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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 "Fill, fill!" A certain dark-complexioned
Swab, however, who wouldn't fill, or do
anything else that was proposed to him, and whose
heart was openly stated (by the boatswain) to be
as black as his figure-head, proposed 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 right, and
then it was only brought about through an
honest little grocer with a white hat, black
gaiters, and red nose, getting into a clock, with
a gridiron, and listening, and coming out, and
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 on, as a plenipotentiary of
great power direct from the Admiralty, to say
that the Swabs were all to go to prison on the
spot, and that he had brought the boatswain
down the Union Jack, as a slight acknowledgment
of his public services. The boatswain,
unmanned for the first time, respectfully dried
his eyes on the Jack, and then cheering up
and addressing Mr. Wopsle as Your Honour,
solicited permission to take him by the fin. Mr.
Wopsle conceding his fin with a gracious dignity,
was immediately shoved into a dusty corner
while everybody danced a hornpipe; and, from
that corner, surveying the public with a discontented
eye, became aware of me.

The second piece was the last new grand
comic Christmas pantomime, in the first scene of
which, it 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 hair, engaged in the
manufacture of thunderbolts in a mine, and
displaying great cowardice when his gigantic master
came home (very hoarse) to dinner. But he
presently presented himself under worthier
circumstances; for, the Genius of Youthful Love being
in want of assistanceon account of the parental
brutality of an ignorant farmer who opposed the
choice of his daughter's heart, by purposely falling
upon the object in a flour sack, out of the first-floor
windowsummoned a sententious Enchanter;
and he, coming up from the antipodes
rather unsteadily, after an apparently violent
journey, proved to be Mr. Wopsle in a
high-crowned hat, with a necromantic work in one
volume under his arm. The business of this
enchanter on earth, being principally to be talked
at, sung at, butted at, danced at, and Hashed at
with fires of various colours, he had a good deal
of tune on his hands. And I observed with great
surprise, that 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 eye, and he seemed
to be turning so many things over in his mind and
to grow so confused, that I could not make it out.
I sat thinking of it, long after he had ascended
to the clouds in a large watch-case, and 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 I, shaking hands with
him as we turned down the street together. "I
saw that you saw me."

"Saw you, Mr. Pip!" he returned. "Yes,
of course I saw you. But who else was there !"

"Who else?"

"It is the strangest thing," said Mr. Wopsle,
drifting into his lost look again; "and yet I
could swear to him."

Becoming alarmed, I entreated Mr. Wopsle
to explain his meaning.

"Whether I should have noticed him at first
but for your being there," said Mr. Wopsle,
going on in the same lost way, "I can't be
positive; yet I think I should."

Involuntarily I looked round me, as I was
accustomed to look round me when I went home;
for these mysterious words gave me a chill.

"Oh! He can't be in sight," said Mr.
Wopsle. "He went out, before I went off. I
saw him go."

Having the reason that I had, for being
suspicious, I even suspected this poor actor. I
mistrusted a design to entrap me into some
admission. Therefore, I glanced at him as we
walked on together, but 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 again, but I
was resolved not to speak yet, for it was quite
consistent with his words that he might be set
on to induce me to connect these references
with Provis. Of course I was perfectly sure
and safe that Provis had not been there.

"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 rne as well
as you could?"

"I remember it all very well." Better than
he thoughtexcept the last clause.