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What I wanted, who can say? How can I say, when I never knew? What I dreaded was, that in some unlucky hour I 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 despise me. Often after dark, when I was pulling the bellows for Joe, I would look towards those panels of black night in the wall which the wooden windows then were, 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.

Chapter 15

“Joe,” said I one day; “don’t you think I ought to make Miss Havisham a visit?”

“Well, Pip,” returned Joe, slowly considering. “What for?”

“What for, Joe? What is any visit made for?[71]

“Pip,” said Joe, “Miss Havisham 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 believe it. Or she might not.”

Joe pulled hard at his pipe.

“You see, Pip,” Joe pursued, “Miss Havisham said “goodbye” to you, That’s all.”

“Yes, Joe. I heard her.”

“ALL,” Joe repeated, very emphatically.

“Yes, Joe. I tell you, I heard her.”

“Me to the North, and you to the South!”

“But, Joe.”

“Yes, old chap.”

“I have never thanked Miss Havisham, or asked after her, or shown that I remember her. My dear Joe, if you would give me a half-holiday tomorrow, I think I would go to the town and make a call on Miss Est – Havisham.”

“Her name,” said Joe, gravely, “isn’t Estavisham, Pip.”

So, tomorrow I found myself again going to Miss Havisham’s. 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 was, Sarah began to think if I was the right person to let me in. Finally, she let me in, and presently brought the sharp message that I was to “come up.”

Everything was unchanged, and Miss Havisham was alone.

“Well?” said she, fixing 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 you.”

“There, there!” with the old restless fingers. “Come now and then; come on your birthday. – Ay!” she cried suddenly, turning herself and her chair towards me, “You are looking round for Estella? Hey?”

I had been looking round – in fact, for 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 last words, and she broke into such a disagreeable laugh, that I was at a loss what to say. When the gate was closed upon me by Sarah, I felt more than ever dissatisfied with my home and with my trade and with everything.

As I was loitering along the High Street, looking in disconsolately at the shop windows, and thinking what I would buy if I were a gentleman, who should come out of the shop but Mr. Wopsle.

“There’s something wrong,” said he, without stopping, “up at your place, Pip. Run all!”

“What is it?” I asked, keeping up with him.

“I can’t quite understand. The house seems to have been entered when Joe Gargery was out. Supposed by convicts. Somebody has been attacked and hurt.”

We were running, and we made no stop until we got into our kitchen. It was full of people; the whole village was there, or in the yard; and there was a surgeon, and there was Joe, and there were a group of women, all on the floor in the midst of the kitchen. My sister was lying without sense or movement on the bare boards.

Chapter 16

Joe had been at the Three Jolly Bargemen, smoking his pipe, from a quarter after eight o’clock to a quarter before ten. While he was there, my sister had been seen standing at the kitchen door, and had exchanged Good Night with a farm-worker going home. When Joe went home at five minutes before ten, he found her struck down on the floor, and promptly called in assistance.

My sister had been struck with something blunt and heavy, on the head and spine. And on the ground beside her, when Joe picked her up, was a convict’s leg-iron which had been filed asunder.

Knowing what I knew, I believed the iron to be my convict’s iron – the iron I had seen and heard him filing at, on the marshes – but my mind did not accuse him of having put it to its latest use.

It was horrible to think that I had provided the weapon.

The Constables and the Bow Street men from London[72] were about the house for a week or two, and did pretty much what I have heard and read of like authorities doing in other such cases. They took up several obviously wrong people, and they ran their heads very hard against wrong ideas, and persisted in trying to fit the circumstances to the ideas, instead of trying to extract ideas from the circumstances.

Long after these constitutional powers had dispersed, my sister lay very ill in bed. Her sight was disturbed, so that she saw objects multiplied; her hearing was greatly impaired; her memory also; and her speech was unintelligible.[73]

Chapter 17

I now fell into a regular routine of apprenticeship life. The most remarkable event was the arrival of my birthday and my paying another visit to Miss Havisham. I found Miss Sarah Pocket still on duty at the gate; I found Miss Havisham just as I had left her, and she spoke of Estella in the very same way, if not in the very same words. The interview lasted but a few minutes, and she gave me a guinea when I was going, and told me to come again on my next birthday.

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? Then, and after that, I took it.

The dull old house did not change, the yellow light in the darkened room, the faded spectre in the chair by the dressing-table glass stood still. Daylight never entered the house. It bewildered me, and under its influence I continued at heart to hate my trade and to be ashamed of home.

Wopsle’s second cousin Biddy used to come to help me and Joe. Biddy was a kind and intelligent but poor young woman. She was not beautiful – she was common, and could not be like Estella – but she was pleasant and wholesome and sweet-tempered. She had curiously thoughtful and attentive eyes; eyes that were very pretty and very good. I liked to talk to her, and she usually listened to me with great attention.

“Biddy,” said I one day, “we must talk together. And I must consult you a little more. Let us have a quiet walk on the marshes next Sunday, Biddy, and a long chat.”

Joe more than readily undertook the care of my sister on that Sunday afternoon, and Biddy and I went out together. It was summer-time, and lovely weather. When we had passed the village and the church and the churchyard, and were out on the marshes and began to see the sails of the ships as they sailed on, I resolved that it was a good time and place for the admission of Biddy into my inner confidence.

“Biddy,” said I, “I want to be a gentleman.”

“O, I wouldn’t, if I was you!” she returned. “What for?”

“Biddy,” said I, with some severity, “I have particular reasons for wanting to be a gentleman.”

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71

What is any visit made for? – Зачем люди вообще ходят в гости?

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72

the Bow Street men from London – лондонские сущики с Боу-стрит

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73

her speech was unintelligible – её речь была бессвязной

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