our room to our companyand that as to skill he was more than our
masterand that as to strength he could scatter us like chaff. By
some invisible agencymy guardian wound him up to a pitch little

short of ferocity about this trifle; and he fell to baring and
spanning his arm to show how muscular it wasand we all fell to
baring and spanning our arms in a ridiculous manner.

Nowthe housekeeper was at that time clearing the table; my
guardiantaking no heed of herbut with the side of his face
turned from herwas leaning back in his chair biting the side of
his forefinger and showing an interest in Drummlethatto mewas
quite inexplicable. Suddenlyhe clapped his large hand on the
housekeeper'slike a trapas she stretched it across the table.
So suddenly and smartly did he do thisthat we all stopped in our
foolish contention.

If you talk of strength,said Mr. JaggersI'll show you a wrist.
Molly, let them see your wrist.

Her entrapped hand was on the tablebut she had already put her
other hand behind her waist. "Master she said, in a low voice,
with her eyes attentively and entreatingly fixed upon him. Don't."

I'll show you a wrist,repeated Mr. Jaggerswith an immovable
determination to show it. "Mollylet them see your wrist."

Master,she again murmured. "Please!"

Molly,said Mr. Jaggersnot looking at herbut obstinately
looking at the opposite side of the roomlet them see both your
wrists. Show them. Come!

He took his hand from hersand turned that wrist up on the table.
She brought her other hand from behind herand held the two out
side by side. The last wrist was much disfigured - deeply scarred
and scarred across and across. When she held her hands outshe
took her eyes from Mr. Jaggersand turned them watchfully on every
one of the rest of us in succession.

There's power here,said Mr. Jaggerscoolly tracing out the
sinews with his forefinger. "Very few men have the power of wrist
that this woman has. It's remarkable what mere force of grip there
is in these hands. I have had occasion to notice many hands; but I
never saw stronger in that respectman's or woman'sthan these."

While he said these words in a leisurely critical styleshe
continued to look at every one of us in regular succession as we
sat. The moment he ceasedshe looked at him again. "That'll do
Molly said Mr. Jaggers, giving her a slight nod; you have been
admiredand can go." She withdrew her hands and went out of the
roomand Mr. Jaggersputting the decanters on from his dumbwaiter
filled his glass and passed round the wine.

At half-past nine, gentlemen,said hewe must break up. Pray
make the best use of your time. I am glad to see you all. Mr.
Drummle, I drink to you.

If his object in singling out Drummle were to bring him out still
moreit perfectly succeeded. In a sulky triumphDrummle showed
his morose depreciation of the rest of usin a more and more
offensive degree until he became downright intolerable. Through all
his stagesMr. Jaggers followed him with the same strange interest.
He actually seemed to serve as a zest to Mr. Jaggers's wine.

In our boyish want of discretion I dare say we took too much to
drinkand I know we talked too much. We became particularly hot
upon some boorish sneer of Drummle'sto the effect that we were

too free with our money. It led to my remarkingwith more zeal
than discretionthat it came with a bad grace from himto whom
Startop had lent money in my presence but a week or so before.

Well,retorted Drummle; "he'll be paid."

I don't mean to imply that he won't,said Ibut it might make
you hold your tongue about us and our money, I should think.

You should think!retorted Drummle. "Oh Lord!"

I dare say,I went onmeaning to be very severethat you
wouldn't lend money to any of us, if we wanted it.

You are right,said Drummle. "I wouldn't lend one of you a
sixpence. I wouldn't lend anybody a sixpence."

Rather mean to borrow under those circumstances, I should say.

You should say,repeated Drummle. "Oh Lord!"

This was so very aggravating - the more especially as I found
myself making no way against his surly obtuseness - that I said
disregarding Herbert's efforts to check me:

Come, Mr. Drummle, since we are on the subject, I'll tell you what
passed between Herbert here and me, when you borrowed that money.

I don't want to know what passed between Herbert there and you,
growled Drummle. And I think he added in a lower growlthat we
might both go to the devil and shake ourselves.

I'll tell you, however,said Iwhether you want to know or not.
We said that as you put it in your pocket very glad to get it, you
seemed to be immensely amused at his being so weak as to lend it.

Drummle laughed outrightand sat laughing in our faceswith his
hands in his pockets and his round shoulders raised: plainly
signifying that it was quite trueand that he despised usas
asses all.

Hereupon Startop took him in handthough with a much better grace
than I had shownand exhorted him to be a little more agreeable.
Startopbeing a lively bright young fellowand Drummle being the
exact oppositethe latter was always disposed to resent him as a
direct personal affront. 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. Resenting this little success
more than anythingDrummlewithout any threat or warningpulled
his hands out of his pocketsdropped his round shouldersswore
took up a large glassand would have flung it at his adversary's
headbut for our entertainer's dexterously seizing it at the
instant when it was raised for that purpose.

Gentlemen,said Mr. Jaggersdeliberately putting down the glass
and hauling out his gold repeater by its massive chainI am
exceedingly sorry to announce that it's half-past nine.

On this hint we all rose to depart. Before we got to the street
doorStartop was cheerily calling Drummle "old boy as if nothing
had happened. 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

As the door was not yet shut, I thought I would leave Herbert there
for a moment, and run up-stairs again to say a word to my guardian.
I found him in his dressing-room surrounded by his stock of boots,
already hard at it, washing his hands of us.

I told him I had come up again to say how sorry I was that anything
disagreeable should have occurred, and that I hoped he would not
blame me much.

Pooh!" said hesluicing his faceand speaking through the
water-drops; "it's nothingPip. I like that Spider though."

He had turned towards me nowand was shaking his headand
blowingand towelling himself.

I am glad you like him, sir,said I - "but I don't."

No, no,my guardian assented; "don't have too much to do with
him. Keep as clear of him as you can. But I like the fellowPip;
he is one of the true sort. Whyif I was a fortune-teller--"

Looking out of the towelhe caught my eye.

But I am not a fortune-teller,he saidletting his head drop
into a festoon of toweland towelling away at his two ears. "You
know what I amdon't you? Good-nightPip."

Good-night, sir.

In about a month after thatthe Spider's time with Mr. Pocket was
up for goodandto the great relief of all the house but Mrs.
Pockethe went home to the family hole.

Chapter 27


I write this by request of Mr. Gargeryfor to let you know that he
is going to London in company with Mr. Wopsle and would be glad if
agreeable to be allowed to see you. He would call at Barnard's
Hotel Tuesday morning 9 o'clockwhen if not agreeable please
leave word. Your poor sister is much the same as when you left. We
talk of you in the kitchen every nightand wonder what you are
saying and doing. If now considered in the light of a liberty
excuse it for the love of poor old days. No moredear Mr. Pipfrom

Your ever obliged, and affectionate servant,


P.S. He wishes me most particular to write what larks. He says you
will understand. I hope and do not doubt it will be agreeable to
see him even though a gentleman, for you had ever a good heart, and
he is a worthy worthy man. I have read him all excepting only the
last little sentence, and he wishes me most particular to write
again what larks.

I received this letter by the post on Monday morningand therefore
its appointment was for next day. Let me confess exactlywith what
feelings I looked forward to Joe's coming.

Not with pleasurethough I was bound to him by so many ties; no;
with considerable disturbancesome mortificationand a keen sense
of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying moneyI
certainly would have paid money. My greatest reassurance wasthat
he was coming to Barnard's Innnot to Hammersmithand
consequently would not fall in Bentley Drummle's way. I had little
objection to his being seen by Herbert or his fatherfor both of
whom I had a respect; but I had the sharpest sensitiveness as to
his being seen by Drummlewhom I held in contempt. Sothroughout
lifeour worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for
the sake of the people whom we most despise.

I had begun to be always decorating the chambers in some quite
unnecessary and inappropriate way or otherand very expensive
those wrestles with Barnard proved to be. By this timethe rooms
were vastly different from what I had found themand I enjoyed the
honour of occupying a few prominent pages in the books of a
neighbouring upholsterer. I had got on so fast of latethat I had
even started a boy in boots - top boots - in bondage and slavery to
whom I might have been said to pass my days. Forafter I had made
the monster (out of the refuse of my washerwoman's family) and had
clothed him with a blue coatcanary waistcoatwhite cravat
creamy breechesand the boots already mentionedI had to find him
a little to do and a great deal to eat; and with both of those
horrible requirements he haunted my existence.

This avenging phantom was ordered to be on duty at eight on Tuesday
morning in the hall (it was two feet squareas charged for
floorcloth)and Herbert suggested certain things for breakfast
that he thought Joe would like. While I felt sincerely obliged to
him for being so interested and considerateI had an odd
half-provoked sense of suspicion upon methat if Joe had been
coming to see himhe wouldn't have been quite so brisk about it.

HoweverI came into town on the Monday night to be ready for Joe
and I got up early in the morningand caused the sittingroom and
breakfast-table to assume their most splendid appearance.
Unfortunately the morning was drizzlyand an angel could not have
concealed the fact that Barnard was shedding sooty tears outside the
windowlike some weak giant of a Sweep.

As the time approached I should have liked to run awaybut the
Avenger pursuant to orders was in the halland presently I heard
Joe on the staircase. I knew it was Joeby his clumsy manner of
coming up-stairs - his state boots being always too big for him and
by the time it took him to read the names on the other floors
in the course of his ascent. When at last he stopped outside our
doorI could hear his finger tracing over the painted letters of
my nameand I afterwards distinctly heard him breathing in at the
keyhole. Finally he gave a faint single rapand Pepper - such was
the compromising name of the avenging boy - announced "Mr. Gargery!"
I thought he never would have done wiping his feetand that I must
have gone out to lift him off the matbut at last he came in.

Joe, how are you, Joe?

Pip, how AIR you, Pip?

With his good honest face all glowing and shiningand his hat put
down on the floor between ushe caught both my hands and worked
them straight up and downas if I had been the lastpatented Pump.

I am glad to see you, Joe. Give me your hat.

But Joetaking it up carefully with both handslike a bird's-nest
with eggs in itwouldn't hear of parting with that piece of
propertyand persisted in standing talking over it in a most
uncomfortable way.

Which you have that growed,said Joeand that swelled, and that
gentle-folked;Joe considered a little before he discovered this
word; "as to be sure you are a honour to your king and country."

And you, Joe, look wonderfully well.

Thank God,said JoeI'm ekerval to most. And your sister, she's
no worse than she were. And Biddy, she's ever right and ready. And
all friends is no backerder, if not no forarder. 'Ceptin Wopsle;
he's had a drop.

All this time (still with both hands taking great care of the
bird's-nest)Joe was rolling his eyes round and round the room
and round and round the flowered pattern of my dressing-gown.

Had a drop, Joe?

Why yes,said Joelowering his voicehe's left the Church, and
went into the playacting. Which the playacting have likeways
brought him to London along with me. And his wish were,said Joe
getting the bird's-nest under his left arm for the moment and
groping in it for an egg with his right; "if no offenceas I would
'and you that."

I took what Joe gave meand found it to be the crumpled playbill
of a small metropolitan theatreannouncing the first appearance
in that very weekof "the celebrated Provincial Amateur of Roscian
renownwhose unique performance in the highest tragic walk of our
National Bard has lately occasioned so great a sensation in local
dramatic circles."

Were you at his performance, Joe?I inquired.

I were,said Joewith emphasis and solemnity.

Was there a great sensation?

Why,said Joeyes, there certainly were a peck of orange-peel.
Partickler, when he see the ghost. Though I put it to yourself,
sir, whether it were calc'lated to keep a man up to his work with a
good hart, to be continiwally cutting in betwixt him and the Ghost
with Amen!" A man may have had a misfortun' and been in the
Church said Joe, lowering his voice to an argumentative and
feeling tone, but that is no reason why you should put him out at
such a time. Which I meantersayif the ghost of a man's own father
cannot be allowed to claim his attentionwhat canSir? Still
morewhen his mourning "at is unfortunately made so small as that
the weight of the black feathers brings it offtry to keep it on
how you may."

A ghost-seeing effect in Joe's own countenance informed me that
Herbert had entered the room. SoI presented Joe to Herbertwho
held out his hand; but Joe backed from itand held on by the

Your servant, Sir,said Joewhich I hope as you and Pip- here
his eye fell on the Avengerwho was putting some toast on table
and so plainly denoted an intention to make that young gentleman

one of the familythat I frowned it down and confused him more "
I meantersayyou two gentlemen - which I hope as you get your
elths in this close spot? For the present may be a werry good inn
according to London opinions said Joe, confidentially, and I
believe its character do stand i; but I wouldn't keep a pig in it
myself - not in the case that I wished him to fatten wholesome and
to eat with a meller flavour on him."

Having borne this flattering testimony to the merits of our
dwelling-placeand having incidentally shown this tendency to call
me "sir Joe, being invited to sit down to table, looked all round
the room for a suitable spot on which to deposit his hat - as if it
were only on some very few rare substances in nature that it could
find a resting place - and ultimately stood it on an extreme corner
of the chimney-piece, from which it ever afterwards fell off at

Do you take teaor coffeeMr. Gargery?" asked Herbertwho always
presided of a morning.

Thankee, Sir,said Joestiff from head to footI'll take
whichever is most agreeable to yourself.

What do you say to coffee?

Thankee, Sir,returned Joeevidently dispirited by the proposal
since you are so kind as make chice of coffee, I will not run
contrairy to your own opinions. But don't you never find it a
little 'eating?

Say tea then,said Herbertpouring it out.

Here Joe's hat tumbled off the mantel-pieceand he started out of
his chair and picked it upand fitted it to the same exact spot.
As if it were an absolute point of good breeding that it should
tumble off again soon.

When did you come to town, Mr. Gargery?

Were it yesterday afternoon?said Joeafter coughing behind his
handas if he had had time to catch the whooping-cough since he
came. "No it were not. Yes it were. Yes. It were yesterday
afternoon" (with an appearance of mingled wisdomreliefand
strict impartiality).

Have you seen anything of London, yet?

Why, yes, Sir,said Joeme and Wopsle went off straight to look
at the Blacking Ware'us. But we didn't find that it come up to its
likeness in the red bills at the shop doors; which I meantersay,
added Joein an explanatory manneras it is there drawd too

I really believe Joe would have prolonged this word (mightily
expressive to my mind of some architecture that I know) into a
perfect Chorusbut for his attention being providentially
attracted by his hatwhich was toppling. Indeedit demanded from
him a constant attentionand a quickness of eye and handvery
like that exacted by wicket-keeping. He made extraordinary play
with itand showed the greatest skill; nowrushing at it and
catching it neatly as it dropped; nowmerely stopping it midway
beating it upand humouring it in various parts of the room and
against a good deal of the pattern of the paper on the wallbefore
he felt it safe to close with it; finallysplashing it into the

slop-basinwhere I took the liberty of laying hands upon it.

As to his shirt-collarand his coat-collarthey were perplexing
to reflect upon - insoluble mysteries both. Why should a man scrape
himself to that extentbefore he could consider himself full
dressed? Why should he suppose it necessary to be purified by
suffering for his holiday clothes? Then he fell into such
unaccountable fits of meditationwith his fork midway between his
plate and his mouth; had his eyes attracted in such strange
directions; was afflicted with such remarkable coughs; sat so far
from the tableand dropped so much more than he ateand pretended
that he hadn't dropped it; that I was heartily glad when Herbert
left us for the city.

I had neither the good sense nor the good feeling to know that this
was all my faultand that if I had been easier with JoeJoe would
have been easier with me. I felt impatient of him and out of temper
with him; in which condition he heaped coals of fire on my head.

Us two being now alone, Sir,- began Joe.

Joe,I interruptedpettishlyhow can you call me, Sir?

Joe looked at me for a single instant with something faintly like
reproach. Utterly preposterous as his cravat wasand as his
collars wereI was conscious of a sort of dignity in the look.

Us two being now alone,resumed Joeand me having the
intentions and abilities to stay not many minutes more, I will now
conclude - leastways begin - to mention what have led to my having
had the present honour. For was it not,said Joewith his old air
of lucid expositionthat my only wish were to be useful to you, I
should not have had the honour of breaking wittles in the company
and abode of gentlemen.

I was so unwilling to see the look againthat I made no
remonstrance against this tone.

Well, Sir,pursued Joethis is how it were. I were at the
Bargemen t'other night, Pip;whenever he subsided into affection
he called me Pipand whenever he relapsed into politeness he
called me Sir; "when there come up in his shay-cartPumblechook.
Which that same identical said Joe, going down a new track, do
comb my 'air the wrong way sometimesawfulby giving out up and
down town as it were him which ever had your infant companionation
and were looked upon as a playfellow by yourself."

Nonsense. It was you, Joe.

Which I fully believed it were, Pip,said Joeslightly tossing
his headthough it signify little now, Sir. Well, Pip; this same
identical, which his manners is given to blusterous, come to me at
the Bargemen (wot a pipe and a pint of beer do give refreshment to
the working-man, Sir, and do not over stimilate), and his word
were, 'Joseph, Miss Havisham she wish to speak to you.'

Miss Havisham, Joe?

'She wish,' were Pumblechook's word, 'to speak to you.'Joe sat
and rolled his eyes at the ceiling.

Yes, Joe? Go on, please.

Next day, Sir,said Joelooking at me as if I were a long way

offhaving cleaned myself, I go and I see Miss A.

Miss A., Joe? Miss Havisham?

Which I say, Sir,replied Joewith an air of legal formalityas
if he were making his willMiss A., or otherways Havisham. Her
expression air then as follering: 'Mr. Gargery. You air in
correspondence with Mr. Pip?' Having had a letter from you, I were
able to say 'I am.' (When I married your sister, Sir, I said 'I
will;' and when I answered your friend, Pip, I said 'I am.') 'Would
you tell him, then,' said she, 'that which Estella has come home
and would be glad to see him.'

I felt my face fire up as I looked at Joe. I hope one remote cause
of its firingmay have been my consciousness that if I had known
his errandI should have given him more encouragement.

Biddy,pursued Joewhen I got home and asked her fur to write
the message to you, a little hung back. Biddy says, I know he will
be very glad to have it by word of mouthit is holidaytimeyou
want to see himgo!" I have now concludedSir said Joe, rising
from his chair, andPipI wish you ever well and ever prospering
to a greater and a greater heighth."

But you are not going now, Joe?

Yes I am,said Joe.

But you are coming back to dinner, Joe?

No I am not,said Joe.

Our eyes metand all the "Sir" melted out of that manly heart as
he gave me his hand.

Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded
together, as I may say, and one man's a blacksmith, and one's a
whitesmith, and one's a goldsmith, and one's a coppersmith.
Diwisions among such must come, and must be met as they come. If
there's been any fault at all to-day, it's mine. You and me is not
two figures to be together in London; nor yet anywheres else but
what is private, and beknown, and understood among friends. It
ain't that I am proud, but that I want to be right, as you shall
never see me no more in these clothes. I'm wrong in these clothes.
I'm wrong out of the forge, the kitchen, or off th' meshes. You
won't find half so much fault in me if you think of me in my forge
dress, with my hammer in my hand, or even my pipe. You won't find
half so much fault in me if, supposing as you should ever wish to
see me, you come and put your head in at the forge window and see
Joe the blacksmith, there, at the old anvil, in the old burnt
apron, sticking to the old work. I'm awful dull, but I hope I've
beat out something nigh the rights of this at last. And so GOD
bless you, dear old Pip, old chap, GOD bless you!

I had not been mistaken in my fancy that there was a simple dignity
in him. The fashion of his dress could no more come in its way when
he spoke these wordsthan it could come in its way in Heaven. He
touched me gently on the foreheadand went out. As soon as I could
recover myself sufficientlyI hurried out after him and looked for
him in the neighbouring streets; but he was gone.

Chapter 28

It was clear that I must repair to our town next dayand in the
first flow of my repentance it was equally clear that I must stay
at Joe's. Butwhen I had secured my box-place by to-morrow's coach
and had been down to Mr. Pocket's and backI was not by any means
convinced on the last pointand began to invent reasons and make
excuses for putting up at the Blue Boar. I should be an
inconvenience at Joe's; I was not expectedand my bed would not be
ready; I should be too far from Miss Havisham'sand she was
exacting and mightn't like it. All other swindlers upon earth are
nothing to the self-swindlersand with such pretences did I cheat
myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad
half-crown of somebody else's manufactureis reasonable enough;
but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own
makeas good money! An obliging strangerunder pretence of
compactly folding up my bank-notes for security's sakeabstracts
the notes and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight of hand
to minewhen I fold up my own nutshells and pass them on myself as

Having settled that I must go to the Blue Boarmy mind was much
disturbed by indecision whether or not to take the Avenger. It was
tempting to think of that expensive Mercenary publicly airing his
boots in the archway of the Blue Boar's posting-yard; it was almost
solemn to imagine him casually produced in the tailor's shop and
confounding the disrespectful senses of Trabb's boy. On the other
handTrabb's boy might worm himself into his intimacy and tell him
things; orreckless and desperate wretch as I knew he could be
might hoot him in the High-streetMy patronesstoomight hear of
himand not approve. On the wholeI resolved to leave the Avenger

It was the afternoon coach by which I had taken my placeandas
winter had now come roundI should not arrive at my destination
until two or three hours after dark. Our time of starting from the
Cross Keys was two o'clock. I arrived on the ground with a quarter
of an hour to spareattended by the Avenger - if I may connect
that expression with one who never attended on me if he could
possibly help it.

At that time it was customary to carry Convicts down to the
dockyards by stage-coach. As I had often heard of them in the
capacity of outside passengersand had more than once seen them on
the high road dangling their ironed legs over the coach roofI had
no cause to be surprised when Herbertmeeting me in the yardcame
up and told me there were two convicts going down with me. But I
had a reason that was an old reason nowfor constitutionally
faltering whenever I heard the word convict.

You don't mind them, Handel?said Herbert.

Oh no!

I thought you seemed as if you didn't like them?

I can't pretend that I do like them, and I suppose you don't
particularly. But I don't mind them.

See! There they are,said Herbertcoming out of the Tap. What a
degraded and vile sight it is!

They had been treating their guardI supposefor they had a
gaoler with themand all three came out wiping their mouths on
their hands. The two convicts were handcuffed togetherand had
irons on their legs - irons of a pattern that I knew well. They

wore the dress that I likewise knew well. Their keeper had a brace
of pistolsand carried a thick-knobbed bludgeon under his arm; but
he was on terms of good understanding with themand stoodwith
them beside himlooking on at the putting-to of the horsesrather
with an air as if the convicts were an interesting Exhibition not
formally open at the momentand he the Curator. One was a taller
and stouter man than the otherand appeared as a matter of course
according to the mysterious ways of the world both convict and
freeto have had allotted to him the smaller suit of clothes. His
arms and legs were like great pincushions of those shapesand his
attire disguised him absurdly; but I knew his half-closed eye at
one glance. There stood the man whom I had seen on the settle at
the Three Jolly Bargemen on a Saturday nightand who had brought
me down with his invisible gun!

It was easy to make sure that as yet he knew me no more than if he
had never seen me in his life. He looked across at meand his eye
appraised my watch-chainand then he incidentally spat and said
something to the other convictand they laughed and slued
themselves round with a clink of their coupling manacleand looked
at something else. The great numbers on their backsas if they
were street doors; their coarse mangy ungainly outer surfaceas if
they were lower animals; their ironed legsapologetically
garlanded with pocket-handkerchiefs; and the way in which all
present looked at them and kept from them; made them (as Herbert
had said) a most disagreeable and degraded spectacle.

But this was not the worst of it. It came out that the whole of the
back of the coach had been taken by a family removing from London
and that there were no places for the two prisoners but on the seat
in frontbehind the coachman. Hereupona choleric gentlemanwho
had taken the fourth place on that seatflew into a most violent
passionand said that it was a breach of contract to mix him up
with such villainous companyand that it was poisonous and
pernicious and infamous and shamefuland I don't know what else.
At this time the coach was ready and the coachman impatientand we
were all preparing to get upand the prisoners had come over with
their keeper - bringing with them that curious flavour of
bread-poulticebaizerope-yarnand hearthstonewhich attends
the convict presence.

Don't take it so much amiss. sir,pleaded the keeper to the angry
passenger; "I'll sit next you myself. I'll put 'em on the outside
of the row. They won't interfere with yousir. You needn't know
they're there."

And don't blame me,growled the convict I had recognized. "I
don't want to go. I am quite ready to stay behind. As fur as I am
concerned any one's welcome to my place."

Or mine,said the othergruffly. "I wouldn't have incommoded
none of youif I'd had my way." Thenthey both laughedand began
cracking nutsand spitting the shells about. - As I really think I
should have liked to do myselfif I had been in their place and so

At lengthit was voted that there was no help for the angry
gentlemanand that he must either go in his chance company or
remain behind. Sohe got into his placestill making complaints
and the keeper got into the place next himand the convicts hauled
themselves up as well as they couldand the convict I had
recognized sat behind me with his breath on the hair of my head.

Good-bye, Handel!Herbert called out as we started. I thought

what a blessed fortune it wasthat he had found another name for
me than Pip.

It is impossible to express with what acuteness I felt the
convict's breathingnot only on the back of my headbut all along
my spine. The sensation was like being touched in the marrow with
some pungent and searching acidit set my very teeth on edge. He
seemed to have more breathing business to do than another manand
to make more noise in doing it; and I was conscious of growing
high-shoulderd on one sidein my shrinking endeavours to fend him

The weather was miserably rawand the two cursed the cold. It made
us all lethargic before we had gone farand when we had left the
Half-way House behindwe habitually dozed and shivered and were
silent. I dozed offmyselfin considering the question whether I
ought to restore a couple of pounds sterling to this creature
before losing sight of himand how it could best be done. In the
act of dipping forward as if I were going to bathe among the
horsesI woke in a fright and took the question up again.

But I must have lost it longer than I had thoughtsincealthough
I could recognize nothing in the darkness and the fitful lights and
shadows of our lampsI traced marsh country in the cold damp wind
that blew at us. Cowering forward for warmth and to make me a
screen against the windthe convicts were closer to me than
before. They very first words I heard them interchange as I became
conscious were the words of my own thoughtTwo One Pound notes.

How did he get 'em?said the convict I had never seen.

How should I know?returned the other. "He had 'em stowed away
somehows. Giv him by friendsI expect."

I wish,said the otherwith a bitter curse upon the coldthat
I had 'em here.

Two one pound notes, or friends?

Two one pound notes. I'd sell all the friends I ever had, for one,
and think it a blessed good bargain. Well? So he says - ?

So he says,resumed the convict I had recognized - "it was all
said and done in half a minutebehind a pile of timber in the
Dockyard - 'You're a-going to be discharged?' YesI was. Would I
find out that boy that had fed him and kep his secretand give him
them two one pound notes? YesI would. And I did."

More fool you,growled the other. "I'd have spent 'em on a Man
in wittles and drink. He must have been a green one. Mean to say he
knowed nothing of you?"

Not a ha'porth. Different gangs and different ships. He was tried
again for prison breaking, and got made a Lifer.

And was that - Honour! - the only time you worked out, in this
part of the country?

The only time.

What might have been your opinion of the place?

A most beastly place. Mudbank, mist, swamp, and work; work, swamp,
mist, and mudbank.

They both execrated the place in very strong languageand
gradually growled themselves outand had nothing left to say.

After overhearing this dialogueI should assuredly have got down
and been left in the solitude and darkness of the highwaybut for
feeling certain that the man had no suspicion of my identity.
IndeedI was not only so changed in the course of naturebut so
differently dressed and so differently circumstancedthat it was
not at all likely he could have known me without accidental help.
Stillthe coincidence of our being together on the coachwas
sufficiently strange to fill me with a dread that some other
coincidence might at any moment connect mein his hearingwith my
name. For this reasonI resolved to alight as soon as we touched
the townand put myself out of his hearing. This device I executed
successfully. My little portmanteau was in the boot under my feet;
I had but to turn a hinge to get it out: I threw it down before me
got down after itand was left at the first lamp on the first
stones of the town pavement. As to the convictsthey went their
way with the coachand I knew at what point they would be spirited
off to the river. In my fancyI saw the boat with its convict crew
waiting for them at the slime-washed stairs- again heard the
gruff "Give wayyou!" like and order to dogs - again saw the
wicked Noah's Ark lying out on the black water.

I could not have said what I was afraid offor my fear was
altogether undefined and vaguebut there was great fear upon me.
As I walked on to the hotelI felt that a dreadmuch exceeding
the mere apprehension of a painful or disagreeable recognition
made me tremble. I am confident that it took no distinctness of
shapeand that it was the revival for a few minutes of the terror
of childhood.

The coffee-room at the Blue Boar was emptyand I had not only
ordered my dinner therebut had sat down to itbefore the waiter
knew me. As soon as he had apologized for the remissness of his
memoryhe asked me if he should send Boots for Mr. Pumblechook?

No,said Icertainly not.

The waiter (it was he who had brought up the Great Remonstrance
from the Commercialson the day when I was bound) appeared
surprisedand took the earliest opportunity of putting a dirty old
copy of a local newspaper so directly in my waythat I took it up
and read this paragraph:

Our readers will learnnot altogether without interestin
reference to the recent romantic rise in fortune of a young
artificer in iron of this neighbourhood (what a themeby the way
for the magic pen of our as yet not universally acknowledged
townsman TOOBYthe poet of our columns!) that the youth's earliest
patroncompanionand friendwas a highly-respected individual
not entirely unconnected with the corn and seed tradeand whose
eminently convenient and commodious business premises are situate
within a hundred miles of the High-street. It is not wholly
irrespective of our personal feelings that we record HIM as the
Mentor of our young Telemachusfor it is good to know that our
town produced the founder of the latter's fortunes. Does the
thoughtcontracted brow of the local Sage or the lustrous eye of
local Beauty inquire whose fortunes? We believe that Quintin Matsys
was the BLACKSMITH of Antwerp. VERB. SAP.

I entertain a convictionbased upon large experiencethat if in
the days of my prosperity I had gone to the North PoleI should

have met somebody therewandering Esquimaux or civilized manwho
would have told me that Pumblechook was my earliest patron and the
founder of my fortunes.

Chapter 29

Betimes in the morning I was up and out. It was too early yet to go
to Miss Havisham'sso I loitered into the country on Miss
Havisham's side of town - which was not Joe's side; I could go
there to-morrow - thinking about my patronessand painting
brilliant pictures of her plans for me.

She had adopted Estellashe had as good as adopted meand it
could not fail to be her intention to bring us together. She
reserved it for me to restore the desolate houseadmit the
sunshine into the dark roomsset the clocks a-going and the cold
hearths a-blazingtear down the cobwebsdestroy the vermin - in
shortdo all the shining deeds of the young Knight of romanceand
marry the Princess. I had stopped to look at the house as I passed;
and its seared red brick wallsblocked windowsand strong green
ivy clasping even the stacks of chimneys with its twigs and
tendonsas if with sinewy old armshad made up a rich attractive
mysteryof which I was the hero. Estella was the inspiration of
itand the heart of itof course. Butthough she had taken such
strong possession of methough my fancy and my hope were so set
upon herthough her influence on my boyish life and character had
been all-powerfulI did noteven that romantic morninginvest
her with any attributes save those she possessed. I mention this in
this placeof a fixed purposebecause it is the clue by which I
am to be followed into my poor labyrinth. According to my
experiencethe conventional notion of a lover cannot be always
true. The unqualified truth isthat when I loved Estella with the
love of a manI loved her simply because I found her irresistible.
Once for all; I knew to my sorrowoften and oftenif not always
that I loved her against reasonagainst promiseagainst peace
against hopeagainst happinessagainst all discouragement that
could be. Once for all; I loved her none the less because I knew
itand it had no more influence in restraining methan if I had
devoutly believed her to be human perfection.

I so shaped out my walk as to arrive at the gate at my old time.
When I had rung at the bell with an unsteady handI turned my back
upon the gatewhile I tried to get my breath and keep the beating
of my heart moderately quiet. I heard the side door openand steps
come across the court-yard; but I pretended not to heareven when
the gate swung on its rusty hinges.

Being at last touched on the shoulderI started and turned. I
started much more naturally thento find myself confronted by a
man in a sober grey dress. The last man I should have expected to
see in that place of porter at Miss Havisham's door.


Ah, young master, there's more changes than yours. But come in,
come in. It's opposed to my orders to hold the gate open.

I entered and he swung itand locked itand took the key out.
Yes!said hefacing roundafter doggedly preceding me a few
steps towards the house. "Here I am!"

How did you come here?

I come her,he retortedon my legs. I had my box brought
alongside me in a barrow.

Are you here for good?

I ain't her for harm, young master, I suppose?

I was not so sure of that. I had leisure to entertain the retort in
my mindwhile he slowly lifted his heavy glance from the pavement
up my legs and armsto my face.

Then you have left the forge?I said.

Do this look like a forge?replied Orlicksending his glance all
round him with an air of injury. "Nowdo it look like it?"

I asked him how long he had left Gargery's forge?

One day is so like another here,he repliedthat I don't know
without casting it up. However, I come her some time since you

I could have told you that, Orlick.

Ah!said hedrily. "But then you've got to be a scholar."

By this time we had come to the housewhere I found his room to be
one just within the side doorwith a little window in it looking
on the court-yard. In its small proportionsit was not unlike the
kind of place usually assigned to a gate-porter in Paris. Certain
keys were hanging on the wallto which he now added the gate-key;
and his patchwork-covered bed was in a little inner division or
recess. The whole had a slovenly confined and sleepy looklike a
cage for a human dormouse: while helooming dark and heavy in the
shadow of a corner by the windowlooked like the human dormouse
for whom it was fitted up - as indeed he was.

I never saw this room before,I remarked; "but there used to be
no Porter here."

No,said he; "not till it got about that there was no protection
on the premisesand it come to be considered dangerouswith
convicts and Tag and Rag and Bobtail going up and down. And then I
was recommended to the place as a man who could give another man as
good as he broughtand I took it. It's easier than bellowsing and
hammering. - That's loadedthat is."

My eye had been caught by a gun with a brass bound stock over the
chimney-pieceand his eye had followed mine.

Well,said Inot desirous of more conversationshall I go up
to Miss Havisham?

Burn me, if I know!he retortedfirst stretching himself and
then shaking himself; "my orders ends hereyoung master. I give
this here bell a rap with this here hammerand you go on along the
passage till you meet somebody."

I am expected, I believe?

Burn me twice over, if I can say!said he.

Upon thatI turned down the long passage which I had first trodden
in my thick bootsand he made his bell sound. At the end of the

passagewhile the bell was still reverberatingI found Sarah
Pocket: who appeared to have now become constitutionally green and
yellow by reason of me.

Oh!said she. "Youis itMr. Pip?"

It is, Miss Pocket. I am glad to tell you that Mr. Pocket and
family are all well.

Are they any wiser?said Sarahwith a dismal shake of the head;
they had better be wiser, than well. Ah, Matthew, Matthew! You know
your way, sir?

Tolerablyfor I had gone up the staircase in the darkmany a
time. I ascended it nowin lighter boots than of yoreand tapped
in my old way at the door of Miss Havisham's room. "Pip's rap I
heard her say, immediately; come inPip."

She was in her chair near the old tablein the old dresswith her
two hands crossed on her stickher chin resting on themand her
eyes on the fire. Sitting near herwith the white shoe that had
never been wornin her handand her head bent as she looked at
itwas an elegant lady whom I had never seen.

Come in, Pip,Miss Havisham continued to mutterwithout looking
round or up; "come inPiphow do you doPip? so you kiss my hand
as if I were a queeneh? - Well?"

She looked up at me suddenlyonly moving her eyesand repeated in
a grimly playful manner


I heard, Miss Havisham,said Irather at a lossthat you were
so kind as to wish me to come and see you, and I came directly.


The lady whom I had never seen beforelifted up her eyes and
looked archly at meand then I saw that the eyes were Estella's
eyes. But she was so much changedwas so much more beautifulso
much more womanlyin all things winning admiration had made such
wonderful advancethat I seemed to have made none. I fanciedas I
looked at herthat I slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and
common boy again. O the sense of distance and disparity that came
upon meand the inaccessibility that came about her!

She gave me her hand. I stammered something about the pleasure I
felt in seeing her againand about my having looked forward to it
for a longlong time.

Do you find her much changed, Pip?asked Miss Havishamwith her
greedy lookand striking her stick upon a chair that stood between
themas a sign to me to sit down there.

When I came in, Miss Havisham, I thought there was nothing of
Estella in the face or figure; but now it all settles down so
curiously into the old--

What? You are not going to say into the old Estella?Miss
Havisham interrupted. "She was proud and insultingand you wanted
to go away from her. Don't you remember?"

I said confusedly that that was long agoand that I knew no better

thenand the like. Estella smiled with perfect composureand said
she had no doubt of my having been quite rightand of her having
been very disagreeable.

Is he changed?Miss Havisham asked her.

Very much,said Estellalooking at me.

Less coarse and common?said Miss Havishamplaying with
Estella's hair.

Estella laughedand looked at the shoe in her handand laughed
againand looked at meand put the shoe down. She treated me as a
boy stillbut she lured me on.

We sat in the dreamy room among the old strange influences which
had so wrought upon meand I learnt that she had but just come
home from Franceand that she was going to London. Proud and
wilful as of oldshe had brought those qualities into such
subjection to her beauty that it was impossible and out of nature or
I thought so - to separate them from her beauty. Truly it was
impossible to dissociate her presence from all those wretched
hankerings after money and gentility that had disturbed my boyhood

-from all those ill-regulated aspirations that had first made me
ashamed of home and Joe - from all those visions that had raised
her face in the glowing firestruck it out of the iron on the
anvilextracted it from the darkness of night to look in at the
wooden window of the forge and flit away. In a wordit was
impossible for me to separate herin the past or in the present
from the innermost life of my life.
It was settled that I should stay there all the rest of the day
and return to the hotel at nightand to London to-morrow. When we
had conversed for a whileMiss Havisham sent us two out to walk in
the neglected garden: on our coming in by-and-byshe saidI
should wheel her about a little as in times of yore.

SoEstella and I went out into the garden by the gate through
which I had strayed to my encounter with the pale young gentleman
now Herbert; Itrembling in spirit and worshipping the very hem of
her dress; shequite composed and most decidedly not worshipping
the hem of mine. As we drew near to the place of encountershe
stopped and said:

I must have been a singular little creature to hide and see that
fight that day: but I did, and I enjoyed it very much.

You rewarded me very much.

Did I?she repliedin an incidental and forgetful way. "I
remember I entertained a great objection to your adversarybecause
I took it ill that he should be brought here to pester me with his

He and I are great friends now.

Are you? I think I recollect though, that you read with his


I made the admission with reluctancefor it seemed to have a
boyish lookand she already treated me more than enough like a

Since your change of fortune and prospects, you have changed your
companions,said Estella.

Naturally,said I.

And necessarily,she addedin a haughty tone; "what was fit
company for you oncewould be quite unfit company for you now."

In my conscienceI doubt very much whether I had any lingering
intention leftof going to see Joe; but if I hadthis observation
put it to flight.

You had no idea of your impending good fortune, in those times?
said Estellawith a slight wave of her handsignifying in the
fighting times.

Not the least.

The air of completeness and superiority with which she walked at my
sideand the air of youthfulness and submission with which I
walked at hersmade a contrast that I strongly felt. It would have
rankled in me more than it didif I had not regarded myself as
eliciting it by being so set apart for her and assigned to her.

The garden was too overgrown and rank for walking in with easeand
after we had made the round of it twice or thricewe came out
again into the brewery yard. I showed her to a nicety where I had
seen her walking on the casksthat first old dayand she said
with a cold and careless look in that directionDid I?I
reminded her where she had come out of the house and given me my
meat and drinkand she saidI don't remember.Not remember
that you made me cry?said I. "No said she, and shook her head
and looked about her. I verily believe that her not remembering and
not minding in the least, made me cry again, inwardly - and that is
the sharpest crying of all.

You must know said Estella, condescending to me as a brilliant
and beautiful woman might, that I have no heart - if that has
anything to do with my memory."

I got through some jargon to the effect that I took the liberty of
doubting that. That I knew better. That there could be no such
beauty without it.

Oh! I have a heart to be stabbed in or shot in, I have no doubt,
said Estellaand, of course, if it ceased to beat I should cease
to be. But you know what I mean. I have no softness there, no sympathy
- sentiment - nonsense.

What was it that was borne in upon my mind when she stood still and
looked attentively at me? Anything that I had seen in Miss
Havisham? No. In some of her looks and gestures there was that
tinge of resemblance to Miss Havisham which may often be noticed to
have been acquired by childrenfrom grown person with whom they
have been much associated and secludedand whichwhen childhood
is passedwill produce a remarkable occasional likeness of
expression between faces that are otherwise quite different. And
yet I could not trace this to Miss Havisham. I looked againand
though she was still looking at methe suggestion was gone.

What was it?

I am serious,said Estellanot so much with a frown (for her

brow was smooth) as with a darkening of her face; "if we are to be
thrown much togetheryou had better believe it at once. No!"
imperiously stopping me as I opened my lips. "I have not bestowed
my tenderness anywhere. I have never had any such thing."

In another moment we were in the brewery so long disusedand she
pointed to the high gallery where I had seen her going out on that
same first dayand told me she remembered to have been up there
and to have seen me standing scared below. As my eyes followed her
white handagain the same dim suggestion that I could not possibly
graspcrossed me. My involuntary start occasioned her to lay her
hand upon my arm. Instantly the ghost passed once moreand was

What was it?

What is the matter?asked Estella. "Are you scared again?"

I should be, if I believed what you said just now,I repliedto
turn it off.

Then you don't? Very well. It is said, at any rate. Miss Havisham
will soon be expecting you at your old post, though I think that
might be laid aside now, with other old belongings. Let us make one
more round of the garden, and then go in. Come! You shall not shed
tears for my cruelty to-day; you shall be my Page, and give me your

Her handsome dress had trailed upon the ground. She held it in one
hand nowand with the other lightly touched my shoulder as we
walked. We walked round the ruined garden twice or thrice moreand
it was all in bloom for me. If the green and yellow growth of weed
in the chinks of the old wall had been the most precious flowers
that ever blewit could not have been more cherished in my

There was no discrepancy of years between usto remove her far
from me; we were of nearly the same agethough of course the age
told for more in her case than in mine; but the air of
inaccessibility which her beauty and her manner gave hertormented
me in the midst of my delightand at the height of the assurance I
felt that our patroness had chosen us for one another. Wretched

At last we went back into the houseand there I heardwith
surprisethat my guardian had come down to see Miss Havisham on
businessand would come back to dinner. The old wintry branches of
chandeliers in the room where the mouldering table was spreadhad
been lighted while we were outand Miss Havisham was in her chair
and waiting for me.

It was like pushing the chair itself back into the pastwhen we
began the old slow circuit round about the ashes of the bridal
feast. Butin the funereal roomwith that figure of the grave
fallen back in the chair fixing its eyes upon herEstella looked
more bright and beautiful than beforeand I was under stronger

The time so melted awaythat our early dinner-hour drew close at
handand Estella left us to prepare herself. We had stopped near
the centre of the long tableand Miss Havishamwith one of her
withered arms stretched out of the chairrested that clenched hand
upon the yellow cloth. As Estella looked back over her shoulder
before going out at the doorMiss Havisham kissed that hand to

herwith a ravenous intensity that was of its kind quite dreadful.

ThenEstella being gone and we two left aloneshe turned to me
and said in a whisper:

Is she beautiful, graceful, well-grown? Do you admire her?

Everybody must who sees her, Miss Havisham.

She drew an arm round my neckand drew my head close down to hers
as she sat in the chair. "Love herlove herlove her! How does
she use you?"

Before I could answer (if I could have answered so difficult a
question at all)she repeatedLove her, love her, love her! If
she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she
tears your heart to pieces - and as it gets older and stronger, it
will tear deeper - love her, love her, love her!

Never had I seen such passionate eagerness as was joined to her
utterance of these words. I could feel the muscles of the thin arm
round my neckswell with the vehemence that possessed her.

Hear me, Pip! I adopted her to be loved. I bred her and educated
her, to be loved. I developed her into what she is, that she might
be loved. Love her!

She said the word often enoughand there could be no doubt that
she meant to say it; but if the often repeated word had been hate
instead of love - despair - revenge - dire death - it could not
have sounded from her lips more like a curse.

I'll tell you,said shein the same hurried passionate whisper
what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning
self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against
yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart
and soul to the smiter - as I did!

When she came to thatand to a wild cry that followed thatI
caught her round the waist. For she rose up in the chairin her
shroud of a dressand struck at the air as if she would as soon
have struck herself against the wall and fallen dead.

All this passed in a few seconds. As I drew her down into her
chairI was conscious of a scent that I knewand turningsaw my
guardian in the room.

He always carried (I have not yet mentioned itI think) a
pocket-handkerchief of rich silk and of imposing proportionswhich
was of great value to him in his profession. I have seen him so
terrify a client or a witness by ceremoniously unfolding this
pocket-handkerchief as if he were immediately going to blow his
noseand then pausingas if he knew he should not have time to do
it before such client or witness committed himselfthat the
self-committal has followed directlyquite as a matter of course.
When I saw him in the roomhe had this expressive
pockethandkerchief in both handsand was looking at us. On meeting
my eyehe said plainlyby a momentary and silent pause in that
attitudeIndeed? Singular!and then put the handkerchief to its
right use with wonderful effect.

Miss Havisham had seen him as soon as Iand was (like everybody
else) afraid of him. She made a strong attempt to compose herself
and stammered that he was as punctual as ever.

As punctual as ever,he repeatedcoming up to us. "(How do you
doPip? Shall I give you a rideMiss Havisham? Once round?)
And so you are herePip?"

I told him when I had arrivedand how Miss Havisham had wished me
to come and see Estella. To which he repliedAh! Very fine young
lady!Then he pushed Miss Havisham in her chair before himwith
one of his large handsand put the other in his trousers-pocket as
if the pocket were full of secrets.

Well, Pip! How often have you seen Miss Estella before?said he
when he came to a stop.

How often?

Ah! How many times? Ten thousand times?

Oh! Certainly not so many.


Jaggers,interposed Miss Havishammuch to my relief; "leave my
Pip aloneand go with him to your dinner."

He compliedand we groped our way down the dark stairs together.
While we were still on our way to those detached apartments across
the paved yard at the backhe asked me how often I had seen Miss
Havisham eat and drink; offering me a breadth of choiceas usual
between a hundred times and once.

I consideredand saidNever.

And never will, Pip,he retortedwith a frowning smile. "She has
never allowed herself to be seen doing eithersince she lived this
present life of hers. She wanders about in the nightand then lays
hands on such food as she takes."

Pray, sir,said Imay I ask you a question?

You may,said heand I may decline to answer it. Put your

Estella's name. Is it Havisham or - ?I had nothing to add.

Or what?said he.

Is it Havisham?

It is Havisham.

This brought us to the dinner-tablewhere she and Sarah Pocket
awaited us. Mr. Jaggers presidedEstella sat opposite to himI
faced my green and yellow friend. We dined very welland were
waited on by a maid-servant whom I had never seen in all my comings
and goingsbut whofor anything I knowhad been in that
mysterious house the whole time. After dinnera bottle of choice
old port was placed before my guardian (he was evidently well
acquainted with the vintage)and the two ladies left us.

Anything to equal the determined reticence of Mr. Jaggers under that
roofI never saw elsewhereeven in him. He kept his very looks to
himselfand scarcely directed his eyes to Estella's face once
during dinner. When she spoke to himhe listenedand in due

course answeredbut never looked at herthat I could see. On the
other handshe often looked at himwith interest and curiosity
if not distrustbut his face nevershowed the least
consciousness. Throughout dinner he took a dry delight in making
Sarah Pocket greener and yellowerby often referring in
conversation with me to my expectations; but hereagainhe showed
no consciousnessand even made it appear that he extorted - and
even did extortthough I don't know how - those references out of
my innocent self.

And when he and I were left alone togetherhe sat with an air upon
him of general lying by in consequence of information he possessed
that really was too much for me. He cross-examined his very wine
when he had nothing else in hand. He held it between himself and
the candletasted the portrolled it in his mouthswallowed it
looked at his glass againsmelt the porttried itdrank it
filled againand cross-examined the glass againuntil I was as
nervous as if I had known the wine to be telling him something to
my disadvantage. Three or four times I feebly thought I would start
conversation; but whenever he saw me going to ask him anythinghe
looked at me with his glass in his handand rolling his wine about
in his mouthas if requesting me to take notice that it was of no
usefor he couldn't answer.

I think Miss Pocket was conscious that the sight of me involved her
in the danger of being goaded to madnessand perhaps tearing off
her cap - which was a very hideous onein the nature of a muslin
mop - and strewing the ground with her hair - which assuredly had
never grown on her head. She did not appear when we afterwards went
up to Miss Havisham's roomand we four played at whist. In the
intervalMiss Havishamin a fantastic wayhad put some of the
most beautiful jewels from her dressing-table into Estella's hair
and about her bosom and arms; and I saw even my guardian look at
her from under his thick eyebrowsand raise them a littlewhen
her loveliness was before himwith those rich flushes of glitter
and colour in it.

Of the manner and extent to which he took our trumps into custody
and came out with mean little cards at the ends of handsbefore
which the glory of our Kings and Queens was utterly abasedI say
nothing; norof the feeling that I hadrespecting his looking
upon us personally in the light of three very obvious and poor
riddles that he had found out long ago. What I suffered fromwas
the incompatibility between his cold presence and my feelings
towards Estella. It was not that I knew I could never bear to speak
to him about herthat I knew I could never bear to hear him creak
his boots at herthat I knew I could never bear to see him wash
his hands of her; it wasthat my admiration should be within a
foot or two of him - it wasthat my feelings should be in the same
place with him - thatwas the agonizing circumstance.

We played until nine o'clockand then it was arranged that when
Estella came to London I should be forewarned of her coming and
should meet her at the coach; and then I took leave of herand
touched her and left her.

My guardian lay at the Boar in the next room to mine. Far into the
nightMiss Havisham's wordsLove her, love her, love her!
sounded in my ears. I adapted them for my own repetitionand said
to my pillowI love her, I love her, I love her!hundreds of
times. Thena burst of gratitude came upon methat she should be
destined for meonce the blacksmith's boy. ThenI thought if she
wereas I fearedby no means rapturously grateful for that
destiny yetwhen would she begin to be interested in me? When

should I awaken the heart within herthat was mute and sleeping

Ah me! I thought those were high and great emotions. But I never
thought there was anything low and small in my keeping away from
Joebecause I knew she would be contemptuous of him. It was but a
day goneand Joe had brought the tears into my eyes; they had soon
driedGod forgive me! soon dried.

Chapter 30

After well considering the matter while I was dressing at the Blue
Boar in the morningI resolved to tell my guardian that I doubted
Orlick's being the right sort of man to fill a post of trust at
Miss Havisham's. "Whyof course he is not the right sort of man
Pip said my guardian, comfortably satisfied beforehand on the
general head, because the man who fills the post of trust never is
the right sort of man." It seemed quite to put him into spiritsto
find that this particular post was not exceptionally held by the
right sort of manand he listened in a satisfied manner while I
told him what knowledge I had of Orlick. "Very goodPip he
observed, when I had concluded, I'll go round presentlyand pay
our friend off." Rather alarmed by this summary actionI was for a
little delayand even hinted that our friend himself might be
difficult to deal with. "Oh no he won't said my guardian, making
his pocket-handkerchief-point, with perfect confidence; I should
like to see him argue the question with me."

As we were going back together to London by the mid-day coachand
as I breakfasted under such terrors of Pumblechook that I could
scarcely hold my cupthis gave me an opportunity of saying that I
wanted a walkand that I would go on along the London-road while
Mr. Jaggers was occupiedif he would let the coachman know that I
would get into my place when overtaken. I was thus enabled to fly
from the Blue Boar immediately after breakfast. By then making a
loop of about a couple of miles into the open country at the back
of Pumblechook's premisesI got round into the High-street again
a little beyond that pitfalland felt myself in comparative

It was interesting to be in the quiet old town once moreand it
was not disagreeable to be here and there suddenly recognized and
stared after. One or two of the tradespeople even darted out of
their shops and went a little way down the street before methat
they might turnas if they had forgotten somethingand pass me
face to face - on which occasions I don't know whether they or I
made the worse pretence; they of not doing itor I of not seeing
it. Still my position was a distinguished oneand I was not at all
dissatisfied with ituntil Fate threw me in the way of that
unlimited miscreantTrabb's boy.

Casting my eyes along the street at a certain point of my progress
I beheld Trabb's boy approachinglashing himself with an empty
blue bag. Deeming that a serene and unconscious contemplation of
him would best beseem meand would be most likely to quell his
evil mindI advanced with that expression of countenanceand was
rather congratulating myself on my successwhen suddenly the knees
of Trabb's boy smote togetherhis hair uprosehis cap fell off
he trembled violently in every limbstaggered out into the road
and crying to the populaceHold me! I'm so frightened!feigned to
be in a paroxysm of terror and contritionoccasioned by the
dignity of my appearance. As I passed himhis teeth loudly
chattered in his headand with every mark of extreme humiliation

he prostrated himself in the dust.

This was a hard thing to bearbut this was nothing. I had not
advanced another two hundred yardswhento my inexpressible
terroramazementand indignationI again beheld Trabb's boy
approaching. He was coming round a narrow corner. His blue bag was
slung over his shoulderhonest industry beamed in his eyesa
determination to proceed to Trabb's with cheerful briskness was
indicated in his gait. With a shock he became aware of meand was
severely visited as before; but this time his motion was rotatory
and he staggered round and round me with knees more afflictedand
with uplifted hands as if beseeching for mercy. His sufferings were
hailed with the greatest joy by a knot of spectatorsand I felt
utterly confounded.

I had not got as much further down the street as the post-office
when I again beheld Trabb's boy shooting round by a back way. This
timehe was entirely changed. He wore the blue bag in the manner
of my great-coatand was strutting along the pavement towards me
on the opposite side of the streetattended by a company of
delighted young friends to whom he from time to time exclaimed
with a wave of his handDon't know yah!Words cannot state the
amount of aggravation and injury wreaked upon me by Trabb's boy
whenpassing abreast of mehe pulled up his shirt-collartwined
his side-hairstuck an arm akimboand smirked extravagantly by
wriggling his elbows and bodyand drawling to his attendants
Don't know yah, don't know yah, pon my soul don't know yah!The
disgrace attendant on his immediately afterwards taking to crowing
and pursuing me across the bridge with crowsas from an
exceedingly dejected fowl who had known me when I was a blacksmith
culminated the disgrace with which I left the townand wasso to
speakejected by it into the open country.

But unless I had taken the life of Trabb's boy on that occasionI
really do not even now see what I could have done save endure. To
have struggled with him in the streetor to have exacted any lower
recompense from him than his heart's best bloodwould have been
futile and degrading. Moreoverhe was a boy whom no man could
hurt; an invulnerable and dodging serpent whowhen chased into a
cornerflew out again between his captor's legsscornfully
yelping. I wrotehoweverto Mr. Trabb by next day's postto say
that Mr. Pip must decline to deal further with one who could so far
forget what he owed to the best interests of societyas to employ
a boy who excited Loathing in every respectable mind.

The coachwith Mr. Jaggers insidecame up in due timeand I took
my box-seat againand arrived in London safe - but not soundfor
my heart was gone. As soon as I arrivedI sent a penitential
codfish and barrel of oysters to Joe (as reparation for not having
gone myself)and then went on to Barnard's Inn.

I found Herbert dining on cold meatand delighted to welcome me
back. Having despatched The Avenger to the coffee-house for an
addition to the dinnerI felt that I must open my breast that very
evening to my friend and chum. As confidence was out of the
question with The Avenger in the hallwhich could merely be
regarded in the light of an ante-chamber to the keyholeI sent him
to the Play. A better proof of the severity of my bondage to that
taskmaster could scarcely be affordedthan the degrading shifts to
which I was constantly driven to find him employment. So mean is
extremitythat I sometimes sent him to Hyde Park Corner to see
what o'clock it was.

Dinner done and we sitting with our feet upon the fenderI said to

HerbertMy dear Herbert, I have something very particular to tell

My dear Handel,he returnedI shall esteem and respect your

It concerns myself, Herbert,said Iand one other person.

Herbert crossed his feetlooked at the fire with his head on one
sideand having looked at it in vain for some timelooked at me
because I didn't go on.

Herbert,said Ilaying my hand upon his kneeI love - I adore

Instead of being transfixedHerbert replied in an easy
matter-ofcourse wayExactly. Well?

Well, Herbert? Is that all you say? Well?

What next, I mean?said Herbert. "Of course I know that."

How do you know it?said I.

How do I know it, Handel? Why, from you.

I never told you.

Told me! You have never told me when you have got your hair cut,
but I have had senses to perceive it. You have always adored her,
ever since I have known you. You brought your adoration and your
portmanteau here, together. Told me! Why, you have always told me
all day long. When you told me your own story, you told me plainly
that you began adoring her the first time you saw her, when you
were very young indeed.

Very well, then,said Ito whom this was a new and not unwelcome
lightI have never left off adoring her. And she has come back, a
most beautiful and most elegant creature. And I saw her yesterday.
And if I adored her before, I now doubly adore her.

Lucky for you then, Handel,said Herbertthat you are picked
out for her and allotted to her. Without encroaching on forbidden
ground, we may venture to say that there can be no doubt between
ourselves of that fact. Have you any idea yet, of Estella's views
on the adoration question?

I shook my head gloomily. "Oh! She is thousands of miles awayfrom
me said I.

Patiencemy dear Handel: time enoughtime enough. But you have
something more to say?"

I am ashamed to say it,I returnedand yet it's no worse to say
it than to think it. You call me a lucky fellow. Of course, I am.
was a blacksmith's boy but yesterday; I am - what shall I say I am

Say, a good fellow, if you want a phrase,returned Herbert
smilingand clapping his hand on the back of minea good fellow,
with impetuosity and hesitation, boldness and diffidence, action
and dreaming, curiously mixed in him.

I stopped for a moment to consider whether there really was this

mixture in my character. On the wholeI by no means recognized the
analysisbut thought it not worth disputing.

When I ask what I am to call myself to-day, Herbert,I went on
I suggest what I have in my thoughts. You say I am lucky. I know I
have done nothing to raise myself in life, and that Fortune alone
has raised me; that is being very lucky. And yet, when I think of

("And when don't youyou know?" Herbert threw inwith his eyes on
the fire; which I thought kind and sympathetic of him.)

- Then, my dear Herbert, I cannot tell you how dependent and
uncertain I feel, and how exposed to hundreds of chances. Avoiding
forbidden ground, as you did just now, I may still say that on the
constancy of one person (naming no person) all my expectations
depend. And at the best, how indefinite and unsatisfactory, only to
know so vaguely what they are!In saying thisI relieved my mind
of what had always been theremore or lessthough no doubt most
since yesterday.

Now, Handel,Herbert repliedin his gay hopeful wayit seems
to me that in the despondency of the tender passion, we are looking
into our gift-horse's mouth with a magnifying-glass. Likewise, it
seems to me that, concentrating our attention on the examination,
we altogether overlook one of the best points of the animal. Didn't
you tell me that your guardian, Mr. Jaggers, told you in the
beginning, that you were not endowed with expectations only? And
even if he had not told you so - though that is a very large If, I
grant - could you believe that of all men in London, Mr. Jaggers is
the man to hold his present relations towards you unless he were
sure of his ground?

I said I could not deny that this was a strong point. I said it
(people often do soin such cases) like a rather reluctant
concession to truth and justice; - as if I wanted to deny it!

I should think it was a strong point,said Herbertand I should
think you would be puzzled to imagine a stronger; as to the rest,
you must bide your guardian's time, and he must bide his client's
time. You'll be one-and-twenty before you know where you are, and
then perhaps you'll get some further enlightenment. At all events,
you'll be nearer getting it, for it must come at last.

What a hopeful disposition you have!said Igratefully admiring
his cheery ways.

I ought to have,said Herbertfor I have not much else. I must
acknowledge, by-the-bye, that the good sense of what I have just
said is not my own, but my father's. The only remark I ever heard
him make on your story, was the final one: The thing is settled
and doneor Mr. Jaggers would not be in it." And now before I say
anything more about my fatheror my father's sonand repay
confidence with confidenceI want to make myself seriously
disagreeable to you for a moment - positively repulsive."

You won't succeed,said I.

Oh yes I shall!said he. "Onetwothreeand now I am in for
it. Handelmy good fellow;" though he spoke in this light tonehe
was very much in earnest: "I have been thinking since we have been
talking with our feet on this fenderthat Estella surely cannot be
a condition of your inheritanceif she was never referred to by
your guardian. Am I right in so understanding what you have told

meas that he never referred to herdirectly or indirectlyin
any way? Never even hintedfor instancethat your patron might
have views as to your marriage ultimately?"


Now, Handel, I am quite free from the flavour of sour grapes, upon
my soul and honour! Not being bound to her, can you not detach
yourself from her? - I told you I should be disagreeable.

I turned my head asideforwith a rush and a sweeplike the old
marsh winds coming up from the seaa feeling like that which had
subdued me on the morning when I left the forgewhen the mists
were solemnly risingand when I laid my hand upon the village
finger-postsmote upon my heart again. There was silence between
us for a little while.

Yes; but my dear Handel,Herbert went onas if we had been
talking instead of silentits having been so strongly rooted in
the breast of a boy whom nature and circumstances made so romantic,
renders it very serious. Think of her bringing-up, and think of
Miss Havisham. Think of what she is herself (now I am repulsive and
you abominate me). This may lead to miserable things.

I know it, Herbert,said Iwith my head still turned awaybut
I can't help it.

You can't detach yourself?

No. Impossible!

You can't try, Handel?

No. Impossible!

Well!said Herbertgetting up with a lively shake as if he had
been asleepand stirring the fire; "now I'll endeavour to make
myself agreeable again!"

So he went round the room and shook the curtains output the
chairs in their placestidied the books and so forth that were
lying aboutlooked into the hallpeeped into the letter-boxshut
the doorand came back to his chair by the fire: where he sat
downnursing his left leg in both arms.

I was going to say a word or two, Handel, concerning my father and
my father's son. I am afraid it is scarcely necessary for my
father's son to remark that my father's establishment is not
particularly brilliant in its housekeeping.

There is always plenty, Herbert,said I: to say something

Oh yes! and so the dustman says, I believe, with the strongest
approval, and so does the marine-store shop in the back street.
Gravely, Handel, for the subject is grave enough, you know how it
is, as well as I do. I suppose there was a time once when my father
had not given matters up; but if ever there was, the time is gone.
May I ask you if you have ever had an opportunity of remarking,
down in your part of the country, that the children of not exactly
suitable marriages, are always most particularly anxious to be

This was such a singular questionthat I asked him in returnIs

it so?

I don't know,said Herbertthat's what I want to know. Because
it is decidedly the case with us. My poor sister Charlotte who was
next me and died before she was fourteen, was a striking example.
Little Jane is the same. In her desire to be matrimonially
established, you might suppose her to have passed her short
existence in the perpetual contemplation of domestic bliss. Little
Alick in a frock has already made arrangements for his union with a
suitable young person at Kew. And indeed, I think we are all
engaged, except the baby.

Then you are?said I.

I am,said Herbert; "but it's a secret."

I assured him of my keeping the secretand begged to be favoured
with further particulars. He had spoken so sensibly and feelingly
of my weakness that I wanted to know something about his strength.

May I ask the name?I said.

Name of Clara,said Herbert.

Live in London?

Yes. perhaps I ought to mention,said Herbertwho had become
curiously crestfallen and meeksince we entered on the interesting
themethat she is rather below my mother's nonsensical family
notions. Her father had to do with the victualling of
passenger-ships. I think he was a species of purser.

What is he now?said I.

He's an invalid now,replied Herbert.

Living on - ?

On the first floor,said Herbert. Which was not at all what I
meantfor I had intended my question to apply to his means. "I
have never seen himfor he has always kept his room overhead
since I have known Clara. But I have heard him constantly. He makes
tremendous rows - roarsand pegs at the floor with some frightful
instrument." In looking at me and then laughing heartilyHerbert
for the time recovered his usual lively manner.

Don't you expect to see him?said I.

Oh yes, I constantly expect to see him,returned Herbert
because I never hear him, without expecting him to come tumbling
through the ceiling. But I don't know how long the rafters may

When he had once more laughed heartilyhe became meek againand
told me that the moment he began to realize Capitalit was his
intention to marry this young lady. He added as a self-evident
propositionengendering low spiritsBut you can't marry, you
know, while you're looking about you.

As we contemplated the fireand as I thought what a difficult
vision to realize this same Capital sometimes wasI put my hands
in my pockets. A folded piece of paper in one of them attracting my
attentionI opened it and found it to be the playbill I had
received from Joerelative to the celebrated provincial amateur of

Roscian renown. "And bless my heart I involuntarily added aloud,
it's to-night!"

This changed the subject in an instantand made us hurriedly
resolve to go to the play. Sowhen I had pledged myself to comfort
and abet Herbert in the affair of his heart by all practicable and
impracticable meansand when Herbert had told me that his
affianced already knew me by reputation and that I should be
presented to herand when we had warmly shaken hands upon our
mutual confidencewe blew out our candlesmade up our fire
locked our doorand issued forth in quest of Mr. Wopsle and

Chapter 31

On our arrival in Denmarkwe found the king and queen of that
country elevated in two arm-chairs on a kitchen-tableholding a
Court. The whole of the Danish nobility were in attendance;
consisting of a noble boy in the wash-leather boots of a gigantic
ancestora venerable Peer with a dirty face who seemed to have
risen from the people late in lifeand the Danish chivalry with a
comb in its hair and a pair of white silk legsand presenting on
the whole a feminine appearance. My gifted townsman stood gloomily
apartwith folded armsand I could have wished that his curls and
forehead had been more probable.

Several curious little circumstances transpired as the action
proceeded. The late king of the country not only appeared to have
been troubled with a cough at the time of his deceasebut to have
taken it with him to the tomband to have brought it back. The
royal phantom also carried a ghostly manuscript round its
truncheonto which it had the appearance of occasionally
referringand thattoowith an air of anxiety and a tendency to
lose the place of reference which were suggestive of a state of
mortality. It was thisI conceivewhich led to the Shade's being
advised by the gallery to "turn over!" - a recommendation which it
took extremely ill. It was likewise to be noted of this majestic
spirit that whereas it always appeared with an air of having been
out a long time and walked an immense distanceit perceptibly came
from a closely contiguous wall. This occasioned its terrors to be
received derisively. The Queen of Denmarka very buxom lady
though no doubt historically brazenwas considered by the public
to have too much brass about her; her chin being attached to her
diadem by a broad band of that metal (as if she had a gorgeous
toothache)her waist being encircled by anotherand each of her
arms by anotherso that she was openly mentioned as "the
kettledrum." The noble boy in the ancestral bootswas
inconsistent; representing himselfas it were in one breathas an
able seamana strolling actora grave-diggera clergymanand a
person of the utmost importance at a Court fencing-matchon the
authority of whose practised eye and nice discrimination the finest
strokes were judged. This gradually led to a want of toleration for
himand even - on his being detected in holy ordersand declining
to perform the funeral service - to the general indignation taking
the form of nuts. LastlyOphelia was a prey to such slow musical
madnessthat whenin course of timeshe had taken off her white
muslin scarffolded it upand buried ita sulky man who had been
long cooling his impatient nose against an iron bar in the front
row of the gallerygrowledNow the baby's put to bed let's have
supper!Whichto say the least of itwas out of keeping.

Upon my unfortunate townsman all these incidents accumulated with
playful effect. Whenever that undecided Prince had to ask a

question or state a doubtthe public helped him out with it. As
for example; on the question whether 'twas nobler in the mind to
suffersome roared yesand some noand some inclining to both
opinions said "toss up for it;" and quite a Debating Society arose.
When he asked what should such fellows as he do crawling between
earth and heavenhe was encouraged with loud cries of "Hear
hear!" When he appeared with his stocking disordered (its disorder
expressedaccording to usageby one very neat fold in the top
which I suppose to be always got up with a flat iron)a
conversation took place in the gallery respecting the paleness of
his legand whether it was occasioned by the turn the ghost had
given him. On his taking the recorders - very like a little black
flute that had just been played in the orchestra and handed out at
the door - he was called upon unanimously for Rule Britannia. When
he recommended the player not to saw the air thusthe sulky man
saidAnd don't you do it, neither; you're a deal worse than him!
And I grieve to add that peals of laughter greeted Mr. Wopsle on
every one of these occasions.

But his greatest trials were in the churchyard: which had the
appearance of a primeval forestwith a kind of small
ecclesiastical wash-house on one sideand a turnpike gate on the
other. Mr. Wopsle in a comprehensive black cloakbeing descried
entering at the turnpikethe gravedigger was admonished in a
friendly wayLook out! Here's the undertaker a-coming, to see how
you're a-getting on with your work!I believe it is well known in
a constitutional country that Mr. Wopsle could not possibly have
returned the skullafter moralizing over itwithout dusting his
fingers on a white napkin taken from his breast; but even that
innocent and indispensable action did not pass without the comment
Wai-ter!The arrival of the body for interment (in an empty black
box with the lid tumbling open)was the signal for a general joy
which was much enhanced by the discoveryamong the bearersof an
individual obnoxious to identification. The joy attended Mr. Wopsle
through his struggle with Laertes on the brink of the orchestra and
the graveand slackened no more until he had tumbled the king off
the kitchen-tableand had died by inches from the ankles upward.

We had made some pale efforts in the beginning to applaud Mr.
Wopsle; but they were too hopeless to be persisted in. Therefore we
had satfeeling keenly for himbut laughingneverthelessfrom
ear to ear. I laughed in spite of myself all the timethe whole
thing was so droll; and yet I had a latent impression that there
was something decidedly fine in Mr. Wopsle's elocution - not for old
associations' sakeI am afraidbut because it was very slowvery
drearyvery up-hill and down-hilland very unlike any way in
which any man in any natural circumstances of life or death ever
expressed himself about anything. When the tragedy was overand he
had been called for and hootedI said to HerbertLet us go at
once, or perhaps we shall meet him.

We made all the haste we could down-stairsbut we were not quick
enough either. Standing at the door was a Jewish man with an
unnatural heavy smear of eyebrowwho caught my eyes as we
advancedand saidwhen we came up with him:

Mr. Pip and friend?

Identity of Mr. Pip and friend confessed.

Mr. Waldengarver,said the manwould be glad to have the

Waldengarver?I repeated - when Herbert murmured in my ear

Probably Wopsle.

Oh!said I. "Yes. Shall we follow you?"

A few steps, please.When we were in a side alleyhe turned and
askedHow did you think he looked? - I dressed him.

I don't know what he had looked likeexcept a funeral; with the
addition of a large Danish sun or star hanging round his neck by a
blue ribbonthat had given him the appearance of being insured in
some extraordinary Fire Office. But I said he had looked very nice.

When he come to the grave,said our conductorhe showed his
cloak beautiful. But, judging from the wing, it looked to me that
when he see the ghost in the queen's apartment, he might have made
more of his stockings.

I modestly assentedand we all fell through a little dirty swing
doorinto a sort of hot packing-case immediately behind it. Here
Mr. Wopsle was divesting himself of his Danish garmentsand here
there was just room for us to look at him over one another's
shouldersby keeping the packing-case dooror lidwide open.

Gentlemen,said Mr. WopsleI am proud to see you. I hope, Mr.
Pip, you will excuse my sending round. I had the happiness to know
you in former times, and the Drama has ever had a claim which has
ever been acknowledged, on the noble and the affluent.

MeanwhileMr. Waldengarverin a frightful perspirationwas trying
to get himself out of his princely sables.

Skin the stockings off, Mr. Waldengarver,said the owner of that
propertyor you'll bust 'em. Bust 'em, and you'll bust
five-and-thirty shillings. Shakspeare never was complimented with a
finer pair. Keep quiet in your chair now, and leave 'em to me.

With thathe went upon his kneesand began to flay his victim;
whoon the first stocking coming offwould certainly have fallen
over backward with his chairbut for there being no room to fall

I had been afraid until then to say a word about the play. But
thenMr. Waldengarver looked up at us complacentlyand said:

Gentlemen, how did it seem to you, to go, in front?

Herbert said from behind (at the same time poking me)capitally.
So I said "capitally."

How did you like my reading of the character, gentlemen?said Mr.
Waldengarveralmostif not quitewith patronage.

Herbert said from behind (again poking me)massive and concrete.
So I said boldlyas if I had originated itand must beg to insist
upon itmassive and concrete.

I am glad to have your approbation, gentlemen,said Mr.
Waldengarverwith an air of dignityin spite of his being ground
against the wall at the timeand holding on by the seat of the

But I'll tell you one thing, Mr. Waldengarver,said the man who
was on his kneesin which you're out in your reading. Now mind! I
don't care who says contrairy; I tell you so. You're out in your

reading of Hamlet when you get your legs in profile. The last
Hamlet as I dressed, made the same mistakes in his reading at
rehearsal, till I got him to put a large red wafer on each of his
shins, and then at that rehearsal (which was the last) I went in
front, sir, to the back of the pit, and whenever his reading
brought him into profile, I called out I don't see no wafers!" And
at night his reading was lovely."

Mr. Waldengarver smiled at meas much as to say "a faithful
dependent - I overlook his folly;" and then said aloudMy view is
a little classic and thoughtful for them here; but they will
improve, they will improve.

Herbert and I said togetherOhno doubt they would improve.

Did you observe, gentlemen,said Mr. Waldengarverthat there was
a man in the gallery who endeavoured to cast derision on the
service - I mean, the representation?

We basely replied that we rather thought we had noticed such a man.
I addedHe was drunk, no doubt.

Oh dear no, sir,said Mr. Wopslenot drunk. His employer would
see to that, sir. His employer would not allow him to be drunk.

You know his employer?said I.

Mr. Wopsle shut his eyesand opened them again; performing both
ceremonies very slowly. "You must have observedgentlemen said
he, an ignorant and a blatant asswith a rasping throat and a
countenance expressive of low malignitywho went through - I will
not say sustained - the role (if I may use a French expression) of
Claudius King of Denmark. That is his employergentlemen. Such is
the profession!"

Without distinctly knowing whether I should have been more sorry
for Mr. Wopsle if he had been in despairI was so sorry for him as
it wasthat I took the opportunity of his turning round to have
his braces put on - which jostled us out at the doorway - to ask
Herbert what he thought of having him home to supper? Herbert said
he thought it would be kind to do so; therefore I invited himand
he went to Barnard's with uswrapped up to the eyesand we did
our best for himand he sat until two o'clock in the morning
reviewing his success and developing his plans. I forget in detail
what they werebut I have a general recollection that he was to
begin with reviving the Dramaand to end with crushing it;
inasmuch as his decease would leave it utterly bereft and without a
chance or hope.

Miserably I went to bed after alland miserably thought of
Estellaand miserably dreamed that my expectations were all
cancelledand that I had to give my hand in marriage to Herbert's
Claraor play Hamlet to Miss Havisham's Ghostbefore twenty
thousand peoplewithout knowing twenty words of it.

Chapter 32

One day when I was busy with my books and Mr. PocketI received a
note by the postthe mere outside of which threw me into a great
flutter; forthough I had never seen the handwriting in which it
was addressedI divined whose hand it was. It had no set
beginningas Dear Mr. Pipor Dear Pipor Dear Siror Dear
Anythingbut ran thus:

I am to come to London the day after to-morrow by the mid-day
coach. I believe it was settled you should meet me? At all events
Miss Havisham has that impression, and I write in obedience to it.
She sends you her regard.


If there had been timeI should probably have ordered several
suits of clothes for this occasion; but as there was notI was
fain to be content with those I had. My appetite vanished
instantlyand I knew no peace or rest until the day arrived. Not
that its arrival brought me either; forthen I was worse than ever
and began haunting the coach-office in wood-streetCheapside
before the coach had left the Blue Boar in our town. For all that I
knew this perfectly wellI still felt as if it were not safe to
let the coach-office be out of my sight longer than five minutes at
a time; and in this condition of unreason I had performed the first
half-hour of a watch of four or five hourswhen Wemmick ran
against me.

Halloa, Mr. Pip,said he; "how do you do? I should hardly have
thought this was your beat."

I explained that I was waiting to meet somebody who was coming up
by coachand I inquired after the Castle and the Aged.

Both flourishing thankye,said Wemmickand particularly the
Aged. He's in wonderful feather. He'll be eighty-two next birthday.
I have a notion of firing eighty-two times, if the neighbourhood
shouldn't complain, and that cannon of mine should prove equal to
the pressure. However, this is not London talk. where do you think
I am going to?

To the office?said Ifor he was tending in that direction.

Next thing to it,returned WemmickI am going to Newgate. We
are in a banker's-parcel case just at present, and I have been down
the road taking as squint at the scene of action, and thereupon
must have a word or two with our client.

Did your client commit the robbery?I asked.

Bless your soul and body, no,answered Wemmickvery drily. "But
he is accused of it. So might you or I be. Either of us might be
accused of ityou know."

Only neither of us is,I remarked.

Yah!said Wemmicktouching me on the breast with his forefinger;
you're a deep one, Mr. Pip! Would you like to have a look at
Newgate? Have you time to spare?

I had so much time to sparethat the proposal came as a relief
notwithstanding its irreconcilability with my latent desire to keep
my eye on the coach-office. Muttering that I would make the inquiry
whether I had time to walk with himI went into the officeand
ascertained from the clerk with the nicest precision and much to
the trying of his temperthe earliest moment at which the coach
could be expected - which I knew beforehandquite as well as he. I
then rejoined Mr. Wemmickand affecting to consult my watch and to
be surprised by the information I had receivedaccepted his offer.

We were at Newgate in a few minutesand we passed through the

lodge where some fetters were hanging up on the bare walls among
the prison rulesinto the interior of the jail. At that time
jails were much neglectedand the period of exaggerated reaction
consequent on all public wrong-doing - and which is always its
heaviest and longest punishment - was still far off. Sofelons
were not lodged and fed better than soldiers (to say nothing of
paupers)and seldom set fire to their prisons with the excusable
object of improving the flavour of their soup. It was visiting time
when Wemmick took me in; and a potman was going his rounds with
beer; and the prisonersbehind bars in yardswere buying beer
and talking to friends; and a frouzyuglydisorderlydepressing
scene it was.

It struck me that Wemmick walked among the prisonersmuch as a
gardener might walk among his plants. This was first put into my
head by his seeing a shoot that had come up in the nightand
sayingWhat, Captain Tom? Are you there? Ah, indeed!and also
Is that Black Bill behind the cistern? Why I didn't look for you
these two months; how do you find yourself?Equally in his
stopping at the bars and attending to anxious whisperers - always
singly - Wemmick with his post-office in an immovable statelooked
at them while in conferenceas if he were taking particular notice
of the advance they had madesince last observedtowards coming
out in full blow at their trial.

He was highly popularand I found that he took the familiar
department of Mr. Jaggers's business: though something of the state
of Mr. Jaggers hung about him tooforbidding approach beyond
certain limits. His personal recognition of each successive client
was comprised in a nodand in his settling his hat a little easier
on his head with both handsand then tightening the postoffice
and putting his hands in his pockets. In one or two instances
there was a difficulty respecting the raising of feesand then Mr.
Wemmickbacking as far as possible from the insufficient money
producedsaidit's no use, my boy. I'm only a subordinate. I
can't take it. Don't go on in that way with a subordinate. If you
are unable to make up your quantum, my boy, you had better address
yourself to a principal; there are plenty of principals in the
profession, you know, and what is not worth the while of one, may
be worth the while of another; that's my recommendation to you,
speaking as a subordinate. Don't try on useless measures. Why
should you? Now, who's next?

Thuswe walked through Wemmick's greenhouseuntil he turned to me
and saidNotice the man I shall shake hands with.I should have
done sowithout the preparationas he had shaken hands with no
one yet.

Almost as soon as he had spokena portly upright man (whom I can
see nowas I write) in a well-worn olive-coloured frock-coatwith
a peculiar pallor over-spreading the red in his complexionand
eyes that went wandering about when he tried to fix themcame up
to a corner of the barsand put his hand to his hat - which had a
greasy and fatty surface like cold broth - with a half-serious and
half-jocose military salute.

Colonel, to you!said Wemmick; "how are youColonel?"

All right, Mr. Wemmick.

Everything was done that could be done, but the evidence was too
strong for us, Colonel.

Yes, it was too strong, sir - but I don't care.

No, no,said Wemmickcoollyyou don't care.Thenturning to
meServed His Majesty this man. Was a soldier in the line and
bought his discharge.

I saidIndeed?and the man's eyes looked at meand then looked
over my headand then looked all round meand then he drew his
hand across his lips and laughed.

I think I shall be out of this on Monday, sir,he said to

Perhaps,returned my friendbut there's no knowing.

I am glad to have the chance of bidding you good-bye, Mr. Wemmick,
said the manstretching out his hand between two bars.

Thankye,said Wemmickshaking hands with him. "Same to you

If what I had upon me when taken, had been real, Mr. Wemmick,said
the manunwilling to let his hand goI should have asked the
favour of your wearing another ring - in acknowledgment of your

I'll accept the will for the deed,said Wemmick. "By-the-bye; you
were quite a pigeon-fancier." The man looked up at the sky. "I am
told you had a remarkable breed of tumblers. could you commission
any friend of yours to bring me a pairof you've no further use
for 'em?"

It shall be done, sir?

All right,said Wemmickthey shall be taken care of. Good
afternoon, Colonel. Good-bye!They shook hands againand as we
walked away Wemmick said to meA Coiner, a very good workman. The
Recorder's report is made to-day, and he is sure to be executed on
Monday. Still you see, as far as it goes, a pair of pigeons are
portable property, all the same.With thathe looked backand
nodded at this dead plantand then cast his eyes about him in
walking out of the yardas if he were considering what other pot
would go best in its place.

As we came out of the prison through the lodgeI found that the
great importance of my guardian was appreciated by the turnkeysno
less than by those whom they held in charge. "WellMr. Wemmick
said the turnkey, who kept us between the two studded and spiked
lodge gates, and who carefully locked one before he unlocked the
other, what's Mr. Jaggers going to do with that waterside murder?
Is he going to make it manslaughteror what's he going to make of

Why don't you ask him?returned Wemmick.

Oh yes, I dare say!said the turnkey.

Now, that's the way with them here. Mr. Pip,remarked Wemmick
turning to me with his post-office elongated. "They don't mind what
they ask of methe subordinate; but you'll never catch 'em asking
any questions of my principal."

Is this young gentleman one of the 'prentices or articled ones of
your office?asked the turnkeywith a grin at Mr. Wemmick's

There he goes again, you see!cried WemmickI told you so! Asks
another question of the subordinate before his first is dry! Well,
supposing Mr. Pip is one of them?

Why then,said the turnkeygrinning againhe knows what Mr.
Jaggers is.

Yah!cried Wemmicksuddenly hitting out at the turnkey in a
facetious wayyou're dumb as one of your own keys when you have
to do with my principal, you know you are. Let us out, you old fox,
or I'll get him to bring an action against you for false

The turnkey laughedand gave us good dayand stood laughing at us
over the spikes of the wicket when we descended the steps into the

Mind you, Mr. Pip,said Wemmickgravely in my earas he took my
arm to be more confidential; "I don't know that Mr. Jaggers does a
better thing than the way in which he keeps himself so high. He's
always so high. His constant height is of a piece with his immense
abilities. That Colonel durst no more take leave of himthan that
turnkey durst ask him his intentions respecting a case. Then
between his height and themhe slips in his subordinate - don't
you see? - and so he has 'emsoul and body."

I was very much impressedand not for the first timeby my
guardian's subtlety. To confess the truthI very heartily wished
and not for the first timethat I had had some other guardian of
minor abilities.

Mr. Wemmick and I parted at the office in Little Britainwhere
suppliants for Mr. Jaggers's notice were lingering about as usual
and I returned to my watch in the street of the coach-officewith
some three hours on hand. I consumed the whole time in thinking how
strange it was that I should be encompassed by all this taint of
prison and crime; thatin my childhood out on our lonely marshes
on a winter evening I should have first encountered it; thatit
should have reappeared on two occasionsstarting out like a stain
that was faded but not gone; thatit should in this new way
pervade my fortune and advancement. While my mind was thus engaged
I thought of the beautiful young Estellaproud and refinedcoming
towards meand I thought with absolute abhorrence of the contrast
between the jail and her. I wished that Wemmick had not met meor
that I had not yielded to him and gone with himso thatof all
days in the year on this dayI might not have had Newgate in my
breath and on my clothes. I beat the prison dust off my feet as I
sauntered to and froand I shook it out of my dressand I exhaled
its air from my lungs. So contaminated did I feelremembering who
was comingthat the coach came quickly after alland I was not
yet free from the soiling consciousness of Mr. Wemmick's
conservatorywhen I saw her face at the coach window and her hand
waving to me.

What was the nameless shadow which again in that one instant had

Chapter 33

In her furred travelling-dressEstella seemed more delicately
beautiful than she had ever seemed yeteven in my eyes. Her manner
was more winning than she had cared to let it be to me beforeand

I thought I saw Miss Havisham's influence in the change.

We stood in the Inn Yard while she pointed out her luggage to me
and when it was all collected I remembered - having forgotten
everything but herself in the meanwhile - that I knew nothing of
her destination

I am going to Richmond,she told me. "Our lesson isthat there
are two Richmondsone in Surrey and one in Yorkshireand that mine
is the Surrey Richmond. The distance is ten miles. I am to have a
carriageand you are to take me. This is my purseand you are to
pay my charges out of it. Ohyou must take the purse! We have no
choiceyou and Ibut to obey our instructions. We are not free to
follow our own devicesyou and I."

As she looked at me in giving me the purseI hoped there was an
inner meaning in her words. She said them slightinglybut not with

A carriage will have to be sent for, Estella. Will you rest here a

Yes, I am to rest here a little, and I am to drink some tea, and
you are to take care of me the while.

She drew her arm through mineas if it must be doneand I
requested a waiter who had been staring at the coach like a man who
had never seen such a thing in his lifeto show us a private
sitting-room. Upon thathe pulled out a napkinas if it were a
magic clue without which he couldn't find the way up-stairsand
led us to the black hole of the establishment: fitted up with a
diminishing mirror (quite a superfluous article considering the
hole's proportions)an anchovy sauce-cruetand somebody's
pattens. On my objecting to this retreathe took us into another
room with a dinner-table for thirtyand in the grate a scorched
leaf of a copy-book under a bushel of coal-dust. Having looked at
this extinct conflagration and shaken his headhe took my order:
whichproving to be merely "Some tea for the lady sent him out
of the room in a very low state of mind.

I was, and I am, sensible that the air of this chamber, in its
strong combination of stable with soup-stock, might have led one to
infer that the coaching department was not doing well, and that the
enterprising proprietor was boiling down the horses for the
refreshment department. Yet the room was all in all to me, Estella
being in it. I thought that with her I could have been happy there
for life. (I was not at all happy there at the time, observe, and I
knew it well.)

Where are you going toat Richmond?" I asked Estella.

I am going to live,said sheat a great expense, with a lady
there, who has the power - or says she has - of taking me about,
and introducing me, and showing people to me and showing me to

I suppose you will be glad of variety and admiration?

Yes, I suppose so.

She answered so carelesslythat I saidYou speak of yourself as
if you were some one else.

Where did you learn how I speak of others? Come, come,said

Estellasmiling delightfullyyou must not expect me to go to
school to you; I must talk in my own way. How do you thrive with
Mr. Pocket?

I live quite pleasantly there; at least--It appeared to me that
I was losing a chance.

At least?repeated Estella.

As pleasantly as I could anywhere, away from you.

You silly boy,said Estellaquite composedlyhow can you talk
such nonsense? Your friend Mr. Matthew, I believe, is superior to
the rest of his family?

Very superior indeed. He is nobody's enemy--

Don't add but his own,interposed Estellafor I hate that class
of man. But he really is disinterested, and above small jealousy
and spite, I have heard?

I am sure I have every reason to say so.

You have not every reason to say so of the rest of his people,
said Estellanodding at me with an expression of face that was at
once grave and rallyingfor they beset Miss Havisham with reports
and insinuations to your disadvantage. They watch you, misrepresent
you, write letters about you (anonymous sometimes), and you are the
torment and the occupation of their lives. You can scarcely realize
to yourself the hatred those people feel for you.

They do me no harm, I hope?

Instead of answeringEstella burst out laughing. This was very
singular to meand I looked at her in considerable perplexity.
When she left off - and she had not laughed languidlybut with
real enjoyment - I saidin my diffident way with her:

I hope I may suppose that you would not be amused if they did me
any harm.

No, no you may be sure of that,said Estella. "You may be certain
that I laugh because they fail. Ohthose people with Miss
Havishamand the tortures they undergo!" She laughed againand
even now when she had told me whyher laughter was very singular
to mefor I could not doubt its being genuineand yet it seemed
too much for the occasion. I thought there must really be something
more here than I knew; she saw the thought in my mindand answered

It is not easy for even you.said Estellato know what
satisfaction it gives me to see those people thwarted, or what an
enjoyable sense of the ridiculous I have when they are made
ridiculous. For you were not brought up in that strange house from
a mere baby. - I was. You had not your little wits sharpened by
their intriguing against you, suppressed and defenceless, under the
mask of sympathy and pity and what not that is soft and soothing. I
had. You did not gradually open your round childish eyes wider
and wider to the discovery of that impostor of a woman who
calculates her stores of peace of mind for when she wakes up in the
night. - I did.

It was no laughing matter with Estella nownor was she summoning
these remembrances from any shallow place. I would not have been

the cause of that look of hersfor all my expectations in a heap.

Two things I can tell you,said Estella. "Firstnotwithstanding
the proverb that constant dropping will wear away a stoneyou may
set your mind at rest that these people never will - never would
in hundred years - impair your ground with Miss Havishamin any
particulargreat or small. SecondI am beholden to you as the
cause of their being so busy and so mean in vainand there is my
hand upon it."

As she gave it me playfully - for her darker mood had been but
momentary - I held it and put it to my lips. "You ridiculous boy
said Estella, will you never take warning? Or do you kiss my hand
in the same spirit in which I once let you kiss my cheek?"

What spirit was that?said I.

I must think a moment A spirit of contempt for the fawners and

If I say yes, may I kiss the cheek again?

You should have asked before you touched the hand. But, yes, if
you like.

I leaned downand her calm face was like a statue's. "Now said
Estella, gliding away the instant I touched her cheek, you are to
take care that I have some teaand you are to take me to

Her reverting to this tone as if our association were forced upon
us and we were mere puppetsgave me pain; but everything in our
intercourse did give me pain. Whatever her tone with me happened to
beI could put no trust in itand build no hope on it; and yet I
went on against trust and against hope. Why repeat it a thousand
times? So it always was.

I rang for the teaand the waiterreappearing with his magic
cluebrought in by degrees some fifty adjuncts to that refreshment
but of tea not a glimpse. A teaboardcups and saucersplates
knives and forks (including carvers)spoons (various)
saltcellarsa meek little muffin confined with the utmost
precaution under a strong iron coverMoses in the bullrushes
typified by a soft bit of butter in a quantity of parsleya pale
loaf with a powdered headtwo proof impressions of the bars of the
kitchen fire-place on triangular bits of breadand ultimately a
fat family urn: which the waiter staggered in withexpressing in
his countenance burden and suffering. After a prolonged absence at
this stage of the entertainmenthe at length came back with a
casket of precious appearance containing twigs. These I steeped in
hot waterand so from the whole of these appliances extracted one
cup of I don't know whatfor Estella.

The bill paidand the waiter rememberedand the ostler not
forgottenand the chambermaid taken into consideration - in a
wordthe whole house bribed into a state of contempt and
animosityand Estella's purse much lightened - we got into our
post-coach and drove away. Turning into Cheapside and rattling up
Newgate-streetwe were soon under the walls of which I was so

What place is that?Estella asked me.

I made a foolish pretence of not at first recognizing itand then

told her. As she looked at itand drew in her head again
murmuring "Wretches!" I would not have confessed to my visit for
any consideration.

Mr. Jaggers,said Iby way of putting it neatly on somebody else
has the reputation of being more in the secrets of that dismal
place than any man in London.

He is more in the secrets of every place, I think,said Estella
in a low voice.

You have been accustomed to see him often, I suppose?

I have been accustomed to see him at uncertain intervals, ever
since I can remember. But I know him no better now, than I did
before I could speak plainly. What is your own experience of him?
Do you advance with him?

Once habituated to his distrustful manner,said II have done
very well.

Are you intimate?

I have dined with him at his private house.

I fancy,said Estellashrinking "that must be a curious place."

It is a curious place.

I should have been chary of discussing my guardian too freely even
with her; but I should have gone on with the subject so far as to
describe the dinner in Gerrard-streetif we had not then come into
a sudden glare of gas. It seemedwhile it lastedto be all alight
and alive with that inexplicable feeling I had had before; and when
we were out of itI was as much dazed for a few moments as if I
had been in Lightning.

Sowe fell into other talkand it was principally about the way
by which we were travellingand about what parts of London lay on
this side of itand what on that. The great city was almost new to
hershe told mefor she had never left Miss Havisham's
neighbourhood until she had gone to Franceand she had merely
passed through London then in going and returning. I asked her if
my guardian had any charge of her while she remained here? To that
she emphatically said "God forbid!" and no more.

It was impossible for me to avoid seeing that she cared to attract
me; that she made herself winning; and would have won me even if
the task had needed pains. Yet this made me none the happierfor
even if she had not taken that tone of our being disposed of by
othersI should have felt that she held my heart in her hand
because she wilfully chose to do itand not because it would have
wrung any tenderness in herto crush it and throw it away.

When we passed through HammersmithI showed her where Mr. Matthew
Pocket livedand said it was no great way from Richmondand that
I hoped I should see her sometimes.

Oh yes, you are to see me; you are to come when you think proper;
you are to be mentioned to the family; indeed you are already

I inquired was it a large household she was going to be a member

No; there are only two; mother and daughter. The mother is a lady
of some station, though not averse to increasing her income.

I wonder Miss Havisham could part with you again so soon.

It is a part of Miss Havisham's plans for me, Pip,said Estella
with a sighas if she were tired; "I am to write to her constantly
and see her regularly and report how I go on - I and the jewels for
they are nearly all mine now."

It was the first time she had ever called me by my name. Of course
she did sopurposelyand knew that I should treasure it up.

We came to Richmond all too soonand our destination therewas a
house by the Green; a staid old housewhere hoops and powder and
patchesembroidered coats rolled stockings ruffles and swordshad
had their court days many a time. Some ancient trees before the
house were still cut into fashions as formal and unnatural as the
hoops and wigs and stiff skirts; but their own allotted places in
the great procession of the dead were not far offand they would
soon drop into them and go the silent way of the rest.

A bell with an old voice - which I dare say in its time had often
said to the houseHere is the green farthingaleHere is the
diamondhilted swordHere are the shoes with red heels and the blue
solitaire- sounded gravely in the moonlightand two
cherrycoloured maids came fluttering out to receive Estella. The
doorway soon absorbed her boxesand she gave me her hand and a
smileand said good nightand was absorbed likewise. And still I
stood looking at the housethinking how happy I should be if I
lived there with herand knowing that I never was happy with her
but always miserable.

I got into the carriage to be taken back to Hammersmithand I got
in with a bad heart-acheand I got out with a worse heart-ache. At
our own doorI found little Jane Pocket coming home from a little
party escorted by her little lover; and I envied her little lover
in spite of his being subject to Flopson.

Mr. Pocket was out lecturing; forhe was a most delightful lecturer
on domestic economyand his treatises on the management of
children and servants were considered the very best text-books on
those themes. ButMrs. Pocket was at homeand was in a little
difficultyon account of the baby's having been accommodated with
a needle-case to keep him quiet during the unaccountable absence
(with a relative in the Foot Guards) of Millers. And more needles
were missingthan it could be regarded as quite wholesome for a
patient of such tender years either to apply externally or to take
as a tonic.

Mr. Pocket being justly celebrated for giving most excellent
practical adviceand for having a clear and sound perception of
things and a highly judicious mindI had some notion in my
heartache of begging him to accept my confidence. Buthappening to
look up at Mrs. Pocket as she sat reading her book of dignities
after prescribing Bed as a sovereign remedy for babyI thought -
Well - NoI wouldn't.

Chapter 34

As I had grown accustomed to my expectationsI had insensibly
begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their

influence on my own characterI disguised from my recognition as
much as possiblebut I knew very well that it was not all good. I
lived in a state of chronic uneasiness respecting my behaviour to
Joe. My conscience was not by any means comfortable about Biddy.
When I woke up in the night - like Camilla - I used to thinkwith
a weariness on my spiritsthat I should have been happier and
better if I had never seen Miss Havisham's faceand had risen to
manhood content to be partners with Joe in the honest old forge.
Many a time of an eveningwhen I sat alone looking at the fireI
thoughtafter allthere was no fire like the forge fire and the
kitchen fire at home.

Yet Estella was so inseparable from all my restlessness and
disquiet of mindthat I really fell into confusion as to the
limits of my own part in its production. That is to saysupposing
I had had no expectationsand yet had had Estella to think ofI
could not make out to my satisfaction that I should have done much
better. Nowconcerning the influence of my position on othersI
was in no such difficultyand so I perceived - though dimly enough
perhaps - that it was not beneficial to anybodyandabove all
that it was not beneficial to Herbert. My lavish habits led his
easy nature into expenses that he could not affordcorrupted the
simplicity of his lifeand disturbed his peace with anxieties and
regrets. I was not at all remorseful for having unwittingly set
those other branches of the Pocket family to the poor arts they
practised: because such littlenesses were their natural bentand
would have been evoked by anybody elseif I had left them
slumbering. But Herbert's was a very different caseand it often
caused me a twinge to think that I had done him evil service in
crowding his sparely-furnished chambers with incongruous upholstery
workand placing the canary-breasted Avenger at his disposal.

So nowas an infallible way of making little ease great easeI
began to contract a quantity of debt. I could hardly begin but
Herbert must begin tooso he soon followed. At Startop's
suggestionwe put ourselves down for election into a club called
The Finches of the Grove: the object of which institution I have
never divinedif it were not that the members should dine
expensively once a fortnightto quarrel among themselves as much
as possible after dinnerand to cause six waiters to get drunk on
the stairs. I Know that these gratifying social ends were so
invariably accomplishedthat Herbert and I understood nothing else
to be referred to in the first standing toast of the society: which
ran "Gentlemenmay the present promotion of good feeling ever
reign predominant among the Finches of the Grove."

The Finches spent their money foolishly (the Hotel we dined at was
in Covent-garden)and the first Finch I sawwhen I had the honour
of joining the Grovewas Bentley Drummle: at that time floundering
about town in a cab of his ownand doing a great deal of damage to
the posts at the street corners. Occasionallyhe shot himself out
of his equipage head-foremost over the apron; and I saw him on one
occasion deliver himself at the door of the Grove in this
unintentional way - like coals. But here I anticipate a little for
I was not a Finchand could not beaccording to the sacred laws
of the societyuntil I came of age.

In my confidence in my own resourcesI would willingly have taken
Herbert's expenses on myself; but Herbert was proudand I could
make no such proposal to him. Sohe got into difficulties in every
directionand continued to look about him. When we gradually fell
into keeping late hours and late companyI noticed that he looked
about him with a desponding eye at breakfast-time; that he began to
look about him more hopefully about mid-day; that he drooped when

he came into dinner; that he seemed to descry Capital in the
distance rather clearlyafter dinner; that he all but realized
Capital towards midnight; and that at about two o'clock in the
morninghe became so deeply despondent again as to talk of buying
a rifle and going to Americawith a general purpose of compelling
buffaloes to make his fortune.

I was usually at Hammersmith about half the weekand when I was at
Hammersmith I haunted Richmond: whereof separately by-and-by.
Herbert would often come to Hammersmith when I was thereand I
think at those seasons his father would occasionally have some
passing perception that the opening he was looking forhad not
appeared yet. But in the general tumbling up of the familyhis
tumbling out in life somewherewas a thing to transact itself
somehow. In the meantime Mr. Pocket grew greyerand tried oftener
to lift himself out of his perplexities by the hair. While Mrs.
Pocket tripped up the family with her footstoolread her book of
dignitieslost her pocket-handkerchieftold us about her
grandpapaand taught the young idea how to shootby shooting it
into bed whenever it attracted her notice.

As I am now generalizing a period of my life with the object of
clearing my way before meI can scarcely do so better than by at
once completing the description of our usual manners and customs at
Barnard's Inn.

We spent as much money as we couldand got as little for it as
people could make up their minds to give us. We were always more or
less miserableand most of our acquaintance were in the same
condition. There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly
enjoying ourselvesand a skeleton truth that we never did. To the
best of my beliefour case was in the last aspect a rather common

Every morningwith an air ever newHerbert went into the City to
look about him. I often paid him a visit in the dark back-room in
which he consorted with an ink-jara hat-pega coal-boxa
string-boxan almanacka desk and stooland a ruler; and I do
not remember that I ever saw him do anything else but look about
him. If we all did what we undertake to doas faithfully as
Herbert didwe might live in a Republic of the Virtues. He had
nothing else to dopoor fellowexcept at a certain hour of every
afternoon to "go to Lloyd's" - in observance of a ceremony of
seeing his principalI think. He never did anything else in
connexion with Lloyd's that I could find outexcept come back
again. When he felt his case unusually seriousand that he
positively must find an openinghe would go on 'Change at a busy
timeand walk in and outin a kind of gloomy country dance
figureamong the assembled magnates. "For says Herbert to me,
coming home to dinner on one of those special occasions, I find
the truth to beHandelthat an opening won't come to onebut one
must go to it - so I have been."

If we had been less attached to one anotherI think we must have
hated one another regularly every morning. I detested the chambers
beyond expression at that period of repentanceand could not
endure the sight of the Avenger's livery: which had a more
expensive and a less remunerative appearance thenthan at any
other time in the four-and-twenty hours. As we got more and more
into debt breakfast became a hollower and hollower formandbeing
on one occasion at breakfast-time threatened (by letter) with legal
proceedingsnot unwholly unconnected,as my local paper might
put itwith jewellery,I went so far as to seize the Avenger by
his blue collar and shake him off his feet - so that he was

actually in the airlike a booted Cupid - for presuming to suppose
that we wanted a roll.

At certain times - meaning at uncertain timesfor they depended on
our humour - I would say to Herbertas if it were a remarkable

My dear Herbert, we are getting on badly.

My dear Handel,Herbert would say to mein all sincerityif you
will believe methose very words were on my lipsby a strange

Then, Herbert,I would respondlet us look into out affairs.

We always derived profound satisfaction from making an appointment
for this purpose. I always thought this was businessthis was the
way to confront the thingthis was the way to take the foe by the
throat. And I know Herbert thought so too.

We ordered something rather special for dinnerwith a bottle of
something similarly out of the common wayin order that our minds
might be fortified for the occasionand we might come well up to
the mark. Dinner overwe produced a bundle of pensa copious
supply of inkand a goodly show of writing and blotting paper.
Forthere was something very comfortable in having plenty of

I would then take a sheet of paperand write across the top of it
in a neat handthe headingMemorandum of Pip's debts;with
Barnard's Inn and the date very carefully added. Herbert would also
take a sheet of paperand write across it with similar
formalitiesMemorandum of Herbert's debts.

Each of us would then refer to a confused heap of papers at his
sidewhich had been thrown into drawersworn into holes in
Pocketshalf-burnt in lighting candlesstuck for weeks into the
looking-glassand otherwise damaged. The sound of our pens going
refreshed us exceedinglyinsomuch that I sometimes found it
difficult to distinguish between this edifying business proceeding
and actually paying the money. In point of meritorious character
the two things seemed about equal.

When we had written a little whileI would ask Herbert how he got
on? Herbert probably would have been scratching his head in a most
rueful manner at the sight of his accumulating figures.

They are mounting up, Handel,Herbert would say; "upon my life
they are mounting up."

Be firm, Herbert,I would retortplying my own pen with great
assiduity. "Look the thing in the face. Look into your affairs.
Stare them out of countenance."

So I would, Handel, only they are staring me out of countenance.

Howevermy determined manner would have its effectand Herbert
would fall to work again. After a time he would give up once more
on the plea that he had not got Cobbs's billor Lobbs'sor
Nobbs'sas the case might be.

Then, Herbert, estimate; estimate it in round numbers, and put it

What a fellow of resource you are!my friend would replywith
admiration. "Really your business powers are very remarkable."

I thought so too. I established with myself on these occasionsthe
reputation of a first-rate man of business - promptdecisive
energeticclearcool-headed. When I had got all my
responsibilities down upon my listI compared each with the bill
and ticked it off. My self-approval when I ticked an entry was
quite a luxurious sensation. When I had no more ticks to makeI
folded all my bills up uniformlydocketed each on the backand
tied the whole into a symmetrical bundle. Then I did the same for
Herbert (who modestly said he had not my administrative genius)
and felt that I had brought his affairs into a focus for him.

My business habits had one other bright featurewhich i called
leaving a Margin.For example; supposing Herbert's debts to be
one hundred and sixty-four pounds four-and-twopenceI would say
Leave a margin, and put them down at two hundred.Orsupposing
my own to be four times as muchI would leave a marginand put
them down at seven hundred. I had the highest opinion of the wisdom
of this same Marginbut I am bound to acknowledge that on looking
backI deem it to have been an expensive device. Forwe always
ran into new debt immediatelyto the full extent of the margin
and sometimesin the sense of freedom and solvency it imparted
got pretty far on into another margin.

But there was a calma resta virtuous hushconsequent on these
examinations of our affairs that gave mefor the timean
admirable opinion of myself. Soothed by my exertionsmy method
and Herbert's complimentsI would sit with his symmetrical bundle
and my own on the table before me among the stationaryand feel
like a Bank of some sortrather than a private individual.

We shut our outer door on these solemn occasionsin order that we
might not be interrupted. I had fallen into my serene state one
eveningwhen we heard a letter dropped through the slit in the
said doorand fall on the ground. "It's for youHandel said
Herbert, going out and coming back with it, and I hope there is
nothing the matter." This was in allusion to its heavy black seal
and border.

The letter was signed TRABB & CO.and its contents were simply
that I was an honoured sirand that they begged to inform me that
Mrs. J. Gargery had departed this life on Monday lastat twenty
minutes past six in the eveningand that my attendance was
requested at the interment on Monday next at three o'clock in the

Chapter 35

It was the first time that a grave had opened in my road of life
and the gap it made in the smooth ground was wonderful. The figure
of my sister in her chair by the kitchen firehaunted me night and
day. That the place could possibly bewithout herwas something
my mind seemed unable to compass; and whereas she had seldom or
never been in my thoughts of lateI had now the strangest ideas
that she was coming towards me in the streetor that she would
presently knock at the door. In my rooms toowith which she had
never been at all associatedthere was at once the blankness of
death and a perpetual suggestion of the sound of her voice or the
turn of her face or figureas if she were still alive and had been
often there.

Whatever my fortunes might have beenI could scarcely have
recalled my sister with much tenderness. But I suppose there is a
shock of regret which may exist without much tenderness. Under its
influence (and perhaps to make up for the want of the softer
feeling) I was seized with a violent indignation against the
assailant from whom she had suffered so much; and I felt that on
sufficient proof I could have revengefully pursued Orlickor any
one elseto the last extremity.

Having written to Joeto offer consolationand to assure him that
I should come to the funeralI passed the intermediate days in the
curious state of mind I have glanced at. I went down early in the
morningand alighted at the Blue Boar in good time to walk over to
the forge.

It was fine summer weather againandas I walked alongthe times
when I was a little helpless creatureand my sister did not spare
mevividly returned. But they returned with a gentle tone upon
them that softened even the edge of Tickler. For nowthe very
breath of the beans and clover whispered to my heart that the day
must come when it would be well for my memory that others walking
in the sunshine should be softened as they thought of me.

At last I came within sight of the houseand saw that Trabb and
Co. had put in a funereal execution and taken possession. Two
dismally absurd personseach ostentatiously exhibiting a crutch
done up in a black bandage - as if that instrument could possibly
communicate any comfort to anybody - were posted at the front door;
and in one of them I recognized a postboy discharged from the Boar
for turning a young couple into a sawpit on their bridal morning
in consequence of intoxication rendering it necessary for him to
ride his horse clasped round the neck with both arms. All the
children of the villageand most of the womenwere admiring these
sable warders and the closed windows of the house and forge; and as
I came upone of the two warders (the postboy) knocked at the door

-implying that I was far too much exhausted by griefto have
strength remaining to knock for myself.
Another sable warder (a carpenterwho had once eaten two geese for
a wager) opened the doorand showed me into the best parlour.
HereMr. Trabb had taken unto himself the best tableand had got
all the leaves upand was holding a kind of black Bazaarwith the
aid of a quantity of black pins. At the moment of my arrivalhe
had just finished putting somebody's hat into black long-clothes
like an African baby; so he held out his hand for mine. But I
misled by the actionand confused by the occasionshook hands
with him with every testimony of warm affection.

Poor dear Joeentangled in a little black cloak tied in a large
bow under his chinwas seated apart at the upper end of the room;
whereas chief mournerhe had evidently been stationed by Trabb.
When I bent down and said to himDear Joe, how are you?he said
Pip, old chap, you knowed her when she were a fine figure of a--
and clasped my hand and said no more.

Biddylooking very neat and modest in her black dresswent
quietly here and thereand was very helpful. When I had spoken to
Biddyas I thought it not a time for talking I went and sat down
near Joeand there began to wonder in what part of the house it she
- my sister - was. The air of the parlour being faint with the
smell of sweet cakeI looked about for the table of refreshments;
it was scarcely visible until one had got accustomed to the gloom
but there was a cut-up plum-cake upon itand there were cut-up
orangesand sandwichesand biscuitsand two decanters that I

knew very well as ornamentsbut had never seen used in all my
life; one full of portand one of sherry. Standing at this table
I became conscious of the servile Pumblechook in a black cloak and
several yards of hatbandwho was alternately stuffing himselfand
making obsequious movements to catch my attention. The moment he
succeededhe came over to me (breathing sherry and crumbs)and
said in a subdued voiceMay I, dear sir?and did. I then
descried Mr. and Mrs. Hubble; the last-named in a decent speechless
paroxysm in a corner. We were all going to "follow and were all
in course of being tied up separately (by Trabb) into ridiculous

Which I meantersayPip Joe whispered me, as we were being what
Mr. Trabb called formed" in the parlourtwo and two - and it was
dreadfully like a preparation for some grim kind of dance; "which I
meantersaysiras I would in preference have carried her to the
church myselfalong with three or four friendly ones wot come to
it with willing harts and armsbut it were considered wot the
neighbours would look down on such and would be of opinions as it
were wanting in respect."

Pocket-handkerchiefs out, all!cried Mr. Trabb at this pointin a
depressed business-like voice. "Pocket-handkerchiefs out! We are

Sowe all put our pocket-handkerchiefs to our facesas if our
noses were bleedingand filed out two and two; Joe and I; Biddy
and Pumblechook; Mr. and Mrs. Hubble. The remains of my poor sister
had been brought round by the kitchen doorandit being a point
of Undertaking ceremony that the six bearers must be stifled and
blinded under a horrible black velvet housing with a white border
the whole looked like a blind monster with twelve human legs
shuffling and blundering alongunder the guidance of two keepers the
postboy and his comrade.

The neighbourhoodhoweverhighly approved of these arrangements
and we were much admired as we went through the village; the more
youthful and vigorous part of the community making dashes now and
then to cut us offand lying in wait to intercept us at points of
vantage. At such times the more exuberant among them called out in
an excited manner on our emergence round some corner of expectancy
Here they come!Here they are!and we were all but cheered. In
this progress I was much annoyed by the abject Pumblechookwho
being behind mepersisted all the way as a delicate attention in
arranging my streaming hatbandand smoothing my cloak. My thoughts
were further distracted by the excessive pride of Mr. and Mrs.
Hubblewho were surpassingly conceited and vainglorious in being
members of so distinguished a procession.

And nowthe range of marshes lay clear before uswith the sails
of the ships on the river growing out of it; and we went into the
churchyardclose to the graves of my unknown parentsPhilip
Pirriplate of this parishand Also GeorgianaWife of the Above.
And theremy sister was laid quietly in the earth while the larks
sang high above itand the light wind strewed it with beautiful
shadows of clouds and trees.

Of the conduct of the worldly-minded Pumblechook while this was
doingI desire to say no more than it was all addressed to me; and
that even when those noble passages were read which remind humanity
how it brought nothing into the world and can take nothing outand
how it fleeth like a shadow and never continueth long in one stay
I heard him cough a reservation of the case of a young gentleman
who came unexpectedly into large property. When we got backhe had

the hardihood to tell me that he wished my sister could have known
I had done her so much honourand to hint that she would have
considered it reasonably purchased at the price of her death. After
thathe drank all the rest of the sherryand Mr. Hubble drank the
portand the two talked (which I have since observed to be
customary in such cases) as if they were of quite another race from
the deceasedand were notoriously immortal. Finallyhe went away
with Mr. and Mrs. Hubble - to make an evening of itI felt sureand
to tell the Jolly Bargemen that he was the founder of my fortunes
and my earliest benefactor.

When they were all goneand when Trabb and his men - but not his
boy: I looked for him - had crammed their mummery into bagsand
were gone toothe house felt wholesomer. Soon afterwardsBiddy
Joeand Ihad a cold dinner together; but we dined in the best
parlournot in the old kitchenand Joe was so exceedingly
particular what he did with his knife and fork and the saltcellar
and what notthat there was great restraint upon us. But after
dinnerwhen I made him take his pipeand when I had loitered with
him about the forgeand when we sat down together on the great
block of stone outside itwe got on better. I noticed that after
the funeral Joe changed his clothes so faras to make a compromise
between his Sunday dress and working dress: in which the dear
fellow looked naturaland like the Man he was.

He was very much pleased by my asking if I might sleep in my own
little roomand I was pleased too; forI felt that I had done
rather a great thing in making the request. When the shadows of
evening were closing inI took an opportunity of getting into the
garden with Biddy for a little talk.

Biddy,said II think you might have written to me about these
sad matters.

Do you, Mr. Pip?said Biddy. "I should have written if I had
thought that."

Don't suppose that I mean to be unkind, Biddy, when I say I
consider that you ought to have thought that.

Do you, Mr. Pip?

She was so quietand had such an orderlygoodand pretty way
with herthat I did not like the thought of making her cry again.
After looking a little at her downcast eyes as she walked beside
meI gave up that point.

I suppose it will be difficult for you to remain here now, Biddy

Oh! I can't do so, Mr. Pip,said Biddyin a tone of regretbut
still of quiet conviction. "I have been speaking to Mrs. Hubbleand
I am going to her to-morrow. I hope we shall be able to take some
care of Mr. Gargerytogetheruntil he settles down."

How are you going to live, Biddy? If you want any mo--

How am I going to live?repeated Biddystriking inwith a
momentary flush upon her face. "I'll tell youMr. Pip. I am going
to try to get the place of mistress in the new school nearly
finished here. I can be well recommended by all the neighboursand
I hope I can be industrious and patientand teach myself while I
teach others. You knowMr. Pip pursued Biddy, with a smile, as
she raised her eyes to my face, the new schools are not like the

oldbut I learnt a good deal from you after that timeand have
had time since then to improve."

I think you would always improve, Biddy, under any circumstances.

Ah! Except in my bad side of human nature,murmured Biddy.

It was not so much a reproachas an irresistible thinking aloud.
Well! I thought I would give up that point too. SoI walked a
little further with Biddylooking silently at her downcast eyes.

I have not heard the particulars of my sister's death, Biddy.

They are very slight, poor thing. She had been in one of her bad
states - though they had got better of late, rather than worse for
four days, when she came out of it in the evening, just at
teatime, and said quite plainly, 'Joe.' As she had never said any
word for a long while, I ran and fetched in Mr. Gargery from the
forge. She made signs to me that she wanted him to sit down close
to her, and wanted me to put her arms round his neck. So I put them
round his neck, and she laid her head down on his shoulder quite
content and satisfied. And so she presently said 'Joe' again, and
once 'Pardon,' and once 'Pip.' And so she never lifted her head up
any more, and it was just an hour later when we laid it down on her
own bed, because we found she was gone.

Biddy cried; the darkening gardenand the laneand the stars that
were coming outwere blurred in my own sight.

Nothing was ever discovered, Biddy?


Do you know what is become of Orlick?

I should think from the colour of his clothes that he is working
in the quarries.

Of course you have seen him then? - Why are you looking at that
dark tree in the lane?

I saw him there, on the night she died.

That was not the last time either, Biddy?

No; I have seen him there, since we have been walking here. - It
is of no use,said Biddylaying her hand upon my armas I was
for running outyou know I would not deceive you; he was not
there a minute, and he is gone.

It revived my utmost indignation to find that she was still pursued
by this fellowand I felt inveterate against him. I told her so
and told her that I would spend any money or take any pains to
drive him out of that country. By degrees she led me into more
temperate talkand she told me how Joe loved meand how Joe never
complained of anything - she didn't sayof me; she had no need; I
knew what she meant - but ever did his duty in his way of life
with a strong handa quiet tongueand a gentle heart.

Indeed, it would be hard to say too much for him,said I; "and
Biddywe must often speak of these thingsfor of course I shall
be often down here now. I am not going to leave poor Joe alone."

Biddy said never a single word.

Biddy, don't you hear me?

Yes, Mr. Pip.

Not to mention your calling me Mr. Pip - which appears to me to be
in bad taste, Biddy - what do you mean?

What do I mean?asked Biddytimidly.

Biddy,said Iin a virtuously self-asserting mannerI must
request to know what you mean by this?

By this?said Biddy.

Now, don't echo,I retorted. "You used not to echoBiddy."

Used not!said Biddy. "O Mr. Pip! Used!"

Well! I rather thought I would give up that point too. After
another silent turn in the gardenI fell back on the main

Biddy,said II made a remark respecting my coming down here
often, to see Joe, which you received with a marked silence. Have
the goodness, Biddy, to tell me why.

Are you quite sure, then, that you WILL come to see him often?
asked Biddystopping in the narrow garden walkand looking at me
under the stars with a clear and honest eye.

Oh dear me!said Ias if I found myself compelled to give up
Biddy in despair. "This really is a very bad side of human
nature! Don't say any moreif you pleaseBiddy. This shocks me
very much."

For which cogent reason I kept Biddy at a distance during supper
andwhen I went up to my own old little roomtook as stately a
leave of her as I couldin my murmuring souldeem reconcilable
with the churchyard and the event of the day. As often as I was
restless in the nightand that was every quarter of an hourI
reflected what an unkindnesswhat an injurywhat an injustice
Biddy had done me.

Early in the morningI was to go. Early in the morningI was out
and looking inunseenat one of the wooden windows of the forge.
There I stoodfor minuteslooking at Joealready at work with a
glow of health and strength upon his face that made it show as if
the bright sun of the life in store for him were shining on it.

Good-bye, dear Joe! - No, don't wipe it off - for God's sake, give
me your blackened hand! - I shall be down soon, and often.

Never too soon, sir,said Joeand never too often, Pip!

Biddy was waiting for me at the kitchen doorwith a mug of new
milk and a crust of bread. "Biddy said I, when I gave her my hand
at parting, I am not angrybut I am hurt."

No, don't be hurt,she pleaded quite pathetically; "let only me
be hurtif I have been ungenerous."

Once morethe mists were rising as I walked away. If they
disclosed to meas I suspect they didthat I should not come

backand that Biddy was quite rightall I can say is - they were
quite right too.

Chapter 36

Herbert and I went on from bad to worsein the way of increasing
our debtslooking into our affairsleaving Marginsand the like
exemplary transactions; and Time went onwhether or noas he has
a way of doing; and I came of age - in fulfilment of Herbert's
predictionthat I should do so before I knew where I was.

Herbert himself had come of ageeight months before me. As he had
nothing else than his majority to come intothe event did not make
a profound sensation in Barnard's Inn. But we had looked forward to
my one-and-twentieth birthdaywith a crowd of speculations and
anticipationsfor we had both considered that my guardian could
hardly help saying something definite on that occasion.

I had taken care to have it well understood in Little Britainwhen
my birthday was. On the day before itI received an official note
from Wemmickinforming me that Mr. Jaggers would be glad if I would
call upon him at five in the afternoon of the auspicious day. This
convinced us that something great was to happenand threw me into
an unusual flutter when I repaired to my guardian's officea model
of punctuality.

In the outer office Wemmick offered me his congratulationsand
incidentally rubbed the side of his nose with a folded piece of
tissuepaper that I liked the look of. But he said nothing
respecting itand motioned me with a nod into my guardian's room.
It was Novemberand my guardian was standing before his fire
leaning his back against the chimney-piecewith his hands under
his coattails.

Well, Pip,said heI must call you Mr. Pip to-day.
Congratulations, Mr. Pip.

We shook hands - he was always a remarkably short shaker - and I
thanked him.

Take a chair, Mr. Pip,said my guardian.

As I sat downand he preserved his attitude and bent his brows at
his bootsI felt at a disadvantagewhich reminded me of that old
time when I had been put upon a tombstone. The two ghastly casts on
the shelf were not far from himand their expression was as if
they were making a stupid apoplectic attempt to attend to the

Now my young friend,my guardian beganas if I were a witness in
the boxI am going to have a word or two with you.

If you please, sir.

What do you suppose,said Mr. Jaggersbending forward to look at
the groundand then throwing his head back to look at the ceiling
what do you suppose you are living at the rate of?

At the rate of, sir?

At,repeated Mr. Jaggersstill looking at the ceilingthe rate
- of?And then looked all round the roomand paused with his
pocket-handkerchief in his handhalf way to his nose.

I had looked into my affairs so oftenthat I had thoroughly
destroyed any slight notion I might ever have had of their
bearings. ReluctantlyI confessed myself quite unable to answer
the question. This reply seemed agreeable to Mr. Jaggerswho said
I thought so!and blew his nose with an air of satisfaction.

Now, I have asked you a question, my friend,said Mr. Jaggers.
Have you anything to ask me?

Of course it would be a great relief to me to ask you several
questions, sir; but I remember your prohibition.

Ask one,said Mr. Jaggers.

Is my benefactor to be made known to me to-day?

No. Ask another.

Is that confidence to be imparted to me soon?

Waive that, a moment,said Mr. Jaggersand ask another.

I looked about mebut there appeared to be now no possible escape
from the inquiryHave - I - anything to receive, sir?On that
Mr. Jaggers saidtriumphantlyI thought we should come to it!
and called to Wemmick to give him that piece of paper. Wemmick
appearedhanded it inand disappeared.

Now, Mr. Pip,said Mr. Jaggersattend, if you please. You have
been drawing pretty freely here; your name occurs pretty often in
Wemmick's cash-book; but you are in debt, of course?

I am afraid I must say yes, sir.

You know you must say yes; don't you?said Mr. Jaggers.

Yes, sir.

I don't ask you what you owe, because you don't know; and if you
did know, you wouldn't tell me; you would say less. Yes, yes, my
friend,cried Mr. Jaggerswaving his forefinger to stop meas I
made a show of protesting: "it's likely enough that you think you
wouldn'tbut you would. You'll excuse mebut I know better than
you. Nowtake this piece of paper in your hand. You have got it?
Very good. Nowunfold it and tell me what it is."

This is a bank-note,said Ifor five hundred pounds.

That is a bank-note,repeated Mr. Jaggersfor five hundred
pounds. And a very handsome sum of money too, I think. You consider
it so?

How could I do otherwise!

Ah! But answer the question,said Mr. Jaggers.


You consider it, undoubtedly, a handsome sum of money. Now, that
handsome sum of money, Pip, is your own. It is a present to you on
this day, in earnest of your expectations. And at the rate of that
handsome sum of money per annum, and at no higher rate, you are to
live until the donor of the whole appears. That is to say, you will

now take your money affairs entirely into your own hands, and you
will draw from Wemmick one hundred and twenty-five pounds per
quarter, until you are in communication with the fountain-head, and
no longer with the mere agent. As I have told you before, I am the
mere agent. I execute my instructions, and I am paid for doing so.
I think them injudicious, but I am not paid for giving any opinion
on their merits.

I was beginning to express my gratitude to my benefactor for the
great liberality with which I was treatedwhen Mr. Jaggers stopped
me. "I am not paidPip said he, coolly, to carry your words to
any one;" and then gathered up his coat-tailsas he had gathered
up the subjectand stood frowning at his boots as if he suspected
them of designs against him.

After a pauseI hinted:

There was a question just now, Mr. Jaggers, which you desired me to
waive for a moment. I hope I am doing nothing wrong in asking it

What is it?said he.

I might have known that he would never help me out; but it took me
aback to have to shape the question afreshas if it were quite
new. "Is it likely I said, after hesitating, that my patronthe
fountain-head you have spoken ofMr. Jaggerswill soon--" there I
delicately stopped.

Will soon what?asked Mr. Jaggers. "That's no question as it
standsyou know."

Will soon come to London,said Iafter casting about for a
precise form of wordsor summon me anywhere else?

Now here,replied Mr. Jaggersfixing me for the first time with
his dark deep-set eyeswe must revert to the evening when we
first encountered one another in your village. What did I tell you
then, Pip?

You told me, Mr. Jaggers, that it might be years hence when that
person appeared.

Just so,said Mr. Jaggers; "that's my answer."

As we looked full at one anotherI felt my breath come quicker in
my strong desire to get something out of him. And as I felt that it
came quickerand as I felt that he saw that it came quickerI
felt that I had less chance than ever of getting anything out of

Do you suppose it will still be years hence, Mr. Jaggers?

Mr. Jaggers shook his head - not in negativing the questionbut in
altogether negativing the notion that he could anyhow be got to
answer it - and the two horrible casts of the twitched faces
lookedwhen my eyes strayed up to themas if they had come to a
crisis in their suspended attentionand were going to sneeze.

Come!said Mr. Jaggerswarming the backs of his legs with the
backs of his warmed handsI'll be plain with you, my friend Pip.
That's a question I must not be asked. You'll understand that,
better, when I tell you it's a question that might compromise me.
Come! I'll go a little further with you; I'll say something more.

He bent down so low to frown at his bootsthat he was able to rub
the calves of his legs in the pause he made.

When that person discloses,said Mr. Jaggersstraightening
himselfyou and that person will settle your own affairs. When
that person discloses, my part in this business will cease and
determine. When that person discloses, it will not be necessary for
me to know anything about it. And that's all I have got to say.

We looked at one another until I withdrew my eyesand looked
thoughtfully at the floor. From this last speech I derived the
notion that Miss Havishamfor some reason or no reasonhad not
taken him into her confidence as to her designing me for Estella;
that he resented thisand felt a jealousy about it; or that he
really did object to that schemeand would have nothing to do with
it. When I raised my eyes againI found that he had been shrewdly
looking at me all the timeand was doing so still.

If that is all you have to say, sir,I remarkedthere can be
nothing left for me to say.

He nodded assentand pulled out his thief-dreaded watchand asked
me where I was going to dine? I replied at my own chamberswith
Herbert. As a necessary sequenceI asked him if he would favour us
with his companyand he promptly accepted the invitation. But he
insisted on walking home with mein order that I might make no
extra preparation for himand first he had a letter or two to
writeand (of course) had his hands to wash. SoI said I would go
into the outer office and talk to Wemmick.

The fact wasthat when the five hundred pounds had come into my
pocketa thought had come into my head which had been often there
before; and it appeared to me that Wemmick was a good person to
advise withconcerning such thought.

He had already locked up his safeand made preparations for going
home. He had left his deskbrought out his two greasy office
candlesticks and stood them in line with the snuffers on a slab
near the doorready to be extinguished; he had raked his fire low
put his hat and great-coat readyand was beating himself all over
the chest with his safe-keyas an athletic exercise after

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

Wemmick tightened his post-office and shook his headas if his
opinion were dead against any fatal weakness of that sort.

This friend,I pursuedis 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 Wemmickin a tone drier than any sawdust.

With some money down,I repliedfor an uneasy remembrance shot
across me of that symmetrical bundle of papers at home; "with some
money downand perhaps some anticipation of my expectations."

Mr. Pip,said WemmickI 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 turnwith
the handle of his safe-key on the palm of his hand. "There's as
many as sixyou seeto choose from."

I don't understand you,said I.

Choose your bridge, Mr. Pip,returned Wemmickand 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.

I could have posted a newspaper in his mouthhe made it so wide
after saying this.

This is very discouraging,said I.

Meant to be so,said Wemmick.

Then is it your opinion,I inquiredwith some little
indignationthat a man should never--

- Invest portable property in a friend?said Wemmick. "Certainly
he should not. Unless he wants to get rid of the friend - and then
it becomes a question how much portable property it may be worth to
get rid of him."

And that,said Iis your deliberate opinion, Mr. Wemmick?

That,he returnedis my deliberate opinion in this office.

Ah!said Ipressing himfor I thought I saw him near a loophole
here; "but would that be your opinion at Walworth?"

Mr. Pip,he repliedwith gravityWalworth is one place, and
this office is another. Much as the Aged is one person, and Mr.
Jaggers is another. They must not be confounded together. My
Walworth sentiments must be taken at Walworth; none but my official
sentiments can be taken in this office.

Very well,said Imuch relievedthen I shall look you up at
Walworth, you may depend upon it.

Mr. Pip,he returnedyou will be welcome there, in a private and
personal capacity.

We had held this conversation in a low voicewell knowing my
guardian's ears to be the sharpest of the sharp. As he now appeared
in his doorwaytowelling his handsWemmick got on his greatcoat
and stood by to snuff out the candles. We all three went into the
street togetherand from the door-step Wemmick turned his wayand
Mr. Jaggers and I turned ours.

I could not help wishing more than once that eveningthat Mr.
Jaggers had had an Aged in Gerrard-streetor a Stingeror a
Somethingor a Somebodyto unbend his brows a little. It was an
uncomfortable consideration on a twenty-first birthdaythat coming
of age at all seemed hardly worth while in such a guarded and
suspicious world as he made of it. He was a thousand times better
informed and cleverer than Wemmickand yet I would a thousand
times rather have had Wemmick to dinner. And Mr. Jaggers made not me
alone intensely melancholybecauseafter he was goneHerbert
said of himselfwith his eyes fixed on the firethat he thought
he must have committed a felony and forgotten the details of ithe

felt so dejected and guilty.

Chapter 37

Deeming Sunday the best day for taking Mr. Wemmick's Walworth
sentimentsI devoted the next ensuing Sunday afternoon to a
pilgrimage to the Castle. On arriving before the battlementsI
found the Union Jack flying and the drawbridge up; but undeterred
by this show of defiance and resistanceI rang at the gateand
was admitted in a most pacific manner by the Aged.

My son, sir,said the old manafter securing the drawbridge
rather had it in his mind that you might happen to drop in, and he
left word that he would soon be home from his afternoon's walk. He
is very regular in his walks, is my son. Very regular in
everything, is my son.

I nodded at the old gentleman as Wemmick himself might have nodded
and we went in and sat down by the fireside.

You made acquaintance with my son, sir,said the old manin his
chirping waywhile he warmed his hands at the blazeat his
office, I expect?I nodded. "Hah! I have heerd that my son is a
wonderful hand at his businesssir?" I nodded hard. "Yes; so they
tell me. His business is the Law?" I nodded harder. "Which makes it
more surprising in my son said the old man, for he was not
brought up to the Lawbut to the Wine-Coopering."

Curious to know how the old gentleman stood informed concerning the
reputation of Mr. JaggersI roared that name at him. He threw me
into the greatest confusion by laughing heartily and replying in a
very sprightly mannerNo, to be sure; you're right.And to this
hour I have not the faintest notion what he meantor what joke he
thought I had made.

As I could not sit there nodding at him perpetuallywithout making
some other attempt to interest himI shouted at inquiry whether
his own calling in life had been "the Wine-Coopering." By dint of
straining that term out of myself several times and tapping the old
gentleman on the chest to associate it with himI at last
succeeded in making my meaning understood.

No,said the old gentleman; "the warehousingthe warehousing.
Firstover yonder;" he appeared to mean up the chimneybut I
believe he intended to refer me to Liverpool; "and then in the City
of London here. Howeverhaving an infirmity - for I am hard of

I expressed in pantomime the greatest astonishment.

- Yes, hard of hearing; having that infirmity coming upon me, my
son he went into the Law, and he took charge of me, and he by
little and little made out this elegant and beautiful property. But
returning to what you said, you know,pursued the old managain
laughing heartilywhat I say is, No to be sure; you're right.

I was modestly wondering whether my utmost ingenuity would have
enabled me to say anything that would have amused him half as much
as this imaginary pleasantrywhen I was startled by a sudden click
in the wall on one side of the chimneyand the ghostly tumbling
open of a little wooden flap with "JOHN" upon it. The old man
following my eyescried with great triumphMy son's come home!
and we both went out to the drawbridge.

It was worth any money to see Wemmick waving a salute to me from
the other side of the moatwhen we might have shaken hands across
it with the greatest ease. The Aged was so delighted to work the
drawbridgethat I made no offer to assist himbut stood quiet
until Wemmick had come acrossand had presented me to Miss
Skiffins: a lady by whom he was accompanied.

Miss Skiffins was of a wooden appearanceand waslike her escort
in the post-office branch of the service. She might have been some
two or three years younger than Wemmickand I judged her to stand
possessed of portable property. The cut of her dress from the waist
upwardboth before and behindmade her figure very like a boy's
kite; and I might have pronounced her gown a little too decidedly
orangeand her gloves a little too intensely green. But she seemed
to be a good sort of fellowand showed a high regard for the Aged.
I was not long in discovering that she was a frequent visitor at
the Castle; foron our going inand my complimenting Wemmick on
his ingenious contrivance for announcing himself to the Agedhe
begged me to give my attention for a moment to the other side of
the chimneyand disappeared. Presently another click cameand
another little door tumbled open with "Miss Skiffins" on it; then
Miss Skiffins shut up and John tumbled open; then Miss Skiffins and
John both tumbled open togetherand finally shut up together. On
Wemmick's return from working these mechanical appliancesI
expressed the great admiration with which I regarded themand he
saidWell, you know, they're both pleasant and useful to the
Aged. And by George, sir, it's a thing worth mentioning, that of
all the people who come to this gate, the secret of those pulls is
only known to the Aged, Miss Skiffins, and me!

And Mr. Wemmick made them,added Miss Skiffinswith his own
hands out of his own head.

While Miss Skiffins was taking off her bonnet (she retained her
green gloves during the evening as an outward and visible sign that
there was company)Wemmick invited me to take a walk with him
round the propertyand see how the island looked in wintertime.
Thinking that he did this to give me an opportunity of taking his
Walworth sentimentsI seized the opportunity as soon as we were
out of the Castle.

Having thought of the matter with careI approached my subject as
if I had never hinted at it before. I informed Wemmick that I was
anxious in behalf of Herbert Pocketand I told him how we had
first metand how we had fought. I glanced at Herbert's homeand
at his characterand at his having no means but such as he was
dependent on his father for: thoseuncertain and unpunctual.

I alluded to the advantages I had derived in my first rawness and
ignorance from his societyand I confessed that I feared I had but
ill repaid themand that he might have done better without me and
my expectations. Keeping Miss Havisham in the background at a great
distanceI still hinted at the possibility of my having competed
with him in his prospectsand at the certainty of his possessing a
generous souland being far above any mean distrusts
retaliationsor designs. For all these reasons (I told Wemmick)
and because he was my young companion and friendand I had a great
affection for himI wished my own good fortune to reflect some
rays upon himand therefore I sought advice from Wemmick's
experience and knowledge of men and affairshow I could best try
with my resources to help Herbert to some present income - say of a
hundred a yearto keep him in good hope and heart - and gradually
to buy him on to some small partnership. I begged Wemmickin

conclusionto understand that my help must always be rendered
without Herbert's knowledge or suspicionand that there was no one
else in the world with whom I could advise. I wound up by laying my
hand upon his shoulderand sayingI can't help confiding in you,
though I know it must be troublesome to you; but that is your
fault, in having ever brought me here.

Wemmick was silent for a little whileand then said with a kind of
startWell you know, Mr. Pip, I must tell you one thing. This is
devilish good of you.

Say you'll help me to be good then,said I.

Ecod,replied Wemmickshaking his headthat's not my trade.

Nor is this your trading-place,said I.

You are right,he returned. "You hit the nail on the head. Mr.
PipI'll put on my considering-capand I think all you want to
domay be done by degrees. Skiffins (that's her brother) is an
accountant and agent. I'll look him up and go to work for you."

I thank you ten thousand times.

On the contrary,said heI thank you, for though we are
strictly in our private and personal capacity, still it may be
mentioned that there are Newgate cobwebs about, and it brushes them

After a little further conversation to the same effectwe returned
into the Castle where we found Miss Skiffins preparing tea. The
responsible duty of making the toast was delegated to the Agedand
that excellent old gentleman was so intent upon it that he seemed
to me in some danger of melting his eyes. It was no nominal meal
that we were going to makebut a vigorous reality. The Aged
prepared such a haystack of buttered toastthat I could scarcely
see him over it as it simmered on an iron stand hooked on to the
top-bar; while Miss Skiffins brewed such a jorum of teathat the
pig in the back premises became strongly excitedand repeatedly
expressed his desire to participate in the entertainment.

The flag had been struckand the gun had been firedat the right
moment of timeand I felt as snugly cut off from the rest of
Walworth as if the moat were thirty feet wide by as many deep.
Nothing disturbed the tranquillity of the Castlebut the
occasional tumbling open of John and Miss Skiffins: which little
doors were a prey to some spasmodic infirmity that made me
sympathetically uncomfortable until I got used to it. I inferred
from the methodical nature of Miss Skiffins's arrangements that she
made tea there every Sunday night; and I rather suspected that a
classic brooch she worerepresenting the profile of an undesirable
female with a very straight nose and a very new moonwas a piece
of portable property that had been given her by Wemmick.

We ate the whole of the toastand drank tea in proportionand it
was delightful to see how warm and greasy we all got after it. The
Aged especiallymight have passed for some clean old chief of a
savage tribejust oiled. After a short pause for reposeMiss
Skiffins - in the absence of the little servant whoit seemed
retired to the bosom of her family on Sunday afternoons - washed up
the tea-thingsin a trifling lady-like amateur manner that
compromised none of us. Thenshe put on her gloves againand we
drew round the fireand Wemmick saidNow Aged Parent, tip us the

Wemmick explained to me while the Aged got his spectacles outthat
this was according to customand that it gave the old gentleman
infinite satisfaction to read the news aloud. "I won't offer an
apology said Wemmick, for he isn't capable of many pleasures are
youAged P.?"

All right, John, all right,returned the old manseeing himself
spoken to.

Only tip him a nod every now and then when he looks off his
paper,said Wemmickand he'll be as happy as a king. We are all
attention, Aged One.

All right, John, all right!returned the cheerful old man: so
busy and so pleasedthat it really was quite charming.

The Aged's reading reminded me of the classes at Mr. Wopsle's
great-aunt'swith the pleasanter peculiarity that it seemed to
come through a keyhole. As he wanted the candles close to himand
as he was always on the verge of putting either his head or the
newspaper into themhe required as much watching as a powder-mill.
But Wemmick was equally untiring and gentle in his vigilanceand
the Aged read onquite unconscious of his many rescues. Whenever
he looked at uswe all expressed the greatest interest and
amazementand nodded until he resumed again.

As Wemmick and Miss Skiffins sat side by sideand as I sat in a
shadowy cornerI observed a slow and gradual elongation of Mr.
Wemmick's mouthpowerfully suggestive of his slowly and gradually
stealing his arm round Miss Skiffins's waist. In course of time I
saw his hand appear on the other side of Miss Skiffins; but at that
moment Miss Skiffins neatly stopped him with the green glove
unwound his arm again as if it were an article of dressand with
the greatest deliberation laid it on the table before her. Miss
Skiffins's composure while she did this was one of the most
remarkable sights I have ever seenand if I could have thought the
act consistent with abstraction of mindI should have deemed that
Miss Skiffins performed it mechanically.

By-and-byI noticed Wemmick's arm beginning to disappear again
and gradually fading out of view. Shortly afterwardshis mouth
began to widen again. After an interval of suspense on my part that
was quite enthralling and almost painfulI saw his hand appear on
the other side of Miss Skiffins. InstantlyMiss Skiffins stopped
it with the neatness of a placid boxertook off that girdle or
cestus as beforeand laid it on the table. Taking the table to
represent the path of virtueI am justified in stating that during
the whole time of the Aged's readingWemmick's arm was straying
from the path of virtue and being recalled to it by Miss Skiffins.

At lastthe Aged read himself into a light slumber. This was the
time for Wemmick to produce a little kettlea tray of glassesand
a black bottle with a porcelain-topped corkrepresenting some
clerical dignitary of a rubicund and social aspect. With the aid of
these appliances we all had something warm to drink: including the
Agedwho was soon awake again. Miss Skiffins mixedand I observed
that she and Wemmick drank out of one glass. Of course I knew
better than to offer to see Miss Skiffins homeand under the
circumstances I thought I had best go first: which I didtaking a
cordial leave of the Agedand having passed a pleasant evening.

Before a week was outI received a note from Wemmickdated
Walworthstating that he hoped he had made some advance in that

matter appertaining to our private and personal capacitiesand
that he would be glad if I could come and see him again upon it.
SoI went out to Walworth againand yet againand yet againand
I saw him by appointment in the City several timesbut never held
any communication with him on the subject in or near Little
Britain. The upshot wasthat we found a worthy young merchant or
shipping-brokernot long established in businesswho wanted
intelligent helpand who wanted capitaland who in due course of
time and receipt would want a partner. Between him and mesecret
articles were signed of which Herbert was the subjectand I paid
him half of my five hundred pounds downand engaged for sundry
other payments: someto fall due at certain dates out of my
income: somecontingent on my coming into my property. Miss
Skiffins's brother conducted the negotiation. Wemmick pervaded it
throughoutbut never appeared in it.

The whole business was so cleverly managedthat Herbert had not
the least suspicion of my hand being in it. I never shall forget
the radiant face with which he came home one afternoonand told
meas a mighty piece of newsof his having fallen in with one
Clarriker (the young merchant's name)and of Clarriker's having
shown an extraordinary inclination towards himand of his belief
that the opening had come at last. Day by day as his hopes grew
stronger and his face brighterhe must have thought me a more and
more affectionate friendfor I had the greatest difficulty in
restraining my tears of triumph when I saw him so happy. At length
the thing being doneand he having that day entered Clarriker's
Houseand he having talked to me for a whole evening in a flush of
pleasure and successI did really cry in good earnest when I went
to bedto think that my expectations had done some good to

A great event in my lifethe turning point of my lifenow opens
on my view. Butbefore I proceed to narrate itand before I pass
on to all the changes it involvedI must give one chapter to
Estella. It is not much to give to the theme that so long filled
my heart.

Chapter 38

If that staid old house near the Green at Richmond should ever come
to be haunted when I am deadit will be hauntedsurelyby my
ghost. O the manymany nights and days through which the unquiet
spirit within me haunted that house when Estella lived there! Let
my body be where it wouldmy spirit was always wandering
wanderingwanderingabout that house.

The lady with whom Estella was placedMrs. Brandley by namewas a
widowwith one daughter several years older than Estella. The
mother looked youngand the daughter looked old; the mother's
complexion was pinkand the daughter's was yellow; the mother set
up for frivolityand the daughter for theology. They were in what
is called a good positionand visitedand were visited by
numbers of people. Littleif anycommunity of feeling subsisted
between them and Estellabut the understanding was established
that they were necessary to herand that she was necessary to
them. Mrs. Brandley had been a friend of Miss Havisham's before the
time of her seclusion.

In Mrs. Brandley's house and out of Mrs. Brandley's houseI suffered
every kind and degree of torture that Estella could cause me. The
nature of my relations with herwhich placed me on terms of
familiarity without placing me on terms of favourconduced to my

distraction. She made use of me to tease other admirersand she
turned the very familiarity between herself and meto the account
of putting a constant slight on my devotion to her. If I had been
her secretarystewardhalf-brotherpoor relation - if I had been
a younger brother of her appointed husband - I could not have
seemed to myselffurther from my hopes when I was nearest to her.
The privilege of calling her by her name and hearing her call me by
minebecame under the circumstances an aggravation of my trials;
and while I think it likely that it almost maddened her other
loversI know too certainly that it almost maddened me.

She had admirers without end. No doubt my jealousy made an admirer
of every one who went near her; but there were more than enough of
them without that.

I saw her often at RichmondI heard of her often in townand I
used often to take her and the Brandleys on the water; there were
picnicsfete daysplaysoperasconcertspartiesall sorts of
pleasuresthrough which I pursued her - and they were all miseries
to me. I never had one hour's happiness in her societyand yet my
mind all round the four-and-twenty hours was harping on the
happiness of having her with me unto death.

Throughout this part of our intercourse - and it lastedas will
presently be seenfor what I then thought a long time - she
habitually reverted to that tone which expressed that our
association was forced upon us. There were other times when she
would come to a sudden check in this tone and in all her many
tonesand would seem to pity me.

Pip, Pip,she said one eveningcoming to such a checkwhen we
sat apart at a darkening window of the house in Richmond; "will you
never take warning?"

Of what?

Of me.

Warning not to be attracted by you, do you mean, Estella?

Do I mean! If you don't know what I mean, you are blind.

I should have replied that Love was commonly reputed blindbut for
the reason that I always was restrained - and this was not the
least of my miseries - by a feeling that it was ungenerous to press
myself upon herwhen she knew that she could not choose but obey
Miss Havisham. My dread always wasthat this knowledge on her part
laid me under a heavy disadvantage with her prideand made me the
subject of a rebellious struggle in her bosom.

At any rate,said II have no warning given me just now, for
you wrote to me to come to you, this time.

That's true,said Estellawith a cold careless smile that always
chilled me.

After looking at the twilight withoutfor a little whileshe went
on to say:

The time has come round when Miss Havisham wishes to have me for a
day at Satis. You are to take me there, and bring me back, if you
will. She would rather I did not travel alone, and objects to
receiving my maid, for she has a sensitive horror of being talked
of by such people. Can you take me?

Can I take you, Estella!

You can then? The day after to-morrow, if you please. You are to
pay all charges out of my purse, You hear the condition of your

And must obey,said I.

This was all the preparation I received for that visitor for
others like it: Miss Havisham never wrote to menor had I ever so
much as seen her handwriting. We went down on the next day but one
and we found her in the room where I had first beheld herand it
is needless to add that there was no change in Satis House.

She was even more dreadfully fond of Estella than she had been when
I last saw them together; I repeat the word advisedlyfor there
was something positively dreadful in the energy of her looks and
embraces. She hung upon Estella's beautyhung upon her wordshung
upon her gesturesand sat mumbling her own trembling fingers while
she looked at heras though she were devouring the beautiful
creature she had reared.

From Estella she looked at mewith a searching glance that seemed
to pry into my heart and probe its wounds. "How does she use you
Pip; how does she use you?" she asked me againwith her witch-like
eagernesseven in Estella's hearing. Butwhen we sat by her
flickering fire at nightshe was most weird; for thenkeeping
Estella's hand drawn through her arm and clutched in her own hand
she extorted from herby dint of referring back to what Estella
had told her in her regular lettersthe names and conditions of
the men whom she had fascinated; and as Miss Havisham dwelt upon
this rollwith the intensity of a mind mortally hurt and diseased
she sat with her other hand on her crutch stickand her chin on
thatand her wan bright eyes glaring at mea very spectre.

I saw in thiswretched though it made meand bitter the sense of
dependence and even of degradation that it awakened - I saw in
thisthat Estella was set to wreak Miss Havisham's revenge on men
and that she was not to be given to me until she had gratified it
for a term. I saw in thisa reason for her being beforehand
assigned to me. Sending her out to attract and torment and do
mischiefMiss Havisham sent her with the malicious assurance that
she was beyond the reach of all admirersand that all who staked
upon that cast were secured to lose. I saw in thisthat Itoo
was tormented by a perversion of ingenuityeven while the prize
was reserved for me. I saw in thisthe reason for my being staved
off so longand the reason for my late guardian's declining to
commit himself to the formal knowledge of such a scheme. In a word
I saw in thisMiss Havisham as I had her then and there before my
eyesand always had had her before my eyes; and I saw in thisthe
distinct shadow of the darkened and unhealthy house in which her
life was hidden from the sun.

The candles that lighted that room of hers were placed in sconces
on the wall. They were high from the groundand they burnt with
the steady dulness of artificial light in air that is seldom
renewed. As I looked round at themand at the pale gloom they
madeand at the stopped clockand at the withered articles of
bridal dress upon the table and the groundand at her own awful
figure with its ghostly reflection thrown large by the fire upon
the ceiling and the wallI saw in everything the construction that
my mind had come torepeated and thrown back to me. My thoughts
passed into the great room across the landing where the table was

spreadand I saw it writtenas it werein the falls of the
cobwebs from the centre-piecein the crawlings of the spiders on
the clothin the tracks of the mice as they betook their little
quickened hearts behind the panelsand in the gropings and
pausings of the beetles on the floor.

It happened on the occasion of this visit that some sharp words
arose between Estella and Miss Havisham. It was the first time I
had ever seen them opposed.

We were seated by the fireas just now describedand Miss
Havisham still had Estella's arm drawn through her ownand still
clutched Estella's hand in herswhen Estella gradually began to
detach herself. She had shown a proud impatience more than once
beforeand had rather endured that fierce affection than accepted
or returned it.

What!said Miss Havishamflashing her eyes upon herare you
tired of me?

Only a little tired of myself,replied Estelladisengaging her
armand moving to the great chimney-piecewhere she stood looking
down at the fire.

Speak the truth, you ingrate!cried Miss Havishampassionately
striking her stick upon the floor; "you are tired of me."

Estella looked at her with perfect composureand again looked down
at the fire. Her graceful figure and her beautiful face expressed a
self-possessed indifference to the wild heat of the otherthat was
almost cruel.

You stock and stone!exclaimed Miss Havisham. "You coldcold

What?said Estellapreserving her attitude of indifference as
she leaned against the great chimney-piece and only moving her
eyes; "do you reproach me for being cold? You?"

Are you not?was the fierce retort.

You should know,said Estella. "I am what you have made me. Take
all the praisetake all the blame; take all the successtake all
the failure; in shorttake me."

O, look at her, look at her!cried Miss Havishambitterly; "Look
at herso hard and thanklesson the hearth where she was reared!
Where I took her into this wretched breast when it was first
bleeding from its stabsand where I have lavished years of
tenderness upon her!"

At least I was no party to the compact,said Estellafor if I
could walk and speak, when it was made, it was as much as I could
do. But what would you have? You have been very good to me, and I
owe everything to you. What would you have?

Love,replied the other.

You have it.

I have not,said Miss Havisham.

Mother by adoption,retorted Estellanever departing from the
easy grace of her attitudenever raising her voice as the other

didnever yielding either to anger or tendernessMother by
adoption, I have said that I owe everything to you. All I possess
is freely yours. All that you have given me, is at your command to
have again. Beyond that, I have nothing. And if you ask me to give
you what you never gave me, my gratitude and duty cannot do

Did I never give her love!cried Miss Havishamturning wildly to
me. "Did I never give her a burning loveinseparable from jealousy
at all timesand from sharp painwhile she speaks thus to me! Let
her call me madlet her call me mad!"

Why should I call you mad,returned EstellaI, of all people?
Does any one live, who knows what set purposes you have, half as
well as I do? Does any one live, who knows what a steady memory you
have, half as well as I do? I who have sat on this same hearth on
the little stool that is even now beside you there, learning your
lessons and looking up into your face, when your face was strange
and frightened me!

Soon forgotten!moaned Miss Havisham. "Times soon forgotten!"

No, not forgotten,retorted Estella. "Not forgottenbut
treasured up in my memory. When have you found me false to your
teaching? When have you found me unmindful of your lessons? When
have you found me giving admission here she touched her bosom
with her hand, to anything that you excluded? Be just to me."

So proud, so proud!moaned Miss Havishampushing away her grey
hair with both her hands.

Who taught me to be proud?returned Estella. "Who praised me when
I learnt my lesson?"

So hard, so hard!moaned Miss Havishamwith her former action.

Who taught me to be hard?returned Estella. "Who praised me when
I learnt my lesson?"

But to be proud and hard to me!Miss Havisham quite shriekedas
she stretched out her arms. "EstellaEstellaEstellato be proud
and hard to me!"

Estella looked at her for a moment with a kind of calm wonderbut
was not otherwise disturbed; when the moment was pastshe looked
down at the fire again.

I cannot think,said Estellaraising her eyes after a silence
why you should be so unreasonable when I come to see you after a
separation. I have never forgotten your wrongs and their causes. I
have never been unfaithful to you or your schooling. I have never
shown any weakness that I can charge myself with.

Would it be weakness to return my love?exclaimed Miss Havisham.
But yes, yes, she would call it so!

I begin to think,said Estellain a musing wayafter another
moment of calm wonderthat I almost understand how this comes
about. If you had brought up your adopted daughter wholly in the
dark confinement of these rooms, and had never let her know that
there was such a thing as the daylight by which she had never once
seen your face - if you had done that, and then, for a purpose had
wanted her to understand the daylight and know all about it, you
would have been disappointed and angry?

Miss Havishamwith her head in her handssat making a low
moaningand swaying herself on her chairbut gave no answer.

Or,said Estella - which is a nearer case - if you had taught
her, from the dawn of her intelligence, with your utmost energy and
might, that there was such a thing as daylight, but that it was
made to be her enemy and destroyer, and she must always turn
against it, for it had blighted you and would else blight her; - if
you had done this, and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to take
naturally to the daylight and she could not do it, you would have
been disappointed and angry?

Miss Havisham sat listening (or it seemed sofor I could not see
her face)but still made no answer.

So,said EstellaI must be taken as I have been made. The
success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together
make me.

Miss Havisham had settled downI hardly knew howupon the floor
among the faded bridal relics with which it was strewn. I took
advantage of the moment - I had sought one from the first - to
leave the roomafter beseeching Estella's attention to herwith a
movement of my hand. When I leftEstella was yet standing by the
great chimney-piecejust as she had stood throughout. Miss
Havisham's grey hair was all adrift upon the groundamong the
other bridal wrecksand was a miserable sight to see.

It was with a depressed heart that I walked in the starlight for an
hour and moreabout the court-yardand about the breweryand
about the ruined garden. When I at last took courage to return to
the roomI found Estella sitting at Miss Havisham's kneetaking
up some stitches in one of those old articles of dress that were
dropping to piecesand of which I have often been reminded since
by the faded tatters of old banners that I have seen hanging up in
cathedrals. AfterwardsEstella and I played at cardsas of yore only
we were skilful nowand played French games - and so the
evening wore awayand I went to bed.

I lay in that separate building across the court-yard. It was the
first time I had ever lain down to rest in Satis Houseand sleep
refused to come near me. A thousand Miss Havishams haunted me. She
was on this side of my pillowon thatat the head of the bedat
the footbehind the half-opened door of the dressing-roomin the
dressing-roomin the room overheadin the room beneath everywhere.
At lastwhen the night was slow to creep on towards
two o'clockI felt that I absolutely could no longer bear the
place as a place to lie down inand that I must get up. I
therefore got up and put on my clothesand went out across the
yard into the long stone passagedesigning to gain the outer
court-yard and walk there for the relief of my mind. ButI was no
sooner in the passage than I extinguished my candle; forI saw
Miss Havisham going along it in a ghostly mannermaking a low cry.
I followed her at a distanceand saw her go up the staircase. She
carried a bare candle in her handwhich she had probably taken
from one of the sconces in her own roomand was a most unearthly
object by its light. Standing at the bottom of the staircaseI
felt the mildewed air of the feast-chamberwithout seeing her open
the doorand I heard her walking thereand so across into her own
roomand so across again into thatnever ceasing the low cry.
After a timeI tried in the dark both to get outand to go back
but I could do neither until some streaks of day strayed in and
showed me where to lay my hands. During the whole interval

whenever I went to the bottom of the staircaseI heard her
footstepsaw her light pass aboveand heard her ceaseless low

Before we left next daythere was no revival of the difference
between her and Estellanor was it ever revived on any similar
occasion; and there were four similar occasionsto the best of my
remembrance. Nordid Miss Havisham's manner towards Estella in
anywise changeexcept that I believed it to have something like
fear infused among its former characteristics.

It is impossible to turn this leaf of my lifewithout putting
Bentley Drummle's name upon it; or I wouldvery gladly.

On a certain occasion when the Finches were assembled in forceand
when good feeling was being promoted in the usual manner by
nobody's agreeing with anybody elsethe presiding Finch called the
Grove to orderforasmuch as Mr. Drummle had not yet toasted a lady;
whichaccording to the solemn constitution of the societyit was
the brute's turn to do that day. I thought I saw him leer in an
ugly way at me while the decanters were going roundbut as there
was no love lost between usthat might easily be. What was my
indignant surprise when he called upon the company to pledge him to

Estella who?said I.

Never you mind,retorted Drummle.

Estella of where?said I. "You are bound to say of where." Which
he wasas a Finch.

Of Richmond, gentlemen,said Drummleputting me out of the
questionand a peerless beauty.

Much he knew about peerless beautiesa mean miserable idiot! I
whispered Herbert.

I know that lady,said Herbertacross the tablewhen the toast
had been honoured.

Do you?said Drummle.

And so do I,I addedwith a scarlet face.

Do you?said Drummle. "OhLord!"

This was the only retort - except glass or crockery - that the
heavy creature was capable of making; butI became as highly
incensed by it as if it had been barbed with witand I immediately
rose in my place and said that I could not but regard it as being
like the honourable Finch's impudence to come down to that Grove we
always talked about coming down to that Groveas a neat
Parliamentary turn of expression - down to that Groveproposing a
lady of whom he knew nothing. Mr. Drummle upon thisstarting up
demanded what I meant by that? WhereuponI made him the extreme
reply that I believed he knew where I was to be found.

Whether it was possible in a Christian country to get on without
bloodafter thiswas a question on which the Finches were
divided. The debate upon it grew so livelyindeedthat at least
six more honourable members told six moreduring the discussion
that they believed they knew where they were to be found. However
it was decided at last (the Grove being a Court of Honour) that if

Mr. Drummle would bring never so slight a certificate from the lady
importing that he had the honour of her acquaintanceMr. Pip must
express his regretas a gentleman and a Finchfor "having been
betrayed into a warmth which." Next day was appointed for the
production (lest our honour should take cold from delay)and next
day Drummle appeared with a polite little avowal in Estella's hand
that she had had the honour of dancing with him several times. This
left me no course but to regret that I had been "betrayed into a
warmth which and on the whole to repudiate, as untenable, the
idea that I was to be found anywhere. Drummle and I then sat
snorting at one another for an hour, while the Grove engaged in
indiscriminate contradiction, and finally the promotion of good
feeling was declared to have gone ahead at an amazing rate.

I tell this lightly, but it was no light thing to me. For, I cannot
adequately express what pain it gave me to think that Estella
should show any favour to a contemptible, clumsy, sulky booby, so
very far below the average. To the present moment, I believe it to
have been referable to some pure fire of generosity and
disinterestedness in my love for her, that I could not endure the
thought of her stooping to that hound. No doubt I should have been
miserable whomsoever she had favoured; but a worthier object would
have caused me a different kind and degree of distress.

It was easy for me to find out, and I did soon find out, that
Drummle had begun to follow her closely, and that she allowed him
to do it. A little while, and he was always in pursuit of her, and
he and I crossed one another every day. He held on, in a dull
persistent way, and Estella held him on; now with encouragement,
now with discouragement, now almost flattering him, now openly
despising him, now knowing him very well, now scarcely remembering
who he was.

The Spider, as Mr. Jaggers had called him, was used to lying in
wait, however, and had the patience of his tribe. Added to that, he
had a blockhead confidence in his money and in his family
greatness, which sometimes did him good service - almost taking the
place of concentration and determined purpose. So, the Spider,
doggedly watching Estella, outwatched many brighter insects, and
would often uncoil himself and drop at the right nick of time.

At a certain Assembly Ball at Richmond (there used to be Assembly
Balls at most places then), where Estella had outshone all other
beauties, this blundering Drummle so hung about her, and with so
much toleration on her part, that I resolved to speak to her
concerning him. I took the next opportunity: which was when she was
waiting for Mrs. Brandley to take her home, and was sitting apart
among some flowers, ready to go. I was with her, for I almost
always accompanied them to and from such places.

Are you tiredEstella?"

Rather, Pip.

You should be.

Say rather, I should not be; for I have my letter to Satis House
to write, before I go to sleep.

Recounting to-night's triumph?said I. "Surely a very poor one

What do you mean? I didn't know there had been any.

Estella,said Ido look at that fellow in the corner yonder,
who is looking over here at us.

Why should I look at him?returned Estellawith her eyes on me
instead. "What is there in that fellow in the corner yonder - to
use your words - that I need look at?"

Indeed, that is the very question I want to ask you,said I. "For
he has been hovering about you all night."

Moths, and all sorts of ugly creatures,replied Estellawith a
glance towards himhover about a lighted candle. Can the candle
help it?

No,I returned; "but cannot the Estella help it?"

Well!said shelaughingafter a momentperhaps. Yes. Anything
you like.

But, Estella, do hear me speak. It makes me wretched that you
should encourage a man so generally despised as Drummle. You know
he is despised.

Well?said she.

You know he is as ungainly within, as without. A deficient,
illtempered, lowering, stupid fellow.

Well?said she.

You know he has nothing to recommend him but money, and a
ridiculous roll of addle-headed predecessors; now, don't you?

Well?said she again; and each time she said itshe opened her
lovely eyes the wider.

To overcome the difficulty of getting past that monosyllableI
took it from herand saidrepeating it with emphasisWell! Then,
that is why it makes me wretched.

Nowif I could have believed that she favoured Drummle with any
idea of making me - me - wretchedI should have been in better
heart about it; but in that habitual way of hersshe put me so
entirely out of the questionthat I could believe nothing of the

Pip,said Estellacasting her glance over the roomdon't be
foolish about its effect on you. It may have its effect on others,
and may be meant to have. It's not worth discussing.

Yes it is,said Ibecause I cannot bear that people should say,
'she throws away her graces and attractions on a mere boor, the
lowest in the crowd.'

I can bear it,said Estella.

Oh! don't be so proud, Estella, and so inflexible.

Calls me proud and inflexible in this breath!said Estella
opening her hands. "And in his last breath reproached me for
stooping to a boor!"

There is no doubt you do,said Isomething hurriedlyfor I
have seen you give him looks and smiles this very night, such as

you never give to - me.

Do you want me then,said Estellaturning suddenly with a fixed
and seriousif not angrylookto deceive and entrap you?

Do you deceive and entrap him, Estella?

Yes, and many others - all of them but you. Here is Mrs. Brandley.
I'll say no more.

And now that I have given the one chapter to the theme that so
filled my heartand so often made it ache and ache againI pass
onunhinderedto the event that had impended over me longer yet;
the event that had begun to be prepared forbefore I knew that the
world held Estellaand in the days when her baby intelligence was
receiving its first distortions from Miss Havisham's wasting hands.

In the Eastern storythe heavy slab that was to fall on the bed of
state in the flush of conquest was slowly wrought out of the
quarrythe tunnel for the rope to hold it in its place was slowly
carried through the leagues of rockthe slab was slowly raised and
fitted in the roofthe rope was rove to it and slowly taken
through the miles of hollow to the great iron ring. All being made
ready with much labourand the hour comethe sultan was aroused
in the dead of the nightand the sharpened axe that was to sever
the rope from the great iron ring was put into his handand he
struck with itand the rope parted and rushed awayand the
ceiling fell. Soin my case; all the worknear and afarthat
tended to the endhad been accomplished; and in an instant the
blow was struckand the roof of my stronghold dropped upon me.

Chapter 39

I was three-and-twenty years of age. Not another word had I heard
to enlighten me on the subject of my expectationsand my
twenty-third birthday was a week gone. We had left Barnard's Inn
more than a yearand lived in the Temple. Our chambers were in
Garden-courtdown by the river.

Mr. Pocket and I had for some time parted company as to our original
relationsthough we continued on the best terms. Notwithstanding my
inability to settle to anything - which I hope arose out of the
restless and incomplete tenure on which I held my means - I had a
taste for readingand read regularly so many hours a day. That
matter of Herbert's was still progressingand everything with me
was as I have brought it down to the close of the last preceding

Business had taken Herbert on a journey to Marseilles. I was alone
and had a dull sense of being alone. Dispirited and anxiouslong
hoping that to-morrow or next week would clear my wayand long
disappointedI sadly missed the cheerful face and ready response
of my friend.

It was wretched weather; stormy and wetstormy and wet; and mud
mudmuddeep in all the streets. Day after daya vast heavy veil
had been driving over London from the Eastand it drove stillas
if in the East there were an Eternity of cloud and wind. So furious
had been the guststhat high buildings in town had had the lead
stripped off their roofs; and in the countrytrees had been torn
upand sails of windmills carried away; and gloomy accounts had
come in from the coastof shipwreck and death. Violent blasts of
rain had accompanied these rages of windand the day just closed

as I sat down to read had been the worst of all.

Alterations have been made in that part of the Temple since that
timeand it has not now so lonely a character as it had thennor
is it so exposed to the river. We lived at the top of the last
houseand the wind rushing up the river shook the house that
nightlike discharges of cannonor breakings of a sea. When the
rain came with it and dashed against the windowsI thought
raising my eyes to them as they rockedthat I might have fancied
myself in a storm-beaten lighthouse. Occasionallythe smoke came
rolling down the chimney as though it could not bear to go out into
such a night; and when I set the doors open and looked down the
staircasethe staircase lamps were blown out; and when I shaded my
face with my hands and looked through the black windows (opening
them ever so littlewas out of the question in the teeth of such
wind and rain) I saw that the lamps in the court were blown out
and that the lamps on the bridges and the shore were shuddering
and that the coal fires in barges on the river were being carried
away before the wind like red-hot splashes in the rain.

I read with my watch upon the tablepurposing to close my book at
eleven o'clock. As I shut itSaint Paul'sand all the many
church-clocks in the City - some leadingsome accompanyingsome
following - struck that hour. The sound was curiously flawed by the
wind; and I was listeningand thinking how the wind assailed and
tore itwhen I heard a footstep on the stair.

What nervous folly made me startand awfully connect it with the
footstep of my dead sistermatters not. It was past in a moment
and I listened againand heard the footstep stumble in coming on.
Remembering thenthat the staircase-lights were blown outI took
up my reading-lamp and went out to the stair-head. Whoever was
below had stopped on seeing my lampfor all was quiet.

There is some one down there, is there not?I called outlooking

Yes,said a voice from the darkness beneath.

What floor do you want?

The top. Mr. Pip.

That is my name. - There is nothing the matter?

Nothing the matter,returned the voice. And the man came on.

I stood with my lamp held out over the stair-railand he came
slowly within its light. It was a shaded lampto shine upon a
bookand its circle of light was very contracted; so that he was
in it for a mere instantand then out of it. In the instantI had
seen a face that was strange to melooking up with an
incomprehensible air of being touched and pleased by the sight of

Moving the lamp as the man movedI made out that he was
substantially dressedbut roughly; like a voyager by sea. That he
had long iron-grey hair. That his age was about sixty. That he was
a muscular manstrong on his legsand that he was browned and
hardened by exposure to weather. As he ascended the last stair or
twoand the light of my lamp included us bothI sawwith a
stupid kind of amazementthat he was holding out both his hands to

Pray what is your business?I asked him.

My business?he repeatedpausing. "Ah! Yes. I will explain my
businessby your leave."

Do you wish to come in?

Yes,he replied; "I wish to come inMaster."

I had asked him the question inhospitably enoughfor I resented
the sort of bright and gratified recognition that still shone in
his face. I resented itbecause it seemed to imply that he
expected me to respond to it. ButI took him into the room I had
just leftandhaving set the lamp on the tableasked him as
civilly as I couldto explain himself.

He looked about him with the strangest air - an air of wondering
pleasureas if he had some part in the things he admired - and he
pulled off a rough outer coatand his hat. ThenI saw that his
head was furrowed and baldand that the long iron-grey hair grew
only on its sides. ButI saw nothing that in the least explained
him. On the contraryI saw him next momentonce more holding out
both his hands to me.

What do you mean?said Ihalf suspecting him to be mad.

He stopped in his looking at meand slowly rubbed his right hand
over his head. "It's disapinting to a man he said, in a coarse
broken voice, arter having looked for'ard so distantand come so
fur; but you're not to blame for that - neither on us is to blame
for that. I'll speak in half a minute. Give me half a minute

He sat down on a chair that stood before the fireand covered his
forehead with his large brown veinous hands. I looked at him
attentively thenand recoiled a little from him; but I did not
know him.

There's no one nigh,said helooking over his shoulder; "is

Why do you, a stranger coming into my rooms at this time of the
night, ask that question?said I.

You're a game one,he returnedshaking his head at me with a
deliberate affectionat once most unintelligible and most
exasperating; "I'm glad you've grow'd upa game one! But don't
catch hold of me. You'd be sorry arterwards to have done it."

I relinquished the intention he had detectedfor I knew him! Even
yetI could not recall a single featurebut I knew him! If the
wind and the rain had driven away the intervening yearshad
scattered all the intervening objectshad swept us to the
churchyard where we first stood face to face on such different
levelsI could not have known my convict more distinctly than I
knew him now as he sat in the chair before the fire. No need to
take a file from his pocket and show it to me; no need to take the
handkerchief from his neck and twist it round his head; no need to
hug himself with both his armsand take a shivering turn across
the roomlooking back at me for recognition. I knew him before he
gave me one of those aidsthougha moment beforeI had not been
conscious of remotely suspecting his identity.

He came back to where I stoodand again held out both his hands.

Not knowing what to do - forin my astonishment I had lost my
self-possession - I reluctantly gave him my hands. He grasped them
heartilyraised them to his lipskissed themand still held

You acted noble, my boy,said he. "NoblePip! And I have never
forgot it!"

At a change in his manner as if he were even going to embrace meI
laid a hand upon his breast and put him away.

Stay!said I. "Keep off! If you are grateful to me for what I did
when I was a little childI hope you have shown your gratitude by
mending your way of life. If you have come here to thank meit was
not necessary. Stillhowever you have found me outthere must be
something good in the feeling that has brought you hereand I will
not repulse you; but surely you must understand that - I--"

My attention was so attracted by the singularity of his fixed look
at methat the words died away on my tongue.

You was a saying,he observedwhen we had confronted one another
in silencethat surely I must understand. What, surely must I

That I cannot wish to renew that chance intercourse with you of
long ago, under these different circumstances. I am glad to believe
you have repented and recovered yourself. I am glad to tell you so.
I am glad that, thinking I deserve to be thanked, you have come to
thank me. But our ways are different ways, none the less. You are
wet, and you look weary. Will you drink something before you go?

He had replaced his neckerchief looselyand had stoodkeenly
observant of mebiting a long end of it. "I think he answered,
still with the end at his mouth and still observant of me, that I
will drink (I thank you) afore I go."

There was a tray ready on a side-table. I brought it to the table
near the fireand asked him what he would have? He touched one of
the bottles without looking at it or speakingand I made him some
hot rum-and-water. I tried to keep my hand steady while I did so
but his look at me as he leaned back in his chair with the long
draggled end of his neckerchief between his teeth - evidently
forgotten - made my hand very difficult to master. When at last I
put the glass to himI saw with amazement that his eyes were full
of tears.

Up to this time I had remained standingnot to disguise that I
wished him gone. But I was softened by the softened aspect of the
manand felt a touch of reproach. "I hope said I, hurriedly
putting something into a glass for myself, and drawing a chair to
the table, that you will not think I spoke harshly to you just
now. I had no intention of doing itand I am sorry for it if I
did. I wish you welland happy!"

As I put my glass to my lipshe glanced with surprise at the end
of his neckerchiefdropping from his mouth when he opened itand
stretched out his hand. I gave him mineand then he drankand
drew his sleeve across his eyes and forehead.

How are you living?I asked him.

I've been a sheep-farmer, stock-breeder, other trades besides,
away in the new world,said he: "many a thousand mile of stormy

water off from this."

I hope you have done well?

I've done wonderfully well. There's others went out alonger me as
has done well too, but no man has done nigh as well as me. I'm
famous for it.

I am glad to hear it.

I hope to hear you say so, my dear boy.

Without stopping to try to understand those words or the tone in
which they were spokenI turned off to a point that had just come
into my mind.

Have you ever seen a messenger you once sent to me,I inquired
since he undertook that trust?

Never set eyes upon him. I warn't likely to it.

He came faithfully, and he brought me the two one-pound notes.
was a poor boy then, as you know, and to a poor boy they were a
little fortune. But, like you, I have done well since, and you must
let me pay them back. You can put them to some other poor boy's
use.I took out my purse.

He watched me as I laid my purse upon the table and opened itand
he watched me as I separated two one-pound notes from its contents.
They were clean and newand I spread them out and handed them over
to him. Still watching mehe laid them one upon the otherfolded
them long-wisegave them a twistset fire to them at the lamp
and dropped the ashes into the tray.

May I make so bold,he said thenwith a smile that was like a
frownand with a frown that was like a smileas ask you how you
have done well, since you and me was out on them lone shivering



He emptied his glassgot upand stood at the side of the fire
with his heavy brown hand on the mantelshelf. He put a foot up to
the barsto dry and warm itand the wet boot began to steam; but
he neither looked at itnor at the firebut steadily looked at
me. It was only now that I began to tremble.

When my lips had partedand had shaped some words that were
without soundI forced myself to tell him (though I could not do
it distinctly)that I had been chosen to succeed to some property.

Might a mere warmint ask what property?said he.

I falteredI don't know.

Might a mere warmint ask whose property?said he.

I faltered againI don't know.

Could I make a guess, I wonder,said the Convictat your income
since you come of age! As to the first figure now. Five?

With my heart beating like a heavy hammer of disordered actionI
rose out of my chairand stood with my hand upon the back of it
looking wildly at him.

Concerning a guardian,he went on. "There ought to have been some
guardianor such-likewhiles you was a minor. Some lawyermaybe.
As to the first letter of that lawyer's name now. Would it be J?"

All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its
disappointmentsdangersdisgracesconsequences of all kinds
rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had
to struggle for every breath I drew.

Put it,he resumedas the employer of that lawyer whose name
begun with a J, and might be Jaggers - put it as he had come over
sea to Portsmouth, and had landed there, and had wanted to come on
to you. 'However, you have found me out,' you says just now. Well!
However, did I find you out? Why, I wrote from Portsmouth to a
person in London, for particulars of your address. That person's
name? Why, Wemmick.

I could not have spoken one wordthough it had been to save my
life. I stoodwith a hand on the chair-back and a hand on my
breastwhere I seemed to be suffocating - I stood solooking
wildly at himuntil I grasped at the chairwhen the room began to
surge and turn. He caught medrew me to the sofaput me up
against the cushionsand bent on one knee before me: bringing the
face that I now well rememberedand that I shuddered atvery near
to mine.

Yes, Pip, dear boy, I've made a gentleman on you! It's me wot has
done it! I swore that time, sure as ever I earned a guinea, that
guinea should go to you. I swore arterwards, sure as ever I
spec'lated and got rich, you should get rich. I lived rough, that
you should live smooth; I worked hard, that you should be above
work. What odds, dear boy? Do I tell it, fur you to feel a
obligation? Not a bit. I tell it, fur you to know as that there
hunted dunghill dog wot you kep life in, got his head so high that
he could make a gentleman - and, Pip, you're him!

The abhorrence in which I held the manthe dread I had of himthe
repugnance with which I shrank from himcould not have been
exceeded if he had been some terrible beast.

Look'ee here, Pip. I'm your second father. You're my son - more to
me nor any son. I've put away money, only for you to spend. When I
was a hired-out shepherd in a solitary hut, not seeing no faces but
faces of sheep till I half forgot wot men's and women's faces wos
like, I see yourn. I drops my knife many a time in that hut when I
was a-eating my dinner or my supper, and I says, 'Here's the boy
again, a-looking at me whiles I eats and drinks!' I see you there a
many times, as plain as ever I see you on them misty marshes. 'Lord
strike me dead!' I says each time - and I goes out in the air to
say it under the open heavens - 'but wot, if I gets liberty and
money, I'll make that boy a gentleman!' And I done it. Why, look at
you, dear boy! Look at these here lodgings o'yourn, fit for a lord!
A lord? Ah! You shall show money with lords for wagers, and beat

In his heat and triumphand in his knowledge that I had been
nearly faintinghe did not remark on my reception of all this. It
was the one grain of relief I had.

Look'ee here!he went ontaking my watch out of my pocketand

turning towards him a ring on my fingerwhile I recoiled from his
touch as if he had been a snakea gold 'un and a beauty: that's a
gentleman's, I hope! A diamond all set round with rubies; that's a
gentleman's, I hope! Look at your linen; fine and beautiful! Look
at your clothes; better ain't to be got! And your books too,
turning his eyes round the roommounting up, on their shelves, by
hundreds! And you read 'em; don't you? I see you'd been a reading
of 'em when I come in. Ha, ha, ha! You shall read 'em to me, dear
boy! And if they're in foreign languages wot I don't understand, I
shall be just as proud as if I did.

Again he took both my hands and put them to his lipswhile my
blood ran cold within me.

Don't you mind talking, Pip,said heafter again drawing his
sleeve over his eyes and foreheadas the click came in his throat
which I well remembered - and he was all the more horrible to me
that he was so much in earnest; "you can't do better nor keep
quietdear boy. You ain't looked slowly forward to this as I have;
you wosn't prepared for thisas I wos. But didn't you never think
it might be me?"

O no, no, no,I returnedNever, never!

Well, you see it wos me, and single-handed. Never a soul in it but
my own self and Mr. Jaggers.

Was there no one else?I asked.

No,said hewith a glance of surprise: "who else should there
be? Anddear boyhow good looking you have growed! There's bright
eyes somewheres - eh? Isn't there bright eyes somewhereswot you
love the thoughts on?"

O EstellaEstella!

They shall be yourn, dear boy, if money can buy 'em. Not that a
gentleman like you, so well set up as you, can't win 'em off of his
own game; but money shall back you! Let me finish wot I was atelling
you, dear boy. From that there hut and that there
hiring-out, I got money left me by my master (which died, and had
been the same as me), and got my liberty and went for myself. In
every single thing I went for, I went for you. 'Lord strike a
blight upon it,' I says, wotever it was I went for, 'if it ain't
for him!' It all prospered wonderful. As I giv' you to understand
just now, I'm famous for it. It was the money left me, and the
gains of the first few year wot I sent home to Mr. Jaggers - all for
you - when he first come arter you, agreeable to my letter.

Othat he had never come! That he had left me at the forge - far
from contentedyetby comparison happy!

And then, dear boy, it was a recompense to me, look'ee here, to
know in secret that I was making a gentleman. The blood horses of
them colonists might fling up the dust over me as I was walking;
what do I say? I says to myself, 'I'm making a better gentleman nor
ever you'll be!' When one of 'em says to another, 'He was a
convict, a few year ago, and is a ignorant common fellow now, for
all he's lucky,' what do I say? I says to myself, 'If I ain't a
gentleman, nor yet ain't got no learning, I'm the owner of such.
All on you owns stock and land; which on you owns a brought-up
London gentleman?' This way I kep myself a-going. And this way I
held steady afore my mind that I would for certain come one day and
see my boy, and make myself known to him, on his own ground.

He laid his hand on my shoulder. I shuddered at the thought that
for anything I knewhis hand might be stained with blood.

It warn't easy, Pip, for me to leave them parts, nor yet it warn't
safe. But I held to it, and the harder it was, the stronger I held,
for I was determined, and my mind firm made up. At last I done it.
Dear boy, I done it!

I tried to collect my thoughtsbut I was stunned. ThroughoutI
had seemed to myself to attend more to the wind and the rain than
to him; even nowI could not separate his voice from those voices
though those were loud and his was silent.

Where will you put me?he askedpresently. "I must be put
somewheresdear boy."

To sleep?said I.

Yes. And to sleep long and sound,he answered; "for I've been
sea-tossed and sea-washedmonths and months."

My friend and companion,said Irising from the sofais
absent; you must have his room.

He won't come back to-morrow; will he?

No,said Ianswering almost mechanicallyin spite of my utmost
efforts; "not to-morrow."

Because, look'ee here, dear boy,he saiddropping his voiceand
laying a long finger on my breast in an impressive mannercaution
is necessary.

How do you mean? Caution?

By G - , it's Death!

What's death?

I was sent for life. It's death to come back. There's been
overmuch coming back of late years, and I should of a certainty be
hanged if took.

Nothing was needed but this; the wretched manafter loading
wretched me with his gold and silver chains for yearshad risked
his life to come to meand I held it there in my keeping! If I had
loved him instead of abhorring him; if I had been attracted to him
by the strongest admiration and affectioninstead of shrinking
from him with the strongest repugnance; it could have been no
worse. On the contraryit would have been betterfor his
preservation would then have naturally and tenderly addressed my

My first care was to close the shuttersso that no light might be
seen from withoutand then to close and make fast the doors. While
I did sohe stood at the table drinking rum and eating biscuit;
and when I saw him thus engagedI saw my convict on the marshes at
his meal again. It almost seemed to me as if he must stoop down
presentlyto file at his leg.

When I had gone into Herbert's roomand had shut off any other
communication between it and the staircase than through the room in
which our conversation had been heldI asked him if he would go to

bed? He said yesbut asked me for some of my "gentleman's linen"
to put on in the morning. I brought it outand laid it ready for
himand my blood again ran cold when he again took me by both
hands to give me good night.

I got away from himwithout knowing how I did itand mended the
fire in the room where we had been togetherand sat down by it
afraid to go to bed. For an hour or moreI remained too stunned to
think; and it was not until I began to thinkthat I began fully to
know how wrecked I wasand how the ship in which I had sailed was
gone to pieces.

Miss Havisham's intentions towards meall a mere dream; Estella
not designed for me; I only suffered in Satis House as a
conveniencea sting for the greedy relationsa model with a
mechanical heart to practise on when no other practice was at hand;
those were the first smarts I had. Butsharpest and deepest pain
of all - it was for the convictguilty of I knew not what crimes
and liable to be taken out of those rooms where I sat thinkingand
hanged at the Old Bailey doorthat I had deserted Joe.

I would not have gone back to Joe nowI would not have gone back
to Biddy nowfor any consideration: simplyI supposebecause my
sense of my own worthless conduct to them was greater than every
consideration. No wisdom on earth could have given me the comfort
that I should have derived from their simplicity and fidelity; but
I could neverneverundo what I had done.

In every rage of wind and rush of rainI heard pursuers. TwiceI
could have sworn there was a knocking and whispering at the outer
door. With these fears upon meI began either to imagine or recall
that I had had mysterious warnings of this man's approach. That
for weeks gone byI had passed faces in the streets which I had
thought like his. Thatthese likenesses had grown more numerous
as hecoming over the seahad drawn nearer. Thathis wicked
spirit had somehow sent these messengers to mineand that now on
this stormy night he was as good as his wordand with me.

Crowding up with these reflections came the reflection that I had
seen him with my childish eyes to be a desperately violent man;
that I had heard that other convict reiterate that he had tried to
murder him; that I had seen him down in the ditch tearing and
fighting like a wild beast. Out of such remembrances I brought into
the light of the firea half-formed terror that it might not be
safe to be shut up there with him in the dead of the wild solitary
night. This dilated until it filled the roomand impelled me to
take a candle and go in and look at my dreadful burden.

He had rolled a handkerchief round his headand his face was set
and lowering in his sleep. But he was asleepand quietly too
though he had a pistol lying on the pillow. Assured of thisI
softly removed the key to the outside of his doorand turned it on
him before I again sat down by the fire. Gradually I slipped from
the chair and lay on the floor. When I awokewithout having parted
in my sleep with the perception of my wretchednessthe clocks of
the Eastward churches were striking fivethe candles were wasted
outthe fire was deadand the wind and rain intensified the thick
black darkness.


Chapter 40

It was fortunate for me that I had to take precautions to ensure
(so far as I could) the safety of my dreaded visitor; forthis
thought pressing on me when I awokeheld other thoughts in a
confused concourse at a distance.

The impossibility of keeping him concealed in the chambers was
self-evident. It could not be doneand the attempt to do it would
inevitably engender suspicion. TrueI had no Avenger in my service
nowbut I was looked after by an inflammatory old femaleassisted
by an animated rag-bag whom she called her nieceand to keep a
room secret from them would be to invite curiosity and
exaggeration. They both had weak eyeswhich I had long attributed
to their chronically looking in at keyholesand they were always
at hand when not wanted; indeed that was their only reliable
quality besides larceny. Not to get up a mystery with these people
I resolved to announce in the morning that my uncle had
unexpectedly come from the country.

This course I decided on while I was yet groping about in the
darkness for the means of getting a light. Not stumbling on the
means after allI was fain to go out to the adjacent Lodge and get
the watchman there to come with his lantern. Nowin groping my way
down the black staircase I fell over somethingand that something
was a man crouching in a corner.

As the man made no answer when I asked him what he did therebut
eluded my touch in silenceI ran to the Lodge and urged the
watchman to come quickly: telling him of the incident on the way
back. The wind being as fierce as everwe did not care to endanger
the light in the lantern by rekindling the extinguished lamps on
the staircasebut we examined the staircase from the bottom to the
top and found no one there. It then occurred to me as possible that
the man might have slipped into my rooms; solighting my candle at
the watchman'sand leaving him standing at the doorI examined
them carefullyincluding the room in which my dreaded guest lay
asleep. All was quietand assuredly no other man was in those

It troubled me that there should have been a lurker on the stairs
on that night of all nights in the yearand I asked the watchman
on the chance of eliciting some hopeful explanation as I handed him
a dram at the doorwhether he had admitted at his gate any
gentleman who had perceptibly been dining out? Yeshe said; at
different times of the nightthree. One lived in Fountain Court
and the other two lived in the Laneand he had seen them all go
home. Againthe only other man who dwelt in the house of which my
chambers formed a parthad been in the country for some weeks; and
he certainly had not returned in the nightbecause we had seen his
door with his seal on it as we came up-stairs.

The night being so bad, sir,said the watchmanas he gave me
back my glassuncommon few have come in at my gate. Besides them
three gentlemen that I have named, I don't call to mind another
since about eleven o'clock, when a stranger asked for you.

My uncle,I muttered. "Yes."

You saw him, sir?

Yes. Oh yes.

Likewise the person with him?

Person with him!I repeated.

I judged the person to be with him,returned the watchman. "The
person stoppedwhen he stopped to make inquiry of meand the
person took this way when he took this way."

What sort of person?

The watchman had not particularly noticed; he should say a working
person; to the best of his beliefhe had a dust-coloured kind of
clothes onunder a dark coat. The watchman made more light of the
matter than I didand naturally; not having my reason for
attaching weight to it.

When I had got rid of himwhich I thought it well to do without
prolonging explanationsmy mind was much troubled by these two
circumstances taken together. Whereas they were easy of innocent
solution apart - asfor instancesome diner-out or diner-at-home
who had not gone near this watchman's gatemight have strayed to
my staircase and dropped asleep there - and my nameless visitor
might have brought some one with him to show him the way - still
joinedthey had an ugly look to one as prone to distrust and fear
as the changes of a few hours had made me.

I lighted my firewhich burnt with a raw pale flare at that time
of the morningand fell into a doze before it. I seemed to have
been dozing a whole night when the clocks struck six. As there was
full an hour and a half between me and daylightI dozed again;
nowwaking up uneasilywith prolix conversations about nothing
in my ears; nowmaking thunder of the wind in the chimney; at
lengthfalling off into a profound sleep from which the daylight
woke me with a start.

All this time I had never been able to consider my own situation
nor could I do so yet. I had not the power to attend to it. I was
greatly dejected and distressedbut in an incoherent wholesale
sort of way. As to forming any plan for the futureI could as soon
have formed an elephant. When I opened the shutters and looked out
at the wet wild morningall of a leaden hue; when I walked from
room to room; when I sat down again shiveringbefore the fire
waiting for my laundress to appear; I thought how miserable I was
but hardly knew whyor how long I had been soor on what day of
the week I made the reflectionor even who I was that made it.

At lastthe old woman and the niece came in - the latter with a
head not easily distinguishable from her dusty broom - and
testified surprise at sight of me and the fire. To whom I imparted
how my uncle had come in the night and was then asleepand how the
breakfast preparations were to be modified accordingly. ThenI
washed and dressed while they knocked the furniture about and made
a dust; and soin a sort of dream or sleep-wakingI found myself
sitting by the fire againwaiting for - Him - to come to

By-and-byhis door opened and he came out. I could not bring
myself to bear the sight of himand I thought he had a worse look
by daylight.

I do not even know,said Ispeaking low as he took his seat at
the tableby what name to call you. I have given out that you are
my uncle.

That's it, dear boy! Call me uncle.

You assumed some name, I suppose, on board ship?

Yes, dear boy. I took the name of Provis.

Do you mean to keep that name?

Why, yes, dear boy, it's as good as another - unless you'd like

What is your real name?I asked him in a whisper.

Magwitch,he answeredin the same tone; "chrisen'd Abel."

What were you brought up to be?

A warmint, dear boy.

He answered quite seriouslyand used the word as if it denoted
some profession.

When you came into the Temple last night--said Ipausing to
wonder whether that could really have been last nightwhich seemed
so long ago.

Yes, dear boy?

When you came in at the gate and asked the watchman the way here,
had you any one with you?

With me? No, dear boy.

But there was some one there?

I didn't take particular notice,he saiddubiouslynot knowing
the ways of the place. But I think there was a person, too, come in
alonger me.

Are you known in London?

I hope not!said hegiving his neck a jerk with his forefinger
that made me turn hot and sick.

Were you known in London, once?

Not over and above, dear boy. I was in the provinces mostly.

Were you - tried - in London?

Which time?said hewith a sharp look.

The last time.

He nodded. "First knowed Mr. Jaggers that way. Jaggers was for me."

It was on my lips to ask him what he was tried forbut he took up
a knifegave it a flourishand with the wordsAnd what I done
is worked out and paid for!fell to at his breakfast.

He ate in a ravenous way that was very disagreeableand all his
actions were uncouthnoisyand greedy. Some of his teeth had
failed him since I saw him eat on the marshesand as he turned his
food in his mouthand turned his head sideways to bring his
strongest fangs to bear upon ithe looked terribly like a hungry old
dog. If I had begun with any appetitehe would have taken it away
and I should have sat much as I did - repelled from him by an

insurmountable aversionand gloomily looking at the cloth.

I'm a heavy grubber, dear boy,he saidas a polite kind of
apology when he made an end of his mealbut I always was. If it
had been in my constitution to be a lighter grubber, I might ha'
got into lighter trouble. Similarly, I must have my smoke. When I
was first hired out as shepherd t'other side the world, it's my
belief I should ha' turned into a molloncolly-mad sheep myself, if
I hadn't a had my smoke.

As he said sohe got up from the tableand putting his hand into the
breast of the pea-coat he worebrought out a short black pipeand
a handful of loose tobacco of the kind that is called Negro-head.
Having filled his pipehe put the surplus tobacco back againas
if his pocket were a drawer. Thenhe took a live coal from the
fire with the tongsand lighted his pipe at itand then turned
round on the hearth-rug with his back to the fireand went through
his favourite action of holding out both his hands for mine.

And this,said hedandling my hands up and down in hisas he
puffed at his pipe; "and this is the gentleman what I made! The
real genuine One! It does me good fur to look at youPip. All I
stip'lateisto stand by and look at youdear boy!"

I released my hands as soon as I couldand found that I was
beginning slowly to settle down to the contemplation of my
condition. What I was chained toand how heavilybecame
intelligible to meas I heard his hoarse voiceand sat looking up
at his furrowed bald head with its iron grey hair at the sides.

I mustn't see my gentleman a footing it in the mire of the
streets; there mustn't be no mud on his boots. My gentleman must
have horses, Pip! Horses to ride, and horses to drive, and horses
for his servant to ride and drive as well. Shall colonists have
their horses (and blood 'uns, if you please, good Lord!) and not my
London gentleman? No, no. We'll show 'em another pair of shoes than
that, Pip; won't us?

He took out of his pocket a great thick pocket-bookbursting with
papersand tossed it on the table.

There's something worth spending in that there book, dear boy.
It's yourn. All I've got ain't mine; it's yourn. Don't you be
afeerd on it. There's more where that come from. I've come to the
old country fur to see my gentleman spend his money like a
gentleman. That'll be my pleasure. My pleasure 'ull be fur to see
him do it. And blast you all!he wound uplooking round the room
and snapping his fingers once with a loud snapblast you every
one, from the judge in his wig, to the colonist a stirring up the
dust, I'll show a better gentleman than the whole kit on you put

Stop!said Ialmost in a frenzy of fear and dislikeI want to
speak to you. I want to know what is to be done. I want to know how
you are to be kept out of danger, how long you are going to stay,
what projects you have.

Look'ee here, Pip,said helaying his hand on my arm in a
suddenly altered and subdued manner; "first of alllook'ee here. I
forgot myself half a minute ago. What I said was low; that's what
it was; low. Look'ee herePip. Look over it. I ain't a-going to be

First,I resumedhalf-groaningwhat precautions can be taken

against your being recognized and seized?

No, dear boy,he saidin the same tone as beforethat don't go
first. Lowness goes first. I ain't took so many years to make a
gentleman, not without knowing what's due to him. Look'ee here,
Pip. I was low; that's what I was; low. Look over it, dear boy.

Some sense of the grimly-ludicrous moved me to a fretful laughas
I repliedI have looked over it. In Heaven's name, don't harp
upon it!

Yes, but look'ee here,he persisted. "Dear boyI ain't come so
furnot fur to be low. Nowgo ondear boy. You was a-saying--"

How are you to be guarded from the danger you have incurred?

Well, dear boy, the danger ain't so great. Without I was informed
agen, the danger ain't so much to signify. There's Jaggers, and
there's Wemmick, and there's you. Who else is there to inform?

Is there no chance person who might identify you in the street?
said I.

Well,he returnedthere ain't many. Nor yet I don't intend to
advertise myself in the newspapers by the name of A. M. come back
from Botany Bay; and years have rolled away, and who's to gain by
it? Still, look'ee here, Pip. If the danger had been fifty times as
great, I should ha' come to see you, mind you, just the same.

And how long do you remain?

How long?said hetaking his black pipe from his mouthand
dropping his jaw as he stared at me. "I'm not a-going back. I've
come for good."

Where are you to live?said I. "What is to be done with you?
Where will you be safe?"

Dear boy,he returnedthere's disguising wigs can be bought for
money, and there's hair powder, and spectacles, and black clothes shorts
and what not. Others has done it safe afore, and what others
has done afore, others can do agen. As to the where and how of
living, dear boy, give me your own opinions on it.

You take it smoothly now,said Ibut you were very serious last
night, when you swore it was Death.

And so I swear it is Death,said heputting his pipe back in his
mouthand Death by the rope, in the open street not fur from
this, and it's serious that you should fully understand it to be
so. What then, when that's once done? Here I am. To go back now,
'ud be as bad as to stand ground - worse. Besides, Pip, I'm here,
because I've meant it by you, years and years. As to what I dare,
I'm a old bird now, as has dared all manner of traps since first he
was fledged, and I'm not afeerd to perch upon a scarecrow. If
there's Death hid inside of it, there is, and let him come out, and
I'll face him, and then I'll believe in him and not afore. And now
let me have a look at my gentleman agen.

Once morehe took me by both hands and surveyed me with an air of
admiring proprietorship: smoking with great complacency all the

It appeared to me that I could do no better than secure him some

quiet lodging hard byof which he might take possession when
Herbert returned: whom I expected in two or three days. That the
secret must be confided to Herbert as a matter of unavoidable
necessityeven if I could have put the immense relief I should
derive from sharing it with him out of the questionwas plain to
me. But it was by no means so plain to Mr. Provis (I resolved to
call him by that name)who reserved his consent to Herbert's
participation until he should have seen him and formed a favourable
judgment of his physiognomy. "And even thendear boy said he,
pulling a greasy little clasped black Testament out of his pocket,
we'll have him on his oath."

To state that my terrible patron carried this little black book
about the world solely to swear people on in cases of emergency
would be to state what I never quite established - but this I can
saythat I never knew him put it to any other use. The book itself
had the appearance of having been stolen from some court of
justiceand perhaps his knowledge of its antecedentscombined
with his own experience in that wisegave him a reliance on its
powers as a sort of legal spell or charm. On this first occasion of
his producing itI recalled how he had made me swear fidelity in
the churchyard long agoand how he had described himself last
night as always swearing to his resolutions in his solitude.

As he was at present dressed in a seafaring slop suitin which he
looked as if he had some parrots and cigars to dispose ofI next
discussed with him what dress he should wear. He cherished an
extraordinary belief in the virtues of "shorts" as a disguiseand
had in his own mind sketched a dress for himself that would have
made him something between a dean and a dentist. It was with
considerable difficulty that I won him over to the assumption of a
dress more like a prosperous farmer's; and we arranged that he
should cut his hair closeand wear a little powder. Lastlyas he
had not yet been seen by the laundress or her niecehe was to keep
himself out of their view until his change of dress was made.

It would seem a simple matter to decide on these precautions; but
in my dazednot to say distractedstateit took so longthat I
did not get out to further themuntil two or three in the
afternoon. He was to remain shut up in the chambers while I was
goneand was on no account to open the door.

There being to my knowledge a respectable lodging-house in
Essex-streetthe back of which looked into the Templeand was
almost within hail of my windowsI first of all repaired to that
houseand was so fortunate as to secure the second floor for my
uncleMr. Provis. I then went from shop to shopmaking such
purchases as were necessary to the change in his appearance. This
business transactedI turned my faceon my own accountto Little
Britain. Mr. Jaggers was at his deskbutseeing me entergot up
immediately and stood before his fire.

Now, Pip,said hebe careful.

I will, sir,I returned. Forcoming along I had thought well of
what I was going to say.

Don't commit yourself,said Mr. Jaggersand don't commit any
one. You understand - any one. Don't tell me anything: I don't want
to know anything; I am not curious.

Of course I saw that he knew the man was come.

I merely want, Mr. Jaggers,said Ito assure myself that what I

have been told, is true. I have no hope of its being untrue, but at
least I may verify it.

Mr. Jaggers nodded. "But did you say 'told' or 'informed'?" he asked
mewith his head on one sideand not looking at mebut looking
in a listening way at the floor. "Told would seem to imply verbal
communication. You can't have verbal communication with a man in
New South Walesyou know."

I will say, informed, Mr. Jaggers.


I have been informed by a person named Abel Magwitch, that he is
the benefactor so long unknown to me.

That is the man,said Mr. Jaggers - in New South Wales.

And only he?said I.

And only he,said Mr. Jaggers.

I am not so unreasonable, sir, as to think you at all responsible
for my mistakes and wrong conclusions; but I always supposed it was
Miss Havisham.

As you say, Pip,returned Mr. Jaggersturning his eyes upon me
coollyand taking a bite at his forefingerI am not at all
responsible for that.

And yet it looked so like it, sir,I pleaded with a downcast

Not a particle of evidence, Pip,said Mr. Jaggersshaking his
head and gathering up his skirts. "Take nothing on its looks; take
everything on evidence. There's no better rule."

I have no more to say,said Iwith a sighafter standing silent
for a little while. "I have verified my informationand there's an

And Magwitch - in New South Wales - having at last disclosed
himself,said Mr. Jaggersyou will comprehend, Pip, how rigidly
throughout my communication with you, I have always adhered to the
strict line of fact. There has never been the least departure from
the strict line of fact. You are quite aware of that?

Quite, sir.

I communicated to Magwitch - in New South Wales - when he first
wrote to me - from New South Wales - the caution that he must not
expect me ever to deviate from the strict line of fact. I also
communicated to him another caution. He appeared to me to have
obscurely hinted in his letter at some distant idea he had of
seeing you in England here. I cautioned him that I must hear no
more of that; that he was not at all likely to obtain a pardon;
that he was expatriated for the term of his natural life; and that
his presenting himself in this country would be an act of felony,
rendering him liable to the extreme penalty of the law. I gave
Magwitch that caution,said Mr. Jaggerslooking hard at me; "I
wrote it to New South Wales. He guided himself by itno doubt."

No doubt,said I.

I have been informed by Wemmick,pursued Mr. Jaggersstill
looking hard at methat he has received a letter, under date
Portsmouth, from a colonist of the name of Purvis, or--

Or Provis,I suggested.

Or Provis - thank you, Pip. Perhaps it is Provis? Perhaps you know
it's Provis?

Yes,said I.

You know it's Provis. A letter, under date Portsmouth, from a
colonist of the name of Provis, asking for the particulars of your
address, on behalf of Magwitch. Wemmick sent him the particulars, I
understand, by return of post. Probably it is through Provis that
you have received the explanation of Magwitch - in New South

It came through Provis,I replied.

Good day, Pip,said Mr. Jaggersoffering his hand; "glad to have
seen you. In writing by post to Magwitch - in New South Wales - or
in communicating with him through Provishave the goodness to
mention that the particulars and vouchers of our long account shall
be sent to youtogether with the balance; for there is still a
balance remaining. Good dayPip!"

We shook handsand he looked hard at me as long as he could see
me. I turned at the doorand he was still looking hard at me
while the two vile casts on the shelf seemed to be trying to get
their eyelids openand to force out of their swollen throatsO,
what a man he is!

Wemmick was outand though he had been at his desk he could have
done nothing for me. I went straight back to the Templewhere I
found the terrible Provis drinking rum-and-water and smoking
negro-headin safety.

Next day the clothes I had orderedall came homeand he put them
on. Whatever he put onbecame him less (it dismally seemed to me)
than what he had worn before. To my thinkingthere was something
in him that made it hopeless to attempt to disguise him. The more I
dressed him and the better I dressed himthe more he looked like
the slouching fugitive on the marshes. This effect on my anxious
fancy was partly referableno doubtto his old face and manner
growing more familiar to me; but I believe too that he dragged one
of his legs as if there were still a weight of iron on itand that
from head to foot there was Convict in the very grain of the man.

The influences of his solitary hut-life were upon him besidesand
gave him a savage air that no dress could tame; added to these
were the influences of his subsequent branded life among menand
crowning allhis consciousness that he was dodging and hiding now.
In all his ways of sitting and standingand eating and drinking of
brooding aboutin a high-shouldered reluctant style - of taking
out his great horn-handled jack-knife and wiping it on his legs and
cutting his food - of lifting light glasses and cups to his lips
as if they were clumsy pannikins - of chopping a wedge off his
breadand soaking up with it the last fragments of gravy round and
round his plateas if to make the most of an allowanceand then
drying his finger-ends on itand then swallowing it - in these
ways and a thousand other small nameless instances arising every
minute in the daythere was PrisonerFelonBondsmanplain as
plain could be.

It had been his own idea to wear that touch of powderand I had
conceded the powder after overcoming the shorts. But I can compare
the effect of itwhen onto nothing but the probable effect of
rouge upon the dead; so awful was the manner in which everything in
him that it was most desirable to repressstarted through that
thin layer of pretenceand seemed to come blazing out at the crown
of his head. It was abandoned as soon as triedand he wore his
grizzled hair cut short.

Words cannot tell what a sense I hadat the same timeof the
dreadful mystery that he was to me. When he fell asleep of an
eveningwith his knotted hands clenching the sides of the
easy-chairand his bald head tattooed with deep wrinkles falling
forward on his breastI would sit and look at himwondering what
he had doneand loading him with all the crimes in the Calendar
until the impulse was powerful on me to start up and fly from him.
Every hour so increased my abhorrence of himthat I even think I
might have yielded to this impulse in the first agonies of being so
hauntednotwithstanding all he had done for meand the risk he
ranbut for the knowledge that Herbert must soon come back. Once
I actually did start out of bed in the nightand begin to dress
myself in my worst clotheshurriedly intending to leave him there
with everything else I possessedand enlist for India as a private

I doubt if a ghost could have been more terrible to meup in those
lonely rooms in the long evenings and long nightswith the wind
and the rain always rushing by. A ghost could not have been taken
and hanged on my accountand the consideration that he could be
and the dread that he would bewere no small addition to my
horrors. When he was not asleepor playing a complicated kind of
patience with a ragged pack of cards of his own - a game that I
never saw before or sinceand in which he recorded his winnings by
sticking his jack-knife into the table - when he was not engaged in
either of these pursuitshe would ask me to read to him - "Foreign
languagedear boy!" While I compliedhenot comprehending a
single wordwould stand before the fire surveying me with the air
of an Exhibitorand I would see himbetween the fingers of the
hand with which I shaded my faceappealing in dumb show to the
furniture to take notice of my proficiency. The imaginary student
pursued by the misshapen creature he had impiously madewas not
more wretched than Ipursued by the creature who had made meand
recoiling from him with a stronger repulsionthe more he admired
me and the fonder he was of me.

This is written ofI am sensibleas if it had lasted a year. It
lasted about five days. Expecting Herbert all the timeI dared not
go outexcept when I took Provis for an airing after dark. At
lengthone evening when dinner was over and I had dropped into a
slumber quite worn out - for my nights had been agitated and my
rest broken by fearful dreams - I was roused by the welcome
footstep on the staircase. Proviswho had been asleep too
staggered up at the noise I madeand in an instant I saw his
jack-knife shining in his hand.

Quiet! It's Herbert!I said; and Herbert came bursting inwith
the airy freshness of six hundred miles of France upon him.

Handel, my dear fellow, how are you, and again how are you, and
again how are you? I seem to have been gone a twelvemonth! Why, so I
must have been, for you have grown quite thin and pale! Handel, my -
Halloa! I beg your pardon.

He was stopped in his running on and in his shaking hands with me
by seeing Provis. Provisregarding him with a fixed attentionwas
slowly putting up his jack-knifeand groping in another pocket for
something else.

Herbert, my dear friend,said Ishutting the double doorswhile
Herbert stood staring and wonderingsomething very strange has
happened. This is - a visitor of mine.

It's all right, dear boy!said Provis coming forwardwith his
little clasped black bookand then addressing himself to Herbert.
Take it in your right hand. Lord strike you dead on the spot, if
ever you split in any way sumever! Kiss it!

Do so, as he wishes it,I said to Herbert. SoHerbertlooking
at me with a friendly uneasiness and amazementcompliedand
Provis immediately shaking hands with himsaidNow you're on
your oath, you know. And never believe me on mine, if Pip shan't
make a gentleman on you!

Chapter 41

In vain should I attempt to describe the astonishment and disquiet
of Herbertwhen he and I and Provis sat down before the fireand
I recounted the whole of the secret. Enoughthat I saw my own
feelings reflected in Herbert's faceandnot least among themmy
repugnance towards the man who had done so much for me.

What would alone have set a division between that man and usif
there had been no other dividing circumstancewas his triumph in
my story. Saving his troublesome sense of having been "low' on one
occasion since his return - on which point he began to hold forth
to Herbertthe moment my revelation was finished - he had no
perception of the possibility of my finding any fault with my good
fortune. His boast that he had made me a gentlemanand that he had
come to see me support the character on his ample resourceswas
made for me quite as much as for himself; and that it was a highly
agreeable boast to both of usand that we must both be very proud
of itwas a conclusion quite established in his own mind.

Though, look'ee here, Pip's comrade,he said to Herbertafter
having discoursed for some timeI know very well that once since
I come back - for half a minute - I've been low. I said to Pip, I
knowed as I had been low. But don't you fret yourself on that
score. I ain't made Pip a gentleman, and Pip ain't a-going to make
you a gentleman, not fur me not to know what's due to ye both. Dear
boy, and Pip's comrade, you two may count upon me always having a
gen-teel muzzle on. Muzzled I have been since that half a minute
when I was betrayed into lowness, muzzled I am at the present time,
muzzled I ever will be.

Herbert saidCertainly,but looked as if there were no specific
consolation in thisand remained perplexed and dismayed. We were
anxious for the time when he would go to his lodgingand leave us
togetherbut he was evidently jealous of leaving us togetherand
sat late. It was midnight before I took him round to Essex-street
and saw him safely in at his own dark door. When it closed upon
himI experienced the first moment of relief I had known since the
night of his arrival.

Never quite free from an uneasy remembrance of the man on the
stairsI had always looked about me in taking my guest out after
darkand in bringing him back; and I looked about me now.

Difficult as it is in a large city to avoid the suspicion of being
watchedwhen the mind is conscious of danger in that regardI
could not persuade myself that any of the people within sight cared
about my movements. The few who were passingpassed on their
several waysand the street was empty when I turned back into the
Temple. Nobody had come out at the gate with usnobody went in at
the gate with me. As I crossed by the fountainI saw his lighted
back windows looking bright and quietandwhen I stood for a few
moments in the doorway of the building where I livedbefore going
up the stairsGarden-court was as still and lifeless as the
staircase was when I ascended it.

Herbert received me with open armsand I had never felt beforeso
blessedlywhat it is to have a friend. When he had spoken some
sound words of sympathy and encouragementwe sat down to consider
the questionWhat was to be done?

The chair that Provis had occupied still remaining where it had
stood - for he had a barrack way with him of hanging about one
spotin one unsettled mannerand going through one round of
observances with his pipe and his negro-head and his jack-knife and
his pack of cardsand what notas if it were all put down for him
on a slate - I sayhis chair remaining where it had stoodHerbert
unconsciously took itbut next moment started out of itpushed it
awayand took another. He had no occasion to sayafter thatthat
he had conceived an aversion for my patronneither had I occasion
to confess my own. We interchanged that confidence without shaping
a syllable.

What,said I to Herbertwhen he was safe in another chairwhat
is to be done?

My poor dear Handel,he repliedholding his headI am too
stunned to think.

So was I, Herbert, when the blow first fell. Still, something must
be done. He is intent upon various new expenses - horses, and
carriages, and lavish appearances of all kinds. He must be stopped

You mean that you can't accept--

How can I?I interposedas Herbert paused. "Think of him! Look at

An involuntary shudder passed over both of us.

Yet I am afraid the dreadful truth is, Herbert, that he is
attached to me, strongly attached to me. Was there ever such a

My poor dear Handel,Herbert repeated.

Then,said Iafter all, stopping short here, never taking
another penny from him, think what I owe him already! Then again: I
am heavily in debt - very heavily for me, who have now no
expectations - and I have been bred to no calling, and I am fit for

Well, well, well!Herbert remonstrated. "Don't say fit for

What am I fit for? I know only one thing that I am fit for, and
that is, to go for a soldier. And I might have gone, my dear

Herbert, but for the prospect of taking counsel with your
friendship and affection.

Of course I broke down there: and of course Herbertbeyond seizing
a warm grip of my handpretended not to know it.

Anyhow, my dear Handel,said he presentlysoldiering won't do.
If you were to renounce this patronage and these favours, I suppose
you would do so with some faint hope of one day repaying what you
have already had. Not very strong, that hope, if you went
soldiering! Besides, it's absurd. You would be infinitely better in
Clarriker's house, small as it is. I am working up towards a
partnership, you know.

Poor fellow! He little suspected with whose money.

But there is another question,said Herbert. "This is an ignorant
determined manwho has long had one fixed idea. More than thathe
seems to me (I may misjudge him) to be a man of a desperate and
fierce character."

I know he is,I returned. "Let me tell you what evidence I have
seen of it." And I told him what I had not mentioned in my
narrative; of that encounter with the other convict.

See, then,said Herbert; "think of this! He comes here at the
peril of his lifefor the realization of his fixed idea. In the
moment of realizationafter all his toil and waitingyou cut the
ground from under his feetdestroy his ideaand make his gains
worthless to him. Do you see nothing that he might dounder the

I have seen it, Herbert, and dreamed of it, ever since the fatal
night of his arrival. Nothing has been in my thoughts so
distinctly, as his putting himself in the way of being taken.

Then you may rely upon it,said Herbertthat there would be
great danger of his doing it. That is his power over you as long as
he remains in England, and that would be his reckless course if you
forsook him.

I was so struck by the horror of this ideawhich had weighed upon
me from the firstand the working out of which would make me
regard myselfin some sortas his murdererthat I could not rest
in my chair but began pacing to and fro. I said to Herbert
meanwhilethat even if Provis were recognized and takenin spite
of himselfI should be wretched as the causehowever innocently.
Yes; even though I was so wretched in having him at large and near
meand even though I would far far rather have worked at the forge
all the days of my life than I would ever have come to this!

But there was no staving off the questionWhat was to be done?

The first and the main thing to be done,said Herbertis to get
him out of England. You will have to go with him, and then he may
be induced to go.

But get him where I will, could I prevent his coming back?

My good Handel, is it not obvious that with Newgate in the next
street, there must be far greater hazard in your breaking your mind
to him and making him reckless, here, than elsewhere. If a pretext
to get him away could be made out of that other convict, or out of
anything else in his life, now.

There, again!said Istopping before Herbertwith my open hands
held outas if they contained the desperation of the case. "I know
nothing of his life. It has almost made me mad to sit here of a
night and see him before meso bound up with my fortunes and
misfortunesand yet so unknown to meexcept as the miserable
wretch who terrified me two days in my childhood!"

Herbert got upand linked his arm in mineand we slowly walked to
and fro togetherstudying the carpet.

Handel,said Herbertstoppingyou feel convinced that you can
take no further benefits from him; do you?

Fully. Surely you would, too, if you were in my place?

And you feel convinced that you must break with him?

Herbert, can you ask me?

And you have, and are bound to have, that tenderness for the life
he has risked on your account, that you must save him, if possible,
from throwing it away. Then you must get him out of England before
you stir a finger to extricate yourself. That done, extricate
yourself, in Heaven's name, and we'll see it out together, dear old

It was a comfort to shake hands upon itand walk up and down
againwith only that done.

Now, Herbert,said Iwith reference to gaining some knowledge
of his history. There is but one way that I know of. I must ask him

Yes. Ask him,said Herbertwhen we sit at breakfast in the
morning.Forhe had saidon taking leave of Herbertthat he
would come to breakfast with us.

With this project formedwe went to bed. I had the wildest dreams
concerning himand woke unrefreshed; I woketooto recover the
fear which I had lost in the nightof his being found out as a
returned transport. WakingI never lost that fear.

He came round at the appointed timetook out his jack-knifeand
sat down to his meal. He was full of plans "for his gentleman's
coming out strongand like a gentleman and urged me to begin
speedily upon the pocket-book, which he had left in my possession.
He considered the chambers and his own lodging as temporary
residences, and advised me to look out at once for a fashionable
crib' near Hyde Parkin which he could have "a shake-down'. When
he had made an end of his breakfastand was wiping his knife on
his legI said to himwithout a word of preface:

After you were gone last night, I told my friend of the struggle
that the soldiers found you engaged in on the marshes, when we came
up. You remember?

Remember!said he. "I think so!"

We want to know something about that man - and about you. It is
strange to know no more about either, and particularly you, than I
was able to tell last night. Is not this as good a time as another
for our knowing more?

Well!he saidafter consideration. "You're on your oathyou
knowPip's comrade?"

Assuredly,replied Herbert.

As to anything I say, you know,he insisted. "The oath applies to

I understand it to do so.

And look'ee here! Wotever I done, is worked out and paid for,he
insisted again.

So be it.

He took out his black pipe and was going to fill it with negrohead
whenlooking at the tangle of tobacco in his handhe seemed to
think it might perplex the thread of his narrative. He put it back
againstuck his pipe in a button-hole of his coatspread a hand
on each kneeandafter turning an angry eye on the fire for a few
silent momentslooked round at us and said what follows.

Chapter 42

Dear boy and Pip's comrade. I am not a-going fur to tell you my
life, like a song or a story-book. But to give it you short and
handy, I'll put it at once into a mouthful of English. In jail and
out of jail, in jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail.
There, you got it. That's my life pretty much, down to such times
as I got shipped off, arter Pip stood my friend.

I've been done everything topretty well - except hanged. I've
been locked upas much as a silver tea-kettle. I've been carted
here and carted thereand put out of this town and put out of that
townand stuck in the stocksand whipped and worried and drove.
I've no more notion where I was bornthan you have - if so much. I
first become aware of myselfdown in Essexa thieving turnips for
my living. Summun had run away from me - a man - a tinker - and
he'd took the fire with himand left me wery cold.

I know'd my name to be Magwitch, chrisen'd Abel. How did I know
it? Much as I know'd the birds' names in the hedges to be
chaffinch, sparrer, thrush. I might have thought it was all lies
together, only as the birds' names come out true, I supposed mine

So fur as I could findthere warn't a soul that see young Abel
Magwitchwith us little on him as in himbut wot caught fright at
himand either drove him offor took him up. I was took uptook
uptook upto that extent that I reg'larly grow'd up took up.

This is the way it was, that when I was a ragged little creetur as
much to be pitied as ever I see (not that I looked in the glass,
for there warn't many insides of furnished houses known to me), I
got the name of being hardened. This is a terrible hardened one
they says to prison wisitors, picking out me. May be said to live
in jailsthis boy. "Then they looked at meand I looked at them
and they measured my headsome on 'em - they had better a-measured
my stomach - and others on 'em giv me tracts what I couldn't read
and made me speeches what I couldn't understand. They always went
on agen me about the Devil. But what the Devil was I to do? I must
put something into my stomachmustn't I? - HowsomeverI'm a
getting lowand I know what's due. Dear boy and Pip's comrade

don't you be afeerd of me being low.

Tramping, begging, thieving, working sometimes when I could though
that warn't as often as you may think, till you put the
question whether you would ha' been over-ready to give me work
yourselves - a bit of a poacher, a bit of a labourer, a bit of a
waggoner, a bit of a haymaker, a bit of a hawker, a bit of most
things that don't pay and lead to trouble, I got to be a man. A
deserting soldier in a Traveller's Rest, what lay hid up to the
chin under a lot of taturs, learnt me to read; and a travelling
Giant what signed his name at a penny a time learnt me to write. I
warn't locked up as often now as formerly, but I wore out my good
share of keymetal still.

At Epsom racesa matter of over twenty years agoI got
acquainted wi' a man whose skull I'd crack wi' this pokerlike the
claw of a lobsterif I'd got it on this hob. His right name was
Compeyson; and that's the mandear boywhat you see me a-pounding
in the ditchaccording to what you truly told your comrade arter I
was gone last night.

He set up fur a gentleman, this Compeyson, and he'd been to a
public boarding-school and had learning. He was a smooth one to
talk, and was a dab at the ways of gentlefolks. He was
good-looking too. It was the night afore the great race, when I
found him on the heath, in a booth that I know'd on. Him and some
more was a sitting among the tables when I went in, and the
landlord (which had a knowledge of me, and was a sporting one)
called him out, and said, 'I think this is a man that might suit
you' - meaning I was.

Compeysonhe looks at me very noticingand I look at him. He has
a watch and a chain and a ring and a breast-pin and a handsome suit
of clothes.

'To judge from appearances, you're out of luck,' says Compeyson to

'Yesmasterand I've never been in it much.' (I had come out of
Kingston Jail last on a vagrancy committal. Not but what it might
have been for something else; but it warn't.)

'Luck changes,' says Compeyson; 'perhaps yours is going to change.'

I says'I hope it may be so. There's room.'

'What can you do?' says Compeyson.

'Eat and drink' I says; 'if you'll find the materials.'

Compeyson laughed, looked at me again very noticing, giv me five
shillings, and appointed me for next night. Same place.

I went to Compeyson next nightsame placeand Compeyson took me
on to be his man and pardner. And what was Compeyson's business in
which we was to go pardners? Compeyson's business was the
swindlinghandwriting forgingstolen bank-note passingand
such-like. All sorts of traps as Compeyson could set with his head
and keep his own legs out of and get the profits from and let
another man in forwas Compeyson's business. He'd no more heart
than a iron filehe was as cold as deathand he had the head of
the Devil afore mentioned.

There was another in with Compeyson, as was called Arthur - not as

being so chrisen'd, but as a surname. He was in a Decline, and was
a shadow to look at. Him and Compeyson had been in a bad thing with
a rich lady some years afore, and they'd made a pot of money by it;
but Compeyson betted and gamed, and he'd have run through the
king's taxes. So, Arthur was a-dying, and a-dying poor and with the
horrors on him, and Compeyson's wife (which Compeyson kicked
mostly) was a-having pity on him when she could, and Compeyson was
a-having pity on nothing and nobody.

I might a-took warning by Arthurbut I didn't; and I won't
pretend I was partick'ler - for where 'ud be the good on itdear
boy and comrade? So I begun wi' Compeysonand a poor tool I was in
his hands. Arthur lived at the top of Compeyson's house (over nigh
Brentford it was)and Compeyson kept a careful account agen him
for board and lodgingin case he should ever get better to work it
out. But Arthur soon settled the account. The second or third time
as ever I see himhe come a-tearing down into Compeyson's parlour
late at nightin only a flannel gownwith his hair all in a
sweatand he says to Compeyson's wife'Sallyshe really is
upstairs alonger menowand I can't get rid of her. She's all in
white' he says'wi' white flowers in her hairand she's awful
madand she's got a shroud hanging over her armand she says
she'll put it on me at five in the morning.'

Says Compeyson: 'Why, you fool, don't you know she's got a living
body? And how should she be up there, without coming through the
door, or in at the window, and up the stairs?'

'I don't know how she's there' says Arthurshivering dreadful
with the horrors'but she's standing in the corner at the foot of
the bedawful mad. And over where her heart's brook - you broke
it! - there's drops of blood.'

Compeyson spoke hardy, but he was always a coward. 'Go up alonger
this drivelling sick man,' he says to his wife, 'and Magwitch, lend
her a hand, will you?' But he never come nigh himself.

Compeyson's wife and me took him up to bed agenand he raved most
dreadful. 'Why look at her!' he cries out. 'She's a-shaking the
shroud at me! Don't you see her? Look at her eyes! Ain't it awful to
see her so mad?' Nexthe cries'She'll put it on meand then I'm
done for! Take it away from hertake it away!' And then he catched
hold of usand kep on a-talking to herand answering of hertill
I half believed I see her myself.

Compeyson's wife, being used to him, giv him some liquor to get
the horrors off, and by-and-by he quieted. 'Oh, she's gone! Has her
keeper been for her?' he says. 'Yes,' says Compeyson's wife. 'Did
you tell him to lock her and bar her in?' 'Yes.' 'And to take that
ugly thing away from her?' 'Yes, yes, all right.' 'You're a good
creetur,' he says, 'don't leave me, whatever you do, and thank

He rested pretty quiet till it might want a few minutes of five
and then he starts up with a screamand screams out'Here she
is! She's got the shroud again. She's unfolding it. She's coming out
of the corner. She's coming to the bed. Hold meboth on you - one
of each side - don't let her touch me with it. Hah! she missed me
that time. Don't let her throw it over my shoulders. Don't let her
lift me up to get it round me. She's lifting me up. Keep me down!'
Then he lifted himself up hardand was dead.

Compeyson took it easy as a good riddance for both sides. Him and
me was soon busy, and first he swore me (being ever artful) on my

own book - this here little black book, dear boy, what I swore your
comrade on.

Not to go into the things that Compeyson plannedand I done which
'ud take a week - I'll simply say to youdear boyand Pip's
comradethat that man got me into such nets as made me his black
slave. I was always in debt to himalways under his thumbalways
a-workingalways a-getting into danger. He was younger than me
but he'd got craftand he'd got learningand he overmatched me
five hundred times told and no mercy. My Missis as I had the hard
time wi' - Stop though! I ain't brought her in--"

He looked about him in a confused wayas if he had lost his place
in the book of his remembrance; and he turned his face to the fire
and spread his hands broader on his kneesand lifted them off and
put them on again.

There ain't no need to go into it,he saidlooking round once
more. "The time wi' Compeyson was a'most as hard a time as ever I
had; that saidall's said. Did I tell you as I was triedalone
for misdemeanourwhile with Compeyson?"

I answeredNo.

Well!he saidI was, and got convicted. As to took up on
suspicion, that was twice or three times in the four or five year
that it lasted; but evidence was wanting. At last, me and Compeyson
was both committed for felony - on a charge of putting stolen notes
in circulation - and there was other charges behind. Compeyson says
to me, 'Separate defences, no communication,' and that was all. And
I was so miserable poor, that I sold all the clothes I had, except
what hung on my back, afore I could get Jaggers.

When we was put in the dockI noticed first of all what a
gentleman Compeyson lookedwi' his curly hair and his black
clothes and his white pocket-handkercherand what a common sort of
a wretch I looked. When the prosecution opened and the evidence was
put shortaforehandI noticed how heavy it all bore on meand
how light on him. When the evidence was giv in the boxI noticed
how it was always me that had come for'ardand could be swore to
how it was always me that the money had been paid tohow it was
always me that had seemed to work the thing and get the profit.
Butwhen the defence come onthen I see the plan plainer; for
says the counsellor for Compeyson'My lord and gentlemenhere you
has afore youside by sidetwo persons as your eyes can separate
wide; onethe youngerwell brought upwho will be spoke to as
such; onethe elderill brought upwho will be spoke to as such;
onethe youngerseldom if ever seen in these here transactions
and only suspected; t'otherthe elderalways seen in 'em and
always wi'his guilt brought home. Can you doubtif there is but
one in itwhich is the oneandif there is two in itwhich is
much the worst one?' And such-like. And when it come to character
warn't it Compeyson as had been to the schooland warn't it his
schoolfellows as was in this position and in thatand warn't it
him as had been know'd by witnesses in such clubs and societies
and nowt to his disadvantage? And warn't it me as had been tried
aforeand as had been know'd up hill and down dale in Bridewells
and Lock-Ups? And when it come to speech-makingwarn't it
Compeyson as could speak to 'em wi' his face dropping every now and
then into his white pocket-handkercher - ah! and wi' verses in his
speechtoo - and warn't it me as could only say'Gentlementhis
man at my side is a most precious rascal'? And when the verdict
comewarn't it Compeyson as was recommended to mercy on account of
good character and bad companyand giving up all the information

he could agen meand warn't it me as got never a word but Guilty?
And when I says to Compeyson'Once out of this courtI'll smash
that face of yourn!' ain't it Compeyson as prays the Judge to be
protectedand gets two turnkeys stood betwixt us? And when we're
sentencedain't it him as gets seven yearand me fourteenand
ain't it him as the Judge is sorry forbecause he might a done so
welland ain't it me as the Judge perceives to be a old offender
of wiolent passionlikely to come to worse?"

He had worked himself into a state of great excitementbut he
checked ittook two or three short breathsswallowed as often
and stretching out his hand towards me saidin a reassuring
mannerI ain't a-going to be low, dear boy!

He had so heated himself that he took out his handkerchief and
wiped his face and head and neck and handsbefore he could go on.

I had said to Compeyson that I'd smash that face of his, and I
swore Lord smash mine! to do it. We was in the same prison-ship,
but I couldn't get at him for long, though I tried. At last I come
behind him and hit him on the cheek to turn him round and get a
smashing one at him, when I was seen and seized. The black-hole of
that ship warn't a strong one, to a judge of black-holes that could
swim and dive. I escaped to the shore, and I was a hiding among the
graves there, envying them as was in 'em and all over, when I first
see my boy!

He regarded me with a look of affection that made him almost
abhorrent to me againthough I had felt great pity for him.

By my boy, I was giv to understand as Compeyson was out on them
marshes too. Upon my soul, I half believe he escaped in his terror,
to get quit of me, not knowing it was me as had got ashore. I
hunted him down. I smashed his face. 'And now,' says I 'as the
worst thing I can do, caring nothing for myself, I'll drag you
back.' And I'd have swum off, towing him by the hair, if it had
come to that, and I'd a got him aboard without the soldiers.

Of course he'd much the best of it to the last - his character was
so good. He had escaped when he was made half-wild by me and my
murderous intentions; and his punishment was light. I was put in
ironsbrought to trial againand sent for life. I didn't stop for
lifedear boy and Pip's comradebeing here."

He wiped himself again, as he had done before, and then slowly
took his tangle of tobacco from his pocket, and plucked his pipe
from his button-hole, and slowly filled it, and began to smoke.

Is he dead?" I askedafter a silence.

Is who dead, dear boy?


He hopes I am, if he's alive, you may be sure,with a fierce
look. "I never heerd no more of him."

Herbert had been writing with his pencil in the cover of a book. He
softly pushed the book over to meas Provis stood smoking with his
eyes on the fireand I read in it:

Young Havisham's name was Arthur. Compeyson is the man who
professed to be Miss Havisham's lover.

I shut the book and nodded slightly to Herbertand put the book
by; but we neither of us said anythingand both looked at Provis
as he stood smoking by the fire.

Chapter 43

Why should I pause to ask how much of my shrinking from Provis
might be traced to Estella? Why should I loiter on my roadto
compare the state of mind in which I had tried to rid myself of the
stain of the prison before meeting her at the coach-officewith
the state of mind in which I now reflected on the abyss between
Estella in her pride and beautyand the returned transport whom I
harboured? The road would be none the smoother for itthe end
would be none the better for ithe would not be helpednor I

A new fear had been engendered in my mind by his narrative; or
ratherhis narrative had given form and purpose to the fear that
was already there. If Compeyson were alive and should discover his
returnI could hardly doubt the consequence. ThatCompeyson stood
in mortal fear of himneither of the two could know much better
than I; and thatany such man as that man had been described to
bewould hesitate to release himself for good from a dreaded enemy
by the safe means of becoming an informerwas scarcely to be

Never had I breathedand never would I breathe - or so I resolved

-a word of Estella to Provis. ButI said to Herbert that before I
could go abroadI must see both Estella and Miss Havisham. This
was when we were left alone on the night of the day when Provis
told us his story. I resolved to go out to Richmond next dayand I
On my presenting myself at Mrs. Brandley'sEstella's maid was
called to tell that Estella had gone into the country. Where? To
Satis Houseas usual. Not as usualI saidfor she had never yet
gone there without me; when was she coming back? There was an air
of reservation in the answer which increased my perplexityand the
answer wasthat her maid believed she was only coming back at all
for a little while. I could make nothing of thisexcept that it
was meant that I should make nothing of itand I went home again
in complete discomfiture.

Another night-consultation with Herbert after Provis was gone home
(I always took him homeand always looked well about me)led us
to the conclusion that nothing should be said about going abroad
until I came back from Miss Havisham's. In the meantimeHerbert
and I were to consider separately what it would be best to say;
whether we should devise any pretence of being afraid that he was
under suspicious observation; or whether Iwho had never yet been
abroadshould propose an expedition. We both knew that I had but
to propose anythingand he would consent. We agreed that his
remaining many days in his present hazard was not to be thought of.

Next dayI had the meanness to feign that I was under a binding
promise to go down to Joe; but I was capable of almost any meanness
towards Joe or his name. Provis was to be strictly careful while I
was goneand Herbert was to take the charge of him that I had
taken. I was to be absent only one nightandon my returnthe
gratification of his impatience for my starting as a gentleman on a
greater scalewas to be begun. It occurred to me thenand as I
afterwards found to Herbert alsothat he might be best got away
across the wateron that pretence - asto make purchasesor the


Having thus cleared the way for my expedition to Miss Havisham'sI
set off by the early morning coach before it was yet lightand was
out on the open country-road when the day came creeping onhalting
and whimpering and shiveringand wrapped in patches of cloud and
rags of mistlike a beggar. When we drove up to the Blue Boar
after a drizzly ridewhom should I see come out under the gateway
toothpick in handto look at the coachbut Bentley Drummle!

As he pretended not to see meI pretended not to see him. It was a
very lame pretence on both sides; the lamerbecause we both went
into the coffee-roomwhere he had just finished his breakfastand
where I ordered mine. It was poisonous to me to see him in the
townfor I very well knew why he had come there.

Pretending to read a smeary newspaper long out of datewhich had
nothing half so legible in its local newsas the foreign matter of
coffeepicklesfish-saucesgravymelted butterand winewith
which it was sprinkled all overas if it had taken the measles in
a highly irregular formI sat at my table while he stood before
the fire. By degrees it became an enormous injury to me that he
stood before the fireand I got updetermined to have my share of
it. I had to put my hand behind his legs for the poker when I went
up to the fire-place to stir the firebut still pretended not to
know him.

Is this a cut?said Mr. Drummle.

Oh!said Ipoker in hand; "it's youis it? How do you do? I was
wondering who it waswho kept the fire off."

With thatI poked tremendouslyand having done soplanted myself
side by side with Mr. Drummlemy shoulders squared and my back to
the fire.

You have just come down?said Mr. Drummleedging me a little away
with his shoulder.

Yes,said Iedging him a little away with my shoulder.

Beastly place,said Drummle. - "Your part of the countryI

Yes,I assented. "I am told it's very like your Shropshire."

Not in the least like it,said Drummle.

Here Mr. Drummle looked at his bootsand I looked at mineand then
Mr. Drummle looked at my bootsand I looked at his.

Have you been here long?I askeddetermined not to yield an inch
of the fire.

Long enough to be tired of it,returned Drummlepretending to
yawnbut equally determined.

Do you stay here long?

Can't say,answered Mr. Drummle. "Do you?"

Can't say,said I.

I felt herethrough a tingling in my bloodthat if Mr. Drummle's

shoulder had claimed another hair's breadth of roomI should have
jerked him into the window; equallythat if my own shoulder had
urged a similar claimMr. Drummle would have jerked me into the
nearest box. He whistled a little. So did I.

Large tract of marshes about here, I believe?said Drummle.

Yes. What of that?said I.

Mr. Drummle looked at meand then at my bootsand then saidOh!
and laughed.

Are you amused, Mr. Drummle?

No,said henot particularly. I am going out for a ride in the
saddle. I mean to explore those marshes for amusement.
Out-of-the-way villages there, they tell me. Curious little
public-houses - and smithies - and that. Waiter!

Yes, sir.

Is that horse of mine ready?

Brought round to the door, sir.

I say. Look here, you sir. The lady won't ride to-day; the weather
won't do.

Very good, sir.

And I don't dine, because I'm going to dine at the lady's.

Very good, sir.

ThenDrummle glanced at mewith an insolent triumph on his
great-jowled face that cut me to the heartdull as he wasand so
exasperated methat I felt inclined to take him in my arms (as the
robber in the story-book is said to have taken the old lady)and
seat him on the fire.

One thing was manifest to both of usand that wasthat until
relief cameneither of us could relinquish the fire. There we
stoodwell squared up before itshoulder to shoulder and foot to
footwith our hands behind usnot budging an inch. The horse was
visible outside in the drizzle at the doormy breakfast was put on
the tableDrummle's was cleared awaythe waiter invited me to
beginI noddedwe both stood our ground.

Have you been to the Grove since?said Drummle.

No,said II had quite enough of the Finches the last time I
was there.

Was that when we had a difference of opinion?

Yes,I repliedvery shortly.

Come, come! They let you off easily enough,sneered Drummle. "You
shouldn't have lost your temper."

Mr. Drummle,said Iyou are not competent to give advice on that
subject. When I lose my temper (not that I admit having done so on
that occasion), I don't throw glasses.

I do,said Drummle.

After glancing at him once or twicein an increased state of
smouldering ferocityI said:

Mr. Drummle, I did not seek this conversation, and I don't think it
an agreeable one.

I am sure it's not,said hesuperciliously over his shoulder; "I
don't think anything about it."

And therefore,I went onwith your leave, I will suggest that
we hold no kind of communication in future.

Quite my opinion,said Drummleand what I should have suggested
myself, or done - more likely - without suggesting. But don't lose
your temper. Haven't you lost enough without that?

What do you mean, sir?

Wai-ter!,said Drummleby way of answering me.

The waiter reappeared.

Look here, you sir. You quite understand that the young lady don't
ride to-day, and that I dine at the young lady's?

Quite so, sir!

When the waiter had felt my fast cooling tea-pot with the palm of
his handand had looked imploringly at meand had gone out
Drummlecareful not to move the shoulder next metook a cigar
from his pocket and bit the end offbut showed no sign of
stirring. Choking and boiling as I wasI felt that we could not go
a word furtherwithout introducing Estella's namewhich I could
not endure to hear him utter; and therefore I looked stonily at the
opposite wallas if there were no one presentand forced myself
to silence. How long we might have remained in this ridiculous
position it is impossible to saybut for the incursion of three
thriving farmers - led on by the waiterI think - who came into
the coffee-room unbuttoning their great-coats and rubbing their
handsand before whomas they charged at the firewe were
obliged to give way.

I saw him through the windowseizing his horse's maneand
mounting in his blundering brutal mannerand sidling and backing
away. I thought he was gonewhen he came backcalling for a light
for the cigar in his mouthwhich he had forgotten. A man in a
dustcoloured dress appeared with what was wanted - I could not have
said from where: whether from the inn yardor the streetor where
not - and as Drummle leaned down from the saddle and lighted his
cigar and laughedwith a jerk of his head towards the coffee-room
windowsthe slouching shoulders and ragged hair of this manwhose
back was towards mereminded me of Orlick.

Too heavily out of sorts to care much at the time whether it were
he or noor after all to touch the breakfastI washed the weather
and the journey from my face and handsand went out to the
memorable old house that it would have been so much the better for
me never to have enterednever to have seen.

Chapter 44

In the room where the dressing-table stoodand where the wax
candles burnt on the wallI found Miss Havisham and Estella; Miss
Havisham seated on a settee near the fireand Estella on a cushion
at her feet. Estella was knittingand Miss Havisham was looking
on. They both raised their eyes as I went inand both saw an
alteration in me. I derived thatfrom the look they interchanged.

And what wind,said Miss Havishamblows you here, Pip?

Though she looked steadily at meI saw that she was rather
confused. Estellapausing a moment in her knitting with her eyes
upon meand then going onI fancied that I read in the action of
her fingersas plainly as if she had told me in the dumb alphabet
that she perceived I had discovered my real benefactor.

Miss Havisham,said II went to Richmond yesterday, to speak to
Estella; and finding that some wind had blown her here, I

Miss Havisham motioning to me for the third or fourth time to sit
downI took the chair by the dressing-tablewhich I had often
seen her occupy. With all that ruin at my feet and about meit
seemed a natural place for methat day.

What I had to say to Estella, Miss Havisham, I will say before
you, presently - in a few moments. It will not surprise you, it
will not displease you. I am as unhappy as you can ever have meant
me to be.

Miss Havisham continued to look steadily at me. I could see in the
action of Estella's fingers as they workedthat she attended to
what I said: but she did not look up.

I have found out who my patron is. It is not a fortunate
discovery, and is not likely ever to enrich me in reputation,
station, fortune, anything. There are reasons why I must say no
more of that. It is not my secret, but another's.

As I was silent for a whilelooking at Estella and considering how
to go onMiss Havisham repeatedIt is not your secret, but
another's. Well?

When you first caused me to be brought here, Miss Havisham; when I
belonged to the village over yonder, that I wish I had never left;
I suppose I did really come here, as any other chance boy might
have come - as a kind of servant, to gratify a want or a whim, and
to be paid for it?

Ay, Pip,replied Miss Havishamsteadily nodding her head; "you

And that Mr. Jaggers--

Mr. Jaggers,said Miss Havishamtaking me up in a firm tonehad
nothing to do with it, and knew nothing of it. His being my lawyer,
and his being the lawyer of your patron, is a coincidence. He holds
the same relation towards numbers of people, and it might easily
arise. Be that as it may, it did arise, and was not brought about
by any one.

Any one might have seen in her haggard face that there was no
suppression or evasion so far.

But when I fell into the mistake I have so long remained in, at

least you led me on?said I.

Yes,she returnedagain noddingsteadilyI let you go on.

Was that kind?

Who am I,cried Miss Havishamstriking her stick upon the floor
and flashing into wrath so suddenly that Estella glanced up at her
in surprisewho am I, for God's sake, that I should be kind?

It was a weak complaint to have madeand I had not meant to make
it. I told her soas she sat brooding after this outburst.

Well, well, well!she said. "What else?"

I was liberally paid for my old attendance here,I saidto
soothe herin being apprenticed, and I have asked these questions
only for my own information. What follows has another (and I hope
more disinterested) purpose. In humouring my mistake, Miss
Havisham, you punished - practised on - perhaps you will supply
whatever term expresses your intention, without offence - your
self-seeking relations?

I did. Why, they would have it so! So would you. What has been my
history, that I should be at the pains of entreating either them,
or you, not to have it so! You made your own snares. I never made

Waiting until she was quiet again - for thistooflashed out of
her in a wild and sudden way - I went on.

I have been thrown among one family of your relations, Miss
Havisham, and have been constantly among them since I went to
London. I know them to have been as honestly under my delusion as I
myself. And I should be false and base if I did not tell you,
whether it is acceptable to you or no, and whether you are inclined
to give credence to it or no, that you deeply wrong both Mr. Matthew
Pocket and his son Herbert, if you suppose them to be otherwise
than generous, upright, open, and incapable of anything designing
or mean.

They are your friends,said Miss Havisham.

They made themselves my friends,said Iwhen they supposed me
to have superseded them; and when Sarah Pocket, Miss Georgiana, and
Mistress Camilla, were not my friends, I think.

This contrasting of them with the rest seemedI was glad to see
to do them good with her. She looked at me keenly for a little
whileand then said quietly:

What do you want for them?

Only,said Ithat you would not confound them with the others.
They may be of the same blood, but, believe me, they are not of the
same nature.

Still looking at me keenlyMiss Havisham repeated:

What do you want for them?

I am not so cunning, you see,I saidin answerconscious that I
reddened a littleas that I could hide from you, even if I
desired, that I do want something. Miss Havisham, if you would

spare the money to do my friend Herbert a lasting service in life,
but which from the nature of the case must be done without his
knowledge, I could show you how.

Why must it be done without his knowledge?she askedsettling
her hands upon her stickthat she might regard me the more

Because,said II began the service myself, more than two years
ago, without his knowledge, and I don't want to be betrayed. Why I
fail in my ability to finish it, I cannot explain. It is a part of
the secret which is another person's and not mine.

She gradually withdrew her eyes from meand turned them on the
fire. After watching it for what appeared in the silence and by the
light of the slowly wasting candles to be a long timeshe was
roused by the collapse of some of the red coalsand looked towards
me again - at firstvacantly - thenwith a gradually
concentrating attention. All this timeEstella knitted on. When
Miss Havisham had fixed her attention on meshe saidspeaking as
if there had been no lapse in our dialogue:

What else?

Estella,said Iturning to her nowand trying to command my
trembling voiceyou know I love you. You know that I have loved
you long and dearly.

She raised her eyes to my faceon being thus addressedand her
fingers plied their workand she looked at me with an unmoved
countenance. I saw that Miss Havisham glanced from me to herand
from her to me.

I should have said this sooner, but for my long mistake. It
induced me to hope that Miss Havisham meant us for one another.
While I thought you could not help yourself, as it were, I
refrained from saying it. But I must say it now.

Preserving her unmoved countenanceand with her fingers still
goingEstella shook her head.

I know,said Iin answer to that action; "I know. I have no hope
that I shall ever call you mineEstella. I am ignorant what may
become of me very soonhow poor I may beor where I may go.
StillI love you. I have loved you ever since I first saw you in
this house."

Looking at me perfectly unmoved and with her fingers busyshe
shook her head again.

It would have been cruel in Miss Havisham, horribly cruel, to
practise on the susceptibility of a poor boy, and to torture me
through all these years with a vain hope and an idle pursuit, if
she had reflected on the gravity of what she did. But I think she
did not. I think that in the endurance of her own trial, she forgot
mine, Estella.

I saw Miss Havisham put her hand to her heart and hold it thereas
she sat looking by turns at Estella and at me.

It seems,said Estellavery calmlythat there are sentiments,
fancies - I don't know how to call them - which I am not able to
comprehend. When you say you love me, I know what you mean, as a
form of words; but nothing more. You address nothing in my breast,

you touch nothing there. I don't care for what you say at all.
have tried to warn you of this; now, have I not?

I said in a miserable mannerYes.

Yes. But you would not be warned, for you thought I did not mean
it. Now, did you not think so?

I thought and hoped you could not mean it. You, so young, untried,
and beautiful, Estella! Surely it is not in Nature.

It is in my nature,she returned. And then she addedwith a
stress upon the wordsIt is in the nature formed within me. I
make a great difference between you and all other people when I say
so much. I can do no more.

Is it not true,said Ithat Bentley Drummle is in town here,
and pursuing you?

It is quite true,she repliedreferring to him with the
indifference of utter contempt.

That you encourage him, and ride out with him, and that he dines
with you this very day?

She seemed a little surprised that I should know itbut again
repliedQuite true.

You cannot love him, Estella!

Her fingers stopped for the first timeas she retorted rather
angrilyWhat have I told you? Do you still think, in spite of it,
that I do not mean what I say?

You would never marry him, Estella?

She looked towards Miss Havishamand considered for a moment with
her work in her hands. Then she saidWhy not tell you the truth?
I am going to be married to him.

I dropped my face into my handsbut was able to control myself
better than I could have expectedconsidering what agony it gave
me to hear her say those words. When I raised my face againthere
was such a ghastly look upon Miss Havisham'sthat it impressed me
even in my passionate hurry and grief.

Estella, dearest dearest Estella, do not let Miss Havisham lead
you into this fatal step. Put me aside for ever - you have done so,
I well know - but bestow yourself on some worthier person than
Drummle. Miss Havisham gives you to him, as the greatest slight and
injury that could be done to the many far better men who admire
you, and to the few who truly love you. Among those few, there may
be one who loves you even as dearly, though he has not loved you as
long, as I. Take him, and I can bear it better, for your sake!

My earnestness awoke a wonder in her that seemed as if it would
have been touched with compassionif she could have rendered me at
all intelligible to her own mind.

I am going,she said againin a gentler voiceto be married to
him. The preparations for my marriage are making, and I shall be
married soon. Why do you injuriously introduce the name of my
mother by adoption? It is my own act.

Your own act, Estella, to fling yourself away upon a brute?

On whom should I fling myself away?she retortedwith a smile.
Should I fling myself away upon the man who would the soonest feel
(if people do feel such things) that I took nothing to him? There!
It is done. I shall do well enough, and so will my husband. As to
leading me into what you call this fatal step, Miss Havisham would
have had me wait, and not marry yet; but I am tired of the life I
have led, which has very few charms for me, and I am willing enough
to change it. Say no more. We shall never understand each other.

Such a mean brute, such a stupid brute!I urged in despair.

Don't be afraid of my being a blessing to him,said Estella; "I
shall not be that. Come! Here is my hand. Do we part on thisyou
visionary boy - or man?"

O Estella!I answeredas my bitter tears fell fast on her hand
do what I would to restrain them; "even if I remained in England
and could hold my head up with the resthow could I see you
Drummle's wife?"

Nonsense,she returnednonsense. This will pass in no time.

Never, Estella!

You will get me out of your thoughts in a week.

Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself.
You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came
here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then.
You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since - on the
river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in
the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea,
in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful
fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of
which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real,
or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your
presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and
will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose
but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me,
part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with
the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you
must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what
sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!

In what ecstasy of unhappiness I got these broken words out of
myselfI don't know. The rhapsody welled up within melike blood
from an inward woundand gushed out. I held her hand to my lips
some lingering momentsand so I left her. But ever afterwardsI
remembered - and soon afterwards with stronger reason - that while
Estella looked at me merely with incredulous wonderthe spectral
figure of Miss Havishamher hand still covering her heartseemed
all resolved into a ghastly stare of pity and remorse.

All doneall gone! So much was done and gonethat when I went out
at the gatethe light of the day seemed of a darker colour than
when I went in. For a whileI hid myself among some lanes and
by-pathsand then struck off to walk all the way to London. ForI
had by that time come to myself so faras to consider that I could
not go back to the inn and see Drummle there; that I could not bear
to sit upon the coach and be spoken to; that I could do nothing
half so good for myself as tire myself out.

It was past midnight when I crossed London Bridge. Pursuing the
narrow intricacies of the streets which at that time tended
westward near the Middlesex shore of the rivermy readiest access
to the Temple was close by the river-sidethrough Whitefriars.
was not expected till to-morrowbut I had my keysandif Herbert
were gone to bedcould get to bed myself without disturbing him.

As it seldom happened that I came in at that Whitefriars gate after
the Temple was closedand as I was very muddy and wearyI did not
take it ill that the night-porter examined me with much attention
as he held the gate a little way open for me to pass in. To help
his memory I mentioned my name.

I was not quite sure, sir, but I thought so. Here's a note, sir.
The messenger that brought it, said would you be so good as read it
by my lantern?

Much surprised by the requestI took the note. It was directed to
Philip PipEsquireand on the top of the superscription were the
wordsPLEASE READ THIS, HERE.I opened itthe watchman holding
up his lightand read insidein Wemmick's writing:


Chapter 45

Turning from the Temple gate as soon as I had read the warningI
made the best of my way to Fleet-streetand there got a late
hackney chariot and drove to the Hummums in Covent Garden. In those
times a bed was always to be got there at any hour of the night
and the chamberlainletting me in at his ready wicketlighted the
candle next in order on his shelfand showed me straight into the
bedroom next in order on his list. It was a sort of vault on the
ground floor at the backwith a despotic monster of a four-post
bedstead in itstraddling over the whole placeputting one of his
arbitrary legs into the fire-place and another into the doorway
and squeezing the wretched little washing-stand in quite a Divinely
Righteous manner.

As I had asked for a night-lightthe chamberlain had brought me
inbefore he left methe good old constitutional rush-light of
those virtuous days - an object like the ghost of a walking-cane
which instantly broke its back if it were touchedwhich nothing
could ever be lighted atand which was placed in solitary
confinement at the bottom of a high tin towerperforated with
round holes that made a staringly wide-awake pattern on the walls.
When I had got into bedand lay there footsorewearyand
wretchedI found that I could no more close my own eyes than I
could close the eyes of this foolish Argus. And thusin the gloom
and death of the nightwe stared at one another.

What a doleful night! How anxioushow dismalhow long! There was
an inhospitable smell in the roomof cold soot and hot dust; and
as I looked up into the corners of the tester over my headI
thought what a number of blue-bottle flies from the butchers'and
earwigs from the marketand grubs from the countrymust be
holding on up therelying by for next summer. This led me to
speculate whether any of them ever tumbled downand then I fancied
that I felt light falls on my face - a disagreeable turn of thought
suggesting other and more objectionable approaches up my back. When
I had lain awake a little whilethose extraordinary voices with
which silence teemsbegan to make themselves audible. The closet
whisperedthe fireplace sighedthe little washing-stand ticked

and one guitar-string played occasionally in the chest of drawers.
At about the same timethe eyes on the wall acquired a new
expressionand in every one of those staring rounds I saw
writtenDON'T GO HOME.

Whatever night-fancies and night-noises crowded on methey never
warded off this DON'T GO HOME. It plaited itself into whatever I
thought ofas a bodily pain would have done. Not long beforeI
had read in the newspapershow a gentleman unknown had come to the
Hummums in the nightand had gone to bedand had destroyed
himselfand had been found in the morning weltering in blood. It
came into my head that he must have occupied this very vault of
mineand I got out of bed to assure myself that there were no red
marks about; then opened the door to look out into the passages
and cheer myself with the companionship of a distant lightnear
which I knew the chamberlain to be dozing. But all this timewhy I
was not to go homeand what had happened at homeand when I
should go homeand whether Provis was safe at homewere questions
occupying my mind so busilythat one might have supposed there
could be no more room in it for any other theme. Even when I
thought of Estellaand how we had parted that day for everand
when I recalled all the circumstances of our partingand all her
looks and tonesand the action of her fingers while she knitted even
then I was pursuinghere and there and everywherethe
caution Don't go home. When at last I dozedin sheer exhaustion of
mind and bodyit became a vast shadowy verb which I had to
conjugate. Imperative moodpresent tense: Do not thou go homelet
him not go homelet us not go homedo not ye or you go homelet
not them go home. Thenpotentially: I may not and I cannot go
home; and I might notcould notwould notand should not go
home; until I felt that I was going distractedand rolled over on
the pillowand looked at the staring rounds upon the wall again.

I had left directions that I was to be called at seven; for it was
plain that I must see Wemmick before seeing any one elseand
equally plain that this was a case in which his Walworth
sentimentsonlycould be taken. It was a relief to get out of the
room where the night had been so miserableand I needed no second
knocking at the door to startle me from my uneasy bed.

The Castle battlements arose upon my view at eight o'clock. The
little servant happening to be entering the fortress with two hot
rollsI passed through the postern and crossed the drawbridgein
her companyand so came without announcement into the presence of
Wemmick as he was making tea for himself and the Aged. An open door
afforded a perspective view of the Aged in bed.

Halloa, Mr. Pip!said Wemmick. "You did come homethen?"

Yes,I returned; "but I didn't go home."

That's all right,said herubbing his hands. "I left a note for
you at each of the Temple gateson the chance. Which gate did you
come to?"

I told him.

I'll go round to the others in the course of the day and destroy
the notes,said Wemmick; "it's a good rule never to leave
documentary evidence if you can help itbecause you don't know
when it may be put in. I'm going to take a liberty with you. -
Would you mind toasting this sausage for the Aged P.?"

I said I should be delighted to do it.

Then you can go about your work, Mary Anne,said Wemmick to the
little servant; "which leaves us to ourselvesdon't you seeMr.
Pip?" he addedwinkingas she disappeared.

I thanked him for his friendship and cautionand our discourse
proceeded in a low tonewhile I toasted the Aged's sausage and he
buttered the crumb of the Aged's roll.

Now, Mr. Pip, you know,said Wemmickyou and I understand one
another. We are in our private and personal capacities, and we have
been engaged in a confidential transaction before today. Official
sentiments are one thing. We are extra official.

I cordially assented. I was so very nervousthat I had already
lighted the Aged's sausage like a torchand been obliged to blow
it out.

I accidentally heard, yesterday morning,said Wemmickbeing in
a certain place where I once took you - even between you and me,
it's as well not to mention names when avoidable--

Much better not,said I. "I understand you."

I heard there by chance, yesterday morning,said Wemmickthat a
certain person not altogether of uncolonial pursuits, and not
unpossessed of portable property - I don't know who it may really
be - we won't name this person--

Not necessary,said I.

- had made some little stir in a certain part of the world where
a good many people go, not always in gratification of their own
inclinations, and not quite irrespective of the government

In watching his faceI made quite a firework of the Aged's
sausageand greatly discomposed both my own attention and
Wemmick's; for which I apologized.

- by disappearing from such place, and being no more heard of
thereabouts. From which,said Wemmickconjectures had been
raised and theories formed. I also heard that you at your chambers
in Garden Court, Temple, had been watched, and might be watched

By whom?said I.

I wouldn't go into that,said Wemmickevasivelyit might clash
with official responsibilities. I heard it, as I have in my time
heard other curious things in the same place. I don't tell it you
on information received. I heard it.

He took the toasting-fork and sausage from me as he spokeand set
forth the Aged's breakfast neatly on a little tray. Previous to
placing it before himhe went into the Aged's room with a clean
white clothand tied the same under the old gentleman's chinand
propped him upand put his nightcap on one sideand gave him
quite a rakish air. Thenhe placed his breakfast before him with
great careand saidAll right, ain't you, Aged P.?To which the
cheerful Aged repliedAll right, John, my boy, all right!As
there seemed to be a tacit understanding that the Aged was not in a
presentable stateand was therefore to be considered invisibleI
made a pretence of being in complete ignorance of these


This watching of me at my chambers (which I have once had reason
to suspect),I said to Wemmick when he came backis inseparable
from the person to whom you have adverted; is it?

Wemmick looked very serious. "I couldn't undertake to say thatof
my own knowledge. I meanI couldn't undertake to say it was at
first. But it either isor it will beor it's in great danger of

As I saw that he was restrained by fealty to Little Britain from
saying as much as he couldand as I knew with thankfulness to him
how far out of his way he went to say what he didI could not
press him. But I told himafter a little meditation over the fire
that I would like to ask him a questionsubject to his answering
or not answeringas he deemed rightand sure that his course
would be right. He paused in his breakfastand crossing his arms
and pinching his shirt-sleeves (his notion of indoor comfort was to
sit without any coat)he nodded to me onceto put my question.

You have heard of a man of bad character, whose true name is

He answered with one other nod.

Is he living?

One other nod.

Is he in London?

He gave me one other nodcompressed the post-office exceedingly
gave me one last nodand went on with his breakfast.

Now,said Wemmickquestioning being over;which he emphasized
and repeated for my guidance; "I come to what I didafter hearing
what I heard. I went to Garden Court to find you; not finding you
I went to Clarriker's to find Mr. Herbert."

And him you found?said Iwith great anxiety.

And him I found. Without mentioning any names or going into any
details, I gave him to understand that if he was aware of anybody -
Tom, Jack, or Richard - being about the chambers, or about the
immediate neighbourhood, he had better get Tom, Jack, or Richard,
out of the way while you were out of the way.

He would be greatly puzzled what to do?

He was puzzled what to do; not the less, because I gave him my
opinion that it was not safe to try to get Tom, Jack, or Richard,
too far out of the way at present. Mr. Pip, I'll tell you something.
Under existing circumstances there is no place like a great city
when you are once in it. Don't break cover too soon. Lie close.
Wait till things slacken, before you try the open, even for foreign

I thanked him for his valuable adviceand asked him what Herbert
had done?

Mr. Herbert,said Wemmickafter being all of a heap for half an
hour, struck out a plan. He mentioned to me as a secret, that he is
courting a young lady who has, as no doubt you are aware, a

bedridden Pa. Which Pa, having been in the Purser line of life,
lies a-bed in a bow-window where he can see the ships sail up and
down the river. You are acquainted with the young lady, most

Not personally,said I.

The truth wasthat she had objected to me as an expensive
companion who did Herbert no goodand thatwhen Herbert had first
proposed to present me to hershe had received the proposal with
such very moderate warmththat Herbert had felt himself obliged to
confide the state of the case to mewith a view to the lapse of a
little time before I made her acquaintance. When I had begun to
advance Herbert's prospects by StealthI had been able to bear
this with cheerful philosophy; he and his affiancedfor their
parthad naturally not been very anxious to introduce a third
person into their interviews; and thusalthough I was assured that
I had risen in Clara's esteemand although the young lady and I
had long regularly interchanged messages and remembrances by
HerbertI had never seen her. HoweverI did not trouble Wemmick
with these particulars.

The house with the bow-window,said Wemmickbeing by the
river-side, down the Pool there between Limehouse and Greenwich,
and being kept, it seems, by a very respectable widow who has a
furnished upper floor to let, Mr. Herbert put it to me, what did I
think of that as a temporary tenement for Tom, Jack, or Richard?
Now, I thought very well of it, for three reasons I'll give you.
That is to say. Firstly. It's altogether out of all your beats, and
is well away from the usual heap of streets great and small.
Secondly. Without going near it yourself, you could always hear of
the safety of Tom, Jack, or Richard, through Mr. Herbert. Thirdly.
After a while and when it might be prudent, if you should want to
slip Tom, Jack, or Richard, on board a foreign packet-boat, there
he is - ready.

Much comforted by these considerationsI thanked Wemmick again and
againand begged him to proceed.

Well, sir! Mr. Herbert threw himself into the business with a will,
and by nine o'clock last night he housed Tom, Jack, or Richard whichever
it may be - you and I don't want to know - quite
successfully. At the old lodgings it was understood that he was
summoned to Dover, and in fact he was taken down the Dover road and
cornered out of it. Now, another great advantage of all this, is,
that it was done without you, and when, if any one was concerning
himself about your movements, you must be known to be ever so many
miles off and quite otherwise engaged. This diverts suspicion and
confuses it; and for the same reason I recommended that even if you
came back last night, you should not go home. It brings in more
confusion, and you want confusion.

Wemmickhaving finished his breakfasthere looked at his watch
and began to get his coat on.

And now, Mr. Pip,said hewith his hands still in the sleevesI
have probably done the most I can do; but if I can ever do more from
a Walworth point of view, and in a strictly private and
personal capacity - I shall be glad to do it. Here's the address.
There can be no harm in your going here to-night and seeing for
yourself that all is well with Tom, Jack, or Richard, before you go
home - which is another reason for your not going home last night.
But after you have gone home, don't go back here. You are very
welcome, I am sure, Mr. Pip;his hands were now out of his sleeves

and I was shaking them; "and let me finally impress one important
point upon you." He laid his hands upon my shouldersand added in
a solemn whisper: "Avail yourself of this evening to lay hold of
his portable property. You don't know what may happen to him. Don't
let anything happen to the portable property."

Quite despairing of making my mind clear to Wemmick on this point
I forbore to try.

Time's up,said Wemmickand I must be off. If you had nothing
more pressing to do than to keep here till dark, that's what I
should advise. You look very much worried, and it would do you good
to have a perfectly quiet day with the Aged - he'll be up presently

-and a little bit of - you remember the pig?
Of course,said I.

Well; and a little bit of him. That sausage you toasted was his,
and he was in all respects a first-rater. Do try him, if it is only
for old acquaintance sake. Good-bye, Aged Parent!in a cheery

All right, John; all right, my boy!piped the old man from

I soon fell asleep before Wemmick's fireand the Aged and I
enjoyed one another's society by falling asleep before it more or
less all day. We had loin of pork for dinnerand greens grown on
the estateand I nodded at the Aged with a good intention whenever
I failed to do it drowsily. When it was quite darkI left the Aged
preparing the fire for toast; and I inferred from the number of
teacupsas well as from his glances at the two little doors in the
wallthat Miss Skiffins was expected.

Chapter 46

Eight o'clock had struck before I got into the air that was
scentednot disagreeablyby the chips and shavings of the
long-shore boatbuildersand mast oar and block makers. All that
water-side region of the upper and lower Pool below Bridgewas
unknown ground to meand when I struck down by the riverI found
that the spot I wanted was not where I had supposed it to beand
was anything but easy to find. It was called Mill Pond Bank
Chinks's Basin; and I had no other guide to Chinks's Basin than the
Old Green Copper Rope-Walk.

It matters not what stranded ships repairing in dry docks I lost
myself amongwhat old hulls of ships in course of being knocked to
pieceswhat ooze and slime and other dregs of tidewhat yards of
ship-builders and ship-breakerswhat rusty anchors blindly biting
into the ground though for years off dutywhat mountainous country
of accumulated casks and timberhow many rope-walks that were not
the Old Green Copper. After several times falling short of my
destination and as often over-shooting itI came unexpectedly
round a cornerupon Mill Pond Bank. It was a fresh kind of place
all circumstances consideredwhere the wind from the river had
room to turn itself round; and there were two or three trees in it
and there was the stump of a ruined windmilland there was the Old
Green Copper Rope-Walk - whose long and narrow vista I could trace
in the moonlightalong a series of wooden frames set in the
groundthat looked like superannuated haymaking-rakes which had
grown old and lost most of their teeth.

Selecting from the few queer houses upon Mill Pond Banka house
with a wooden front and three stories of bow-window (not
bay-windowwhich is another thing)I looked at the plate upon the
doorand read thereMrs. Whimple. That being the name I wantedI
knockedand an elderly woman of a pleasant and thriving appearance
responded. She was immediately deposedhoweverby Herbertwho
silently led me into the parlour and shut the door. It was an odd
sensation to see his very familiar face established quite at home
in that very unfamiliar room and region; and I found myself looking
at himmuch as I looked at the corner-cupboard with the glass and
chinathe shells upon the chimney-pieceand the coloured
engravings on the wallrepresenting the death of Captain Cooka
ship-launchand his Majesty King George the Third in a
state-coachman's wigleather-breechesand top-bootson the
terrace at Windsor.

All is well, Handel,said Herbertand he is quite satisfied,
though eager to see you. My dear girl is with her father; and if
you'll wait till she comes down, I'll make you known to her, and
then we'll go up-stairs. - That's her father.

I had become aware of an alarming growling overheadand had
probably expressed the fact in my countenance.

I am afraid he is a sad old rascal,said Herbertsmilingbut I
have never seen him. Don't you smell rum? He is always at it.

At rum?said I.

Yes,returned Herbertand you may suppose how mild it makes his
gout. He persists, too, in keeping all the provisions upstairs in
his room, and serving them out. He keeps them on shelves over his
head, and will weigh them all. His room must be like a chandler's

While he thus spokethe growling noise became a prolonged roar
and then died away.

What else can be the consequence,said Herbertin explanation
if he will cut the cheese? A man with the gout in his right hand and
everywhere else - can't expect to get through a Double
Gloucester without hurting himself.

He seemed to have hurt himself very muchfor he gave another
furious roar.

To have Provis for an upper lodger is quite a godsend to Mrs.
Whimple,said Herbertfor of course people in general won't
stand that noise. A curious place, Handel; isn't it?

It was a curious placeindeed; but remarkably well kept and clean.

Mrs. Whimple,said Herbertwhen I told him sois the best of
housewives, and I really do not know what my Clara would do without
her motherly help. For, Clara has no mother of her own, Handel, and
no relation in the world but old Gruffandgrim.

Surely that's not his name, Herbert?

No, no,said Herbertthat's my name for him. His name is Mr.
Barley. But what a blessing it is for the son of my father and
mother, to love a girl who has no relations, and who can never
bother herself, or anybody else, about her family!

Herbert had told me on former occasionsand now reminded methat
he first knew Miss Clara Barley when she was completing her
education at an establishment at Hammersmithand that on her being
recalled home to nurse her fatherhe and she had confided their
affection to the motherly Mrs. Whimpleby whom it had been fostered
and regulated with equal kindness and discretionever since. It
was understood that nothing of a tender nature could possibly be
confided to old Barleyby reason of his being totally unequal to
the consideration of any subject more psychological than GoutRum
and Purser's stores.

As we were thus conversing in a low tone while Old Barley's
sustained growl vibrated in the beam that crossed the ceilingthe
room door openedand a very pretty slight dark-eyed girl of twenty
or socame in with a basket in her hand: whom Herbert tenderly
relieved of the basketand presented blushingas "Clara." She
really was a most charming girland might have passed for a
captive fairywhom that truculent OgreOld Barleyhad pressed
into his service.

Look here,said Herbertshowing me the basketwith a
compassionate and tender smile after we had talked a little;
here's poor Clara's supper, served out every night. Here's her
allowance of bread, and here's her slice of cheese, and here's her
rum - which I drink. This is Mr. Barley's breakfast for to-morrow,
served out to be cooked. Two mutton chops, three potatoes, some
split peas, a little flour, two ounces of butter, a pinch of salt,
and all this black pepper. It's stewed up together, and taken hot,
and it's a nice thing for the gout, I should think!

There was something so natural and winning in Clara's resigned way
of looking at these stores in detailas Herbert pointed them out

-and something so confidinglovingand innocentin her modest
manner of yielding herself to Herbert's embracing arm - and
something so gentle in herso much needing protection on Mill Pond
Bankby Chinks's Basinand the Old Green Copper Rope-Walkwith
Old Barley growling in the beam - that I would not have undone the
engagement between her and Herbertfor all the money in the
pocket-book I had never opened.
I was looking at her with pleasure and admirationwhen suddenly
the growl swelled into a roar againand a frightful bumping noise
was heard aboveas if a giant with a wooden leg were trying to
bore it through the ceiling to come to us. Upon this Clara said to
HerbertPapa wants me, darling!and ran away.

There is an unconscionable old shark for you!said Herbert. "What
do you suppose he wants nowHandel?"

I don't know,said I. "Something to drink?"

That's it!cried Herbertas if I had made a guess of
extraordinary merit. "He keeps his grog ready-mixed in a little tub
on the table. Wait a momentand you'll hear Clara lift him up to
take some. - There he goes!" Another roarwith a prolonged shake
at the end. "Now said Herbert, as it was succeeded by silence,
he's drinking. Now said Herbert, as the growl resounded in the
beam once more, he's down again on his back!"

Clara returned soon afterwardsand Herbert accompanied me
up-stairs to see our charge. As we passed Mr. Barley's doorhe was
heard hoarsely muttering withinin a strain that rose and fell
like windthe following Refrain; in which I substitute good wishes
for something quite the reverse.

Ahoy! Bless your eyes, here's old Bill Barley. Here's old Bill
Barley, bless your eyes. Here's old Bill Barley on the flat of his
back, by the Lord. Lying on the flat of his back, like a drifting
old dead flounder, here's your old Bill Barley, bless your eyes.
Ahoy! Bless you.

In this strain of consolationHerbert informed me the invisible
Barley would commune with himself by the day and night together;
often while it was lighthavingat the same timeone eye at a
telescope which was fitted on his bed for the convenience of
sweeping the river.

In his two cabin rooms at the top of the housewhich were fresh
and airyand in which Mr. Barley was less audible than belowI
found Provis comfortably settled. He expressed no alarmand seemed
to feel none that was worth mentioning; but it struck me that he
was softened - indefinablyfor I could not have said howand could
never afterwards recall how when I tried; but certainly.

The opportunity that the day's rest had given me for reflection
had resulted in my fully determining to say nothing to him
respecting Compeyson. For anything I knewhis animosity towards
the man might otherwise lead to his seeking him out and rushing on
his own destruction. Thereforewhen Herbert and I sat down with
him by his fireI asked him first of all whether he relied on
Wemmick's judgment and sources of information?

Ay, ay, dear boy!he answeredwith a grave nodJaggers knows.

Then, I have talked with Wemmick,said Iand have come to tell
you what caution he gave me and what advice.

This I did accuratelywith the reservation just mentioned; and I
told him how Wemmick had heardin Newgate prison (whether from
officers or prisoners I could not say)that he was under some
suspicionand that my chambers had been watched; how Wemmick had
recommended his keeping close for a timeand my keeping away from
him; and what Wemmick had said about getting him abroad. I added
that of coursewhen the time cameI should go with himor should
follow close upon himas might be safest in Wemmick's judgment.
What was to follow thatI did not touch upon; neither indeed was I
at all clear or comfortable about it in my own mindnow that I saw
him in that softer conditionand in declared peril for my sake. As
to altering my way of livingby enlarging my expensesI put it to
him whether in our present unsettled and difficult circumstances
it would not be simply ridiculousif it were no worse?

He could not deny thisand indeed was very reasonable throughout.
His coming back was a venturehe saidand he had always known it
to be a venture. He would do nothing to make it a desperate
ventureand he had very little fear of his safety with such good

Herbertwho had been looking at the fire and ponderinghere said
that something had come into his thoughts arising out of Wemmick's
suggestionwhich it might be worth while to pursue. "We are both
good watermenHandeland could take him down the river ourselves
when the right time comes. No boat would then be hired for the
purposeand no boatmen; that would save at least a chance of
suspicionand any chance is worth saving. Never mind the season;
don't you think it might be a good thing if you began at once to
keep a boat at the Temple stairsand were in the habit of rowing
up and down the river? You fall into that habitand then who

notices or minds? Do it twenty or fifty timesand there is nothing
special in your doing it the twenty-first or fifty-first."

I liked this schemeand Provis was quite elated by it. We agreed
that it should be carried into executionand that Provis should
never recognize us if we came below Bridge and rowed past Mill Pond
Bank. Butwe further agreed that he should pull down the blind in
that part of his window which gave upon the eastwhenever he saw
us and all was right.

Our conference being now endedand everything arrangedI rose to
go; remarking to Herbert that he and I had better not go home
togetherand that I would take half an hour's start of him. "I
don't like to leave you here I said to Provis, though I cannot
doubt your being safer here than near me. Good-bye!"

Dear boy,he answeredclasping my handsI don't know when we
may meet again, and I don't like Good-bye. Say Good Night!

Good night! Herbert will go regularly between us, and when the
time comes you may be certain I shall be ready. Good night, Good

We thought it best that he should stay in his own roomsand we
left him on the landing outside his doorholding a light over the
stair-rail to light us down stairs. Looking back at himI thought
of the first night of his return when our positions were reversed
and when I little supposed my heart could ever be as heavy and
anxious at parting from him as it was now.

Old Barley was growling and swearing when we repassed his door
with no appearance of having ceased or of meaning to cease. When we
got to the foot of the stairsI asked Herbert whether he had
preserved the name of Provis. He repliedcertainly notand that
the lodger was Mr. Campbell. He also explained that the utmost known
of Mr. Campbell therewasthat he (Herbert) had Mr. Campbell
consigned to himand felt a strong personal interest in his being
well cared forand living a secluded life. Sowhen we went into
the parlour where Mrs. Whimple and Clara were seated at workI said
nothing of my own interest in Mr. Campbellbut kept it to myself.

When I had taken leave of the pretty gentle dark-eyed girland of
the motherly woman who had not outlived her honest sympathy with a
little affair of true loveI felt as if the Old Green Copper
Rope-Walk had grown quite a different place. Old Barley might be as
old as the hillsand might swear like a whole field of troopers
but there were redeeming youth and trust and hope enough in
Chinks's Basin to fill it to overflowing. And then I thought of
Estellaand of our partingand went home very sadly.

All things were as quiet in the Temple as ever I had seen them. The
windows of the rooms on that sidelately occupied by Proviswere
dark and stilland there was no lounger in Garden Court. I walked
past the fountain twice or thrice before I descended the steps that
were between me and my roomsbut I was quite alone. Herbert coming
to my bedside when he came in - for I went straight to bed
dispirited and fatigued - made the same report. Opening one of the
windows after thathe looked out into the moonlightand told me
that the pavement was a solemnly empty as the pavement of any
Cathedral at that same hour.

Next dayI set myself to get the boat. It was soon doneand the
boat was brought round to the Temple stairsand lay where I could
reach her within a minute or two. ThenI began to go out as for

training and practice: sometimes alonesometimes with Herbert. I
was often out in coldrainand sleetbut nobody took much note
of me after I had been out a few times. At firstI kept above
Blackfriars Bridge; but as the hours of the tide changedI took
towards London Bridge. It was Old London Bridge in those daysand
at certain states of the tide there was a race and fall of water
there which gave it a bad reputation. But I knew well enough how to
shoot' the bridge after seeing it done, and so began to row about
among the shipping in the Pool, and down to Erith. The first time I
passed Mill Pond Bank, Herbert and I were pulling a pair of oars;
and, both in going and returning, we saw the blind towards the east
come down. Herbert was rarely there less frequently than three
times in a week, and he never brought me a single word of
intelligence that was at all alarming. Still, I knew that there was
cause for alarm, and I could not get rid of the notion of being
watched. Once received, it is a haunting idea; how many undesigning
persons I suspected of watching me, it would be hard to calculate.

In short, I was always full of fears for the rash man who was in
hiding. Herbert had sometimes said to me that he found it pleasant
to stand at one of our windows after dark, when the tide was
running down, and to think that it was flowing, with everything it
bore, towards Clara. But I thought with dread that it was flowing
towards Magwitch, and that any black mark on its surface might be
his pursuers, going swiftly, silently, and surely, to take him.

Chapter 47

Some weeks passed without bringing any change. We waited for
Wemmick, and he made no sign. If I had never known him out of
Little Britain, and had never enjoyed the privilege of being on a
familiar footing at the Castle, I might have doubted him; not so
for a moment, knowing him as I did.

My worldly affairs began to wear a gloomy appearance, and I was
pressed for money by more than one creditor. Even I myself began to
know the want of money (I mean of ready money in my own pocket),
and to relieve it by converting some easily spared articles of
jewellery into cash. But I had quite determined that it would be a
heartless fraud to take more money from my patron in the existing
state of my uncertain thoughts and plans. Therefore, I had sent him
the unopened pocket-book by Herbert, to hold in his own keeping,
and I felt a kind of satisfaction - whether it was a false kind or
a true, I hardly know - in not having profited by his generosity
since his revelation of himself.

As the time wore on, an impression settled heavily upon me that
Estella was married. Fearful of having it confirmed, though it was
all but a conviction, I avoided the newspapers, and begged Herbert
(to whom I had confided the circumstances of our last interview)
never to speak of her to me. Why I hoarded up this last wretched
little rag of the robe of hope that was rent and given to the
winds, how do I know! Why did you who read this, commit that not
dissimilar inconsistency of your own, last year, last month, last

It was an unhappy life that I lived, and its one dominant anxiety,
towering over all its other anxieties like a high mountain above a
range of mountains, never disappeared from my view. Still, no new
cause for fear arose. Let me start from my bed as I would, with the
terror fresh upon me that he was discovered; let me sit listening
as I would, with dread, for Herbert's returning step at night, lest
it should be fleeter than ordinary, and winged with evil news; for

all that, and much more to like purpose, the round of things went
on. Condemned to inaction and a state of constant restlessness and
suspense, I rowed about in my boat, and waited, waited, waited, as
I best could.

There were states of the tide when, having been down the river, I
could not get back through the eddy-chafed arches and starlings of
old London Bridge; then, I left my boat at a wharf near the Custom
House, to be brought up afterwards to the Temple stairs. I was not
averse to doing this, as it served to make me and my boat a
commoner incident among the water-side people there. From this
slight occasion, sprang two meetings that I have now to tell of.

One afternoon, late in the month of February, I came ashore at the
wharf at dusk. I had pulled down as far as Greenwich with the ebb
tide, and had turned with the tide. It had been a fine bright day,
but had become foggy as the sun dropped, and I had had to feel my
way back among the shipping, pretty carefully. Both in going and
returning, I had seen the signal in his window, All well.

As it was a raw evening and I was cold, I thought I would comfort
myself with dinner at once; and as I had hours of dejection and
solitude before me if I went home to the Temple, I thought I would
afterwards go to the play. The theatre where Mr. Wopsle had achieved
his questionable triumph, was in that waterside neighbourhood (it
is nowhere now), and to that theatre I resolved to go. I was aware
that Mr. Wopsle had not succeeded in reviving the Drama, but, on the
contrary, had rather partaken of its decline. He had been ominously
heard of, through the playbills, as a faithful Black, in connexion
with a little girl of noble birth, and a monkey. And Herbert had
seen him as a predatory Tartar of comic propensities, with a face
like a red brick, and an outrageous hat all over bells.

I dined at what Herbert and I used to call a Geographical
chop-house - where there were maps of the world in porter-pot rims
on every half-yard of the table-cloths, and charts of gravy on
every one of the knives - to this day there is scarcely a single
chop-house within the Lord Mayor's dominions which is not
Geographical - and wore out the time in dozing over crumbs, staring
at gas, and baking in a hot blast of dinners. By-and-by, I roused
myself and went to the play.

There, I found a virtuous boatswain in his Majesty's service - a
most excellent man, though I could have wished his trousers not
quite so tight in some places and not quite so loose in others who
knocked all the little men's hats over their eyes, though he
was very generous and brave, and who wouldn't hear of anybody's
paying taxes, though he was very patriotic. He had a bag of money
in his pocket, like a pudding in the cloth, and on that property
married a young person in bed-furniture, with great rejoicings; the
whole population of Portsmouth (nine in number at the last Census)
turning out on the beach, to rub their own hands and shake
everybody else's, and sing Fillfill!" A certain
dark-complexioned Swabhoweverwho wouldn't fillor do anything
else that was proposed to himand whose heart was openly stated
(by the boatswain) to be as black as his figure-headproposed to
two other Swabs to get all mankind into difficulties; which was so
effectually done (the Swab family having considerable political
influence) that it took half the evening to set things rightand
then it was only brought about through an honest little grocer with
a white hatblack gaitersand red nosegetting into a clock
with a gridironand listeningand coming outand knocking
everybody down from behind with the gridiron whom he couldn't
confute with what he had overheard. This led to Mr. Wopsle's (who

had never been heard of before) coming in with a star and garter
onas a plenipotentiary of great power direct from the Admiralty
to say that the Swabs were all to go to prison on the spotand
that he had brought the boatswain down the Union Jackas a slight
acknowledgment of his public services. The boatswainunmanned for
the first timerespectfully dried his eyes on the Jackand then
cheering up and addressing Mr. Wopsle as Your Honoursolicited
permission to take him by the fin. Mr. Wopsle conceding his fin with
a gracious dignitywas immediately shoved into a dusty corner
while everybody danced a hornpipe; and from that cornersurveying
the public with a discontented eyebecame aware of me.

The second piece was the last new grand comic Christmas pantomime
in the first scene of whichit pained me to suspect that I
detected Mr. Wopsle with red worsted legs under a highly magnified
phosphoric countenance and a shock of red curtain-fringe for his
hairengaged in the manufacture of thunderbolts in a mineand
displaying great cowardice when his gigantic master came home (very
hoarse) to dinner. But he presently presented himself under
worthier circumstances; forthe Genius of Youthful Love being in
want of assistance - on account of the parental brutality of an
ignorant farmer who opposed the choice of his daughter's heartby
purposely falling upon the objectin a flour sackout of the
firstfloor window - summoned a sententious Enchanter; and he
coming up from the antipodes rather unsteadilyafter an apparently
violent journeyproved to be Mr. Wopsle in a high-crowned hatwith
a necromantic work in one volume under his arm. The business of
this enchanter on earthbeing principally to be talked atsung
atbutted atdanced atand flashed at with fires of various
colourshe had a good deal of time on his hands. And I observed
with great surprisethat he devoted it to staring in my direction
as if he were lost in amazement.

There was something so remarkable in the increasing glare of Mr.
Wopsle's eyeand he seemed to be turning so many things over in
his mind and to grow so confusedthat I could not make it out. I
sat thinking of itlong after he had ascended to the clouds in a
large watch-caseand still I could not make it out. I was still
thinking of it when I came out of the theatre an hour afterwards
and found him waiting for me near the door.

How do you do?said Ishaking hands with him as we turned down
the street together. "I saw that you saw me."

Saw you, Mr. Pip!he returned. "Yesof course I saw you. But who
else was there?"

Who else?

It is the strangest thing,said Mr. Wopsledrifting into his lost
look again; "and yet I could swear to him."

Becoming alarmedI entreated Mr. Wopsle to explain his meaning.

Whether I should have noticed him at first but for your being
there,said Mr. Wopslegoing on in the same lost wayI can't be
positive; yet I think I should.

Involuntarily I looked round meas I was accustomed to look round
me when I went home; forthese mysterious words gave me a chill.

Oh! He can't be in sight,said Mr. Wopsle. "He went outbefore I
went offI saw him go."

Having the reason that I hadfor being suspiciousI even
suspected this poor actor. I mistrusted a design to entrap me into
some admission. ThereforeI glanced at him as we walked on
togetherbut said nothing.

I had a ridiculous fancy that he must be with you, Mr. Pip, till I
saw that you were quite unconscious of him, sitting behind you
there, like a ghost.

My former chill crept over me againbut I was resolved not to
speak yetfor it was quite consistent with his words that he might
be set on to induce me to connect these references with Provis. Of
courseI was perfectly sure and safe that Provis had not been

I dare say you wonder at me, Mr. Pip; indeed I see you do. But it
is so very strange! You'll hardly believe what I am going to tell
you. I could hardly believe it myself, if you told me.

Indeed?said I.

No, indeed. Mr. Pip, you remember in old times a certain Christmas
Day, when you were quite a child, and I dined at Gargery's, and
some soldiers came to the door to get a pair of handcuffs mended?

I remember it very well.

And you remember that there was a chase after two convicts, and
that we joined in it, and that Gargery took you on his back, and
that I took the lead and you kept up with me as well as you could?

I remember it all very well.Better than he thought - except the
last clause.

And you remember that we came up with the two in a ditch, and that
there was a scuffle between them, and that one of them had been
severely handled and much mauled about the face, by the other?

I see it all before me.

And that the soldiers lighted torches, and put the two in the
centre, and that we went on to see the last of them, over the black
marshes, with the torchlight shining on their faces - I am
particular about that; with the torchlight shining on their faces,
when there was an outer ring of dark night all about us?

Yes,said I. "I remember all that."

Then, Mr. Pip, one of those two prisoners sat behind you tonight. I
saw him over your shoulder.

Steady!I thought. I asked him thenWhich of the two do you
suppose you saw?

The one who had been mauled,he answered readilyand I'll swear
I saw him! The more I think of him, the more certain I am of him.

This is very curious!said Iwith the best assumption I could
put onof its being nothing more to me. "Very curious indeed!"

I cannot exaggerate the enhanced disquiet into which this
conversation threw meor the special and peculiar terror I felt at
Compeyson's having been behind me "like a ghost." Forif he had
ever been out of my thoughts for a few moments together since the

hiding had begunit was in those very moments when he was closest
to me; and to think that I should be so unconscious and off my
guard after all my carewas as if I had shut an avenue of a
hundred doors to keep him outand then had found him at my elbow.
I could not doubt either that he was therebecause I was there
and that however slight an appearance of danger there might be
about usdanger was always near and active.

I put such questions to Mr. Wopsle asWhen did the man come in? He
could not tell me that; he saw meand over my shoulder he saw the
man. It was not until he had seen him for some time that he began
to identify him; but he had from the first vaguely associated him
with meand known him as somehow belonging to me in the old
village time. How was he dressed? Prosperouslybut not noticeably
otherwise; he thoughtin black. Was his face at all disfigured?
Nohe believed not. I believed nottooforalthough in my
brooding state I had taken no especial notice of the people behind
meI thought it likely that a face at all disfigured would have
attracted my attention.

When Mr. Wopsle had imparted to me all that he could recall or I
extractand when I had treated him to a little appropriate
refreshment after the fatigues of the eveningwe parted. It was
between twelve and one o'clock when I reached the Templeand the
gates were shut. No one was near me when I went in and went home.

Herbert had come inand we held a very serious council by the
fire. But there was nothing to be donesaving to communicate to
Wemmick what I had that night found outand to remind him that we
waited for his hint. As I thought that I might compromise him if I
went too often to the CastleI made this communication by letter.
I wrote it before I went to bedand went out and posted it; and
again no one was near me. Herbert and I agreed that we could do
nothing else but be very cautious. And we were very cautious indeed

-more cautious than beforeif that were possible - and I for my
part never went near Chinks's Basinexcept when I rowed byand
then I only looked at Mill Pond Bank as I looked at anything else.
Chapter 48

The second of the two meetings referred to in the last chapter
occurred about a week after the first. I had again left my boat at
the wharf below Bridge; the time was an hour earlier in the
afternoon; andundecided where to dineI had strolled up into
Cheapsideand was strolling along itsurely the most unsettled
person in all the busy concoursewhen a large hand was laid upon
my shoulderby some one overtaking me. It was Mr. Jaggers's hand
and he passed it through my arm.

As we are going in the same direction, Pip, we may walk together.
Where are you bound for?

For the Temple, I think,said I.

Don't you know?said Mr. Jaggers.

Well,I returnedglad for once to get the better of him in
cross-examinationI do not know, for I have not made up my mind.

You are going to dine?said Mr. Jaggers. "You don't mind admitting
thatI suppose?"

No,I returnedI don't mind admitting that.

And are not engaged?

I don't mind admitting also, that I am not engaged.

Then,said Mr. Jaggerscome and dine with me.

I was going to excuse myselfwhen he addedWemmick's coming.
SoI changed my excuse into an acceptance - the few words I had
utteredserving for the beginning of either - and we went along
Cheapside and slanted off to Little Britainwhile the lights were
springing up brilliantly in the shop windowsand the street
lamp-lightersscarcely finding ground enough to plant their
ladders on in the midst of the afternoon's bustlewere skipping up
and down and running in and outopening more red eyes in the
gathering fog than my rushlight tower at the Hummums had opened
white eyes in the ghostly wall.

At the office in Little Britain there was the usual letter-writing
hand-washingcandle-snuffingand safe-lockingthat closed the
business of the day. As I stood idle by Mr. Jaggers's fireits
rising and falling flame made the two casts on the shelf look as if
they were playing a diabolical game at bo-peep with me; while the
pair of coarse fat office candles that dimly lighted Mr. Jaggers as
he wrote in a cornerwere decorated with dirty winding-sheetsas
if in remembrance of a host of hanged clients.

We went to Gerrard-streetall three togetherin a hackney coach:
and as soon as we got theredinner was served. Although I should
not have thought of makingin that placethe most distant
reference by so much as a look to Wemmick's Walworth sentiments
yet I should have had no objection to catching his eye now and then
in a friendly way. But it was not to be done. He turned his eyes on
Mr. Jaggers whenever he raised them from the tableand was as dry
and distant to me as if there were twin Wemmicks and this was the
wrong one.

Did you send that note of Miss Havisham's to Mr. Pip, Wemmick?Mr.
Jaggers askedsoon after we began dinner.

No, sir,returned Wemmick; "it was going by postwhen you
brought Mr. Pip into the office. Here it is." He handed it to his
principalinstead of to me.

It's a note of two lines, Pip,said Mr. Jaggershanding it on
sent up to me by Miss Havisham, on account of her not being sure
of your address. She tells me that she wants to see you on a little
matter of business you mentioned to her. You'll go down?

Yes,said Icasting my eyes over the notewhich was exactly in
those terms.

When do you think of going down?

I have an impending engagement,said Iglancing at Wemmickwho
was putting fish into the post-officethat renders me rather
uncertain of my time. At once, I think.

If Mr. Pip has the intention of going at once,said Wemmick to Mr.
Jaggershe needn't write an answer, you know.

Receiving this as an intimation that it was best not to delayI
settled that I would go to-morrowand said so. Wemmick drank a
glass of wine and looked with a grimly satisfied air at Mr. Jaggers

but not at me.

So, Pip! Our friend the Spider,said Mr. Jaggershas played his
cards. He has won the pool.

It was as much as I could do to assent.

Hah! He is a promising fellow - in his way - but he may not have
it all his own way. The stronger will win in the end, but the
stronger has to be found out first. If he should turn to, and beat

Surely,I interruptedwith a burning face and heartyou do not
seriously think that he is scoundrel enough for that, Mr. Jaggers?

I didn't say so, Pip. I am putting a case. If he should turn to
and beat her, he may possibly get the strength on his side; if it
should be a question of intellect, he certainly will not. It would
be chance work to give an opinion how a fellow of that sort will
turn out in such circumstances, because it's a toss-up between two

May I ask what they are?

A fellow like our friend the Spider,answered Mr. Jaggerseither
beats, or cringes. He may cringe and growl, or cringe and not
growl; but he either beats or cringes. Ask Wemmick his opinion.

Either beats or cringes,said Wemmicknot at all addressing
himself to me.

So, here's to Mrs. Bentley Drummle,said Mr. Jaggerstaking a
decanter of choicer wine from his dumb-waiterand filling for each
of us and for himselfand may the question of supremacy be
settled to the lady's satisfaction! To the satisfaction of the lady
and the gentleman, it never will be. Now, Molly, Molly, Molly,
Molly, how slow you are to-day!

She was at his elbow when he addressed herputting a dish upon the
table. As she withdrew her hands from itshe fell back a step or
twonervously muttering some excuse. And a certain action of her
fingers as she spoke arrested my attention.

What's the matter?said Mr. Jaggers.

Nothing. Only the subject we were speaking of,said Iwas
rather painful to me.

The action of her fingers was like the action of knitting. She
stood looking at her masternot understanding whether she was free
to goor whether he had more to say to her and would call her back
if she did go. Her look was very intent. SurelyI had seen exactly
such eyes and such handson a memorable occasion very lately!

He dismissed herand she glided out of the room. But she remained
before meas plainly as if she were still there. I looked at those
handsI looked at those eyesI looked at that flowing hair; and I
compared them with other handsother eyesother hairthat I knew
ofand with what those might be after twenty years of a brutal
husband and a stormy life. I looked again at those hands and eyes
of the housekeeperand thought of the inexplicable feeling that
had come over me when I last walked - not alone - in the ruined
gardenand through the deserted brewery. I thought how the same
feeling had come back when I saw a face looking at meand a hand

waving to mefrom a stage-coach window; and how it had come back
again and had flashed about me like Lightningwhen I had passed in
a carriage - not alone - through a sudden glare of light in a dark
street. I thought how one link of association had helped that
identification in the theatreand how such a linkwanting before
had been riveted for me nowwhen I had passed by a chance swift
from Estella's name to the fingers with their knitting actionand
the attentive eyes. And I felt absolutely certain that this woman
was Estella's mother.

Mr. Jaggers had seen me with Estellaand was not likely to have
missed the sentiments I had been at no pains to conceal. He nodded
when I said the subject was painful to meclapped me on the back
put round the wine againand went on with his dinner.

Only twice moredid the housekeeper reappearand then her stay in
the room was very shortand Mr. Jaggers was sharp with her. But her
hands were Estella's handsand her eyes were Estella's eyesand
if she had reappeared a hundred times I could have been neither
more sure nor less sure that my conviction was the truth.

It was a dull eveningfor Wemmick drew his wine when it came
roundquite as a matter of business - just as he might have drawn
his salary when that came round - and with his eyes on his chief
sat in a state of perpetual readiness for cross-examination. As to
the quantity of winehis post-office was as indifferent and ready
as any other post-office for its quantity of letters. From my point
of viewhe was the wrong twin all the timeand only externally
like the Wemmick of Walworth.

We took our leave earlyand left together. Even when we were
groping among Mr. Jaggers's stock of boots for our hatsI felt that
the right twin was on his way back; and we had not gone half a
dozen yards down Gerrard-street in the Walworth direction before I
found that I was walking arm-in-arm with the right twinand that
the wrong twin had evaporated into the evening air.

Well!said Wemmickthat's over! He's a wonderful man, without
his living likeness; but I feel that I have to screw myself up when
I dine with him - and I dine more comfortably unscrewed.

I felt that this was a good statement of the caseand told him so.

Wouldn't say it to anybody but yourself,he answered. "I know
that what is said between you and megoes no further."

I asked him if he had ever seen Miss Havisham's adopted daughter
Mrs. Bentley Drummle? He said no. To avoid being too abruptI then
spoke of the Agedand of Miss Skiffins. He looked rather sly when
I mentioned Miss Skiffinsand stopped in the street to blow his
nosewith a roll of the head and a flourish not quite free from
latent boastfulness.

Wemmick,said Ido you remember telling me before I first went
to Mr. Jaggers's private house, to notice that housekeeper?

Did I?he replied. "AhI dare say I did. Deuce take me he
added, suddenly, I know I did. I find I am not quite unscrewed

A wild beast tamed, you called her.

And what do you call her?

The same. How did Mr. Jaggers tame her, Wemmick?

That's his secret. She has been with him many a long year.

I wish you would tell me her story. I feel a particular interest
in being acquainted with it. You know that what is said between you
and me goes no further.

Well!Wemmick repliedI don't know her story - that is, I don't
know all of it. But what I do know, I'll tell you. We are in our
private and personal capacities, of course.

Of course.

A score or so of years ago, that woman was tried at the Old Bailey
for murder, and was acquitted. She was a very handsome young woman,
and I believe had some gipsy blood in her. Anyhow, it was hot enough
when it was up, as you may suppose.

But she was acquitted.

Mr. Jaggers was for her,pursued Wemmickwith a look full of
meaningand worked the case in a way quite astonishing. It was a
desperate case, and it was comparatively early days with him then,
and he worked it to general admiration; in fact, it may almost be
said to have made him. He worked it himself at the police-office,
day after day for many days, contending against even a committal;
and at the trial where he couldn't work it himself, sat under
Counsel, and - every one knew - put in all the salt and pepper. The
murdered person was a woman; a woman, a good ten years older, very
much larger, and very much stronger. It was a case of jealousy.
They both led tramping lives, and this woman in Gerrard-street here
had been married very young, over the broomstick (as we say), to a
tramping man, and was a perfect fury in point of jealousy. The
murdered woman - more a match for the man, certainly, in point of
years - was found dead in a barn near Hounslow Heath. There had
been a violent struggle, perhaps a fight. She was bruised and
scratched and torn, and had been held by the throat at last and
choked. Now, there was no reasonable evidence to implicate any
person but this woman, and, on the improbabilities of her having
been able to do it, Mr. Jaggers principally rested his case. You may
be sure,said Wemmicktouching me on the sleevethat he never
dwelt upon the strength of her hands then, though he sometimes does

I had told Wemmick of his showing us her wriststhat day of the
dinner party.

Well, sir!Wemmick went on; "it happened - happeneddon't you
see? - that this woman was so very artfully dressed from the time
of her apprehensionthat she looked much slighter than she really
was; in particularher sleeves are always remembered to have been
so skilfully contrived that her arms had quite a delicate look. She
had only a bruise or two about her - nothing for a tramp - but the
backs of her hands were laceratedand the question waswas it
with finger-nails? NowMr. Jaggers showed that she had struggled
through a great lot of brambles which were not as high as her face;
but which she could not have got through and kept her hands out of;
and bits of those brambles were actually found in her skin and put
in evidenceas well as the fact that the brambles in question were
found on examination to have been broken throughand to have
little shreds of her dress and little spots of blood upon them here
and there. But the boldest point he madewas this. It was
attempted to be set up in proof of her jealousythat she was under

strong suspicion of havingat about the time of the murder
frantically destroyed her child by this man - some three years old

-to revenge herself upon him. Mr. Jaggers worked thatin this way.
We say these are not marks of finger-nails, but marks of brambles,
and we show you the brambles. You say they are marks of
finger-nails, and you set up the hypothesis that she destroyed her
child. You must accept all consequences of that hypothesis. For
anything we know, she may have destroyed her child, and the child
in clinging to her may have scratched her hands. What then? You are
not trying her for the murder of her child; why don't you? As to
this case, if you will have scratches, we say that, for anything we
know, you may have accounted for them, assuming for the sake of
argument that you have not invented them!To sum upsir said
Wemmick, Mr. Jaggers was altogether too many for the Juryand they
gave in."
Has she been in his service ever since?

Yes; but not only that,said Wemmick. "She went into his service
immediately after her acquittaltamed as she is now. She has since
been taught one thing and another in the way of her dutiesbut she
was tamed from the beginning."

Do you remember the sex of the child?

Said to have been a girl.

You have nothing more to say to me to-night?

Nothing. I got your letter and destroyed it. Nothing.

We exchanged a cordial Good Nightand I went homewith new matter
for my thoughtsthough with no relief from the old.

Chapter 49

Putting Miss Havisham's note in my pocketthat it might serve as
my credentials for so soon reappearing at Satis Housein case her
waywardness should lead her to express any surprise at seeing meI
went down again by the coach next day. But I alighted at the
Halfway Houseand breakfasted thereand walked the rest of the
distance; forI sought to get into the town quietly by the
unfrequented waysand to leave it in the same manner.

The best light of the day was gone when I passed along the quiet
echoing courts behind the High-street. The nooks of ruin where the
old monks had once had their refectories and gardensand where the
strong walls were now pressed into the service of humble sheds and
stableswere almost as silent as the old monks in their graves.
The cathedral chimes had at once a sadder and a more remote sound
to meas I hurried on avoiding observationthan they had ever had
before; sothe swell of the old organ was borne to my ears like
funeral music; and the rooksas they hovered about the grey tower
and swung in the bare high trees of the priory-gardenseemed to
call to me that the place was changedand that Estella was gone
out of it for ever.

An elderly woman whom I had seen before as one of the servants who
lived in the supplementary house across the back court-yardopened
the gate. The lighted candle stood in the dark passage withinas
of oldand I took it up and ascended the staircase alone. Miss
Havisham was not in her own roombut was in the larger room across
the landing. Looking in at the doorafter knocking in vainI saw

her sitting on the hearth in a ragged chairclose beforeand lost
in the contemplation ofthe ashy fire.

Doing as I had often doneI went inand stoodtouching the old
chimney-piecewhere she could see me when she raised her eyes.
There was an air or utter loneliness upon herthat would have
moved me to pity though she had wilfully done me a deeper injury
than I could charge her with. As I stood compassionating herand
thinking how in the progress of time I too had come to be a part of
the wrecked fortunes of that househer eyes rested on me. She
staredand said in a low voiceIs it real?

It is I, Pip. Mr. Jaggers gave me your note yesterday, and I have
lost no time.

Thank you. Thank you.

As I brought another of the ragged chairs to the hearth and sat
downI remarked a new expression on her faceas if she were
afraid of me.

I want,she saidto pursue that subject you mentioned to me
when you were last here, and to show you that I am not all stone.
But perhaps you can never believe, now, that there is anything
human in my heart?

When I said some reassuring wordsshe stretched out her tremulous
right handas though she was going to touch me; but she recalled
it again before I understood the actionor knew how to receive it.

You said, speaking for your friend, that you could tell me how to
do something useful and good. Something that you would like done,
is it not?

Something that I would like done very much.

What is it?

I began explaining to her that secret history of the partnership. I
had not got far into itwhen I judged from her looks that she was
thinking in a discursive way of merather than of what I said. It
seemed to be soforwhen I stopped speakingmany moments passed
before she showed that she was conscious of the fact.

Do you break off,she asked thenwith her former air of being
afraid of mebecause you hate me too much to bear to speak to

No, no,I answeredhow can you think so, Miss Havisham! I
stopped because I thought you were not following what I said.

Perhaps I was not,she answeredputting a hand to her head.
Begin again, and let me look at something else. Stay! Now tell

She set her hand upon her stickin the resolute way that sometimes
was habitual to herand looked at the fire with a strong
expression of forcing herself to attend. I went on with my
explanationand told her how I had hoped to complete the
transaction out of my meansbut how in this I was disappointed.
That part of the subject (I reminded her) involved matters which
could form no part of my explanationfor they were the weighty
secrets of another.

So!said sheassenting with her headbut not looking at me.
And how much money is wanting to complete the purchase?

I was rather afraid of stating itfor it sounded a large sum.
Nine hundred pounds.

If I give you the money for this purpose, will you keep my secret
as you have kept your own?

Quite as faithfully.

And your mind will be more at rest?

Much more at rest.

Are you very unhappy now?

She asked this questionstill without looking at mebut in an
unwonted tone of sympathy. I could not reply at the momentfor my
voice failed me. She put her left arm across the head of her stick
and softly laid her forehead on it.

I am far from happy, Miss Havisham; but I have other causes of
disquiet than any you know of. They are the secrets I have

After a little whileshe raised her head and looked at the fire

It is noble in you to tell me that you have other causes of
unhappiness, Is it true?

Too true.

Can I only serve you, Pip, by serving your friend? Regarding that
as done, is there nothing I can do for you yourself?

Nothing. I thank you for the question. I thank you even more for
the tone of the question. But, there is nothing.

She presently rose from her seatand looked about the blighted
room for the means of writing. There were non thereand she took
from her pocket a yellow set of ivory tabletsmounted in tarnished
goldand wrote upon them with a pencil in a case of tarnished gold
that hung from her neck.

You are still on friendly terms with Mr. Jaggers?

Quite. I dined with him yesterday.

This is an authority to him to pay you that money, to lay out at
your irresponsible discretion for your friend. I keep no money
here; but if you would rather Mr. Jaggers knew nothing of the
matter, I will send it to you.

Thank you, Miss Havisham; I have not the least objection to
receiving it from him.

She read me what she had writtenand it was direct and clearand
evidently intended to absolve me from any suspicion of profiting by
the receipt of the money. I took the tablets from her handand it
trembled againand it trembled more as she took off the chain to
which the pencil was attachedand put it in mine. All this she
didwithout looking at me.

My name is on the first leaf. If you can ever write under my name,
I forgive her though ever so long after my broken heart is dust

-pray do it!
O Miss Havisham,said II can do it now. There have been sore
mistakes; and my life has been a blind and thankless one; and I
want forgiveness and direction far too much, to be bitter with

She turned her face to me for the first time since she had averted
itandto my amazementI may even add to my terrordropped on
her knees at my feet; with her folded hands raised to me in the
manner in whichwhen her poor heart was young and fresh and whole
they must often have been raised to heaven from her mother's side.

To see her with her white hair and her worn face kneeling at my
feetgave me a shock through all my frame. I entreated her to
riseand got my arms about her to help her up; but she only
pressed that hand of mine which was nearest to her graspand hung
her head over it and wept. I had never seen her shed a tear before
andin the hope that the relief might do her goodI bent over her
without speaking. She was not kneeling nowbut was down upon the

O!she crieddespairingly. "What have I done! What have I done!"

If you mean, Miss Havisham, what have you done to injure me, let
me answer. Very little. I should have loved her under any
circumstances. - Is she married?


It was a needless questionfor a new desolation in the desolate
house had told me so.

What have I done! What have I done!She wrung her handsand
crushed her white hairand returned to this cry over and over
again. "What have I done!"

I knew not how to answeror how to comfort her. That she had done
a grievous thing in taking an impressionable child to mould into
the form that her wild resentmentspurned affectionand wounded
pridefound vengeance inI knew full well. But thatin shutting
out the light of dayshe had shut out infinitely more; thatin
seclusionshe had secluded herself from a thousand natural and
healing influences; thather mindbrooding solitaryhad grown
diseasedas all minds do and must and will that reverse the
appointed order of their Maker; I knew equally well. And could I
look upon her without compassionseeing her punishment in the ruin
she wasin her profound unfitness for this earth on which she was
placedin the vanity of sorrow which had become a master mania
like the vanity of penitencethe vanity of remorsethe vanity of
unworthinessand other monstrous vanities that have been curses in
this world?

Until you spoke to her the other day, and until I saw in you a
looking-glass that showed me what I once felt myself, I did not
know what I had done. What have I done! What have I done!And so
againtwentyfifty times overWhat had she done!

Miss Havisham,I saidwhen her cry had died awayyou may
dismiss me from your mind and conscience. But Estella is a
different case, and if you can ever undo any scrap of what you have

done amiss in keeping a part of her right nature away from her, it
will be better to do that, than to bemoan the past through a
hundred years.

Yes, yes, I know it. But, Pip - my Dear!There was an earnest
womanly compassion for me in her new affection. "My Dear! Believe
this: when she first came to meI meant to save her from misery
like my own. At first I meant no more."

Well, well!said I. "I hope so."

But as she grew, and promised to be very beautiful, I gradually
did worse, and with my praises, and with my jewels, and with my
teachings, and with this figure of myself always before her a
warning to back and point my lessons, I stole her heart away and
put ice in its place.

Better,I could not help sayingto have left her a natural
heart, even to be bruised or broken.

With thatMiss Havisham looked distractedly at me for a whileand
then burst out againWhat had she done!

If you knew all my story,she pleadedyou would have some
compassion for me and a better understanding of me.

Miss Havisham,I answeredas delicately as I couldI believe I
may say that I do know your story, and have known it ever since I
first left this neighbourhood. It has inspired me with great
commiseration, and I hope I understand it and its influences. Does
what has passed between us give me any excuse for asking you a
question relative to Estella? Not as she is, but as she was when
she first came here?

She was seated on the groundwith her arms on the ragged chair
and her head leaning on them. She looked full at me when I said
thisand repliedGo on.

Whose child was Estella?

She shook her head.

You don't know?

She shook her head again.

But Mr. Jaggers brought her here, or sent her here?

Brought her here.

Will you tell me how that came about?

She answered in a low whisper and with caution: "I had been shut up
in these rooms a long time (I don't know how long; you know what
time the clocks keep here)when I told him that I wanted a little
girl to rear and loveand save from my fate. I had first seen him
when I sent for him to lay this place waste for me; having read of
him in the newspapersbefore I and the world parted. He told me
that he would look about him for such an orphan child. One night he
brought her here asleepand I called her Estella."

Might I ask her age then?

Two or three. She herself knows nothing, but that she was left an

orphan and I adopted her.

So convinced I was of that woman's being her motherthat I wanted
no evidence to establish the fact in my own mind. Butto any mind
I thoughtthe connection here was clear and straight.

What more could I hope to do by prolonging the interview? I had
succeeded on behalf of HerbertMiss Havisham had told me all she
knew of EstellaI had said and done what I could to ease her mind.
No matter with what other words we parted; we parted.

Twilight was closing in when I went down stairs into the natural
air. I called to the woman who had opened the gate when I entered
that I would not trouble her just yetbut would walk round the
place before leaving. ForI had a presentiment that I should never
be there againand I felt that the dying light was suited to my
last view of it.

By the wilderness of casks that I had walked on long agoand on
which the rain of years had fallen sincerotting them in many
placesand leaving miniature swamps and pools of water upon those
that stood on endI made my way to the ruined garden. I went all
round it; round by the corner where Herbert and I had fought our
battle; round by the paths where Estella and I had walked. So cold
so lonelyso dreary all!

Taking the brewery on my way backI raised the rusty latch of a
little door at the garden end of itand walked through. I was
going out at the opposite door - not easy to open nowfor the damp
wood had started and swelledand the hinges were yieldingand the
threshold was encumbered with a growth of fungus - when I turned my
head to look back. A childish association revived with wonderful
force in the moment of the slight actionand I fancied that I saw
Miss Havisham hanging to the beam. So strong was the impression
that I stood under the beam shuddering from head to foot before I
knew it was a fancy - though to be sure I was there in an instant.

The mournfulness of the place and timeand the great terror of
this illusionthough it was but momentarycaused me to feel an
indescribable awe as I came out between the open wooden gates where
I had once wrung my hair after Estella had wrung my heart. Passing
on into the front court-yardI hesitated whether to call the woman
to let me out at the locked gate of which she had the keyor first
to go up-stairs and assure myself that Miss Havisham was as safe
and well as I had left her. I took the latter course and went up.

I looked into the room where I had left herand I saw her seated
in the ragged chair upon the hearth close to the firewith her
back towards me. In the moment when I was withdrawing my head to go
quietly awayI saw a great flaming light spring up. In the same
momentI saw her running at meshriekingwith a whirl of fire
blazing all about herand soaring at least as many feet above her
head as she was high.

I had a double-caped great-coat onand over my arm another thick
coat. That I got them offclosed with herthrew her downand got
them over her; that I dragged the great cloth from the table for
the same purposeand with it dragged down the heap of rottenness
in the midstand all the ugly things that sheltered there; that we
were on the ground struggling like desperate enemiesand that the
closer I covered herthe more wildly she shrieked and tried to
free herself; that this occurred I knew through the resultbut not
through anything I feltor thoughtor knew I did. I knew nothing
until I knew that we were on the floor by the great tableand that

patches of tinder yet alight were floating in the smoky airwhich
a moment agohad been her faded bridal dress.

ThenI looked round and saw the disturbed beetles and spiders
running away over the floorand the servants coming in with
breathless cries at the door. I still held her forcibly down with
all my strengthlike a prisoner who might escape; and I doubt if I
even knew who she wasor why we had struggledor that she had
been in flamesor that the flames were outuntil I saw the
patches of tinder that had been her garmentsno longer alight but
falling in a black shower around us.

She was insensibleand I was afraid to have her movedor even
touched. Assistance was sent for and I held her until it cameas
if I unreasonably fancied (I think I did) that if I let her gothe
fire would break out again and consume her. When I got upon the
surgeon's coming to her with other aidI was astonished to see
that both my hands were burnt; forI had no knowledge of it
through the sense of feeling.

On examination it was pronounced that she had received serious
hurtsbut that they of themselves were far from hopeless; the
danger lay mainly in the nervous shock. By the surgeon's
directionsher bed was carried into that room and laid upon the
great table: which happened to be well suited to the dressing of
her injuries. When I saw her againan hour afterwardsshe lay
indeed where I had seen her strike her stickand had heard her say
that she would lie one day.

Though every vestige of her dress was burntas they told meshe
still had something of her old ghastly bridal appearance; forthey
had covered her to the throat with white cotton-wooland as she
lay with a white sheet loosely overlying thatthe phantom air of
something that had been and was changedwas still upon her.

I foundon questioning the servantsthat Estella was in Paris
and I got a promise from the surgeon that he would write to her by
the next post. Miss Havisham's family I took upon myself; intending
to communicate with Mr. Matthew Pocket onlyand leave him to do as
he liked about informing the rest. This I did next daythrough
Herbertas soon as I returned to town.

There was a stagethat eveningwhen she spoke collectedly of what
had happenedthough with a certain terrible vivacity. Towards
midnight she began to wander in her speechand after that it
gradually set in that she said innumerable times in a low solemn
voiceWhat have I done!And thenWhen she first came, I meant
to save her from misery like mine.And thenTake the pencil and
write under my name, 'I forgive her!'She never changed the order
of these three sentencesbut she sometimes left out a word in one
or other of them; never putting in another wordbut always leaving
a blank and going on to the next word.

As I could do no service thereand as I hadnearer homethat
pressing reason for anxiety and fear which even her wanderings
could not drive out of my mindI decided in the course of the
night that I would return by the early morning coach: walking on a
mile or soand being taken up clear of the town. At about six
o'clock of the morningthereforeI leaned over her and touched
her lips with minejust as they saidnot stopping for being
touchedTake the pencil and write under my name, 'I forgive

Chapter 50

My hands had been dressed twice or thrice in the nightand again
in the morning. My left arm was a good deal burned to the elbow
andless severelyas high as the shoulder; it was very painful
but the flames had set in that directionand I felt thankful it
was no worse. My right hand was not so badly burnt but that I could
move the fingers. It was bandagedof coursebut much less
inconveniently than my left hand and arm; those I carried in a
sling; and I could only wear my coat like a cloakloose over my
shoulders and fastened at the neck. My hair had been caught by the
firebut not my head or face.

When Herbert had been down to Hammersmith and seen his fatherhe
came back to me at our chambersand devoted the day to attending on
me. He was the kindest of nursesand at stated times took off the
bandagesand steeped them in the cooling liquid that was kept
readyand put them on againwith a patient tenderness that I was
deeply grateful for.

At firstas I lay quiet on the sofaI found it painfully
difficultI might say impossibleto get rid of the impression of
the glare of the flamestheir hurry and noiseand the fierce
burning smell. If I dozed for a minuteI was awakened by Miss
Havisham's criesand by her running at me with all that height of
fire above her head. This pain of the mind was much harder to
strive against than any bodily pain I suffered; and Herbertseeing
thatdid his utmost to hold my attention engaged.

Neither of us spoke of the boatbut we both thought of it. That
was made apparent by our avoidance of the subjectand by our
agreeing - without agreement - to make my recovery of the use of my
handsa question of so many hoursnot of so many weeks.

My first question when I saw Herbert had been of coursewhether
all was well down the river? As he replied in the affirmativewith
perfect confidence and cheerfulnesswe did not resume the subject
until the day was wearing away. But thenas Herbert changed the
bandagesmore by the light of the fire than by the outer lighthe
went back to it spontaneously.

I sat with Provis last night, Handel, two good hours.

Where was Clara?

Dear little thing!said Herbert. "She was up and down with
Gruffandgrim all the evening. He was perpetually pegging at the
floorthe moment she left his sight. I doubt if he can hold out
long though. What with rum and pepper - and pepper and rum - I
should think his pegging must be nearly over."

And then you will be married, Herbert?

How can I take care of the dear child otherwise? - Lay your arm
out upon the back of the sofa, my dear boy, and I'll sit down here,
and get the bandage off so gradually that you shall not know when
it comes. I was speaking of Provis. Do you know, Handel, he

I said to you I thought he was softened when I last saw him.

So you did. And so he is. He was very communicative last night,
and told me more of his life. You remember his breaking off here
about some woman that he had had great trouble with. - Did I hurt


I had startedbut not under his touch. His words had given me a

I had forgotten that, Herbert, but I remember it now you speak of

Well! He went into that part of his life, and a dark wild part it
is. Shall I tell you? Or would it worry you just now?

Tell me by all means. Every word.

Herbert bent forward to look at me more nearlyas if my reply had
been rather more hurried or more eager than he could quite account
for. "Your head is cool?" he saidtouching it.

Quite,said I. "Tell me what Provis saidmy dear Herbert."

It seems,said Herbert - there's a bandage off most
charmingly, and now comes the cool one - makes you shrink at first,
my poor dear fellow, don't it? but it will be comfortable presently

-it seems that the woman was a young woman, and a jealous woman,
and a revengeful woman; revengeful, Handel, to the last degree.
To what last degree?

Murder. - Does it strike too cold on that sensitive place?

I don't feel it. How did she murder? Whom did she murder?Why,
the deed may not have merited quite so terrible a name,said
Herbertbut, she was tried for it, and Mr. Jaggers defended her,
and the reputation of that defence first made his name known to
Provis. It was another and a stronger woman who was the victim, and
there had been a struggle - in a barn. Who began it, or how fair it
was, or how unfair, may be doubtful; but how it ended, is certainly
not doubtful, for the victim was found throttled.

Was the woman brought in guilty?

No; she was acquitted. - My poor Handel, I hurt you!

It is impossible to be gentler, Herbert. Yes? What else?

This acquitted young woman and Provis had a little child: a little
child of whom Provis was exceedingly fond. On the evening of the
very night when the object of her jealousy was strangled as I tell
you, the young woman presented herself before Provis for one
moment, and swore that she would destroy the child (which was in
her possession), and he should never see it again; then, she
vanished. - There's the worst arm comfortably in the sling once
more, and now there remains but the right hand, which is a far
easier job. I can do it better by this light than by a stronger,
for my hand is steadiest when I don't see the poor blistered
patches too distinctly. - You don't think your breathing is
affected, my dear boy? You seem to breathe quickly.

Perhaps I do, Herbert. Did the woman keep her oath?

There comes the darkest part of Provis's life. She did.

That is, he says she did.

Why, of course, my dear boy,returned Herbertin a tone of

surpriseand again bending forward to get a nearer look at me. "He
says it all. I have no other information."

No, to be sure.

Now, whether,pursued Herberthe had used the child's mother
ill, or whether he had used the child's mother well, Provis doesn't
say; but, she had shared some four or five years of the wretched
life he described to us at this fireside, and he seems to have felt
pity for her, and forbearance towards her. Therefore, fearing he
should be called upon to depose about this destroyed child, and so
be the cause of her death, he hid himself (much as he grieved for
the child), kept himself dark, as he says, out of the way and out
of the trial, and was only vaguely talked of as a certain man
called Abel, out of whom the jealousy arose. After the acquittal
she disappeared, and thus he lost the child and the child's

I want to ask--

A moment, my dear boy, and I have done. That evil genius,
Compeyson, the worst of scoundrels among many scoundrels, knowing
of his keeping out of the way at that time, and of his reasons for
doing so, of course afterwards held the knowledge over his head as
a means of keeping him poorer, and working him harder. It was clear
last night that this barbed the point of Provis's animosity.

I want to know,said Iand particularly, Herbert, whether he
told you when this happened?

Particularly? Let me remember, then, what he said as to that. His
expression was, 'a round score o' year ago, and a'most directly
after I took up wi' Compeyson.' How old were you when you came upon
him in the little churchyard?

I think in my seventh year.

Ay. It had happened some three or four years then, he said, and
you brought into his mind the little girl so tragically lost, who
would have been about your age.

Herbert,said Iafter a short silencein a hurried waycan
you see me best by the light of the window, or the light of the

By the firelight,answered Herbertcoming close again.

Look at me.

I do look at you, my dear boy.

Touch me.

I do touch you, my dear boy.

You are not afraid that I am in any fever, or that my head is much
disordered by the accident of last night?

N-no, my dear boy,said Herbertafter taking time to examine me.
You are rather excited, but you are quite yourself.

I know I am quite myself. And the man we have in hiding down the
river, is Estella's Father.

Chapter 51

What purpose I had in view when I was hot on tracing out and
proving Estella's parentageI cannot say. It will presently be
seen that the question was not before me in a distinct shapeuntil
it was put before me by a wiser head than my own.

Butwhen Herbert and I had held our momentous conversationI was
seized with a feverish conviction that I ought to hunt the matter
down - that I ought not to let it restbut that I ought to see Mr.
Jaggersand come at the bare truth. I really do not know whether I
felt that I did this for Estella's sakeor whether I was glad to
transfer to the man in whose preservation I was so much concerned
some rays of the romantic interest that had so long surrounded her.
Perhaps the latter possibility may be the nearer to the truth.

Any wayI could scarcely be withheld from going out to
Gerrard-street that night. Herbert's representations that if I did
I should probably be laid up and stricken uselesswhen our
fugitive's safety would depend upon mealone restrained my
impatience. On the understandingagain and again reiteratedthat
come what wouldI was to go to Mr. Jaggers to-morrowI at length
submitted to keep quietand to have my hurts looked afterand to
stay at home. Early next morning we went out togetherand at the
corner of Giltspur-street by SmithfieldI left Herbert to go his
way into the Cityand took my way to Little Britain.

There were periodical occasions when Mr. Jaggers and Wemmick went
over the office accountsand checked off the vouchersand put all
things straight. On these occasions Wemmick took his books and
papers into Mr. Jaggers's roomand one of the up-stairs clerks came
down into the outer office. Finding such clerk on Wemmick's post
that morningI knew what was going on; butI was not sorry to
have Mr. Jaggers and Wemmick togetheras Wemmick would then hear
for himself that I said nothing to compromise him.

My appearance with my arm bandaged and my coat loose over my
shouldersfavoured my object. Although I had sent Mr. Jaggers a
brief account of the accident as soon as I had arrived in townyet
I had to give him all the details now; and the speciality of the
occasion caused our talk to be less dry and hardand less strictly
regulated by the rules of evidencethan it had been before. While
I described the disasterMr. Jaggers stoodaccording to his wont
before the fire. Wemmick leaned back in his chairstaring at me
with his hands in the pockets of his trousersand his pen put
horizontally into the post. The two brutal castsalways
inseparable in my mind from the official proceedingsseemed to be
congestively considering whether they didn't smell fire at the
present moment.

My narrative finishedand their questions exhaustedI then
produced Miss Havisham's authority to receive the nine hundred
pounds for Herbert. Mr. Jaggers's eyes retired a little deeper into
his head when I handed him the tabletsbut he presently handed
them over to Wemmickwith instructions to draw the cheque for his
signature. While that was in course of being doneI looked on at
Wemmick as he wroteand Mr. Jaggerspoising and swaying himself on
his well-polished bootslooked on at me. "I am sorryPip said
he, as I put the cheque in my pocket, when he had signed it, that
we do nothing for you."

Miss Havisham was good enough to ask me,I returnedwhether she
could do nothing for me, and I told her No.

Everybody should know his own business,said Mr. Jaggers. And I
saw Wemmick's lips form the words "portable property."

I should not have told her No, if I had been you,said Mr
Jaggers; "but every man ought to know his own business best."

Every man's business,said Wemmickrather reproachfully towards
meis portable property.

As I thought the time was now come for pursuing the theme I had at
heartI saidturning on Mr. Jaggers:

I did ask something of Miss Havisham, however, sir. I asked her to
give me some information relative to her adopted daughter, and she
gave me all she possessed.

Did she?said Mr. Jaggersbending forward to look at his boots
and then straightening himself. "Hah! I don't think I should have
done soif I had been Miss Havisham. But she ought to know her own
business best."

I know more of the history of Miss Havisham's adopted child, than
Miss Havisham herself does, sir. I know her mother.

Mr. Jaggers looked at me inquiringlyand repeated "Mother?"

I have seen her mother within these three days.

Yes?said Mr. Jaggers.

And so have you, sir. And you have seen her still more recently.

Yes?said Mr. Jaggers.

Perhaps I know more of Estella's history than even you do,said

I. "I know her father too."
A certain stop that Mr. Jaggers came to in his manner - he was too
self-possessed to change his mannerbut he could not help its
being brought to an indefinably attentive stop - assured me that he
did not know who her father was. This I had strongly suspected from
Provis's account (as Herbert had repeated it) of his having kept
himself dark; which I pieced on to the fact that he himself was not
Mr. Jaggers's client until some four years laterand when he could
have no reason for claiming his identity. ButI could not be sure
of this unconsciousness on Mr. Jaggers's part beforethough I was
quite sure of it now.

So! You know the young lady's father, Pip?said Mr. Jaggers.

Yes,I repliedand his name is Provis - from New South Wales.

Even Mr. Jaggers started when I said those words. It was the
slightest start that could escape a manthe most carefully
repressed and the soonest checkedbut he did startthough he made
it a part of the action of taking out his pocket-handkerchief. How
Wemmick received the announcement I am unable to sayfor I was
afraid to look at him just thenlest Mr. Jaggers's sharpness should
detect that there had been some communication unknown to him
between us.

And on what evidence, Pip,asked Mr. Jaggersvery coollyas he
paused with his handkerchief half way to his nosedoes Provis

make this claim?

He does not make it,said Iand has never made it, and has no
knowledge or belief that his daughter is in existence.

For oncethe powerful pocket-handkerchief failed. My reply was so
unexpected that Mr. Jaggers put the handkerchief back into his
pocket without completing the usual performancefolded his arms
and looked with stern attention at methough with an immovable

Then I told him all I knewand how I knew it; with the one
reservation that I left him to infer that I knew from Miss Havisham
what I in fact knew from Wemmick. I was very careful indeed as to
that. Nordid I look towards Wemmick until I had finished all I
had to telland had been for some time silently meeting Mr.
Jaggers's look. When I did at last turn my eyes in Wemmick's
directionI found that he had unposted his penand was intent
upon the table before him.

Hah!said Mr. Jaggers at lastas he moved towards the papers on
the table - What item was it you were at, Wemmick, when Mr. Pip
came in?

But I could not submit to be thrown off in that wayand I made a
passionatealmost an indignantappeal to him to be more frank and
manly with me. I reminded him of the false hopes into which I had
lapsedthe length of time they had lastedand the discovery I had
made: and I hinted at the danger that weighed upon my spirits. I
represented myself as being surely worthy of some little confidence
from himin return for the confidence I had just now imparted. I
said that I did not blame himor suspect himor mistrust himbut
I wanted assurance of the truth from him. And if he asked me why I
wanted it and why I thought I had any right to itI would tell
himlittle as he cared for such poor dreamsthat I had loved
Estella dearly and longand thatalthough I had lost her and must
live a bereaved lifewhatever concerned her was still nearer and
dearer to me than anything else in the world. And seeing that Mr.
Jaggers stood quite still and silentand apparently quite
obdurateunder this appealI turned to Wemmickand said
Wemmick, I know you to be a man with a gentle heart. I have seen
your pleasant home, and your old father, and all the innocent
cheerful playful ways with which you refresh your business life.
And I entreat you to say a word for me to Mr. Jaggers, and to
represent to him that, all circumstances considered, he ought to be
more open with me!

I have never seen two men look more oddly at one another than Mr.
Jaggers and Wemmick did after this apostrophe. At firsta
misgiving crossed me that Wemmick would be instantly dismissed from
his employment; butit melted as I saw Mr. Jaggers relax into
something like a smileand Wemmick become bolder.

What's all this?said Mr. Jaggers. "You with an old fatherand
you with pleasant and playful ways?"

Well!returned Wemmick. "If I don't bring 'em herewhat does it

Pip,said Mr. Jaggerslaying his hand upon my armand smiling
openlythis man must be the most cunning impostor in all London.

Not a bit of it,returned Wemmickgrowing bolder and bolder. "I
think you're another."

Again they exchanged their former odd lookseach apparently still
distrustful that the other was taking him in.

You with a pleasant home?said Mr. Jaggers.

Since it don't interfere with business,returned Wemmicklet it
be so. Now, I look at you, sir, I shouldn't wonder if you might be
planning and contriving to have a pleasant home of your own, one of
these days, when you're tired of all this work.

Mr. Jaggers nodded his head retrospectively two or three timesand
actually drew a sigh. "Pip said he, we won't talk about 'poor
dreams;' you know more about such things than Ihaving much
fresher experience of that kind. But nowabout this other matter.
I'll put a case to you. Mind! I admit nothing."

He waited for me to declare that I quite understood that he
expressly said that he admitted nothing.

Now, Pip,said Mr. Jaggersput this case. Put the case that a
woman, under such circumstances as you have mentioned, held her
child concealed, and was obliged to communicate the fact to her
legal adviser, on his representing to her that he must know, with
an eye to the latitude of his defence, how the fact stood about
that child. Put the case that at the same time he held a trust to
find a child for an eccentric rich lady to adopt and bring up.

I follow you, sir.

Put the case that he lived in an atmosphere of evil, and that all
he saw of children, was, their being generated in great numbers for
certain destruction. Put the case that he often saw children
solemnly tried at a criminal bar, where they were held up to be
seen; put the case that he habitually knew of their being
imprisoned, whipped, transported, neglected, cast out, qualified in
all ways for the hangman, and growing up to be hanged. Put the case
that pretty nigh all the children he saw in his daily business
life, he had reason to look upon as so much spawn, to develop into
the fish that were to come to his net - to be prosecuted, defended,
forsworn, made orphans, bedevilled somehow.

I follow you, sir.

Put the case, Pip, that here was one pretty little child out of
the heap, who could be saved; whom the father believed dead, and
dared make no stir about; as to whom, over the mother, the legal
adviser had this power: I know what you didand how you did it.
You came so and sothis was your manner of attack and this the
manner of resistanceyou went so and soyou did such and such
things to divert suspicion. I have tracked you through it alland
I tell it you all. Part with the childunless it should be
necessary to produce it to clear youand then it shall be
produced. Give the child into my handsand I will do my best to
bring you off. If you are savedyour child is saved too; if you
are lostyour child is still saved." Put the case that this was
doneand that the woman was cleared."

I understand you perfectly.

But that I make no admissions?

That you make no admissions.And Wemmick repeatedNo

Put the case, Pip, that passion and the terror of death had a
little shaken the woman's intellect, and that when she was set at
liberty, she was scared out of the ways of the world and went to
him to be sheltered. Put the case that he took her in, and that he
kept down the old wild violent nature whenever he saw an inkling of
its breaking out, by asserting his power over her in the old way.
Do you comprehend the imaginary case?


Put the case that the child grew up, and was married for money.
That the mother was still living. That the father was still living.
That the mother and father unknown to one another, were dwelling
within so many miles, furlongs, yards if you like, of one another.
That the secret was still a secret, except that you had got wind of
it. Put that last case to yourself very carefully.

I do.

I ask Wemmick to put it to himself very carefully.

And Wemmick saidI do.

For whose sake would you reveal the secret? For the father's?
think he would not be much the better for the mother. For the
mother's? I think if she had done such a deed she would be safer
where she was. For the daughter's? I think it would hardly serve
her, to establish her parentage for the information of her husband,
and to drag her back to disgrace, after an escape of twenty years,
pretty secure to last for life. But, add the case that you had
loved her, Pip, and had made her the subject of those 'poor dreams'
which have, at one time or another, been in the heads of more men
than you think likely, then I tell you that you had better - and
would much sooner when you had thought well of it - chop off that
bandaged left hand of yours with your bandaged right hand, and then
pass the chopper on to Wemmick there, to cut that off, too.

I looked at Wemmickwhose face was very grave. He gravely touched
his lips with his forefinger. I did the same. Mr. Jaggers did the
same. "NowWemmick said the latter then, resuming his usual
manner, what item was it you were atwhen Mr. Pip came in?"

Standing by for a littlewhile they were at workI observed that
the odd looks they had cast at one another were repeated several
times: with this difference nowthat each of them seemed
suspiciousnot to say consciousof having shown himself in a weak
and unprofessional light to the other. For this reasonI suppose
they were now inflexible with one another; Mr. Jaggers being highly
dictatorialand Wemmick obstinately justifying himself whenever
there was the smallest point in abeyance for a moment. I had never
seen them on such ill terms; for generally they got on very well
indeed together.

Butthey were both happily relieved by the opportune appearance of
Mikethe client with the fur cap and the habit of wiping his nose
on his sleevewhom I had seen on the very first day of my
appearance within those walls. This individualwhoeither in his
own person or in that of some member of his familyseemed to be
always in trouble (which in that place meant Newgate)called to
announce that his eldest daughter was taken up on suspicion of
shop-lifting. As he imparted this melancholy circumstance to
WemmickMr. Jaggers standing magisterially before the fire and
taking no share in the proceedingsMike's eye happened to twinkle

with a tear.

What are you about?demanded Wemmickwith the utmost
indignation. "What do you come snivelling here for?"

I didn't go to do it, Mr. Wemmick.

You did,said Wemmick. "How dare you? You're not in a fit state
to come hereif you can't come here without spluttering like a bad
pen. What do you mean by it?"

A man can't help his feelings, Mr. Wemmick,pleaded Mike.

His what?demanded Wemmickquite savagely. "Say that again!"

Now, look here my man,said Mr. Jaggersadvancing a stepand
pointing to the door. "Get out of this office. I'll have no
feelings here. Get out."

It serves you right,said WemmickGet out.

So the unfortunate Mike very humbly withdrewand Mr. Jaggers and
Wemmick appeared to have re-established their good understanding
and went to work again with an air of refreshment upon them as if
they had just had lunch.

Chapter 52

From Little BritainI wentwith my cheque in my pocketto Miss
Skiffins's brotherthe accountant; and Miss Skiffins's brother
the accountantgoing straight to Clarriker's and bringing
Clarriker to meI had the great satisfaction of concluding that
arrangement. It was the only good thing I had doneand the only
completed thing I had donesince I was first apprised of my great

Clarriker informing me on that occasion that the affairs of the
House were steadily progressingthat he would now be able to
establish a small branch-house in the East which was much wanted
for the extension of the businessand that Herbert in his new
partnership capacity would go out and take charge of itI found
that I must have prepared for a separation from my friendeven
though my own affairs had been more settled. And now indeed I felt
as if my last anchor were loosening its holdand I should soon be
driving with the winds and waves.

Butthere was recompense in the joy with which Herbert would come
home of a night and tell me of these changeslittle imagining that
he told me no newsand would sketch airy pictures of himself
conducting Clara Barley to the land of the Arabian Nightsand of
me going out to join them (with a caravan of camelsI believe)
and of our all going up the Nile and seeing wonders. Without being
sanguine as to my own part in these bright plansI felt that
Herbert's way was clearing fastand that old Bill Barley had but
to stick to his pepper and rumand his daughter would soon be
happily provided for.

We had now got into the month of March. My left armthough it
presented no bad symptomstook in the natural course so long to
heal that I was still unable to get a coat on. My right arm was
tolerably restored; - disfiguredbut fairly serviceable.

On a Monday morningwhen Herbert and I were at breakfastI

received the following letter from Wemmick by the post.

Walworth. Burn this as soon as read. Early in the week, or say
Wednesday, you might do what you know of, if you felt disposed to
try it. Now burn.

When I had shown this to Herbert and had put it in the fire - but
not before we had both got it by heart - we considered what to do.
Forof course my being disabled could now be no longer kept out of

I have thought it over, again and again,said Herbertand I
think I know a better course than taking a Thames waterman. Take
Startop. A good fellow, a skilled hand, fond of us, and
enthusiastic and honourable.

I had thought of himmore than once.

But how much would you tell him, Herbert?

It is necessary to tell him very little. Let him suppose it a mere
freak, but a secret one, until the morning comes: then let him know
that there is urgent reason for your getting Provis aboard and
away. You go with him?

No doubt.


It had seemed to mein the many anxious considerations I had given
the pointalmost indifferent what port we made for - Hamburg
RotterdamAntwerp - the place signified littleso that he was got
out of England. Any foreign steamer that fell in our way and would
take us upwould do. I had always proposed to myself to get him
well down the river in the boat; certainly well beyond Gravesend
which was a critical place for search or inquiry if suspicion were
afoot. As foreign steamers would leave London at about the time of
high-waterour plan would be to get down the river by a previous
ebb-tideand lie by in some quiet spot until we could pull off to
one. The time when one would be due where we laywherever that
might becould be calculated pretty nearlyif we made inquiries

Herbert assented to all thisand we went out immediately after
breakfast to pursue our investigations. We found that a steamer for
Hamburg was likely to suit our purpose bestand we directed our
thoughts chiefly to that vessel. But we noted down what other
foreign steamers would leave London with the same tideand we
satisfied ourselves that we knew the build and colour of each. We
then separated for a few hours; Ito get at once such passports as
were necessary; Herbertto see Startop at his lodgings. We both
did what we had to do without any hindranceand when we met again
at one o'clock reported it done. Ifor my partwas prepared with
passports; Herbert had seen Startopand he was more than ready to

Those two should pull a pair of oarswe settledand I would
steer; our charge would be sitterand keep quiet; as speed was not
our objectwe should make way enough. We arranged that Herbert
should not come home to dinner before going to Mill Pond Bank that
evening; that he should not go there at allto-morrow evening
Tuesday; that he should prepare Provis to come down to some Stairs
hard by the houseon Wednesdaywhen he saw us approachand not
sooner; that all the arrangements with him should be concluded that

Monday night; and that he should be communicated with no more in
any wayuntil we took him on board.

These precautions well understood by both of usI went home.

On opening the outer door of our chambers with my keyI found a
letter in the boxdirected to me; a very dirty letterthough not
ill-written. It had been delivered by hand (of course since I left
home)and its contents were these:

If you are not afraid to come to the old marshes to-night or
tomorrow night at Nine, and to come to the little sluice-house by
the limekiln, you had better come. If you want information
regarding your uncle Provis, you had much better come and tell no
one and lose no time. You must come alone. Bring this with you.

I had had load enough upon my mind before the receipt of this
strange letter. What to do nowI could not tell. And the worst
wasthat I must decide quicklyor I should miss the afternoon
coachwhich would take me down in time for to-night. To-morrow
night I could not think of goingfor it would be too close upon
the time of the flight. And againfor anything I knewthe
proffered information might have some important bearing on the
flight itself.

If I had had ample time for considerationI believe I should still
have gone. Having hardly any time for consideration - my watch
showing me that the coach started within half an hour - I resolved
to go. I should certainly not have gonebut for the reference to
my Uncle Provis; thatcoming on Wemmick's letter and the morning's
busy preparationturned the scale.

It is so difficult to become clearly possessed of the contents of
almost any letterin a violent hurrythat I had to read this
mysterious epistle againtwicebefore its injunction to me to be
secret got mechanically into my mind. Yielding to it in the same
mechanical kind of wayI left a note in pencil for Herbert
telling him that as I should be so soon going awayI knew not for
how longI had decided to hurry down and backto ascertain for
myself how Miss Havisham was faring. I had then barely time to get
my great-coatlock up the chambersand make for the coach-office
by the short by-ways. If I had taken a hackney-chariot and gone by
the streetsI should have missed my aim; going as I didI caught
the coach just as it came out of the yard. I was the only inside
passengerjolting away knee-deep in strawwhen I came to myself.

ForI really had not been myself since the receipt of the letter;
it had so bewildered me ensuing on the hurry of the morning. The
morning hurry and flutter had been greatforlong and anxiously
as I had waited for Wemmickhis hint had come like a surprise at
last. And nowI began to wonder at myself for being in the coach
and to doubt whether I had sufficient reason for being thereand
to consider whether I should get out presently and go backand to
argue against ever heeding an anonymous communicationandin
shortto pass through all those phases of contradiction and
indecision to which I suppose very few hurried people are
strangers. Stillthe reference to Provis by namemastered
everything. I reasoned as I had reasoned already without knowing it

-if that be reasoning - in case any harm should befall him through
my not goinghow could I ever forgive myself!
It was dark before we got downand the journey seemed long and
dreary to me who could see little of it insideand who could not
go outside in my disabled state. Avoiding the Blue BoarI put up

at an inn of minor reputation down the townand ordered some
dinner. While it was preparingI went to Satis House and inquired
for Miss Havisham; she was still very illthough considered
something better.

My inn had once been a part of an ancient ecclesiastical houseand
I dined in a little octagonal common-roomlike a font. As I was
not able to cut my dinnerthe old landlord with a shining bald
head did it for me. This bringing us into conversationhe was so
good as to entertain me with my own story - of course with the
popular feature that Pumblechook was my earliest benefactor and the
founder of my fortunes.

Do you know the young man?said I.

Know him!repeated the landlord. "Ever since he was - no height
at all."

Does he ever come back to this neighbourhood?

Ay, he comes back,said the landlordto his great friends, now
and again, and gives the cold shoulder to the man that made him.

What man is that?

Him that I speak of,said the landlord. "Mr. Pumblechook."

Is he ungrateful to no one else?

No doubt he would be, if he could,returned the landlordbut he
can't. And why? Because Pumblechook done everything for him.

Does Pumblechook say so?

Say so!replied the landlord. "He han't no call to say so."

But does he say so?

It would turn a man's blood to white wine winegar to hear him tell
of it, sir,said the landlord.

I thoughtYet Joe, dear Joe, you never tell of it. Long-suffering
and loving Joe, you never complain. Nor you, sweet-tempered Biddy!

Your appetite's been touched like, by your accident,said the
landlordglancing at the bandaged arm under my coat. "Try a
tenderer bit."

No thank you,I repliedturning from the table to brood over the
fire. "I can eat no more. Please take it away."

I had never been struck at so keenlyfor my thanklessness to Joe
as through the brazen impostor Pumblechook. The falser hethe
truer Joe; the meaner hethe nobler Joe.

My heart was deeply and most deservedly humbled as I mused over the
fire for an hour or more. The striking of the clock aroused mebut
not from my dejection or remorseand I got up and had my coat
fastened round my neckand went out. I had previously sought in my
pockets for the letterthat I might refer to it againbut I could
not find itand was uneasy to think that it must have been dropped
in the straw of the coach. I knew very wellhoweverthat the
appointed place was the little sluice-house by the limekiln on the
marshesand the hour nine. Towards the marshes I now went

straighthaving no time to spare.

Chapter 53

It was a dark nightthough the full moon rose as I left the
enclosed landsand passed out upon the marshes. Beyond their dark
line there was a ribbon of clear skyhardly broad enough to hold
the red large moon. In a few minutes she had ascended out of that
clear fieldin among the piled mountains of cloud.

There was a melancholy windand the marshes were very dismal. A
stranger would have found them insupportableand even to me they
were so oppressive that I hesitatedhalf inclined to go back. But
I knew them welland could have found my way on a far darker
nightand had no excuse for returningbeing there. Sohaving
come there against my inclinationI went on against it.

The direction that I tookwas not that in which my old home lay
nor that in which we had pursued the convicts. My back was turned
towards the distant Hulks as I walked onandthough I could see
the old lights away on the spits of sandI saw them over my
shoulder. I knew the limekiln as well as I knew the old Battery
but they were miles apart; so that if a light had been burning at
each point that nightthere would have been a long strip of the
blank horizon between the two bright specks.

At firstI had to shut some gates after meand now and then to
stand still while the cattle that were lying in the banked-up
pathwayarose and blundered down among the grass and reeds. But
after a little whileI seemed to have the whole flats to myself.

It was another half-hour before I drew near to the kiln. The lime
was burning with a sluggish stifling smellbut the fires were made
up and leftand no workmen were visible. Hard bywas a small
stone-quarry. It lay directly in my wayand had been worked that
dayas I saw by the tools and barrows that were lying about.

Coming up again to the marsh level out of this excavation - for the
rude path lay through it - I saw a light in the old sluice-house. I
quickened my paceand knocked at the door with my hand. Waiting
for some replyI looked about menoticing how the sluice was
abandoned and brokenand how the house - of wood with a tiled roof

-would not be proof against the weather much longerif it were so
even nowand how the mud and ooze were coated with limeand how
the choking vapour of the kiln crept in a ghostly way towards me.
Still there was no answerand I knocked again. No answer still
and I tried the latch.
It rose under my handand the door yielded. Looking inI saw a
lighted candle on a tablea benchand a mattress on a truckle
bedstead. As there was a loft aboveI calledIs there any one
here?but no voice answered. ThenI looked at my watchand
finding that it was past ninecalled againIs there any one
here?There being still no answerI went out at the door
irresolute what to do.

It was beginning to rain fast. Seeing nothing save what I had seen
alreadyI turned back into the houseand stood just within the
shelter of the doorwaylooking out into the night. While I was
considering that some one must have been there lately and must soon
be coming backor the candle would not be burningit came into my
head to look if the wick were long. I turned round to do soand
had taken up the candle in my handwhen it was extinguished by

some violent shockand the next thing I comprehendedwasthat I
had been caught in a strong running noosethrown over my head from

Now,said a suppressed voice with an oathI've got you!

What is this?I criedstruggling. "Who is it? Helphelphelp!"

Not only were my arms pulled close to my sidesbut the pressure on
my bad arm caused me exquisite pain. Sometimesa strong man's
handsometimes a strong man's breastwas set against my mouth to
deaden my criesand with a hot breath always close to meI
struggled ineffectually in the darkwhile I was fastened tight to
the wall. "And now said the suppressed voice with another oath,
call out againand I'll make short work of you!"

Faint and sick with the pain of my injured armbewildered by the
surpriseand yet conscious how easily this threat could be put in
executionI desistedand tried to ease my arm were it ever so
little. Butit was bound too tight for that. I felt as ifhaving
been burnt beforeit were now being boiled.

The sudden exclusion of the night and the substitution of black
darkness in its placewarned me that the man had closed a shutter.
After groping about for a littlehe found the flint and steel he
wantedand began to strike a light. I strained my sight upon the
sparks that fell among the tinderand upon which he breathed and
breathedmatch in handbut I could only see his lipsand the
blue point of the match; even thosebut fitfully. The tinder was
damp - no wonder there - and one after another the sparks died out.

The man was in no hurryand struck again with the flint and steel.
As the sparks fell thick and bright about himI could see his
handsand touches of his faceand could make out that he was
seated and bending over the table; but nothing more. Presently I
saw his blue lips againbreathing on the tinderand then a flare
of light flashed upand showed me Orlick.

Whom I had looked forI don't know. I had not looked for him.
Seeing himI felt that I was in a dangerous strait indeedand I
kept my eyes upon him.

He lighted the candle from the flaring match with great
deliberationand dropped the matchand trod it out. Thenhe put
the candle away from him on the tableso that he could see meand
sat with his arms folded on the table and looked at me. I made out
that I was fastened to a stout perpendicular ladder a few inches
from the wall - a fixture there - the means of ascent to the loft

Now,said hewhen we had surveyed one another for some time
I've got you.

Unbind me. Let me go!

Ah!he returnedI'll let you go. I'll let you go to the moon,
I'll let you go to the stars. All in good time.

Why have you lured me here?

Don't you know?said hewith a deadly look

Why have you set upon me in the dark?

Because I mean to do it all myself. One keeps a secret better than
two. Oh you enemy, you enemy!

His enjoyment of the spectacle I furnishedas he sat with his arms
folded on the tableshaking his head at me and hugging himself
had a malignity in it that made me tremble. As I watched him in
silencehe put his hand into the corner at his sideand took up a
gun with a brass-bound stock.

Do you know this?said hemaking as if he would take aim at me.
Do you know where you saw it afore? Speak, wolf!

Yes,I answered.

You cost me that place. You did. Speak!

What else could I do?

You did that, and that would be enough, without more. How dared
you to come betwixt me and a young woman I liked?

When did I?

When didn't you? It was you as always give Old Orlick a bad name
to her.

You gave it to yourself; you gained it for yourself. I could have
done you no harm, if you had done yourself none.

You're a liar. And you'll take any pains, and spend any money, to
drive me out of this country, will you?said herepeating my
words to Biddy in the last interview I had with her. "NowI'll
tell you a piece of information. It was never so well worth your
while to get me out of this country as it is to-night. Ah! If it
was all your money twenty times toldto the last brass farden!" As
he shook his heavy hand at mewith his mouth snarling like a
tiger'sI felt that it was true.

What are you going to do to me?

I'm a-going,said hebringing his fist down upon the table with a
heavy blowand rising as the blow fellto give it greater force
I'm a-going to have your life!

He leaned forward staring at meslowly unclenched his hand and
drew it across his mouth as if his mouth watered for meand sat
down again.

You was always in Old Orlick's way since ever you was a child. You
goes out of his way, this present night. He'll have no more on you.
You're dead.

I felt that I had come to the brink of my grave. For a moment I
looked wildly round my trap for any chance of escape; but there was

More than that,said hefolding his arms on the table againI
won't have a rag of you, I won't have a bone of you, left on earth.
I'll put your body in the kiln - I'd carry two such to it, on my
shoulders - and, let people suppose what they may of you, they
shall never know nothing.

My mindwith inconceivable rapidityfollowed out all the
consequences of such a death. Estella's father would believe I had

deserted himwould be takenwould die accusing me; even Herbert
would doubt mewhen he compared the letter I had left for him
with the fact that I had called at Miss Havisham's gate for only a
moment; Joe and Biddy would never know how sorry I had been that
night; none would ever know what I had sufferedhow true I had
meant to bewhat an agony I had passed through. The death close
before me was terriblebut far more terrible than death was the
dread of being misremembered after death. And so quick were my
thoughtsthat I saw myself despised by unborn generations -
Estella's childrenand their children - while the wretch's words
were yet on his lips.

Now, wolf,said heafore I kill you like any other beast which
is wot I mean to do and wot I have tied you up for - I'll
have a good look at you and a good goad at you. Oh, you enemy!

It had passed through my thoughts to cry out for help again; though
few could know better than Ithe solitary nature of the spotand
the hopelessness of aid. But as he sat gloating over meI was
supported by a scornful detestation of him that sealed my lips.
Above all thingsI resolved that I would not entreat himand that
I would die making some last poor resistance to him. Softened as my
thoughts of all the rest of men were in that dire extremity; humbly
beseeching pardonas I didof Heaven; melted at heartas I was
by the thought that I had taken no farewelland never never now
could take farewellof those who were dear to meor could explain
myself to themor ask for their compassion on my miserable errors;
stillif I could have killed himeven in dyingI would have done

He had been drinkingand his eyes were red and bloodshot. Around
his neck was slung a tin bottleas I had often seen his meat and
drink slung about him in other days. He brought the bottle to his
lipsand took a fiery drink from it; and I smelt the strong
spirits that I saw flash into his face.

Wolf!said hefolding his arms againOld Orlick's a-going to
tell you somethink. It was you as did for your shrew sister.

Again my mindwith its former inconceivable rapidityhad
exhausted the whole subject of the attack upon my sisterher
illnessand her deathbefore his slow and hesitating speech had
formed these words.

It was you, villain,said I.

I tell you it was your doing - I tell you it was done through
you,he retortedcatching up the gunand making a blow with the
stock at the vacant air between us. "I come upon her from behind
as I come upon you to-night. I giv' it her! I left her for dead
and if there had been a limekiln as nigh her as there is now nigh
youshe shouldn't have come to life again. But it warn't Old
Orlick as did it; it was you. You was favouredand he was bullied
and beat. Old Orlick bullied and beateh? Now you pays for it. You
done it; now you pays for it."

He drank againand became more ferocious. I saw by his tilting of
the bottle that there was no great quantity left in it. I
distinctly understood that he was working himself up with its
contentsto make an end of me. I knew that every drop it heldwas
a drop of my life. I knew that when I was changed into a part of
the vapour that had crept towards me but a little while before
like my own warning ghosthe would do as he had done in my
sister's case - make all haste to the townand be seen slouching

about theredrinking at the ale-houses. My rapid mind pursued him
to the townmade a picture of the street with him in itand
contrasted its lights and life with the lonely marsh and the white
vapour creeping over itinto which I should have dissolved.

It was not only that I could have summed up years and years and
years while he said a dozen wordsbut that what he did say
presented pictures to meand not mere words. In the excited and
exalted state of my brainI could not think of a place without
seeing itor of persons without seeing them. It is impossible to
over-state the vividness of these imagesand yet I was so intent
all the timeupon him himself - who would not be intent on the
tiger crouching to spring! - that I knew of the slightest action of
his fingers.

When he had drunk this second timehe rose from the bench on which
he satand pushed the table aside. Thenhe took up the candle
and shading it with his murderous hand so as to throw its light on
mestood before melooking at me and enjoying the sight.

Wolf, I'll tell you something more. It was Old Orlick as you
tumbled over on your stairs that night.

I saw the staircase with its extinguished lamps. I saw the shadows
of the heavy stair-railsthrown by the watchman's lantern on the
wall. I saw the rooms that I was never to see again; herea door
half open; therea door closed; all the articles of furniture

And why was Old Orlick there? I'll tell you something more, wolf.
You and her have pretty well hunted me out of this country, so far
as getting a easy living in it goes, and I've took up with new
companions, and new masters. Some of 'em writes my letters when I
wants 'em wrote - do you mind? - writes my letters, wolf! They
writes fifty hands; they're not like sneaking you, as writes but
one. I've had a firm mind and a firm will to have your life, since
you was down here at your sister's burying. I han't seen a way to
get you safe, and I've looked arter you to know your ins and outs.
For, says Old Orlick to himself, 'Somehow or another I'll have
him!' What! When I looks for you, I finds your uncle Provis, eh?

Mill Pond Bankand Chinks's Basinand the Old Green Copper
Rope-Walkall so clear and plain! Provis in his roomsthe signal
whose use was overpretty Clarathe good motherly womanold Bill
Barley on his backall drifting byas on the swift stream of my
life fast running out to sea!

You with a uncle too! Why, I know'd you at Gargery's when you was
so small a wolf that I could have took your weazen betwixt this
finger and thumb and chucked you away dead (as I'd thoughts o'
doing, odd times, when I see you loitering amongst the pollards on
a Sunday), and you hadn't found no uncles then. No, not you! But
when Old Orlick come for to hear that your uncle Provis had
mostlike wore the leg-iron wot Old Orlick had picked up, filed
asunder, on these meshes ever so many year ago, and wot he kep by
him till he dropped your sister with it, like a bullock, as he
means to drop you - hey? - when he come for to hear that - hey?--

In his savage tauntinghe flared the candle so close at methat I
turned my face asideto save it from the flame.

Ah!he criedlaughingafter doing it againthe burnt child
dreads the fire! Old Orlick knowed you was burnt, Old Orlick knowed
you was smuggling your uncle Provis away, Old Orlick's a match for

you and know'd you'd come to-night! Now I'll tell you something
more, wolf, and this ends it. There's them that's as good a match
for your uncle Provis as Old Orlick has been for you. Let him 'ware
them, when he's lost his nevvy! Let him 'ware them, when no man
can't find a rag of his dear relation's clothes, nor yet a bone of
his body. There's them that can't and that won't have Magwitch yes,
I know the name! - alive in the same land with them, and
that's had such sure information of him when he was alive in
another land, as that he couldn't and shouldn't leave it unbeknown
and put them in danger. P'raps it's them that writes fifty hands,
and that's not like sneaking you as writes but one. 'Ware
Compeyson, Magwitch, and the gallows!

He flared the candle at me againsmoking my face and hairand for
an instant blinding meand turned his powerful back as he replaced
the light on the table. I had thought a prayerand had been with
Joe and Biddy and Herbertbefore he turned towards me again.

There was a clear space of a few feet between the table and the
opposite wall. Within this spacehe now slouched backwards and
forwards. His great strength seemed to sit stronger upon him than
ever beforeas he did this with his hands hanging loose and heavy
at his sidesand with his eyes scowling at me. I had no grain of
hope left. Wild as my inward hurry wasand wonderful the force of
the pictures that rushed by me instead of thoughtsI could yet
clearly understand that unless he had resolved that I was within a
few moments of surely perishing out of all human knowledgehe
would never have told me what he had told.

Of a suddenhe stoppedtook the cork out of his bottleand
tossed it away. Light as it wasI heard it fall like a plummet. He
swallowed slowlytilting up the bottle by little and littleand
now he looked at me no more. The last few drops of liquor he poured
into the palm of his handand licked up. Thenwith a sudden hurry
of violence and swearing horriblyhe threw the bottle from him
and stooped; and I saw in his hand a stone-hammer with a long heavy

The resolution I had made did not desert meforwithout uttering
one vain word of appeal to himI shouted out with all my might
and struggled with all my might. It was only my head and my legs
that I could movebut to that extent I struggled with all the
forceuntil then unknownthat was within me. In the same instant
I heard responsive shoutssaw figures and a gleam of light dash in
at the doorheard voices and tumultand saw Orlick emerge from a
struggle of menas if it were tumbling waterclear the table at a
leapand fly out into the night.

After a blankI found that I was lying unboundon the floorin
the same placewith my head on some one's knee. My eyes were fixed
on the ladder against the wallwhen I came to myself - had opened
on it before my mind saw it - and thus as I recovered
consciousnessI knew that I was in the place where I had lost it.

Too indifferent at firsteven to look round and ascertain who
supported meI was lying looking at the ladderwhen there came
between me and ita face. The face of Trabb's boy!

I think he's all right!said Trabb's boyin a sober voice; "but
ain't he just pale though!"

At these wordsthe face of him who supported me looked over into
mineand I saw my supporter to be-

Herbert! Great Heaven!

Softly,said Herbert. "GentlyHandel. Don't be too eager."

And our old comrade, Startop!I criedas he too bent over me.

Remember what he is going to assist us in,said Herbertand be

The allusion made me spring up; though I dropped again from the
pain in my arm. "The time has not gone byHerberthas it? What
night is to-night? How long have I been here?" ForI had a strange
and strong misgiving that I had been lying there a long time - a
day and a night - two days and nights - more.

The time has not gone by. It is still Monday night.

Thank God!

And you have all to-morrow, Tuesday, to rest in,said Herbert.
But you can't help groaning, my dear Handel. What hurt have you
got? Can you stand?

Yes, yes,said II can walk. I have no hurt but in this
throbbing arm.

They laid it bareand did what they could. It was violently
swollen and inflamedand I could scarcely endure to have it
touched. Butthey tore up their handkerchiefs to make fresh
bandagesand carefully replaced it in the slinguntil we could
get to the town and obtain some cooling lotion to put upon it. In a
little while we had shut the door of the dark and empty
sluice-houseand were passing through the quarry on our way back.
Trabb's boy - Trabb's overgrown young man now - went before us with
a lanternwhich was the light I had seen come in at the door. But
the moon was a good two hours higher than when I had last seen the
skyand the night though rainy was much lighter. The white vapour
of the kiln was passing from us as we went byandas I had
thought a prayer beforeI thought a thanksgiving now.

Entreating Herbert to tell me how he had come to my rescue - which
at first he had flatly refused to dobut had insisted on my
remaining quiet - I learnt that I had in my hurry dropped the
letteropenin our chamberswhere hecoming home to bring with
him Startop whom he had met in the street on his way to mefound
itvery soon after I was gone. Its tone made him uneasyand the
more so because of the inconsistency between it and the hasty
letter I had left for him. His uneasiness increasing instead of
subsiding after a quarter of an hour's considerationhe set off
for the coach-officewith Startopwho volunteered his companyto
make inquiry when the next coach went down. Finding that the
afternoon coach was goneand finding that his uneasiness grew into
positive alarmas obstacles came in his wayhe resolved to follow
in a post-chaise. Sohe and Startop arrived at the Blue Boar
fully expecting there to find meor tidings of me; butfinding
neitherwent on to Miss Havisham'swhere they lost me. Hereupon
they went back to the hotel (doubtless at about the time when I was
hearing the popular local version of my own story)to refresh
themselves and to get some one to guide them out upon the marshes.
Among the loungers under the Boar's archwayhappened to be Trabb's
boy - true to his ancient habit of happening to be everywhere where
he had no business - and Trabb's boy had seen me passing from Miss
Havisham's in the direction of my dining-place. ThusTrabb's boy
became their guideand with him they went out to the sluice-house:

though by the town way to the marsheswhich I had avoided. Nowas
they went alongHerbert reflectedthat I mightafter allhave
been brought there on some genuine and serviceable errand tending
to Provis's safetyandbethinking himself that in that case
interruption must be mischievousleft his guide and Startop on the
edge of the quarryand went on by himselfand stole round the
house two or three timesendeavouring to ascertain whether all was
right within. As he could hear nothing but indistinct sounds of one
deep rough voice (this was while my mind was so busy)he even at
last began to doubt whether I was therewhen suddenly I cried out
loudlyand he answered the criesand rushed inclosely followed
by the other two.

When I told Herbert what had passed within the househe was for
our immediately going before a magistrate in the townlate at
night as it wasand getting out a warrant. ButI had already
considered that such a courseby detaining us thereor binding us
to come backmight be fatal to Provis. There was no gainsaying
this difficultyand we relinquished all thoughts of pursuing
Orlick at that time. For the presentunder the circumstanceswe
deemed it prudent to make rather light of the matter to Trabb's
boy; who I am convinced would have been much affected by
disappointmentif he had known that his intervention saved me from
the limekiln. Not that Trabb's boy was of a malignant naturebut
that he had too much spare vivacityand that it was in his
constitution to want variety and excitement at anybody's expense.
When we partedI presented him with two guineas (which seemed to
meet his views)and told him that I was sorry ever to have had an
ill opinion of him (which made no impression on him at all).

Wednesday being so close upon uswe determined to go back to
London that nightthree in the post-chaise; the ratheras we
should then be clear awaybefore the night's adventure began to be
talked of. Herbert got a large bottle of stuff for my armand by
dint of having this stuff dropped over it all the night throughI
was just able to bear its pain on the journey. It was daylight when
we reached the Templeand I went at once to bedand lay in bed
all day.

My terroras I lay thereof falling ill and being unfitted for
tomorrowwas so besettingthat I wonder it did not disable me of
itself. It would have done sopretty surelyin conjunction with
the mental wear and tear I had sufferedbut for the unnatural
strain upon me that to-morrow was. So anxiously looked forward to
charged with such consequencesits results so impenetrably hidden
though so near.

No precaution could have been more obvious than our refraining from
communication with him that day; yet this again increased my
restlessness. I started at every footstep and every sound
believing that he was discovered and takenand this was the
messenger to tell me so. I persuaded myself that I knew he was
taken; that there was something more upon my mind than a fear or a
presentiment; that the fact had occurredand I had a mysterious
knowledge of it. As the day wore on and no ill news cameas the
day closed in and darkness fellmy overshadowing dread of being
disabled by illness before to-morrow morningaltogether mastered
me. My burning arm throbbedand my burning head throbbedand I
fancied I was beginning to wander. I counted up to high numbersto
make sure of myselfand repeated passages that I knew in prose and
verse. It happened sometimes that in the mere escape of a fatigued
mindI dozed for some moments or forgot; then I would say to
myself with a startNow it has come, and I am turning delirious!

They kept me very quiet all dayand kept my arm constantly
dressedand gave me cooling drinks. Whenever I fell asleepI
awoke with the notion I had had in the sluice-housethat a long
time had elapsed and the opportunity to save him was gone. About
midnight I got out of bed and went to Herbertwith the conviction
that I had been asleep for four-and-twenty hoursand that
Wednesday was past. It was the last self-exhausting effort of my
fretfulnessforafter thatI slept soundly.

Wednesday morning was dawning when I looked out of window. The
winking lights upon the bridges were already palethe coming sun
was like a marsh of fire on the horizon. The riverstill dark and
mysteriouswas spanned by bridges that were turning coldly grey
with here and there at top a warm touch from the burning in the
sky. As I looked along the clustered roofswith Church towers and
spires shooting into the unusually clear airthe sun rose upand
a veil seemed to be drawn from the riverand millions of sparkles
burst out upon its waters. From me tooa veil seemed to be drawn
and I felt strong and well.

Herbert lay asleep in his bedand our old fellow-student lay
asleep on the sofa. I could not dress myself without helpbut I
made up the firewhich was still burningand got some coffee
ready for them. In good time they too started up strong and well
and we admitted the sharp morning air at the windowsand looked at
the tide that was still flowing towards us.

When it turns at nine o'clock,said Herbertcheerfullylook
out for us, and stand ready, you over there at Mill Pond Bank!

Chapter 54

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind
blows cold: when it is summer in the lightand winter in the
shade. We had out pea-coats with usand I took a bag. Of all my
worldly possessions I took no more than the few necessaries that
filled the bag. Where I might gowhat I might door when I might
returnwere questions utterly unknown to me; nor did I vex my mind
with themfor it was wholly set on Provis's safety. I only
wondered for the passing momentas I stopped at the door and
looked backunder what altered circumstances I should next see
those roomsif ever.

We loitered down to the Temple stairsand stood loitering there
as if we were not quite decided to go upon the water at all. Of
course I had taken care that the boat should be ready and
everything in order. After a little show of indecisionwhich there
were none to see but the two or three amphibious creatures
belonging to our Temple stairswe went on board and cast off;
Herbert in the bowI steering. It was then about high-water half-
past eight.

Our plan was this. The tidebeginning to run down at nineand
being with us until threewe intended still to creep on after it
had turnedand row against it until dark. We should then be well
in those long reaches below Gravesendbetween Kent and Essex
where the river is broad and solitarywhere the waterside
inhabitants are very fewand where lone public-houses are
scattered here and thereof which we could choose one for a
resting-place. Therewe meant to lie byall night. The steamer
for Hamburgand the steamer for Rotterdamwould start from London
at about nine on Thursday morning. We should know at what time to
expect themaccording to where we wereand would hail the first;

so that if by any accident we were not taken abroadwe should have
another chance. We knew the distinguishing marks of each vessel.

The relief of being at last engaged in the execution of the
purposewas so great to me that I felt it difficult to realize the
condition in which I had been a few hours before. The crisp air
the sunlightthe movement on the riverand the moving river
itself - the road that ran with usseeming to sympathize with us
animate usand encourage us on - freshened me with new hope. I
felt mortified to be of so little use in the boat; butthere were
few better oarsmen than my two friendsand they rowed with a
steady stroke that was to last all day.

At that timethe steam-traffic on the Thames was far below its
present extentand watermen's boats were far more numerous. Of
bargessailing colliersand coasting tradersthere were perhaps
as many as now; butof steam-shipsgreat and smallnot a tithe
or a twentieth part so many. Early as it wasthere were plenty of
scullers going here and there that morningand plenty of barges
dropping down with the tide; the navigation of the river between
bridgesin an open boatwas a much easier and commoner matter in
those days than it is in these; and we went ahead among many skiffs
and wherriesbriskly.

Old London Bridge was soon passedand old Billingsgate market with
its oyster-boats and Dutchmenand the White Tower and Traitor's
Gateand we were in among the tiers of shipping. Herewere the
LeithAberdeenand Glasgow steamersloading and unloading goods
and looking immensely high out of the water as we passed alongside;
herewere colliers by the score and scorewith the coal-whippers
plunging off stages on deckas counterweights to measures of coal
swinging upwhich were then rattled over the side into barges;
hereat her moorings was to-morrow's steamer for Rotterdamof
which we took good notice; and here to-morrow's for Hamburgunder
whose bowsprit we crossed. And now Isitting in the sterncould
see with a faster beating heartMill Pond Bank and Mill Pond

Is he there?said Herbert.

Not yet.

Right! He was not to come down till he saw us. Can you see his

Not well from here; but I think I see it. - Now, I see him! Pull
both. Easy, Herbert. Oars!

We touched the stairs lightly for a single momentand he was on
board and we were off again. He had a boat-cloak with himand a
black canvas bagand he looked as like a river-pilot as my heart
could have wished. "Dear boy!" he saidputting his arm on my
shoulder as he took his seat. "Faithful dear boywell done.

Again among the tiers of shippingin and outavoiding rusty
chain-cables frayed hempen hawsers and bobbing buoyssinking for
the moment floating broken basketsscattering floating chips of
wood and shavingcleaving floating scum of coalin and outunder
the figure-head of the John of Sunderland making a speech to the
winds (as is done by many Johns)and the Betsy of Yarmouth with a
firm formality of bosom and her nobby eyes starting two inches out
of her headin and outhammers going in shipbuilders'yardssaws
going at timberclashing engines going at things unknownpumps

going in leaky shipscapstans goingships going out to seaand
unintelligible sea-creatures roaring curses over the bulwarks at
respondent lightermenin and out - out at last upon the clearer
riverwhere the ships' boys might take their fenders inno longer
fishing in troubled waters with them over the sideand where the
festooned sails might fly out to the wind.

At the Stairs where we had taken him abroadand ever sinceI had
looked warily for any token of our being suspected. I had seen
none. We certainly had not beenand at that time as certainly we
were noteither attended or followed by any boat. If we had been
waited on by any boatI should have run in to shoreand have
obliged her to go onor to make her purpose evident. Butwe held
our ownwithout any appearance of molestation.

He had his boat-cloak on himand lookedas I have saida natural
part of the scene. It was remarkable (but perhaps the wretched life
he had ledaccounted for it)that he was the least anxious of any
of us. He was not indifferentfor he told me that he hoped to live
to see his gentleman one of the best of gentlemen in a foreign
country; he was not disposed to be passive or resignedas I
understood it; but he had no notion of meeting danger half way.
When it came upon himhe confronted itbut it must come before he
troubled himself.

If you knowed, dear boy,he said to mewhat it is to sit here
alonger my dear boy and have my smoke, arter having been day by day
betwixt four walls, you'd envy me. But you don't know what it is.

I think I know the delights of freedom,I answered.

Ah,said heshaking his head gravely. "But you don't know it
equal to me. You must have been under lock and keydear boyto
know it equal to me - but I ain't a-going to be low."

It occurred to me as inconsistentthat for any mastering ideahe
should have endangered his freedom and even his life. But I
reflected that perhaps freedom without danger was too much apart
from all the habit of his existence to be to him what it would be
to another man. I was not far outsince he saidafter smoking a

You see, dear boy, when I was over yonder, t'other side the world,
I was always a-looking to this side; and it come flat to be there,
for all I was a-growing rich. Everybody knowed Magwitch, and
Magwitch could come, and Magwitch could go, and nobody's head would
be troubled about him. They ain't so easy concerning me here, dear
boy - wouldn't be, leastwise, if they knowed where I was.

If all goes well,said Iyou will be perfectly free and safe
again, within a few hours.

Well,he returneddrawing a long breathI hope so.

And think so?

He dipped his hand in the water over the boat's gunwaleand said
smiling with that softened air upon him which was not new to me:

Ay, I s'pose I think so, dear boy. We'd be puzzled to be more
quiet and easy-going than we are at present. But - it's a-flowing
so soft and pleasant through the water, p'raps, as makes me think
it - I was a-thinking through my smoke just then, that we can no
more see to the bottom of the next few hours, than we can see to

the bottom of this river what I catches hold of. Nor yet we can't
no more hold their tide than I can hold this. And it's run through
my fingers and gone, you see!holding up his dripping hand.

But for your face, I should think you were a little despondent,
said I.

Not a bit on it, dear boy! It comes of flowing on so quiet, and of
that there rippling at the boat's head making a sort of a Sunday
tune. Maybe I'm a-growing a trifle old besides.

He put his pipe back in his mouth with an undisturbed expression of
faceand sat as composed and contented as if we were already out
of England. Yet he was as submissive to a word of advice as if he
had been in constant terrorforwhen we ran ashore to get some
bottles of beer into the boatand he was stepping outI hinted
that I thought he would be safest where he wasand he said. "Do
youdear boy?" and quietly sat down again.

The air felt cold upon the riverbut it was a bright dayand the
sunshine was very cheering. The tide ran strongI took care to
lose none of itand our steady stroke carried us on thoroughly
well. By imperceptible degreesas the tide ran outwe lost more
and more of the nearer woods and hillsand dropped lower and lower
between the muddy banksbut the tide was yet with us when we were
off Gravesend. As our charge was wrapped in his cloakI purposely
passed within a boat or two's length of the floating Custom House
and so out to catch the streamalongside of two emigrant ships
and under the bows of a large transport with troops on the
forecastle looking down at us. And soon the tide began to slacken
and the craft lying at anchor to swingand presently they had all
swung roundand the ships that were taking advantage of the new
tide to get up to the Poolbegan to crowd upon us in a fleetand
we kept under the shoreas much out of the strength of the tide
now as we couldstanding carefully off from low shallows and

Our oarsmen were so freshby dint of having occasionally let her
drive with the tide for a minute or twothat a quarter of an
hour's rest proved full as much as they wanted. We got ashore among
some slippery stones while we ate and drank what we had with us
and looked about. It was like my own marsh countryflat and
monotonousand with a dim horizon; while the winding river turned
and turnedand the great floating buoys upon it turned and turned
and everything else seemed stranded and still. Fornowthe last
of the fleet of ships was round the last low point we had headed;
and the last green bargestraw-ladenwith a brown sailhad
followed; and some ballast-lightersshaped like a child's first
rude imitation of a boatlay low in the mud; and a little squat
shoal-lighthouse on open pilesstood crippled in the mud on stilts
and crutches; and slimy stakes stuck out of the mudand slimy
stones stuck out of the mudand red landmarks and tidemarks stuck
out of the mudand an old landing-stage and an old roofless building
slipped into the mudand all about us was stagnation and mud.

We pushed off againand made what way we could. It was much harder
work nowbut Herbert and Startop perseveredand rowedand rowed
and roweduntil the sun went down. By that time the river had
lifted us a littleso that we could see above the bank. There was
the red sunon the low level of the shorein a purple hazefast
deepening into black; and there was the solitary flat marsh; and
far away there were the rising groundsbetween which and us there
seemed to be no lifesave here and there in the foreground a
melancholy gull.

As the night was fast fallingand as the moonbeing past the
fullwould not rise earlywe held a little council: a short one
for clearly our course was to lie by at the first lonely tavern we
could find. Sothey plied their oars once moreand I looked out
for anything like a house. Thus we held onspeaking littlefor
four or five dull miles. It was very coldanda collier coming by
uswith her galley-fire smoking and flaringlooked like a
comfortable home. The night was as dark by this time as it would be
until morning; and what light we hadseemed to come more from the
river than the skyas the oars in their dipping struck at a few
reflected stars.

At this dismal time we were evidently all possessed by the idea that
we were followed. As the tide madeit flapped heavily at irregular
intervals against the shore; and whenever such a sound cameone or
other of us was sure to start and look in that direction. Here and
therethe set of the current had worn down the bank into a little
creekand we were all suspicious of such placesand eyed them
nervously. SometimesWhat was that ripple?one of us would say
in a low voice. Or anotherIs that a boat yonder?And
afterwardswe would fall into a dead silenceand I would sit
impatiently thinking with what an unusual amount of noise the oars
worked in the thowels.

At length we descried a light and a roofand presently afterwards
ran alongside a little causeway made of stones that had been picked
up hard by. Leaving the rest in the boatI stepped ashoreand
found the light to be in a window of a public-house. It was a dirty
place enoughand I dare say not unknown to smuggling adventurers;
but there was a good fire in the kitchenand there were eggs and
bacon to eatand various liquors to drink. Alsothere were two
double-bedded rooms - "such as they were the landlord said. No
other company was in the house than the landlord, his wife, and a
grizzled male creature, the Jack" of the little causewaywho was
as slimy and smeary as if he had been low-water mark too.

With this assistantI went down to the boat againand we all came
ashoreand brought out the oarsand rudderand boat-hookand
all elseand hauled her up for the night. We made a very good meal
by the kitchen fireand then apportioned the bedrooms: Herbert and
Startop were to occupy one; I and our charge the other. We found
the air as carefully excluded from bothas if air were fatal to
life; and there were more dirty clothes and bandboxes under the
beds than I should have thought the family possessed. Butwe
considered ourselves well offnotwithstandingfor a more solitary
place we could not have found.

While we were comforting ourselves by the fire after our mealthe
Jack - who was sitting in a cornerand who had a bloated pair of
shoes onwhich he had exhibited while we were eating our eggs and
baconas interesting relics that he had taken a few days ago from
the feet of a drowned seaman washed ashore - asked me if we had
seen a four-oared galley going up with the tide? When I told him
Nohe said she must have gone down thenand yet she "took up
too when she left there.

They must ha' thought better on't for some reason or another
said the Jack, and gone down."

A four-oared galley, did you say?said I.

A four,said the Jackand two sitters.

Did they come ashore here?

They put in with a stone two-gallon jar, for some beer. I'd
ha'been glad to pison the beer myself,said the Jackor put some
rattling physic in it.


I know why,said the Jack. He spoke in a slushy voiceas if much
mud had washed into his throat.

He thinks,said the landlord: a weakly meditative man with a pale
eyewho seemed to rely greatly on his Jack: "he thinks they was
what they wasn't."

I knows what I thinks,observed the Jack.

You thinks Custum 'Us, Jack?said the landlord.

I do,said the Jack.

Then you're wrong, Jack.

Am I!

In the infinite meaning of his reply and his boundless confidence
in his viewsthe Jack took one of his bloated shoes offlooked
into itknocked a few stones out of it on the kitchen floorand
put it on again. He did this with the air of a Jack who was so
right that he could afford to do anything.

Why, what do you make out that they done with their buttons then,
Jack?asked the landlordvacillating weakly.

Done with their buttons?returned the Jack. "Chucked 'em
overboard. Swallered 'em. Sowed 'emto come up small salad. Done
with their buttons!"

Don't be cheeky, Jack,remonstrated the landlordin a melancholy
and pathetic way.

A Custum 'Us officer knows what to do with his Buttons,said the
Jackrepeating the obnoxious word with the greatest contempt
when they comes betwixt him and his own light. A Four and two
sitters don't go hanging and hovering, up with one tide and down
with another, and both with and against another, without there
being Custum 'Us at the bottom of it.Saying which he went out in
disdain; and the landlordhaving no one to reply uponfound it
impracticable to pursue the subject.

This dialogue made us all uneasyand me very uneasy. The dismal
wind was muttering round the housethe tide was flapping at the
shoreand I had a feeling that we were caged and threatened. A
four-oared galley hovering about in so unusual a way as to attract
this noticewas an ugly circumstance that I could not get rid of.
When I had induced Provis to go up to bedI went outside with my
two companions (Startop by this time knew the state of the case)
and held another council. Whether we should remain at the house
until near the steamer's timewhich would be about one in the
afternoon; or whether we should put off early in the morning; was
the question we discussed. On the whole we deemed it the better
course to lie where we wereuntil within an hour or so of the
steamer's timeand then to get out in her trackand drift easily
with the tide. Having settled to do thiswe returned into the

house and went to bed.

I lay down with the greater part of my clothes onand slept well
for a few hours. When I awokethe wind had risenand the sign of
the house (the Ship) was creaking and banging aboutwith noises
that startled me. Rising softlyfor my charge lay fast asleepI
looked out of the window. It commanded the causeway where we had
hauled up our boatandas my eyes adapted themselves to the light
of the clouded moonI saw two men looking into her. They passed by
under the windowlooking at nothing elseand they did not go down
to the landing-place which I could discern to be emptybut struck
across the marsh in the direction of the Nore.

My first impulse was to call up Herbertand show him the two men
going away. Butreflecting before I got into his roomwhich was
at the back of the house and adjoined minethat he and Startop had
had a harder day than Iand were fatiguedI forbore. Going back
to my windowI could see the two men moving over the marsh. In
that lighthoweverI soon lost themand feeling very coldlay
down to think of the matterand fell asleep again.

We were up early. As we walked to and froall four together
before breakfastI deemed it right to recount what I had seen.
Again our charge was the least anxious of the party. It was very
likely that the men belonged to the Custom Househe said quietly
and that they had no thought of us. I tried to persuade myself that
it was so - asindeedit might easily be. HoweverI proposed
that he and I should walk away together to a distant point we could
seeand that the boat should take us aboard thereor as near
there as might prove feasibleat about noon. This being considered
a good precautionsoon after breakfast he and I set forthwithout
saying anything at the tavern.

He smoked his pipe as we went alongand sometimes stopped to clap
me on the shoulder. One would have supposed that it was I who was
in dangernot heand that he was reassuring me. We spoke very
little. As we approached the pointI begged him to remain in a
sheltered placewhile I went on to reconnoitre; forit was
towards it that the men had passed in the night. He compliedand I
went on alone. There was no boat off the pointnor any boat drawn
up anywhere near itnor were there any signs of the men having
embarked there. Butto be sure the tide was highand there might
have been some footpints under water.

When he looked out from his shelter in the distanceand saw that I
waved my hat to him to come uphe rejoined meand there we
waited; sometimes lying on the bank wrapped in our coatsand
sometimes moving about to warm ourselves: until we saw our boat
coming round. We got aboard easilyand rowed out into the track of
the steamer. By that time it wanted but ten minutes of one o'clock
and we began to look out for her smoke.

Butit was half-past one before we saw her smokeand soon
afterwards we saw behind it the smoke of another steamer. As they
were coming on at full speedwe got the two bags readyand took
that opportunity of saying good-bye to Herbert and Startop. We had
all shaken hands cordiallyand neither Herbert's eyes nor mine
were quite drywhen I saw a four-oared galley shoot out from under
the bank but a little way ahead of usand row out into the same

A stretch of shore had been as yet between us and the steamer's
smokeby reason of the bend and wind of the river; but now she was
visiblecoming head on. I called to Herbert and Startop to keep

before the tidethat she might see us lying by for herand I
adjured Provis to sit quite stillwrapped in his cloak. He
answered cheerilyTrust to me, dear boy,and sat like a statue.
Meantime the galleywhich was very skilfully handledhad crossed
uslet us come up with herand fallen alongside. Leaving just
room enough for the play of the oarsshe kept alongsidedrifting
when we driftedand pulling a stroke or two when we pulled. Of the
two sitters one held the rudder linesand looked at us attentively

-as did all the rowers; the other sitter was wrapped upmuch as
Provis wasand seemed to shrinkand whisper some instruction to
the steerer as he looked at us. Not a word was spoken in either
Startop could make outafter a few minuteswhich steamer was
firstand gave me the word "Hamburg in a low voice as we sat
face to face. She was nearing us very fast, and the beating of her
peddles grew louder and louder. I felt as if her shadow were
absolutely upon us, when the galley hailed us. I answered.

You have a returned Transport there said the man who held the
lines. That's the manwrapped in the cloak. His name is Abel
Magwitchotherwise Provis. I apprehend that manand call upon him
to surrenderand you to assist."

At the same momentwithout giving any audible direction to his
crewhe ran the galley abroad of us. They had pulled one sudden
stroke aheadhad got their oars inhad run athwart usand were
holding on to our gunwalebefore we knew what they were doing.
This caused great confusion on board the steamerand I heard them
calling to usand heard the order given to stop the paddlesand
heard them stopbut felt her driving down upon us irresistibly. In
the same momentI saw the steersman of the galley lay his hand on
his prisoner's shoulderand saw that both boats were swinging
round with the force of the tideand saw that all hands on board
the steamer were running forward quite frantically. Still in the
same momentI saw the prisoner start uplean across his captor
and pull the cloak from the neck of the shrinking sitter in the
galley. Still in the same momentI saw that the face disclosed
was the face of the other convict of long ago. Still in the same
momentI saw the face tilt backward with a white terror on it that
I shall never forgetand heard a great cry on board the steamer
and a loud splash in the waterand felt the boat sink from under

It was but for an instant that I seemed to struggle with a thousand
mill-weirs and a thousand flashes of light; that instant pastI
was taken on board the galley. Herbert was thereand Startop was
there; but our boat was goneand the two convicts were gone.

What with the cries aboard the steamerand the furious blowing off
of her steamand her driving onand our driving onI could not
at first distinguish sky from water or shore from shore; butthe
crew of the galley righted her with great speedandpulling
certain swift strong strokes aheadlay upon their oarsevery man
looking silently and eagerly at the water astern. Presently a dark
object was seen in itbearing towards us on the tide. No man
spokebut the steersman held up his handand all softly backed
waterand kept the boat straight and true before it. As it came
nearerI saw it to be Magwitchswimmingbut not swimming freely.
He was taken on boardand instantly manacled at the wrists and

The galley was kept steadyand the silent eager look-out at the
water was resumed. Butthe Rotterdam steamer now came upand

apparently not understanding what had happenedcame on at speed.
By the time she had been hailed and stoppedboth steamers were
drifting away from usand we were rising and falling in a troubled
wake of water. The look-out was keptlong after all was still
again and the two steamers were gone; buteverybody knew that it
was hopeless now.

At length we gave it upand pulled under the shore towards the
tavern we had lately leftwhere we were received with no little
surprise. HereI was able to get some comforts for Magwitch -
Provis no longer - who had received some very severe injury in the
chest and a deep cut in the head.

He told me that he believed himself to have gone under the keel of
the steamerand to have been struck on the head in rising. The
injury to his chest (which rendered his breathing extremely
painful) he thought he had received against the side of the galley.
He added that he did not pretend to say what he might or might not
have done to Compeysonbutthat in the moment of his laying his
hand on his cloak to identify himthat villain had staggered up
and staggered backand they had both gone overboard together; when
the sudden wrenching of him (Magwitch) out of our boatand the
endeavour of his captor to keep him in ithad capsized us. He told
me in a whisper that they had gone downfiercely locked in each
other's armsand that there had been a struggle under waterand
that he had disengaged himselfstruck outand swum away.

I never had any reason to doubt the exact truth of what he thus
told me. The officer who steered the galley gave the same account
of their going overboard.

When I asked this officer's permission to change the prisoner's wet
clothes by purchasing any spare garments I could get at the
public-househe gave it readily: merely observing that he must
take charge of everything his prisoner had about him. So the
pocketbook which had once been in my handspassed into the
officer's. He further gave me leave to accompany the prisoner to
London; butdeclined to accord that grace to my two friends.

The Jack at the Ship was instructed where the drowned man had gone
downand undertook to search for the body in the places where it
was likeliest to come ashore. His interest in its recovery seemed
to me to be much heightened when he heard that it had stockings on.
Probablyit took about a dozen drowned men to fit him out
completely; and that may have been the reason why the different
articles of his dress were in various stages of decay.

We remained at the public-house until the tide turnedand then
Magwitch was carried down to the galley and put on board. Herbert
and Startop were to get to London by landas soon as they could.
We had a doleful partingand when I took my place by Magwitch's
sideI felt that that was my place henceforth while he lived.

For nowmy repugnance to him had all melted awayand in the
hunted wounded shackled creature who held my hand in hisI only
saw a man who had meant to be my benefactorand who had felt
affectionatelygratefullyand generouslytowards me with great
constancy through a series of years. I only saw in him a much
better man than I had been to Joe.

His breathing became more difficult and painful as the night drew
onand often he could not repress a groan. I tried to rest him on
the arm I could usein any easy position; butit was dreadful to
think that I could not be sorry at heart for his being badly hurt

since it was unquestionably best that he should die. That there
werestill livingpeople enough who were able and willing to
identify himI could not doubt. That he would be leniently
treatedI could not hope. He who had been presented in the worst
light at his trialwho had since broken prison and had been tried
againwho had returned from transportation under a life sentence
and who had occasioned the death of the man who was the cause of
his arrest.

As we returned towards the setting sun we had yesterday left behind
usand as the stream of our hopes seemed all running backI told
him how grieved I was to think that he had come home for my sake.

Dear boy,he answeredI'm quite content to take my chance. I've
seen my boy, and he can be a gentleman without me.

No. I had thought about thatwhile we had been there side by side.
No. Apart from any inclinations of my ownI understood Wemmick's
hint now. I foresaw thatbeing convictedhis possessions would be
forfeited to the Crown.

Lookee here, dear boy,said he "It's best as a gentleman should
not be knowed to belong to me now. Only come to see me as if you
come by chance alonger Wemmick. Sit where I can see you when I am
swore tofor the last o' many timesand I don't ask no more."

I will never stir from your side,said Iwhen I am suffered to
be near you. Please God, I will be as true to you, as you have been
to me!

I felt his hand tremble as it held mineand he turned his face
away as he lay in the bottom of the boatand I heard that old
sound in his throat - softened nowlike all the rest of him. It
was a good thing that he had touched this pointfor it put into my
mind what I might not otherwise have thought of until too late:
That he need never know how his hopes of enriching me had perished.

Chapter 55

He was taken to the Police Court next dayand would have been
immediately committed for trialbut that it was necessary to send
down for an old officer of the prison-ship from which he had once
escapedto speak to his identity. Nobody doubted it; but
Compeysonwho had meant to depose to itwas tumbling on the
tidesdeadand it happened that there was not at that time any
prison officer in London who could give the required evidence. I
had gone direct to Mr. Jaggers at his private houseon my arrival
over nightto retain his assistanceand Mr. Jaggers on the
prisoner's behalf would admit nothing. It was the sole resource
for he told me that the case must be over in five minutes when the
witness was thereand that no power on earth could prevent its
going against us.

I imparted to Mr. Jaggers my design of keeping him in ignorance of
the fate of his wealth. Mr. Jaggers was querulous and angry with me
for having "let it slip through my fingers and said we must
memorialize by-and-by, and try at all events for some of it. But,
he did not conceal from me that although there might be many cases
in which the forfeiture would not be exacted, there were no
circumstances in this case to make it one of them. I understood
that, very well. I was not related to the outlaw, or connected with
him by any recognizable tie; he had put his hand to no writing or
settlement in my favour before his apprehension, and to do so now

would be idle. I had no claim, and I finally resolved, and ever
afterwards abided by the resolution, that my heart should never be
sickened with the hopeless task of attempting to establish one.

There appeared to be reason for supposing that the drowned informer
had hoped for a reward out of this forfeiture, and had obtained
some accurate knowledge of Magwitch's affairs. When his body was
found, many miles from the scene of his death, and so horribly
disfigured that he was only recognizable by the contents of his
pockets, notes were still legible, folded in a case he carried.
Among these, were the name of a banking-house in New South Wales
where a sum of money was, and the designation of certain lands of
considerable value. Both these heads of information were in a list
that Magwitch, while in prison, gave to Mr. Jaggers, of the
possessions he supposed I should inherit. His ignorance, poor
fellow, at last served him; he never mistrusted but that my
inheritance was quite safe, with Mr. Jaggers's aid.

After three days' delay, during which the crown prosecution stood
over for the production of the witness from the prison-ship, the
witness came, and completed the easy case. He was committed to take
his trial at the next Sessions, which would come on in a month.

It was at this dark time of my life that Herbert returned home one
evening, a good deal cast down, and said:

My dear HandelI fear I shall soon have to leave you."

His partner having prepared me for thatI was less surprised than
he thought.

We shall lose a fine opportunity if I put off going to Cairo, and
I am very much afraid I must go, Handel, when you most need me.

Herbert, I shall always need you, because I shall always love you;
but my need is no greater now, than at another time.

You will be so lonely.

I have not leisure to think of that,said I. "You know that I am
always with him to the full extent of the time allowedand that I
should be with him all day longif I could. And when I come away
from himyou know that my thoughts are with him."

The dreadful condition to which he was broughtwas so appalling to
both of usthat we could not refer to it in plainer words.

My dear fellow,said Herbertlet the near prospect of our
separation - for, it is very near - be my justification for
troubling you about yourself. Have you thought of your future?

No, for I have been afraid to think of any future.

But yours cannot be dismissed; indeed, my dear dear Handel, it
must not be dismissed. I wish you would enter on it now, as far as
a few friendly words go, with me.

I will,said I.

In this branch house of ours, Handel, we must have a--

I saw that his delicacy was avoiding the right wordso I saidA

A clerk. And I hope it is not at all unlikely that he may expand
(as a clerk of your acquaintance has expanded) into a partner. Now,
Handel - in short, my dear boy, will you come to me?

There was something charmingly cordial and engaging in the manner
in which after saying "NowHandel as if it were the grave
beginning of a portentous business exordium, he had suddenly given
up that tone, stretched out his honest hand, and spoken like a

Clara and I have talked about it again and again Herbert
pursued, and the dear little thing begged me only this evening
with tears in her eyesto say to you that if you will live with us
when we come togethershe will do her best to make you happyand
to convince her husband's friend that he is her friend too. We
should get on so wellHandel!"

I thanked her heartilyand I thanked him heartilybut said I
could not yet make sure of joining him as he so kindly offered.
Firstlymy mind was too preoccupied to be able to take in the
subject clearly. Secondly - Yes! Secondlythere was a vague
something lingering in my thoughts that will come out very near the
end of this slight narrative.

But if you thought, Herbert, that you could, without doing any
injury to your business, leave the question open for a little

For any while,cried Herbert. "Six monthsa year!"

Not so long as that,said I. "Two or three months at most."

Herbert was highly delighted when we shook hands on this
arrangementand said he could now take courage to tell me that he
believed he must go away at the end of the week.

And Clara?said I.

The dear little thing,returned Herbertholds dutifully to her
father as long as he lasts; but he won't last long. Mrs. Whimple
confides to me that he is certainly going.

Not to say an unfeeling thing,said Ihe cannot do better than

I am afraid that must be admitted,said Herbert: "and then I
shall come back for the dear little thingand the dear little
thing and I will walk quietly into the nearest church. Remember!
The blessed darling comes of no familymy dear Handeland never
looked into the red bookand hasn't a notion about her grandpapa.
What a fortune for the son of my mother!"

On the Saturday in that same weekI took my leave of Herbert full
of bright hopebut sad and sorry to leave me - as he sat on
one of the seaport mail coaches. I went into a coffee-house to
write a little note to Claratelling her he had gone offsending
his love to her over and over againand then went to my lonely
home - if it deserved the namefor it was now no home to meand I
had no home anywhere.

On the stairs I encountered Wemmickwho was coming downafter an
unsuccessful application of his knuckles to my door. I had not seen
him alonesince the disastrous issue of the attempted flight; and
he had comein his private and personal capacityto say a few

words of explanation in reference to that failure.

The late Compeyson,said Wemmickhad by little and little got
at the bottom of half of the regular business now transacted, and
it was from the talk of some of his people in trouble (some of his
people being always in trouble) that I heard what I did. I kept my
ears open, seeming to have them shut, until I heard that he was
absent, and I thought that would be the best time for making the
attempt. I can only suppose now, that it was a part of his policy,
as a very clever man, habitually to deceive his own instruments.
You don't blame me, I hope, Mr. Pip? I am sure I tried to serve you,
with all my heart.

I am as sure of that, Wemmick, as you can be, and I thank you most
earnestly for all your interest and friendship.

Thank you, thank you very much. It's a bad job,said Wemmick
scratching his headand I assure you I haven't been so cut up for
a long time. What I look at, is the sacrifice of so much portable
property. Dear me!

What I think of, Wemmick, is the poor owner of the property.

Yes, to be sure,said Wemmick. "Of course there can be no
objection to your being sorry for himand I'd put down a
five-pound note myself to get him out of it. But what I look atis
this. The late Compeyson having been beforehand with him in
intelligence of his returnand being so determined to bring him to
bookI do not think he could have been saved. Whereasthe
portable property certainly could have been saved. That's the
difference between the property and the ownerdon't you see?"

I invited Wemmick to come up-stairsand refresh himself with a
glass of grog before walking to Walworth. He accepted the
invitation. While he was drinking his moderate allowancehe said
with nothing to lead up to itand after having appeared rather

What do you think of my meaning to take a holiday on Monday, Mr.

Why, I suppose you have not done such a thing these twelve

These twelve years, more likely,said Wemmick. "Yes. I'm going to
take a holiday. More than that; I'm going to take a walk. More than
that; I'm going to ask you to take a walk with me."

I was about to excuse myselfas being but a bad companion just
thenwhen Wemmick anticipated me.

I know your engagements,said heand I know you are out of
sorts, Mr. Pip. But if you could oblige me, I should take it as a
kindness. It ain't a long walk, and it's an early one. Say it might
occupy you (including breakfast on the walk) from eight to twelve.
Couldn't you stretch a point and manage it?

He had done so much for me at various timesthat this was very
little to do for him. I said I could manage it - would manage it and
he was so very much pleased by my acquiescencethat I was
pleased too. At his particular requestI appointed to call for him
at the Castle at half-past eight on Monday morningand so we
parted for the time.

Punctual to my appointmentI rang at the Castle gate on the Monday
morningand was received by Wemmick himself: who struck me as
looking tighter than usualand having a sleeker hat on. Within
there were two glasses of rum-and-milk preparedand two biscuits.
The Aged must have been stirring with the larkforglancing into
the perspective of his bedroomI observed that his bed was empty.

When we had fortified ourselves with the rum-and-milk and biscuits
and were going out for the walk with that training preparation on
usI was considerably surprised to see Wemmick take up a
fishing-rodand put it over his shoulder. "Whywe are not going
fishing!" said I. "No returned Wemmick, but I like to walk with

I thought this odd; howeverI said nothingand we set off. We
went towards Camberwell Greenand when we were thereabouts
Wemmick said suddenly:

Halloa! Here's a church!

There was nothing very surprising in that; but a gainI was rather
surprisedwhen he saidas if he were animated by a brilliant

Let's go in!

We went inWemmick leaving his fishing-rod in the porchand
looked all round. In the mean timeWemmick was diving into his
coat-pocketsand getting something out of paper there.

Halloa!said he. "Here's a couple of pair of gloves! Let's put
'em on!"

As the gloves were white kid glovesand as the post-office was
widened to its utmost extentI now began to have my strong
suspicions. They were strengthened into certainty when I beheld the
Aged enter at a side doorescorting a lady.

Halloa!said Wemmick. "Here's Miss Skiffins! Let's have a

That discreet damsel was attired as usualexcept that she was now
engaged in substituting for her green kid glovesa pair of white.
The Aged was likewise occupied in preparing a similar sacrifice for
the altar of Hymen. The old gentlemanhoweverexperienced so much
difficulty in getting his gloves onthat Wemmick found it
necessary to put him with his back against a pillarand then to
get behind the pillar himself and pull away at themwhile I for my
part held the old gentleman round the waistthat he might present
and equal and safe resistance. By dint of this ingenious Scheme
his gloves were got on to perfection.

The clerk and clergyman then appearingwe were ranged in order at
those fatal rails. True to his notion of seeming to do it all
without preparationI heard Wemmick say to himself as he took
something out of his waistcoat-pocket before the service began
Halloa! Here's a ring!

I acted in the capacity of backeror best-manto the bridegroom;
while a little limp pew opener in a soft bonnet like a baby'smade
a feint of being the bosom friend of Miss Skiffins. The
responsibility of giving the lady awaydevolved upon the Aged
which led to the clergyman's being unintentionally scandalizedand
it happened thus. When he saidWho giveth this woman to be

married to this man?the old gentlemennot in the least knowing
what point of the ceremony we had arrived atstood most amiably
beaming at the ten commandments. Upon whichthe clergyman said
againWHO giveth this woman to be married to this man?The old
gentleman being still in a state of most estimable unconsciousness
the bridegroom cried out in his accustomed voiceNow Aged P. you
know; who giveth?To which the Aged replied with great briskness
before saying that he gaveAll right, John, all right, my boy!
And the clergyman came to so gloomy a pause upon itthat I had
doubts for the moment whether we should get completely married that

It was completely donehoweverand when we were going out of
churchWemmick took the cover off the fontand put his white
gloves in itand put the cover on again. Mrs. Wemmickmore heedful
of the futureput her white gloves in her pocket and assumed her
green. "NowMr. Pip said Wemmick, triumphantly shouldering the
fishing-rod as we came out, let me ask you whether anybody would
suppose this to be a wedding-party!"

Breakfast had been ordered at a pleasant little taverna mile or
so away upon the rising ground beyond the Greenand there was a
bagatelle board in the roomin case we should desire to unbend our
minds after the solemnity. It was pleasant to observe that Mrs.
Wemmick no longer unwound Wemmick's arm when it adapted itself to
her figurebut sat in a high-backed chair against the walllike a
violoncello in its caseand submitted to be embraced as that
melodious instrument might have done.

We had an excellent breakfastand when any one declined anything
on tableWemmick saidProvided by contract, you know; don't be
afraid of it!I drank to the new coupledrank to the Ageddrank
to the Castlesaluted the bride at partingand made myself as
agreeable as I could.

Wemmick came down to the door with meand I again shook hands with
himand wished him joy.

Thankee!said Wemmickrubbing his hands. "She's such a manager
of fowlsyou have no idea. You shall have some eggsand judge for
yourself. I sayMr. Pip!" calling me backand speaking low. "This
is altogether a Walworth sentimentplease."

I understand. Not to be mentioned in Little Britain,said I.

Wemmick nodded. "After what you let out the other dayMr. Jaggers
may as well not know of it. He might think my brain was softening
or something of the kind."

Chapter 56

He lay in prison very illduring the whole interval between his
committal for trialand the coming round of the Sessions. He had
broken two ribsthey had wounded one of his lungsand he breathed
with great pain and difficultywhich increased daily. It was a
consequence of his hurtthat he spoke so low as to be scarcely
audible; thereforehe spoke very little. Buthe was ever ready to
listen to meand it became the first duty of my life to say to
himand read to himwhat I knew he ought to hear.

Being far too ill to remain in the common prisonhe was removed
after the first day or sointo the infirmary. This gave me
opportunities of being with him that I could not otherwise have

had. And but for his illness he would have been put in ironsfor
he was regarded as a determined prison-breakerand I know not what

Although I saw him every dayit was for only a short time; hence
the regularly recurring spaces of our separation were long enough
to record on his face any slight changes that occurred in his
physical state. I do not recollect that I once saw any change in it
for the better; he wastedand became slowly weaker and worseday
by dayfrom the day when the prison door closed upon him.

The kind of submission or resignation that he showedwas that of a
man who was tired out. I sometimes derived an impressionfrom his
manner or from a whispered word or two which escaped himthat he
pondered over the question whether he might have been a better man
under better circumstances. Buthe never justified himself by a
hint tending that wayor tried to bend the past out of its eternal

It happened on two or three occasions in my presencethat his
desperate reputation was alluded to by one or other of the people
in attendance on him. A smile crossed his face thenand he turned
his eyes on me with a trustful lookas if he were confident that I
had seen some small redeeming touch in himeven so long ago as when
I was a little child. As to all the resthe was humble and
contriteand I never knew him complain.

When the Sessions came roundMr. Jaggers caused an application to
be made for the postponement of his trial until the following
Sessions. It was obviously made with the assurance that he could
not live so longand was refused. The trial came on at onceand
when he was put to the barhe was seated in a chair. No objection
was made to my getting close to the dockon the outside of itand
holding the hand that he stretched forth to me.

The trial was very short and very clear. Such things as could be
said for himwere said - how he had taken to industrious habits
and had thriven lawfully and reputably. Butnothing could unsay
the fact that he had returnedand was there in presence of the
Judge and Jury. It was impossible to try him for thatand do
otherwise than find him guilty.

At that timeit was the custom (as I learnt from my terrible
experience of that Sessions) to devote a concluding day to the
passing of Sentencesand to make a finishing effect with the
Sentence of Death. But for the indelible picture that my
remembrance now holds before meI could scarcely believeeven as
I write these wordsthat I saw two-and-thirty men and women put
before the Judge to receive that sentence together. Foremost among
the two-and-thirtywas he; seatedthat he might get breath enough
to keep life in him.

The whole scene starts out again in the vivid colours of the
momentdown to the drops of April rain on the windows of the
courtglittering in the rays of April sun. Penned in the dockas
I again stood outside it at the corner with his hand in minewere
the two-and-thirty men and women; some defiantsome stricken with
terrorsome sobbing and weepingsome covering their facessome
staring gloomily about. There had been shrieks from among the women
convictsbut they had been stilleda hush had succeeded. The
sheriffs with their great chains and nosegaysother civic gewgaws
and monsterscriersushersa great gallery full of people - a
large theatrical audience - looked onas the two-and-thirty and
the Judge were solemnly confronted. Thenthe Judge addressed them.

Among the wretched creatures before him whom he must single out for
special addresswas one who almost from his infancy had been an
offender against the laws; whoafter repeated imprisonments and
punishmentshad been at length sentenced to exile for a term of
years; and whounder circumstances of great violence and daring
had made his escape and been re-sentenced to exile for life. That
miserable man would seem for a time to have become convinced of his
errorswhen far removed from the scenes of his old offencesand
to have lived a peaceable and honest life. But in a fatal moment
yielding to those propensities and passionsthe indulgence of
which had so long rendered him a scourge to societyhe had quitted
his haven of rest and repentanceand had come back to the country
where he was proscribed. Being here presently denouncedhe had for
a time succeeded in evading the officers of Justicebut being at
length seized while in the act of flighthe had resisted themand
had - he best knew whether by express designor in the blindness
of his hardihood - caused the death of his denouncerto whom his
whole career was known. The appointed punishment for his return to
the land that had cast him outbeing Deathand his case being
this aggravated casehe must prepare himself to Die.

The sun was striking in at the great windows of the courtthrough
the glittering drops of rain upon the glassand it made a broad
shaft of light between the two-and-thirty and the Judgelinking
both togetherand perhaps reminding some among the audiencehow
both were passing onwith absolute equalityto the greater
Judgment that knoweth all things and cannot err. Rising for a
momenta distinct speck of face in this way of lightthe prisoner
saidMy Lord, I have received my sentence of Death from the
Almighty, but I bow to yours,and sat down again. There was some
hushingand the Judge went on with what he had to say to the rest.
Thenthey were all formally doomedand some of them were
supported outand some of them sauntered out with a haggard look
of braveryand a few nodded to the galleryand two or three shook
handsand others went out chewing the fragments of herb they had
taken from the sweet herbs lying about. He went last of all
because of having to be helped from his chair and to go very
slowly; and he held my hand while all the others were removedand
while the audience got up (putting their dresses rightas they
might at church or elsewhere) and pointed down at this criminal or
at thatand most of all at him and me.

I earnestly hoped and prayed that he might die before the
Recorder's Report was madebutin the dread of his lingering on
I began that night to write out a petition to the Home Secretary of
Statesetting forth my knowledge of himand how it was that he
had come back for my sake. I wrote it as fervently and pathetically
as I couldand when I had finished it and sent it inI wrote out
other petitions to such men in authority as I hoped were the most
mercifuland drew up one to the Crown itself. For several days and
nights after he was sentenced I took no rest except when I fell
asleep in my chairbut was wholly absorbed in these appeals. And
after I had sent them inI could not keep away from the places
where they werebut felt as if they were more hopeful and less
desperate when I was near them. In this unreasonable restlessness
and pain of mindI would roam the streets of an eveningwandering
by those offices and houses where I had left the petitions. To the
present hourthe weary western streets of London on a cold dusty
spring nightwith their ranges of stern shut-up mansions and their
long rows of lampsare melancholy to me from this association.

The daily visits I could make him were shortened nowand he was
more strictly kept. Seeingor fancyingthat I was suspected of an
intention of carrying poison to himI asked to be searched before

I sat down at his bedsideand told the officer who was always
therethat I was willing to do anything that would assure him of
the singleness of my designs. Nobody was hard with himor with me.
There was duty to be doneand it was donebut not harshly. The
officer always gave me the assurance that he was worseand some
other sick prisoners in the roomand some other prisoners who
attended on them as sick nurses (malefactorsbut not incapable of
kindnessGod be thanked!)always joined in the same report.

As the days went onI noticed more and more that he would lie
placidly looking at the white ceilingwith an absence of light in
his faceuntil some word of mine brightened it for an instantand
then it would subside again. Sometimes he was almostor quite
unable to speak; thenhe would answer me with slight pressures on
my handand I grew to understand his meaning very well.

The number of the days had risen to tenwhen I saw a greater
change in him than I had seen yet. His eyes were turned towards the
doorand lighted up as I entered.

Dear boy,he saidas I sat down by his bed: "I thought you was
late. But I knowed you couldn't be that."

It is just the time,said I. "I waited for it at the gate."

You always waits at the gate; don't you, dear boy?

Yes. Not to lose a moment of the time.

Thank'ee dear boy, thank'ee. God bless you! You've never deserted
me, dear boy.

I pressed his hand in silencefor I could not forget that I had
once meant to desert him.

And what's the best of all,he saidyou've been more
comfortable alonger me, since I was under a dark cloud, than when
the sun shone. That's best of all.

He lay on his backbreathing with great difficulty. Do what he
wouldand love me though he didthe light left his face ever and
againand a film came over the placid look at the white ceiling.

Are you in much pain to-day?

I don't complain of none, dear boy.

You never do complain.

He had spoken his last words. He smiledand I understood his touch
to mean that he wished to lift my handand lay it on his breast. I
laid it thereand he smiled againand put both his hands upon it.

The allotted time ran outwhile we were thus; butlooking round
I found the governor of the prison standing near meand he
whisperedYou needn't go yet.I thanked him gratefullyand
askedMight I speak to him, if he can hear me?

The governor stepped asideand beckoned the officer away. The
changethough it was made without noisedrew back the film from
the placid look at the white ceilingand he looked most
affectionately at me.

Dear Magwitch, I must tell you, now at last. You understand what I


A gentle pressure on my hand.

You had a child once, whom you loved and lost.

A stronger pressure on my hand.

She lived and found powerful friends. She is living now. She is a
lady and very beautiful. And I love her!

With a last faint effortwhich would have been powerless but for
my yielding to it and assisting ithe raised my hand to his lips.
Thenhe gently let it sink upon his breast againwith his own
hands lying on it. The placid look at the white ceiling came back
and passed awayand his head dropped quietly on his breast.

Mindfulthenof what we had read togetherI thought of the two
men who went up into the Temple to prayand I knew there were no
better words that I could say beside his bedthan "O Lordbe
merciful to hima sinner!"

Chapter 57

Now that I was left wholly to myselfI gave notice of my intention
to quit the chambers in the Temple as soon as my tenancy could
legally determineand in the meanwhile to underlet them. At once I
put bills up in the windows; forI was in debtand had scarcely
any moneyand began to be seriously alarmed by the state of my
affairs. I ought rather to write that I should have been alarmed if
I had had energy and concentration enough to help me to the clear
perception of any truth beyond the fact that I was falling very
ill. The late stress upon me had enabled me to put off illnessbut
not to put it away; I knew that it was coming on me nowand I knew
very little elseand was even careless as to that.

For a day or twoI lay on the sofaor on the floor - anywhere
according as I happened to sink down - with a heavy head and aching
limbsand no purposeand no power. Then there came one night
which appeared of great durationand which teemed with anxiety and
horror; and when in the morning I tried to sit up in my bed and
think of itI found I could not do so.

Whether I really had been down in Garden Court in the dead of the
nightgroping about for the boat that I supposed to be there;
whether I had two or three times come to myself on the staircase
with great terrornot knowing how I had got out of bed; whether I
had found myself lighting the lamppossessed by the idea that he
was coming up the stairsand that the lights were blown out;
whether I had been inexpressibly harassed by the distracted
talkinglaughingand groaningof some oneand had half
suspected those sounds to be of my own making; whether there had
been a closed iron furnace in a dark corner of the roomand a
voice had called out over and over again that Miss Havisham was
consuming within it; these were things that I tried to settle with
myself and get into some orderas I lay that morning on my bed.
Butthe vapour of a limekiln would come between me and them
disordering them alland it was through the vapour at last that I
saw two men looking at me.

What do you want?I askedstarting; "I don't know you."

Well, sir,returned one of thembending down and touching me on

the shoulderthis is a matter that you'll soon arrange, I dare
say, but you're arrested.

What is the debt?

Hundred and twenty-three pound, fifteen, six. Jeweller's account,
I think.

What is to be done?

You had better come to my house,said the man. "I keep a very
nice house."

I made some attempt to get up and dress myself. When I next
attended to themthey were standing a little off from the bed
looking at me. I still lay there.

You see my state,said I. "I would come with you if I could; but
indeed I am quite unable. If you take me from hereI think I shall
die by the way."

Perhaps they repliedor argued the pointor tried to encourage me
to believe that I was better than I thought. Forasmuch as they hang
in my memory by only this one slender threadI don't know what
they didexcept that they forbore to remove me.

That I had a fever and was avoidedthat I suffered greatlythat I
often lost my reasonthat the time seemed interminablethat I
confounded impossible existences with my own identity; that I was a
brick in the house walland yet entreating to be released from the
giddy place where the builders had set me; that I was a steel beam
of a vast engineclashing and whirling over a gulfand yet that I
implored in my own person to have the engine stoppedand my part
in it hammered off; that I passed through these phases of disease
I know of my own remembranceand did in some sort know at the
time. That I sometimes struggled with real peoplein the belief
that they were murderersand that I would all at once comprehend
that they meant to do me goodand would then sink exhausted in
their armsand suffer them to lay me downI also knew at the
time. Butabove allI knew that there was a constant tendency in
all these people - whowhen I was very illwould present all
kinds of extraordinary transformations of the human faceand would
be much dilated in size - above allI sayI knew that there was
an extraordinary tendency in all these peoplesooner or later to
settle down into the likeness of Joe.

After I had turned the worst point of my illnessI began to notice
that while all its other features changedthis one consistent
feature did not change. Whoever came about mestill settled down
into Joe. I opened my eyes in the nightand I saw in the great
chair at the bedsideJoe. I opened my eyes in the dayand
sitting on the window-seatsmoking his pipe in the shaded open
windowstill I saw Joe. I asked for cooling drinkand the dear
hand that gave it me was Joe's. I sank back on my pillow after
drinkingand the face that looked so hopefully and tenderly upon
me was the face of Joe.

At lastone dayI took courageand saidIs it Joe?

And the dear old home-voice answeredWhich it air, old chap.

O Joe, you break my heart! Look angry at me, Joe. Strike me, Joe.
Tell me of my ingratitude. Don't be so good to me!

ForJoe had actually laid his head down on the pillow at my side
and put his arm round my neckin his joy that I knew him.

Which dear old Pip, old chap,said Joeyou and me was ever
friends. And when you're well enough to go out for a ride - what

After whichJoe withdrew to the windowand stood with his back
towards mewiping his eyes. And as my extreme weakness prevented
me from getting up and going to himI lay therepenitently
whisperingO God bless him! O God bless this gentle Christian

Joe's eyes were red when I next found him beside me; butI was
holding his handand we both felt happy.

How long, dear Joe?

Which you meantersay, Pip, how long have your illness lasted, dear
old chap?

Yes, Joe.

It's the end of May, Pip. To-morrow is the first of June.

And have you been here all that time, dear Joe?

Pretty nigh, old chap. For, as I says to Biddy when the news of
your being ill were brought by letter, which it were brought by the
post and being formerly single he is now married though underpaid
for a deal of walking and shoe-leather, but wealth were not a
object on his part, and marriage were the great wish of his hart--

It is so delightful to hear you, Joe! But I interrupt you in what
you said to Biddy.

Which it were,said Joethat how you might be amongst
strangers, and that how you and me having been ever friends, a
wisit at such a moment might not prove unacceptabobble. And Biddy,
her word were, 'Go to him, without loss of time.' That,said Joe
summing up with his judicial airwere the word of Biddy. 'Go to
him,' Biddy say, 'without loss of time.' In short, I shouldn't
greatly deceive you,Joe addedafter a little grave reflection
if I represented to you that the word of that young woman were,
'without a minute's loss of time.'

There Joe cut himself shortand informed me that I was to be
talked to in great moderationand that I was to take a little
nourishment at stated frequent timeswhether I felt inclined for
it or notand that I was to submit myself to all his orders. SoI
kissed his handand lay quietwhile he proceeded to indite a note
to Biddywith my love in it.

EvidentlyBiddy had taught Joe to write. As I lay in bed looking
at himit made mein my weak statecry again with pleasure to
see the pride with which he set about his letter. My bedstead
divested of its curtainshad been removedwith me upon itinto
the sittingroomas the airiest and largestand the carpet had
been taken awayand the room kept always fresh and wholesome night
and day. At my own writing-tablepushed into a corner and cumbered
with little bottlesJoe now sat down to his great workfirst
choosing a pen from the pen-tray as if it were a chest of large
toolsand tucking up his sleeves as if he were going to wield a
crowbar or sledgehammer. It was necessary for Joe to hold on

heavily to the table with his left elbowand to get his right leg
well out behind himbefore he could beginand when he did begin
he made every down-stroke so slowly that it might have been six
feet longwhile at every up-stroke I could hear his pen
spluttering extensively. He had a curious idea that the inkstand
was on the side of him where it was notand constantly dipped his
pen into spaceand seemed quite satisfied with the result.
Occasionallyhe was tripped up by some orthographical
stumbling-blockbut on the whole he got on very well indeedand
when he had signed his nameand had removed a finishing blot from
the paper to the crown of his head with his two forefingershe got
up and hovered about the tabletrying the effect of his
performance from various points of view as it lay therewith
unbounded satisfaction.

Not to make Joe uneasy by talking too mucheven if I had been able
to talk muchI deferred asking him about Miss Havisham until next
day. He shook his head when I then asked him if she had recovered.

Is she dead, Joe?

Why you see, old chap,said Joein a tone of remonstranceand
by way of getting at it by degreesI wouldn't go so far as to say
that, for that's a deal to say; but she ain't--

Living, Joe?

That's nigher where it is,said Joe; "she ain't living."

Did she linger long, Joe?

Arter you was took ill, pretty much about what you might call (if
you was put to it) a week,said Joe; still determinedon my
accountto come at everything by degrees.

Dear Joe, have you heard what becomes of her property?

Well, old chap,said Joeit do appear that she had settled the
most of it, which I meantersay tied it up, on Miss Estella. But she
had wrote out a little coddleshell in her own hand a day or two
afore the accident, leaving a cool four thousand to Mr. Matthew
Pocket. And why, do you suppose, above all things, Pip, she left
that cool four thousand unto him? 'Because of Pip's account of him
the said Matthew.' I am told by Biddy, that air the writing,said
Joerepeating the legal turn as if it did him infinite good
'account of him the said Matthew.' And a cool four thousandPip!"

I never discovered from whom Joe derived the conventional
temperature of the four thousand poundsbut it appeared to make
the sum of money more to himand he had a manifest relish in
insisting on its being cool.

This account gave me great joyas it perfected the only good thing
I had done. I asked Joe whether he had heard if any of the other
relations had any legacies?

Miss Sarah,said Joeshe have twenty-five pound perannium fur
to buy pills, on account of being bilious. Miss Georgiana, she have
twenty pound down. Mrs. - what's the name of them wild beasts with
humps, old chap?

Camels?said Iwondering why he could possibly want to know.

Joe nodded. "Mrs. Camels by which I presently understood he meant

Camilla, she have five pound fur to buy rushlights to put her in
spirits when she wake up in the night."

The accuracy of these recitals was sufficiently obvious to meto
give me great confidence in Joe's information. "And now said Joe,
you ain't that strong yetold chapthat you can take in more nor
one additional shovel-full to-day. Old Orlick he's been a
bustin'open a dwelling-ouse."

Whose?said I.

Not, I grant, you, but what his manners is given to blusterous,
said Joeapologetically; "stilla Englishman's ouse is his
Castleand castles must not be busted 'cept when done in war time.
And wotsume'er the failings on his parthe were a corn and
seedsman in his hart."

Is it Pumblechook's house that has been broken into, then?

That's it, Pip,said Joe; "and they took his tilland they took
his cash-boxand they drinked his wineand they partook of his
wittlesand they slapped his faceand they pulled his noseand
they tied him up to his bedpustand they giv' him a dozenand
they stuffed his mouth full of flowering annuals to prewent his
crying out. But he knowed Orlickand Orlick's in the county

By these approaches we arrived at unrestricted conversation. I was
slow to gain strengthbut I did slowly and surely become less
weakand Joe stayed with meand I fancied I was little Pip again.

Forthe tenderness of Joe was so beautifully proportioned to my
needthat I was like a child in his hands. He would sit and talk
to me in the old confidenceand with the old simplicityand in
the old unassertive protecting wayso that I would half believe
that all my life since the days of the old kitchen was one of the
mental troubles of the fever that was gone. He did everything for
me except the household workfor which he had engaged a very
decent womanafter paying off the laundress on his first arrival.
Which I do assure you, Pip,he would often sayin explanation of
that liberty; "I found her a tapping the spare bedlike a cask of
beerand drawing off the feathers in a bucketfor sale. Which she
would have tapped yourn nextand draw'd it off with you a laying
on itand was then a carrying away the coals gradiwally in the
souptureen and wegetable-dishesand the wine and spirits in your
Wellington boots."

We looked forward to the day when I should go out for a rideas we
had once looked forward to the day of my apprenticeship. And when
the day cameand an open carriage was got into the LaneJoe
wrapped me uptook me in his armscarried me down to itand put
me inas if I were still the small helpless creature to whom he
had so abundantly given of the wealth of his great nature.

And Joe got in beside meand we drove away together into the
countrywhere the rich summer growth was already on the trees and
on the grassand sweet summer scents filled all the air. The day
happened to be Sundayand when I looked on the loveliness around
meand thought how it had grown and changedand how the little
wild flowers had been formingand the voices of the birds had been
strengtheningby day and by nightunder the sun and under the
starswhile poor I lay burning and tossing on my bedthe mere
remembrance of having burned and tossed therecame like a check
upon my peace. Butwhen I heard the Sunday bellsand looked

around a little more upon the outspread beautyI felt that I was
not nearly thankful enough - that I was too weak yetto be even
that - and I laid my head on Joe's shoulderas I had laid it long
ago when he had taken me to the Fair or where notand it was too
much for my young senses.

More composure came to me after a whileand we talked as we used
to talklying on the grass at the old Battery. There was no change
whatever in Joe. Exactly what he had been in my eyes thenhe was
in my eyes still; just as simply faithfuland as simply right.

When we got back again and he lifted me outand carried me - so
easily - across the court and up the stairsI thought of that
eventful Christmas Day when he had carried me over the marshes. We
had not yet made any allusion to my change of fortunenor did I
know how much of my late history he was acquainted with. I was so
doubtful of myself nowand put so much trust in himthat I could
not satisfy myself whether I ought to refer to it when he did not.

Have you heard, Joe,I asked him that eveningupon further
considerationas he smoked his pipe at the windowwho my patron

I heerd,returned Joeas it were not Miss Havisham, old chap.

Did you hear who it was, Joe?

Well! I heerd as it were a person what sent the person what
giv'you the bank-notes at the Jolly Bargemen, Pip.

So it was.

Astonishing!said Joein the placidest way.

Did you hear that he was dead, Joe?I presently askedwith
increasing diffidence.

Which? Him as sent the bank-notes, Pip?


I think,said Joeafter meditating a long timeand looking
rather evasively at the window-seatas I did hear tell that how
he were something or another in a general way in that direction.

Did you hear anything of his circumstances, Joe?

Not partickler, Pip.

If you would like to hear, Joe--I was beginningwhen Joe got up
and came to my sofa.

Lookee here, old chap,said Joebending over me. "Ever the best
of friends; ain't usPip?"

I was ashamed to answer him.

Wery good, then,said Joeas if I had answered; "that's all
rightthat's agreed upon. Then why go into subjectsold chap
which as betwixt two sech must be for ever onnecessary? There's
subjects enough as betwixt two sechwithout onnecessary ones.
Lord! To think of your poor sister and her Rampages! And don't you
remember Tickler?"

I do indeed, Joe.

Lookee here, old chap,said Joe. "I done what I could to keep you
and Tickler in sundersbut my power were not always fully equal to
my inclinations. For when your poor sister had a mind to drop into
youit were not so much said Joe, in his favourite argumentative
way, that she dropped into me tooif I put myself in opposition
to her but that she dropped into you always heavier for it. I
noticed that. It ain't a grab at a man's whiskernot yet a shake
or two of a man (to which your sister was quite welcome)that 'ud
put a man off from getting a little child out of punishment. But
when that little child is dropped intoheavierfor that grab of
whisker or shakingthen that man naterally up and says to himself
'Where is the good as you are a-doing? I grant you I see the 'arm'
says the man'but I don't see the good. I call upon yousir
thereforeto pint out the good.'"

The man says?I observedas Joe waited for me to speak.

The man says,Joe assented. "Is he rightthat man?"

Dear Joe, he is always right.

Well, old chap,said Joethen abide by your words. If he's
always right (which in general he's more likely wrong), he's right
when he says this: - Supposing ever you kep any little matter to
yourself, when you was a little child, you kep it mostly because
you know'd as J. Gargery's power to part you and Tickler in
sunders, were not fully equal to his inclinations. Therefore, think
no more of it as betwixt two sech, and do not let us pass remarks
upon onnecessary subjects. Biddy giv' herself a deal o' trouble
with me afore I left (for I am almost awful dull), as I should view
it in this light, and, viewing it in this light, as I should so put
it. Both of which,said Joequite charmed with his logical
arrangementbeing done, now this to you a true friend, say.
Namely. You mustn't go a-over-doing on it, but you must have your
supper and your wine-and-water, and you must be put betwixt the

The delicacy with which Joe dismissed this themeand the sweet
tact and kindness with which Biddy - who with her woman's wit had
found me out so soon - had prepared him for itmade a deep
impression on my mind. But whether Joe knew how poor I wasand how
my great expectations had all dissolvedlike our own marsh mists
before the sunI could not understand.

Another thing in Joe that I could not understand when it first
began to develop itselfbut which I soon arrived at a sorrowful
comprehension ofwas this: As I became stronger and betterJoe
became a little less easy with me. In my weakness and entire
dependence on himthe dear fellow had fallen into the old tone
and called me by the old namesthe dear "old Pipold chap that
now were music in my ears. I too had fallen into the old ways, only
happy and thankful that he let me. But, imperceptibly, though I
held by them fast, Joe's hold upon them began to slacken; and
whereas I wondered at this, at first, I soon began to understand
that the cause of it was in me, and that the fault of it was all

Ah! Had I given Joe no reason to doubt my constancy, and to think
that in prosperity I should grow cold to him and cast him off? Had
I given Joe's innocent heart no cause to feel instinctively that as
I got stronger, his hold upon me would be weaker, and that he had
better loosen it in time and let me go, before I plucked myself


It was on the third or fourth occasion of my going out walking in
the Temple Gardens leaning on Joe's arm, that I saw this change in
him very plainly. We had been sitting in the bright warm sunlight,
looking at the river, and I chanced to say as we got up:

SeeJoe! I can walk quite strongly. Nowyou shall see me walk
back by myself."

Which do not over-do it, Pip,said Joe; "but I shall be happy fur
to see you ablesir."

The last word grated on me; but how could I remonstrate! I walked
no further than the gate of the gardensand then pretended to be
weaker than I wasand asked Joe for his arm. Joe gave it mebut
was thoughtful.

Ifor my partwas thoughtful too; forhow best to check this
growing change in Joewas a great perplexity to my remorseful
thoughts. That I was ashamed to tell him exactly how I was placed
and what I had come down toI do not seek to conceal; butI hope
my reluctance was not quite an unworthy one. He would want to help
me out of his little savingsI knewand I knew that he ought not
to help meand that I must not suffer him to do it.

It was a thoughtful evening with both of us. Butbefore we went to
bedI had resolved that I would wait over to-morrowto-morrow
being Sundayand would begin my new course with the new week. On
Monday morning I would speak to Joe about this changeI would lay
aside this last vestige of reserveI would tell him what I had in
my thoughts (that Secondlynot yet arrived at)and why I had not
decided to go out to Herbertand then the change would be
conquered for ever. As I clearedJoe clearedand it seemed as
though he had sympathetically arrived at a resolution too.

We had a quiet day on the Sundayand we rode out into the country
and then walked in the fields.

I feel thankful that I have been ill, Joe,I said.

Dear old Pip, old chap, you're a'most come round, sir.

It has been a memorable time for me, Joe.

Likeways for myself, sir,Joe returned.

We have had a time together, Joe, that I can never forget. There
were days once, I know, that I did for a while forget; but I never
shall forget these.

Pip,said Joeappearing a little hurried and troubledthere
has been larks, And, dear sir, what have been betwixt us - have

At nightwhen I had gone to bedJoe came into my roomas he had
done all through my recovery. He asked me if I felt sure that I was
as well as in the morning?

Yes, dear Joe, quite.

And are always a-getting stronger, old chap?

Yes, dear Joe, steadily.

Joe patted the coverlet on my shoulder with his great good hand
and saidin what I thought a husky voiceGood night!

When I got up in the morningrefreshed and stronger yetI was
full of my resolution to tell Joe allwithout delay. I would tell
him before breakfast. I would dress at once and go to his room and
surprise him; forit was the first day I had been up early. I went
to his roomand he was not there. Not only was he not therebut
his box was gone.

I hurried then to the breakfast-tableand on it found a letter.
These were its brief contents.

Not wishful to intrude I have departured fur you are well again
dear Pip and will do better without JO.

P.S. Ever the best of friends."

Enclosed in the letterwas a receipt for the debt and costs on
which I had been arrested. Down to that moment I had vainly
supposed that my creditor had withdrawn or suspended proceedings
until I should be quite recovered. I had never dreamed of Joe's
having paid the money; butJoe had paid itand the receipt was in
his name.

What remained for me nowbut to follow him to the dear old forge
and there to have out my disclosure to himand my penitent
remonstrance with himand there to relieve my mind and heart of
that reserved Secondlywhich had begun as a vague something
lingering in my thoughtsand had formed into a settled purpose?

The purpose wasthat I would go to Biddythat I would show her
how humbled and repentant I came backthat I would tell her how I
had lost all I once hoped forthat I would remind her of our old
confidences in my first unhappy time. ThenI would say to her
Biddy, I think you once liked me very well, when my errant heart,
even while it strayed away from you, was quieter and better with
you than it ever has been since. If you can like me only half as
well once more, if you can take me with all my faults and
disappointments on my head, if you can receive me like a forgiven
child (and indeed I am as sorry, Biddy, and have as much need of a
hushing voice and a soothing hand), I hope I am a little worthier
of you that I was - not much, but a little. And, Biddy, it shall
rest with you to say whether I shall work at the forge with Joe, or
whether I shall try for any different occupation down in this
country, or whether we shall go away to a distant place where an
opportunity awaits me, which I set aside when it was offered, until
I knew your answer. And now, dear Biddy, if you can tell me that
you will go through the world with me, you will surely make it a
better world for me, and me a better man for it, and I will try
hard to make it a better world for you.

Such was my purpose. After three days more of recoveryI went down
to the old placeto put it in execution; and how I sped in itis
all I have left to tell.

Chapter 58

The tidings of my high fortunes having had a heavy fallhad got
down to my native place and its neighbourhoodbefore I got there.
I found the Blue Boar in possession of the intelligenceand I
found that it made a great change in the Boar's demeanour. Whereas

the Boar had cultivated my good opinion with warm assiduity when I
was coming into propertythe Boar was exceedingly cool on the
subject now that I was going out of property.

It was evening when I arrivedmuch fatigued by the journey I had
so often made so easily. The Boar could not put me into my usual
bedroomwhich was engaged (probably by some one who had
expectations)and could only assign me a very indifferent chamber
among the pigeons and post-chaises up the yard. ButI had as sound
a sleep in that lodging as in the most superior accommodation the
Boar could have given meand the quality of my dreams was about
the same as in the best bedroom.

Early in the morning while my breakfast was getting readyI
strolled round by Satis House. There were printed bills on the
gateand on bits of carpet hanging out of the windowsannouncing
a sale by auction of the Household Furniture and Effectsnext
week. The House itself was to be sold as old building materials and
pulled down. LOT 1 was marked in whitewashed knock-knee letters on
the brew house; LOT 2 on that part of the main building which had
been so long shut up. Other lots were marked off on other parts of
the structureand the ivy had been torn down to make room for the
inscriptionsand much of it trailed low in the dust and was
withered already. Stepping in for a moment at the open gate and
looking around me with the uncomfortable air of a stranger who had
no business thereI saw the auctioneer's clerk walking on the
casks and telling them off for the information of a catalogue
compilerpen in handwho made a temporary desk of the wheeled
chair I had so often pushed along to the tune of Old Clem.

When I got back to my breakfast in the Boar's coffee-roomI found
Mr. Pumblechook conversing with the landlord. Mr. Pumblechook (not
improved in appearance by his late nocturnal adventure) was waiting
for meand addressed me in the following terms.

Young man, I am sorry to see you brought low. But what else could
be expected! What else could be expected!

As he extended his hand with a magnificently forgiving airand as
I was broken by illness and unfit to quarrelI took it.

William,said Mr. Pumblechook to the waiterput a muffin on
table. And has it come to this! Has it come to this!

I frowningly sat down to my breakfast. Mr. Pumblechook stood over me
and poured out my tea - before I could touch the teapot - with the
air of a benefactor who was resolved to be true to the last.

William,said Mr. Pumblechookmournfullyput the salt on. In
happier times,addressing meI think you took sugar. And did you
take milk? You did. Sugar and milk. William, bring a watercress.

Thank you,said Ishortlybut I don't eat watercresses.

You don't eat 'em,returned Mr. Pumblechooksighing and nodding
his head several timesas if he might have expected thatand as
if abstinence from watercresses were consistent with my downfall.
True. The simple fruits of the earth. No. You needn't bring any,

I went on with my breakfastand Mr. Pumblechook continued to stand
over mestaring fishily and breathing noisilyas he always did.

Little more than skin and bone!mused Mr. Pumblechookaloud. "And

yet when he went from here (I may say with my blessing)and I
spread afore him my humble storelike the Beehe was as plump as
a Peach!"

This reminded me of the wonderful difference between the servile
manner in which he had offered his hand in my new prosperity
sayingMay I?and the ostentatious clemency with which he had
just now exhibited the same fat five fingers.

Hah!he went onhanding me the bread-and-butter. "And air you
a-going to Joseph?"

In heaven's name,said Ifiring in spite of myselfwhat does
it matter to you where I am going? Leave that teapot alone.

It was the worst course I could have takenbecause it gave
Pumblechook the opportunity he wanted.

Yes, young man,said hereleasing the handle of the article in
questionretiring a step or two from my tableand speaking for
the behoof of the landlord and waiter at the doorI will leave
that teapot alone. You are right, young man. For once, you are
right. I forgit myself when I take such an interest in your
breakfast, as to wish your frame, exhausted by the debilitating
effects of prodigygality, to be stimilated by the 'olesome
nourishment of your forefathers. And yet,said Pumblechook
turning to the landlord and waiterand pointing me out at arm's
lengththis is him as I ever sported with in his days of happy
infancy! Tell me not it cannot be; I tell you this is him!

A low murmur from the two replied. The waiter appeared to be
particularly affected.

This is him,said Pumblechookas I have rode in my shaycart.
This is him as I have seen brought up by hand. This is him untoe
the sister of which I was uncle by marriage, as her name was
Georgiana M'ria from her own mother, let him deny it if he can!

The waiter seemed convinced that I could not deny itand that it
gave the case a black look.

Young man,said Pumblechookscrewing his head at me in the old
fashionyou air a-going to Joseph. What does it matter to me, you
ask me, where you air a-going? I say to you, Sir, you air a-going
to Joseph.

The waiter coughedas if he modestly invited me to get over that.

Now,said Pumblechookand all this with a most exasperating air
of saying in the cause of virtue what was perfectly convincing and
conclusiveI will tell you what to say to Joseph. Here is Squires
of the Boar present, known and respected in this town, and here is
William, which his father's name was Potkins if I do not deceive

You do not, sir,said William.

In their presence,pursued PumblechookI will tell you, young
man, what to say to Joseph. Says you, JosephI have this day seen
my earliest benefactor and the founder of my fortun's. I will name
no namesJosephbut so they are pleased to call him up-townand
I have seen that man."

I swear I don't see him here,said I.

Say that likewise,retorted Pumblechook. "Say you said thatand
even Joseph will probably betray surprise."

There you quite mistake him,said I. "I know better."

Says you,Pumblechook went on'Joseph, I have seen that man, and
that man bears you no malice and bears me no malice. He knows your
character, Joseph, and is well acquainted with your pig-headedness
and ignorance; and he knows my character, Joseph, and he knows my
want of gratitoode. Yes, Joseph,' says you,here Pumblechook shook
his head and hand at me'he knows my total deficiency of common
human gratitoode. He knows it, Joseph, as none can. You do not know
it, Joseph, having no call to know it, but that man do.'

Windy donkey as he wasit really amazed me that he could have the
face to talk thus to mine.

Says you, 'Joseph, he gave me a little message, which I will now
repeat. It was, that in my being brought low, he saw the finger of
Providence. He knowed that finger when he saw it, Joseph, and he
saw it plain. It pinted out this writing, Joseph. Reward of
ingratitoode to his earliest benefactor, and founder of fortun's.
But that man said he did not repent of what he had done, Joseph.
Not at all. It was right to do it, it was kind to do it, it was
benevolent to do it, and he would do it again.'

It's pity,said Iscornfullyas I finished my interrupted
breakfastthat the man did not say what he had done and would do

Squires of the Boar!Pumblechook was now addressing the landlord
and William! I have no objections to your mentioning, either
up-town or down-town, if such should be your wishes, that it was
right to do it, kind to do it, benevolent to do it, and that I
would do it again.

With those words the Impostor shook them both by the handwith an
airand left the house; leaving me much more astonished than
delighted by the virtues of that same indefinite "it." "I was not
long after him in leaving the house tooand when I went down the
High-street I saw him holding forth (no doubt to the same effect)
at his shop door to a select groupwho honoured me with very
unfavourable glances as I passed on the opposite side of the way.

Butit was only the pleasanter to turn to Biddy and to Joewhose
great forbearance shone more brightly than beforeif that could
becontrasted with this brazen pretender. I went towards them
slowlyfor my limbs were weakbut with a sense of increasing
relief as I drew nearer to themand a sense of leaving arrogance
and untruthfulness further and further behind.

The June weather was delicious. The sky was bluethe larks were
soaring high over the green cornI thought all that country-side
more beautiful and peaceful by far than I had ever known it to be
yet. Many pleasant pictures of the life that I would lead there
and of the change for the better that would come over my character
when I had a guiding spirit at my side whose simple faith and clear
home-wisdom I had provedbeguiled my way. They awakened a tender
emotion in me; formy heart was softened by my returnand such a
change had come to passthat I felt like one who was toiling home
barefoot from distant traveland whose wanderings had lasted many

The schoolhouse where Biddy was mistressI had never seen; but
the little roundabout lane by which I entered the village for
quietness' saketook me past it. I was disappointed to find that
the day was a holiday; no children were thereand Biddy's house
was closed. Some hopeful notion of seeing her busily engaged in her
daily dutiesbefore she saw mehad been in my mind and was

Butthe forge was a very short distance offand I went towards it
under the sweet green limeslistening for the clink of Joe's
hammer. Long after I ought to have heard itand long after I had
fancied I heard it and found it but a fancyall was still. The
limes were thereand the white thorns were thereand the
chestnut-trees were thereand their leaves rustled harmoniously
when I stopped to listen; butthe clink of Joe's hammer was not in
the midsummer wind.

Almost fearingwithout knowing whyto come in view of the forge
I saw it at lastand saw that it was closed. No gleam of fireno
glittering shower of sparksno roar of bellows; all shut upand

Butthe house was not desertedand the best parlour seemed to be
in usefor there were white curtains fluttering in its windowand
the window was open and gay with flowers. I went softly towards it
meaning to peep over the flowerswhen Joe and Biddy stood before
mearm in arm.

At first Biddy gave a cryas if she thought it was my apparition
but in another moment she was in my embrace. I wept to see herand
she wept to see me; Ibecause she looked so fresh and pleasant;
shebecause I looked so worn and white.

But dear Biddy, how smart you are!

Yes, dear Pip.

And Joe, how smart you are!

Yes, dear old Pip, old chap.

I looked at both of themfrom one to the otherand then-

It's my wedding-day,cried Biddyin a burst of happinessand I
am married to Joe!

They had taken me into the kitchenand I had laid my head down on
the old deal table. Biddy held one of my hands to her lipsand
Joe's restoring touch was on my shoulder. "Which he warn't strong
enoughmy dearfur to be surprised said Joe. And Biddy said, I
ought to have thought of itdear Joebut I was too happy." They
were both so overjoyed to see meso proud to see meso touched by
my coming to themso delighted that I should have come by accident
to make their day complete!

My first thought was one of great thankfulness that I had never
breathed this last baffled hope to Joe. How oftenwhile he was
with me in my illnesshad it risen to my lips. How irrevocable
would have been his knowledge of itif he had remained with me but
another hour!

Dear Biddy,said Iyou have the best husband in the whole
world, and if you could have seen him by my bed you would have -
But no, you couldn't love him better than you do.

No, I couldn't indeed,said Biddy.

And, dear Joe, you have the best wife in the whole world, and she
will make you as happy as even you deserve to be, you dear, good,
noble Joe!

Joe looked at me with a quivering lipand fairly put his sleeve
before his eyes.

And Joe and Biddy both, as you have been to church to-day, and are
in charity and love with all mankind, receive my humble thanks for
all you have done for me and all I have so ill repaid! And when I
say that I am going away within the hour, for I am soon going
abroad, and that I shall never rest until I have worked for the
money with which you have kept me out of prison, and have sent it
to you, don't think, dear Joe and Biddy, that if I could repay it a
thousand times over, I suppose I could cancel a farthing of the
debt I owe you, or that I would do so if I could!

They were both melted by these wordsand both entreated me to say
no more.

But I must say more. Dear Joe, I hope you will have children to
love, and that some little fellow will sit in this chimney corner
of a winter night, who may remind you of another little fellow gone
out of it for ever. Don't tell him, Joe, that I was thankless;
don't tell him, Biddy, that I was ungenerous and unjust; only tell
him that I honoured you both, because you were both so good and
true, and that, as your child, I said it would be natural to him to
grow up a much better man than I did.

I ain't a-going,said Joefrom behind his sleeveto tell him
nothink o' that natur, Pip. Nor Biddy ain't. Nor yet no one ain't.

And now, though I know you have already done it in your own kind
hearts, pray tell me, both, that you forgive me! Pray let me hear
you say the words, that I may carry the sound of them away with me,
and then I shall be able to believe that you can trust me, and
think better of me, in the time to come!

O dear old Pip, old chap,said Joe. "God knows as I forgive you
if I have anythink to forgive!"

Amen! And God knows I do!echoed Biddy.

Now let me go up and look at my old little roomand rest there a few
minutes by myselfand then when I have eaten and drunk with you
go with me as far as the finger-postdear Joe and Biddybefore we
say good-bye!"

I sold all I hadand put aside as much as I couldfor a
composition with my creditors - who gave me ample time to pay them
in full - and I went out and joined Herbert. Within a monthI had
quitted Englandand within two months I was clerk to Clarriker and
Co.and within four months I assumed my first undivided
responsibility. Forthe beam across the parlour ceiling at Mill
Pond Bankhad then ceased to tremble under old Bill Barley's
growls and was at peaceand Herbert had gone away to marry Clara
and I was left in sole charge of the Eastern Branch until he
brought her back.

Many a year went roundbefore I was a partner in the House; but
I lived happily with Herbert and his wifeand lived frugallyand

paid my debtsand maintained a constant correspondence with Biddy
and Joe. It was not until I became third in the Firmthat
Clarriker betrayed me to Herbert; buthe then declared that the
secret of Herbert's partnership had been long enough upon his
conscienceand he must tell it. Sohe told itand Herbert was as
much moved as amazedand the dear fellow and I were not the worse
friends for the long concealment. I must not leave it to be
supposed that we were ever a great houseor that we made mints of
money. We were not in a grand way of businessbut we had a good
nameand worked for our profitsand did very well. We owed so
much to Herbert's ever cheerful industry and readinessthat I
often wondered how I had conceived that old idea of his inaptitude
until I was one day enlightened by the reflectionthat perhaps the
inaptitude had never been in him at allbut had been in me.

Chapter 59

For eleven yearsI had not seen Joe nor Biddy with my bodily
eyes-though they had both been often before my fancy in the
East-whenupon an evening in Decemberan hour or two after dark
I laid my hand softly on the latch of the old kitchen door. I
touched it so softly that I was not heardand looked in unseen.
Theresmoking his pipe in the old place by the kitchen firelight
as hale and as strong as ever though a little greysat Joe; and
therefenced into the corner with Joe's legand sitting on my own
little stool looking at the firewas - I again!

We giv' him the name of Pip for your sake, dear old chap,said
Joedelighted when I took another stool by the child's side (but I
did not rumple his hair)and we hoped he might grow a little bit
like you, and we think he do.

I thought so tooand I took him out for a walk next morningand
we talked immenselyunderstanding one another to perfection. And I
took him down to the churchyardand set him on a certain tombstone
thereand he showed me from that elevation which stone was sacred
to the memory of Philip Pirriplate of this Parishand Also
GeorgianaWife of the Above.

Biddy,said Iwhen I talked with her after dinneras her little
girl lay sleeping in her lapyou must give Pip to me, one of
these days; or lend him, at all events.

No, no,said Biddygently. "You must marry."

So Herbert and Clara say, but I don't think I shall, Biddy. I have
so settled down in their home, that it's not at all likely. I am
already quite an old bachelor.

Biddy looked down at her childand put its little hand to her
lipsand then put the good matronly hand with which she had
touched itinto mine. There was something in the action and in the
light pressure of Biddy's wedding-ringthat had a very pretty
eloquence in it.

Dear Pip,said Biddyyou are sure you don't fret for her?

O no - I think not, Biddy.

Tell me as an old, old friend. Have you quite forgotten her?

My dear BiddyI have forgotten nothing in my life that ever had a
foremost place thereand little that ever had any place there. But

that poor dreamas I once used to call ithas all gone byBiddy
all gone by!"

NeverthelessI knew while I said those wordsthat I secretly
intended to revisit the site of the old house that eveningalone
for her sake. Yes even so. For Estella's sake.

I had heard of her as leading a most unhappy lifeand as being
separated from her husbandwho had used her with great cruelty
and who had become quite renowned as a compound of prideavarice
brutalityand meanness. And I had heard of the death of her
husbandfrom an accident consequent on his ill-treatment of a
horse. This release had befallen her some two years before; for
anything I knewshe was married again.

The early dinner-hour at Joe'sleft me abundance of timewithout
hurrying my talk with Bidd