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Chapter 20

  • I was three-and-twenty years of age. Not another word had I heard to enlighte_e on the subject of my expectations, and my twenty-third birthday was a wee_one. We had left Barnard’s Inn more than a year, and lived in the Temple. Ou_hambers were in Garden-court, down by the river.
  • Mr. Pocket and I had for some time parted company as to our origina_elations, though we continued on the best terms. Notwithstanding my inabilit_o settle to anything,—which I hope arose out of the restless and incomplet_enure on which I held my means,—I had a taste for reading, and read regularl_o many hours a day. That matter of Herbert’s was still progressing, an_verything with me was as I have brought it down to the close of the las_receding chapter.
  • Business had taken Herbert on a journey to Marseilles. I was alone, and had _ull sense of being alone. Dispirited and anxious, long hoping that to-morro_r next week would clear my way, and long disappointed, I sadly missed th_heerful face and ready response of my friend.
  • It was wretched weather; stormy and wet, stormy and wet; and mud, mud, mud, deep in all the streets. Day after day, a vast heavy veil had been drivin_ver London from the East, and it drove still, as if in the East there were a_ternity of cloud and wind. So furious had been the gusts, that high building_n town had had the lead stripped off their roofs; and in the country, tree_ad been torn up, and sails of windmills carried away; and gloomy accounts ha_ome in from the coast, of shipwreck and death. Violent blasts of rain ha_ccompanied these rages of wind, and the day just closed as I sat down to rea_ad been the worst of all.
  • Alterations have been made in that part of the Temple since that time, and i_as not now so lonely a character as it had then, nor is it so exposed to th_iver. We lived at the top of the last house, and the wind rushing up th_iver shook the house that night, like discharges of cannon, or breakings of _ea. When the rain came with it and dashed against the windows, I thought, raising my eyes to them as they rocked, that I might have fancied myself in _torm-beaten lighthouse. Occasionally, the smoke came rolling down the chimne_s though it could not bear to go out into such a night; and when I set th_oors open and looked down the staircase, the staircase lamps were blown out; and when I shaded my face with my hands and looked through the black windows (opening them ever so little was out of the question in the teeth of such win_nd rain), I saw that the lamps in the court were blown out, and that th_amps on the bridges and the shore were shuddering, and that the coal-fires i_arges on the river were being carried away before the wind like red-ho_plashes in the rain.
  • I read with my watch upon the table, purposing to close my book at eleve_’clock. As I shut it, Saint Paul’s, and all the many church-clocks in th_ity—some leading, some accompanying, some following—struck that hour. Th_ound was curiously flawed by the wind; and I was listening, and thinking ho_he wind assailed and tore it, when I heard a footstep on the stair.
  • What nervous folly made me start, and awfully connect it with the footstep o_y dead sister, matters not. It was past in a moment, and I listened again, and heard the footstep stumble in coming on. Remembering then, that th_taircase-lights were blown out, I took up my reading-lamp and went out to th_tair-head. Whoever was below had stopped on seeing my lamp, for all wa_uiet.
  • “There is some one down there, is there not?” I called out, looking down.
  • “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-rail, and he came slowly withi_ts light. It was a shaded lamp, to shine upon a book, and its circle of ligh_as very contracted; so that he was in it for a mere instant, and then out o_t. In the instant, I had seen a face that was strange to me, looking up wit_n incomprehensible air of being touched and pleased by the sight of me.
  • Moving the lamp as the man moved, I made out that he was substantiall_ressed, but roughly, like a voyager by sea. That he had long iron-gray hair.
  • That his age was about sixty. That he was a muscular man, strong on his legs, and that he was browned and hardened by exposure to weather. As he ascende_he last stair or two, and the light of my lamp included us both, I saw, wit_ stupid kind of amazement, that he was holding out both his hands to me.
  • “Pray what is your business?” I asked him.
  • “My business?” he repeated, pausing. “Ah! Yes. I will explain my business, b_our leave.”
  • “Do you wish to come in?”
  • “Yes,” he replied; “I wish to come in, master.”
  • I had asked him the question inhospitably enough, for I resented the sort o_right and gratified recognition that still shone in his face. I resented it, because it seemed to imply that he expected me to respond to it. But I too_im into the room I had just left, and, having set the lamp on the table, asked him as civilly as I could to explain himself.
  • He looked about him with the strangest air,—an air of wondering pleasure, a_f he had some part in the things he admired,—and he pulled off a rough oute_oat, and his hat. Then, I saw that his head was furrowed and bald, and tha_he long iron-gray hair grew only on its sides. But, I saw nothing that in th_east explained him. On the contrary, I saw him next moment, once more holdin_ut both his hands to me.
  • “What do you mean?” said I, half suspecting him to be mad.
  • He stopped in his looking at me, and slowly rubbed his right hand over hi_ead. “It’s disapinting to a man,” he said, in a coarse broken voice, “arte_aving looked for’ard so distant, and come so fur; but you’re not to blame fo_hat,—neither on us is to blame for that. I’ll speak in half a minute. Give m_alf a minute, please.”
  • He sat down on a chair that stood before the fire, and covered his forehea_ith his large brown veinous hands. I looked at him attentively then, an_ecoiled a little from him; but I did not know him.
  • “There’s no one nigh,” said he, looking over his shoulder; “is there?”
  • “Why do you, a stranger coming into my rooms at this time of the night, as_hat question?” said I.
  • “You’re a game one,” he returned, shaking his head at me with a deliberat_ffection, at once most unintelligible and most exasperating; “I’m glad you’v_row’d up, a game one! But don’t catch hold of me. You’d be sorry arterward_o have done it.”
  • I relinquished the intention he had detected, for I knew him! Even yet I coul_ot recall a single feature, but I knew him! If the wind and the rain ha_riven away the intervening years, had scattered all the intervening objects, had swept us to the churchyard where we first stood face to face on suc_ifferent levels, I could not have known my convict more distinctly than _new him now as he sat in the chair before the fire. No need to take a fil_rom his pocket and show it to me; no need to take the handkerchief from hi_eck and twist it round his head; no need to hug himself with both his arms, and take a shivering turn across the room, looking back at me for recognition.
  • I knew him before he gave me one of those aids, though, a moment before, I ha_ot been conscious of remotely suspecting his identity.
  • He came back to where I stood, and again held out both his hands. Not knowin_hat to do,—for, in my astonishment I had lost my self-possession,—_eluctantly gave him my hands. He grasped them heartily, raised them to hi_ips, kissed them, and still held them.
  • “You acted noble, my boy,” said he. “Noble, Pip! And I have never forgot it!”
  • At a change in his manner as if he were even going to embrace me, I laid _and upon his breast and put him away.
  • “Stay!” said I. “Keep off! If you are grateful to me for what I did when I wa_ little child, I hope you have shown your gratitude by mending your way o_ife. If you have come here to thank me, it was not necessary. Still, howeve_ou have found me out, there must be something good in the feeling that ha_rought you here, and I will not repulse you; but surely you must understan_hat—I—”
  • My attention was so attracted by the singularity of his fixed look at me, tha_he words died away on my tongue.
  • “You was a saying,” he observed, when we had confronted one another i_ilence, “that surely I must understand. What, surely must I understand?”
  • “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 repente_nd recovered yourself. I am glad to tell you so. I am glad that, thinking _eserve to be thanked, you have come to thank me. But our ways are differen_ays, none the less. You are wet, and you look weary. Will you drink somethin_efore you go?”
  • He had replaced his neckerchief loosely, and had stood, keenly observant o_e, biting a long end of it. “I think,” he answered, still with the end at hi_outh 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 th_ire, and asked him what he would have? He touched one of the bottles withou_ooking at it or speaking, and I made him some hot rum and water. I tried t_eep my hand steady while I did so, but his look at me as he leaned back i_is chair with the long draggled end of his neckerchief between hi_eeth—evidently forgotten—made my hand very difficult to master. When at las_ put the glass to him, I saw with amazement that his eyes were full of tears.
  • Up to this time I had remained standing, not to disguise that I wished hi_one. But I was softened by the softened aspect of the man, and felt a touc_f reproach. “I hope,” said I, hurriedly putting something into a glass fo_yself, and drawing a chair to the table, “that you will not think I spok_arshly to you just now. I had no intention of doing it, and I am sorry for i_f I did. I wish you well and happy!”
  • As I put my glass to my lips, he glanced with surprise at the end of hi_eckerchief, dropping from his mouth when he opened it, and stretched out hi_and. I gave him mine, and then he drank, and drew his sleeve across his eye_nd forehead.
  • “How are you living?” I asked him.
  • “I’ve been a sheep-farmer, stock-breeder, other trades besides, away in th_ew 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 don_ell 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 the_ere spoken, I 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 h_ndertook 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. I was a poo_oy then, as you know, and to a poor boy they were a little fortune. But, lik_ou, I have done well since, and you must let me pay them back. You can pu_hem 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 it, and he watche_e as I separated two one-pound notes from its contents. They were clean an_ew, and I spread them out and handed them over to him. Still watching me, h_aid them one upon the other, folded them long-wise, gave them a twist, se_ire to them at the lamp, and dropped the ashes into the tray.
  • “May I make so bold,” he said then, with a smile that was like a frown, an_ith a frown that was like a smile, “as ask you how you have done well, sinc_ou and me was out on them lone shivering marshes?”
  • “How?”
  • “Ah!”
  • He emptied his glass, got up, and stood at the side of the fire, with hi_eavy brown hand on the mantel-shelf. He put a foot up to the bars, to dry an_arm it, and the wet boot began to steam; but, he neither looked at it, nor a_he fire, but steadily looked at me. It was only now that I began to tremble.
  • When my lips had parted, and had shaped some words that were without sound, _orced myself to tell him (though I could not do it distinctly), that I ha_een chosen to succeed to some property.
  • “Might a mere warmint ask what property?” said he.
  • I faltered, “I don’t know.”
  • “Might a mere warmint ask whose property?” said he.
  • I faltered again, “I don’t know.”
  • “Could I make a guess, I wonder,” said the Convict, “at your income since yo_ome of age! As to the first figure now. Five?”
  • With my heart beating like a heavy hammer of disordered action, I rose out o_y chair, and 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 guardian, or such-like, whiles you was a minor. Some lawyer, maybe. As to the firs_etter of that lawyer’s name now. Would it be J?”
  • All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitud_hat I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew.
  • “Put it,” he resumed, “as the employer of that lawyer whose name begun with _, and might be Jaggers,—put it as he had come over sea to Portsmouth, and ha_anded there, and had wanted to come on to you. ‘However, you have found m_ut,’ you says just now. Well! However, did I find you out? Why, I wrote fro_ortsmouth to a person in London, for particulars of your address. Tha_erson’s name? Why, Wemmick.”
  • I could not have spoken one word, though it had been to save my life. I stood, with a hand on the chair-back and a hand on my breast, where I seemed to b_uffocating,—I stood so, looking wildly at him, until I grasped at the chair, when the room began to surge and turn. He caught me, drew me to the sofa, pu_e up against the cushions, and bent on one knee before me, bringing the fac_hat I now well remembered, and that I shuddered at, very near to mine.
  • “Yes, Pip, dear boy, I’ve made a gentleman on you! It’s me wot has done it! _wore 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 ge_ich. I lived rough, that you should live smooth; I worked hard, that yo_hould be above work. What odds, dear boy? Do I tell it, fur you to feel _bligation? Not a bit. I tell it, fur you to know as that there hunte_unghill dog wot you kep life in, got his head so high that he could make _entleman,—and, Pip, you’re him!”
  • The abhorrence in which I held the man, the dread I had of him, the repugnanc_ith which I shrank from him, could not have been exceeded if he had been som_errible beast.
  • “Look’ee here, Pip. I’m your second father. You’re my son,—more to me nor an_on. I’ve put away money, only for you to spend. When I was a hired-ou_hepherd in a solitary hut, not seeing no faces but faces of sheep till I hal_orgot wot men’s and women’s faces wos like, I see yourn. I drops my knif_any a time in that hut when I was a-eating my dinner or my supper, and _ays, ‘Here’s the boy again, a looking at me whiles I eats and drinks!’ I se_ou 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 i_nder the open heavens,—‘but wot, if I gets liberty and money, I’ll make tha_oy a gentleman!’ And I done it. Why, look at you, dear boy! Look at thes_ere lodgings o’yourn, fit for a lord! A lord? Ah! You shall show money wit_ords for wagers, and beat ’em!”
  • In his heat and triumph, and in his knowledge that I had been nearly fainting, he did not remark on my reception of all this. It was the one grain of relie_ had.
  • “Look’ee here!” he went on, taking my watch out of my pocket, and turnin_owards him a ring on my finger, while I recoiled from his touch as if he ha_een a snake, “a gold ‘un and a beauty: that’s a gentleman’s, I hope! _iamond all set round with rubies; that’s a gentleman’s, I hope! Look at you_inen; fine and beautiful! Look at your clothes; better ain’t to be got! An_our books too,” turning his eyes round the room, “mounting up, on thei_helves, by hundreds! And you read ’em; don’t you? I see you’d been a readin_f ’em when I come in. Ha, ha, ha! You shall read ’em to me, dear boy! And i_hey’re in foreign languages wot I don’t understand, I shall be just as prou_s if I did.”
  • Again he took both my hands and put them to his lips, while my blood ran col_ithin me.
  • “Don’t you mind talking, Pip,” said he, after again drawing his sleeve ove_is eyes and forehead, as the click came in his throat which I wel_emembered,—and he was all the more horrible to me that he was so much i_arnest; “you can’t do better nor keep quiet, dear boy. You ain’t looke_lowly forward to this as I have; you wosn’t prepared for this as I wos. Bu_idn’t you never think it might be me?”
  • “O no, no, no,” I returned, “Never, never!”
  • “Well, you see it wos me, and single-handed. Never a soul in it but my ow_elf and Mr. Jaggers.”
  • “Was there no one else?” I asked.
  • “No,” said he, with a glance of surprise: “who else should there be? And, dea_oy, how good looking you have growed! There’s bright eyes somewheres—eh?
  • Isn’t there bright eyes somewheres, wot you love the thoughts on?”
  • O Estella, Estella!
  • “They shall be yourn, dear boy, if money can buy ’em. Not that a gentlema_ike you, so well set up as you, can’t win ’em off of his own game; but mone_hall back you! Let me finish wot I was a telling you, dear boy. From tha_here hut and that there hiring-out, I got money left me by my master (whic_ied, and had been the same as me), and got my liberty and went for myself. I_very 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 prospere_onderful. As I giv’ you to understand just now, I’m famous for it. It was th_oney 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.”
  • O that he had never come! That he had left me at the forge,—far fro_ontented, yet, by comparison happy!
  • “And then, dear boy, it was a recompense to me, look’ee here, to know i_ecret that I was making a gentleman. The blood horses of them colonists migh_ling 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 t_nother, ‘He was a convict, a few year ago, and is a ignorant common fello_ow, for all he’s lucky,’ what do I say? I says to myself, ‘If I ain’t _entleman, nor yet ain’t got no learning, I’m the owner of such. All on yo_wns stock and land; which on you owns a brought-up London gentleman?’ Thi_ay I kep myself a going. And this way I held steady afore my mind that _ould 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 anythin_ knew, his hand might be stained with blood.
  • “It warn’t easy, Pip, for me to leave them parts, nor yet it warn’t safe. Bu_ held to it, and the harder it was, the stronger I held, for I wa_etermined, and my mind firm made up. At last I done it. Dear boy, I done it!”
  • I tried to collect my thoughts, but I was stunned. Throughout, I had seemed t_yself to attend more to the wind and the rain than to him; even now, I coul_ot separate his voice from those voices, though those were loud and his wa_ilent.
  • “Where will you put me?” he asked, presently. “I must be put somewheres, dea_oy.”
  • “To sleep?” said I.
  • “Yes. And to sleep long and sound,” he answered; “for I’ve been sea-tossed an_ea-washed, months and months.”
  • “My friend and companion,” said I, rising from the sofa, “is absent; you mus_ave his room.”
  • “He won’t come back to-morrow; will he?”
  • “No,” said I, answering almost mechanically, in spite of my utmost efforts; “not to-morrow.”
  • “Because, look’ee here, dear boy,” he said, dropping his voice, and laying _ong finger on my breast in an impressive manner, “caution 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 comin_ack of late years, and I should of a certainty be hanged if took.”
  • Nothing was needed but this; the wretched man, after loading wretched me wit_is gold and silver chains for years, had risked his life to come to me, and _eld it there in my keeping! If I had loved him instead of abhorring him; if _ad been attracted to him by the strongest admiration and affection, instea_f shrinking from him with the strongest repugnance; it could have been n_orse. On the contrary, it would have been better, for his preservation woul_hen have naturally and tenderly addressed my heart.
  • My first care was to close the shutters, so that no light might be seen fro_ithout, and then to close and make fast the doors. While I did so, he stoo_t the table drinking rum and eating biscuit; and when I saw him thus engaged, I saw my convict on the marshes at his meal again. It almost seemed to me a_f he must stoop down presently, to file at his leg.
  • When I had gone into Herbert’s room, and had shut off any other communicatio_etween it and the staircase than through the room in which our conversatio_ad been held, I asked him if he would go to bed? He said yes, but asked m_or some of my “gentleman’s linen” to put on in the morning. I brought it out, and laid it ready for him, and my blood again ran cold when he again took m_y both hands to give me good night.
  • I got away from him, without knowing how I did it, and mended the fire in th_oom where we had been together, and sat down by it, afraid to go to bed. Fo_n hour or more, I remained too stunned to think; and it was not until I bega_o think, that I began fully to know how wrecked I was, and how the ship i_hich I had sailed was gone to pieces.
  • Miss Havisham’s intentions towards me, all a mere dream; Estella not designe_or me; I only suffered in Satis House as a convenience, a sting for th_reedy relations, a model with a mechanical heart to practise on when no othe_ractice was at hand; those were the first smarts I had. But, sharpest an_eepest pain of all,—it was for the convict, guilty of I knew not what crimes, and liable to be taken out of those rooms where I sat thinking, and hanged a_he Old Bailey door, that I had deserted Joe.
  • I would not have gone back to Joe now, I would not have gone back to Bidd_ow, for any consideration; simply, I suppose, because my sense of my ow_orthless conduct to them was greater than every consideration. No wisdom o_arth could have given me the comfort that I should have derived from thei_implicity and fidelity; but I could never, never, undo what I had done.
  • In every rage of wind and rush of rain, I heard pursuers. Twice, I could hav_worn there was a knocking and whispering at the outer door. With these fear_pon me, I began either to imagine or recall that I had had mysteriou_arnings of this man’s approach. That, for weeks gone by, I had passed face_n the streets which I had thought like his. That these likenesses had grow_ore numerous, as he, coming over the sea, had drawn nearer. That his wicke_pirit had somehow sent these messengers to mine, and that now on this storm_ight he was as good as his word, and with me.
  • Crowding up with these reflections came the reflection that I had seen hi_ith my childish eyes to be a desperately violent man; that I had heard tha_ther convict reiterate that he had tried to murder him; that I had seen hi_own in the ditch tearing and fighting like a wild beast. Out of suc_emembrances I brought into the light of the fire a half-formed terror that i_ight not be safe to be shut up there with him in the dead of the wil_olitary night. This dilated until it filled the room, and impelled me to tak_ candle and go in and look at my dreadful burden.
  • He had rolled a handkerchief round his head, and his face was set and lowerin_n his sleep. But he was asleep, and quietly too, though he had a pistol lyin_n the pillow. Assured of this, I softly removed the key to the outside of hi_oor, and turned it on him before I again sat down by the fire. Gradually _lipped from the chair and lay on the floor. When I awoke without havin_arted in my sleep with the perception of my wretchedness, the clocks of th_astward churches were striking five, the candles were wasted out, the fir_as dead, and the wind and rain intensified the thick black darkness.
  • This is the end of the second stage of Pip’s expectations.