was now developing, for, in my first uneasi-
ness and^discontent I had turned to her for
help, as a'matter of course. Biddy sat quietly
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 271
sewinsT, shedding no more tears, and while
I looked at her and thought about it all, it
occurred to me that perhaps I had not been
sufficiently grateful to Biddy, I might have
been too reserved, and should have patro-
nised her more (though I did not use that
precise word in my meditations), with my
"Yes, Biddy," I observed, when I had
done turning it over, "you were my first
teacher, and that at a time when we little
thought of ever being together like this, in
"Ah, poor thing!" replied Biddy. It was
hke her self-foro-etfulness, to transfer the
remark to my sister, and to get up and be
busy about her, making her more com-
fortable ; " that's sadly true !"
"Well!" said I, "we 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 chat."
My sister was never left alone now ; but
Joe more than readily undertook the care
of her on that Sunday afternoon, and Biddy
272 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
and I went out together. It was summer-
time, and lovely weather. When wc 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 began to combine Miss
Havisham and Estella with the prospect, in
my usual way. When we came to the river-
side and sat down on the bank, with the
water rippling at our feet, making it all
more quiet than it would have been with-
out that sound, I resolved that it was a good
time and place for the admission of Biddy
into my inner confidence.
" Biddy," said I, after binding her to
secrecy, " I want to be a gentleman."
" Oh, I wouldn't, if I was you !" she re-
turned. " I don't think it would answer."
" Biddy," said I, with some severity, " I
have particular reasons for wanting to be a
" You know best, Pip ; but don't you
think you are happier as you are ?"
" Biddy," I exclaimed, impatiently, " I
am not at all happy as I am. I am disgusted
with my calling and with my life. I have
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 273
never taken to either, since I was bound.
Don't be absurd."
"Was I absurd?" said Biddy, quietly
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 â€” or any-
thing but miserable â€” there, Biddy ! â€” unless
I can lead a very different sort of life from
the life I lead now."
" That's a pity !" said Biddy, shaking her
head with a sorrowful air.
Now, I too had so often thought it a pity,
that, in the singular kind of quarrel with
myself which I was always carrying on, I
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 right, and I knew it was much to be re-
gretted, but still it was not to be helped.
" If 1 could have settled down," I said to
Biddy, plucking up the short grass within
reach, much as I had once upon a time
pulled my feelings out of my hair and
kicked them into the brewery wall: "if I
VOL. I. T
274 GREAT EXTECTATIONS.
could have settled down and been but half
as fond of the forge as I was when I -svas
little, I know it would have been much
better for me. You and I and Joe would
have wanted nothing then, and Joe and I
would perhaps have gone partners when I
was out of my time, and I might even have
grown up to keep company with you, and
we might have sat on this very bank on a
fine Sunday, quite different people. I should
have been good enough for you ; shouldn't
Biddy sighed as she looked at the ships
saihng on, and returned for answer, " Yes ;
I am not over -particular." It scarcely
sounded flattering, but I knew she meant
"Instead of that," said I, plucking up
more grass and chewing a blade or two,
" see how I am going on. Dissatisfied, and
uncomfortable, and â€” what would it signify
to me, being coarse and common, if nobody
had told me so !"
Biddy turned her face suddenly towards
mine, and looked far more attentively at me
than she had looked at the sailing ships.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 275
" It was neither a very true nor a very
polite thing to say," she remarked, directing
her eyes to the ships again. " Who said it?"
I was disconcerted, for I had broken away
without quite seeing where I was going. It
was not to be shuffled off now, however, and
I answered, " The 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
confession, I began to throw my torn-up
grass into the river, as 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 me, after a pause.
"I don't know," I moodily answered.
"Because, if it is to spite her," Biddy
pursued, " I should think â€” ^but you know
best â€” ^that might be better and more inde-
pendently done by caring nothing for her
words. And if it is to gain her over, I
should think â€” but you know best â€” she was
not worth erainino; over."
Exactly what I myself had thought, many
276 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
times. Exactly what was perfectly manifest
to me at the moment. But how could I, a
poor dazed village lad, avoid that wonderful
inconsistency into which the best and msest
of men fall every da}' ?
"It may be all quite true," said I to
Biddy, " but I admire her dreadfully."
In short, I turned over on my face when
I came to that, and got a good grasp on the
hair on each side of my head, and wrenched
it well. All the while kno-vving the madness
of my heart to be so very mad and mis-
placed, that I was quite conscious it would
have served my face right, if I had lifted it
up by my hair, and knocked it against the
pebbles as a punishment for belonging to
such an idiot.
Biddy was the wisest of girls, and she
tried to reason no more with me. She put
her hand, which was a comfortable hand
though roughened by work, upon my hands,
one after another, and gently took them out
of my hair. Then she softly patted my
shoulder in a soothing way, while Avith my
face upon my sleeve I cried a little â€” exactly
as I had done in the brewery yard â€” and
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 277
felt vaguely convinced tliat I was very much
ill used by somebody, or by everybody; I
can't say which.
" I am glad of one thing," said Biddy,
"and 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 her-
self!) 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
me, Biddy rose from the bank, and said,
with a fresh and pleasant change of voice,
" Shall we walk a little further, or go
" Biddy," I cried, getting up, putting my
arm round her neck, and giving her a kiss,
" I 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
278 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
tell you anything, for you know everything
I know â€” as I told you at home the other
" Ah !" said Biddy, quite in a whisper,
as she looked away at the ships. And then
repeated, with her former pleasant change ;
" shall we walk a little further, or go
I said to Biddy we would walk a little
further, and we did so, and the summer
afternoon toned do^vn into the summer
evening, and it was very beautiful. I began
to consider whether I was not more natu-
rally and wholesomely situated, after all, in
these circumstances, than playing beggar my
neighbour by candlelight in the room with
the stopped clocks, and being despised by
Estella. I thought it would be very good
for me if I could get her out of my head,
with all the rest of those remembrances and
fancies, and could go to work determined to
relish what I had to do, and stick to it, and
make thfe 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 Biddy, she would make me
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 279
misera])le ? I was obliged to admit that I
did know it for a certainty, and I said to
myseÂ¥, " Pip, what a fool you are !"
We talked a good deal as we walked, and
all that Biddy said seemed right. Biddy
was never insulting, or capricious, or Biddy
to-day and somebody else to-morrow ; she
would have derived only pain, and no plea-
sure, from giving me pain ; she would far
rather have wounded her o"vvn breast than
miine. How could it be, then, that I did not
like her much the better of the two ?
" Biddy," said I^ when we were walking
homeward, " I wish you could put me
" I wish I could !" said Biddy.
" If I could only get myself to fall in love
with you â€” ^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 thins: for me."
" But you never will, you see," said
It did not appear quite so unlikely to me
280 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
that evening, as 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 ivas^ and she
said it decisively. In my heart I believed
her to be right ; and yet I took it rather ill,
too, that she should be so positive on the
When we came near the churchyard, we
had to cross an embankment, and get over
a stile near a sluice-gate. There started up,
from the gate, or from the rushes, or from
the ooze (which was quite in his stagnant
way), old Orlick.
" Halloa !" he growled, " where are you
two going ?"
Where should we be going, but home?
" Well then," said he, " I'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 of, but used it, like his own
pretended christian name, to affront man-
kind, and convey an idea of something
savagely damaging. When I was younger.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 281
I had had a general belief that if he had
jiggered me personally, he would have done
it with a sharp and twisted hook.
Biddy was much against his going mth
us, and said to me in a whisper, " Don't let
him come ; I don't like him." As I did not
like him either, I took the liberty of saying
that we thanked him, but we didn't want
seeing home. He received that piece of in-
formation with a yell of laughter, and
dropped back, but 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 account, I asked her why
she did not like him ?
" Oh!" she replied, glancing over her
shoulder as he slouched after us, " because I
â€” I am afraid he likes me."
" Did he ever tell you he liked you?" I
" No," said Biddy, glancing over her
shoulder again, "he never told me so; but
he dances at me, whenever he can catch my
282 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
However novel and peculiar this testi-
mony of attachment, I did not doubt the
accuracy of the interpretation. I was very
hot indeed upon old Orlick's daring to ad-
mire her ; as hot as if it were an outrage on
" But it makes no diiference to yon, yon
know," said Biddy, calmly.
" ISTo^ ^iddy, it makes no difference to
me ; only I don't like it ; I don't approve
" Nor I neither," said Biddy. " Though
that makes no difference to you."
" Exactly," said I ; " but I must tell you
I should have no opinion of you, Biddy, if
he danced at you \dt\\ your own consent."
I kept an eye on Orlick after that night,
and, whenever circumstances were favour-
able to his dancing at Biddy, got before
him, to obscure that demonstration. He
had struck root in Joe's establishment, by
reason of my sister's sudden fancy for himy
or I should have tried to get him dismissed.
He quite understood and reciprocated my
good intentions, as I had reason to know
And now, because my mind was not con-
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 283
fused enough before, I complicated its con-
fusion fifty thousand-fold, by ha\ing states
and seasons when I was clear that Biddy was
immeasurably better than Estella, and that
the plain honest working life to which I was
born, had nothing in it to be ashamed of,
but offered me sufficient means of self-
respect and happiness. At those times, I
would decide conclusively that my disaffec-
tion to dear old Joe and the forge, was gone,
and. that I was growing up in a fair way to
be partners with Joe and to keep company
with Biddy â€” when all in a moment some
confounding remembrance of the Havisham
days 'would fall upon me, like a destructive
missile, and scatter my wits again. Scat-
tered wits take a long time picking up ; and
often, before I had got them well together,
they would be dispersed in all directions by
one stray thought, that perhaps after all Miss
Havisham was going to make my fortune
when my time was. out.
If my time had run out, it would have
left me still at the height of my perplexities,
I dare say. It never did run out, however,
but was brought to a premature end, as I
proceed to relate.
284 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
It was in the fourth year of my appren-
ticeship to Joe, and it was a Saturday night.
There was a group assembled round the fire
at the Three Jolly Bargemen, attentive to
Mr. Wopsle as he read the newspaper aloud.
Of that group I was one.
A highly popular murder had been com-
mitted, and Mr. Wopsle was imbrued in
blood to the eyebrows. He gloated over
every abhorrent adjective in the description,
and identified himself Avith every "vvitness at
the Inquest. He faintly moaned, '' I am
done for," as the victim, and he barbarously
bellowed, "I'U serve you out," as the mur-
derer. He gave the medical testimony, in
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 285
pointed imitation of our local practi-
tioner ; and he piped and shook, as the aged
turnpike-keeper who had heard blows, to an
extent so very paralytic as to suggest a
doubt regarding the mental competency of
that witness. The coroner, in Mr. Wopsle's
hands, became Timon of Athens; the
beadle, Coriolanus. He enjoyed himself
thoroughly, and we all enjoyed ourselves,
and were dehghtfuUy comfortable. In this
cozy state of mind we came to the verdict
Then, and not sooner, I became aware of
a strano;e gentleman leaning: over the back
of the settle opposite me, looking on.
There was an expression of contempt on his
face, and he bit the side of a great fore-
finger as he watched the group of faces.
" Well !" said the stranger to Mr. Wopsle,
when the reading was done, " you have
settled it all to your own satisfaction, I have
Everybody started and looked up, as if it
were the murderer. He looked at ever)-
body coldly and sarcastically.
" Guilty, of course ?" said he. " Out
with it. Come !"
286 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
" Sir," returned Mr. Wopsle, " without
having the honour of your acquaintance, I
do say Guilty." Upon this, we 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 knoAv, or
do you not know, that the law of England
supposes every man to be innocent, until he
is proved â€” proved â€” to be guilty ?"
"Sir," Mr. Wopsle began to reply, "as
an Englishman myself, I "
" Come !" said the stranger, biting his
forefinger at him. " Don't evade the ques-
tion. Either you know it, or you don't
know it. Which is it to be ?"
He stood mth his head on one side and
himself on one side, in a bullying interroga-
tive manner, and he threw his forefinger at
Mr. Wopsle â€” as it were to mark him out â€”
before biting it again.
" NoAv !" said he. " Do you know it, or
don't you know it ?"
" Certainly I know it," rcphed Mr.
" Certainly you know it. Then Avhy
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 287
didn't you say so at first ? Now, 111 ask
you another question ;" taking possession of
Mr. Wopsle, as if he had a right to him.
"Z)o you know that none of these witnesses
have yet been cross-examined ?"
Mr. Wopsle was beginning, " I 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 aware, or are you not
aware, that none of these witnesses Jiave yet
been cross-examined ? Come, I only want
one word from you. Yes, or no ?"
Mr. Wopsle hesitated, and we all began
to conceive rather a poor opinion of him.
" Come !" said the stranger, "I'll help
you. You don't deserve help, but I'll help
you. Look at that paper you hold in your
hand. \\'Tiat is it ?"
" What is it ?*' repeated Mr. Wopsle,
eyeing it, much at a loss.
"Is it," pursued the stranger in his
most sarcastic and suspicious manner, " the
printed paper you have just been reading
288 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
" 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
" Never mind what you read just now,
sir ; I don't ask you what you readjust now.
You may read the Lord's Prayer backwards,
if you like â€” 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 mth your eye,
and tell me w^hether it distinctly states that
the prisoner expressly said that he was in-
structed by his legal advisers wholly to re-
serve his defence ? Come ! Do you make
that of it?"
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 289
Mr. Wopsle answered, " Those are not
the exact words."
" Not the exact words!" repeated the gen-
tleman, bitterly. " Is that the exact sub-
" Yes," said Mr. Wopsle.
" Yes," repeated the stranger, looking
round at the rest of the company with his
right hand extended towards the witness,
Wopsle. " 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 him, and
that he was beginning to be found out.
" And that same man, remember," pur-
sued the gentleman, throwing his finger at
Mr. Wopsle heavily ; " that same man might
be summoned as a juryman upon this very
trial, and, having thus deeply committed
himself, might return to the bosom of his
family and lay his head upon his pillow,
after deliberately swearing that he would
well and truly try the issue joined between
VOL. I. U
290 GREAT EXTECTATIONS.
Our Sovereign Lord the King and the
prisoner at the bar, and Avould a true ver-
dict give according to the evidence, so help
him God !"
We were all deeply persuaded that the
unfortunate Wopsle had gone too far, and
had better stop in his reckless career while
there was yet time.
The strange gentleman, \vith an air of au-
thority not to be disputed, and with a
manner expressive of knoAving something
secret about every one of us that would
effectually do for each individual if he
chose to disclose it, left the back of the
settle, and came into the space between the
two settles, in front of the fire, where he
remained standing: his left hand in his
pocket, and he biting the forefinger of his
" From information I have received,"
said he, looking round at us as we all
quailed before him, " I have reason to be-
lieve there is a blacksmith among you, by
name Joseph â€” or Joe â€” Gargery. Which is
the man ?"
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. ' 291
" Here is the man," said Joe.
The strange gentleman beckoned him out
of his place, and Joe went.
" You have an apprentice," pursued the
stranger, "commonly known as Pip? Is he
" I am here !" I cried.
The stranger did not recognise me, but
I recognised him as the gentleman I had
met on the stairs, on the occasion of my
second visit to Miss Havisham. I had
known him the moment I saw him look-
ing over the settle, and now that I stood
confronting him with his hand upon my
shoulder, I checked off again in detail,
his large head, his dark complexion, his
deep-set eyes, his bushy black eyebrows,
his laro;e watch-chain, his strono- black dots
of beard and whisker, and even the smeU of
scented soap on his great hand.
" I wish to have a private conference
with you two," said he, when he had sur-
veyed me at his leisure. " It will take a
little time. Perhaps we had better go to
your place of residence. I prefer not to
292 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
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 silence, we three
walked out of the Jolly Bargemen, and in
a wondering silence walked home. While
going along, the strange gentleman occa-
sionally looked at me, and occasionally bit
the side of his finger. As we neared home,
Joe vaguely acknowledging the occasion as
an impressive and ceremonious one, went on
ahead to open the front door. Our con-
ference was held in the state parlour, which
was feebly lighted by one candle.
It began with the strange gentleman's
sitting down at the table, drawing the
candle to him, and 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 me, to ascertain which
"My name," he said, "is daggers, and I
am a lawyer in London. I am pretty well
kno^vn. I have unusual business to transact
GREAT EXPECTATIONS. 293
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 con-
fidential agent of another, I do. No less,
Finding that he could not see us very
weU from where he sat, he got up, and
threw one leg over the back of a chair and
leaned upon it ; thus having one foot on the
seat of the chair, and one foot on the
" 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 re-
quest and for his good? You would not
want anything for so doing ?"
" Lord forbid that I should want any-
thing for not standing in Pip's way," said
" Lord forbidding is pious, but not to
the purpose," returned Mr. Jaggers. " The
question is, Would you want anything? Do
you want anything ?"
294 GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
" The answer is," returned Joe, sternly,
I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joe, as
if he considered him a fool for his dis-
interestedness. But I was too much be-
wildered between breathless curiosity and
surprise, to be sure of it.
" Very well," said Mr. Jaggers. " Recol-
lect the admission you have made, and 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
" 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. Jaggers,
shutting his eyes and nodding his head at
Joe, as if he were forgiving him something.
" Now, I return to this young fellow. And
the communication I have got to make is,
that he has great expectations."
Joe and I gasped, and looked at one an-
" I am instructed to communicate to him,"
said Mr. Jaggers, thro^ving his finger at me,