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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

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 words, than it could come in its way
in Heaven. He touched me gently on the forehead,
and went out. As soon as I could recover
myself sufficiently, I hurried out after him and
looked for him in the neighbouring streets; but
he was gone.


IT was clear that I must repair to our town
next day, and in the first flow of my repentance
it was equally clear that I must stay at Joe's.
But when I had secured my box-place by
tomorrow's coach and had been down to Mr.
Pocket's and back, I was not by any means
convinced on the last point, and 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 expected, and my bed
would not be ready; I should be too far from
Miss Havisham's, and she was exacting and
mightn't like it. All other swindlers upon
earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and
with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely
a curious thing. That I should innocently take
a bad half-crown of somebody else's manufacture,
is reasonable enough; but that I should
knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own
make, as good money! An obliging stranger,
under pretence of compactly folding up my bank
notes for security's sake, abstracts the notes
and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight
of hand to mine, when I fold up my own
nutshells and pass them on myself as notes!

Having settled that I must go to the Blue
Boar, my mind was much disturbed by
indecision whether or no 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
hand, Trabb's boy might worm himself into his
intimacy and tell him things; or, reckless and
desperate wretch as I knew he could be, might
hoot him in the High-street. My patroness,
too, might hear of him, and not approve. On
the whole, I resolved to leave the Avenger

It was the afternoon coach by which I had
taken my place, and, as winter had now come
round, I 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 spare, attended by the Avengerif 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-passengers, and had more than once
seen them on the high road dangling their
ironed legs over the coach roof, I had no cause
to be surprised when Herbert, meeting me in
the yard, came up and told me there were two
convicts going down with me. But I had a
reason that was an old reason now, for
constitutionally faltering whenever I heard the word

"You don't mind them, Handel?" said

"Oh no!"

"I thought you seemed as if you didn't like

"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 Herbert,
"coming out of the Tap. What a degraded
and vile sight it is!"

They had been treating their guard, I
suppose, for they had a gaoler with them, and all
three came out wiping their mouths on their
hands. The two convicts were handcuffed
together, and had irons on their legsirons
of a pattern that I knew well. They wore
the dress that I likewise knew well. Their
keeper had a brace of pistols, and carried a
thick-knobbed bludgeon under his arm; but he
was on terms of good understanding with them,
and stood, with them beside him, looking on at
the putting-to of the horses, rather with an
air as if they were an interesting Exhibition
not formally open at the moment, and he the
Curator. One was a taller and stouter man
than the other, and appeared as a matter of
course, according to the mysterious ways of the
world both convict and free, to have had allotted
to him the smallest suit of clothes. His arms
and legs were like great pincushions of those
shapes, and 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
night, and 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 me, and his eye
appraised my watch-chain, and then he incidentally
spat and said something to the other convict,
and they laughed and slued themselves round
with a clink of their coupling manacle, and
looked at something else. The great numbers
on their backs, as if they were street doors;