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not looking at me. "And how much money is
wanting to complete the purchase?"

I was rather afraid of stating it, for it sounded
a large sum. "Nine hundred pounds."

"If I give you the money for this purpose,
will you keep my secret as you have kept your

"Quite as faithfully."

"And your mind will be more at rest?"

"Much more at rest."

"Are you very unhappy now?"

She asked this question, still without looking
at me, but in an unwonted tone of sympathy.
I could not reply at the moment, for my voice
failed me. She put her left arm across the
crutched head of her stick, and softly laid her
forehead on it.

"I am far from happy, Miss Havisham; but
I have other causes of disquiet than any you
know of. They are the secrets I have

After a little while, she raised her head and l
looked at the fire again.

"It is noble in you to tell me that you have
other causes of unhappiness. Is it true?"

"Too true."

"Can I only serve you, Pip, by serving your
friend? Regarding that as done, is there
nothing I can do for you yourself?"

"Nothing. I thank you for the question. I
thank you even more for the tone of the
question. But there is nothing."

She presently rose from her seat, and looked
about the blighted room for the means of
writing. There were none there, and she took
from her pocket a yellow set of ivory tablets,
mounted in tarnished gold, and wrote upon
them with a pencil in a case of tarnished gold
that hung from her neck.

"You are still on friendly terms with Mr.

"Quite, I dined with him yesterday."

"This is an authority to him to pay you that
money, to lay out at your irresponsible discretion
for your friend. I keep no money here,
but if you would rather Mr.  Jaggers knew
nothing of the matter, I will send it to you."

"Thank you, Miss Havisham; I have not t
he least objection to receiving it from him."

She read me what she had written, and it
was direct and clear, and evidently intended to
absolve me from any suspicion of profiting by
the receipt of the money. I took the tablets
from her hand, and it trembled again, and it
trembled more as she took off the chain to
which the pencil was attached, and put it in
mine. All this she did without looking at

"My name is on the first leaf. If you can
ever write under my name, 'I forgive her,'
though ever so long after my broken heart is
dustpray do it!"

"0 Miss Havisham," said I, "I can do it
now. There have been sore mistakes, and my
life has been a blind and thankless one, and I
want forgiveness and direction far too much to
be bitter with you."

She turned her face to me for the first time
since she had averted it, and, to my amazement,
I may even add to my terror, dropped on her
knees at my feet; with her folded hands raised
to me in the manner in which, when her poor
heart was young and fresh and whole, they must
often have been raised to Heaven from her
mother's side.

To see her with her white hair and her worn
face kneeling at my feet, gave me a shock
through all my frame. I entreated her to rise,
and got my arms about her to help her up; but
she only pressed that hand of mine which was
nearest to her grasp, and hung her head over
it and wept. I had never seen her shed a tear
before, and, in the hope that the relief might do
her good, I bent over her without speaking.
She was not kneeling now, but was down upon
the ground.

"O!" she cried, despairingly. "What have I
done! What have I done!"

"If you mean, Miss Havisham, what have you
done to injure me, let me answer. Very little.
I should have loved her under any circumstances.
Is she married?"


It was a needless question, for a new desolation
in the desolate house had told me so.

"What have I done! What have I done!"
She wrung her hands, and crushed her white
hair, and returned to this, cry, over and over
again. "What have I done!"

I knew not how to answer, or how to
comfort her. That she had done a grievous thin
in taking an impressionable child to mould
into the form that her wild resentment, spurned
affection, and wounded pride, found vengeance
in, I knew full well. But that, in shutting
out the light of day, she had shut out infinitely
more; that, in seclusion, she had secluded
herself from a thousand natural and healing
influences; that, her mind, brooding solitary, had
grown diseased, as all minds do and must and
will that reverse the appointed order of their
Maker; I knew equally well. And could I
look upon her without compassion, seeing her
punishment in the ruin she was, in her
profound unfitness for this earth on which she was
placed, in the vanity of sorrow which had become
a master mania, like the vanity of penitence,
the vanity of remorse, the vanity of unworthiness,
and other monstrous vanities that have
been curses in this world?

"Until you spoke to her the other day, and
until I saw in you a looking-glass that showed
me what I once felt myself, I did not know what
I had done. What have I done! What have I
done!" And so again, twenty, fifty times
over, What had she done!

"Miss Havisham," I said, when her cry died
away, "you may dismiss me from your mind and
conscience. But Estella is a different case, and
if you can ever undo any scrap of what you have
done amiss in keeping a part of her right
nature away from her, it will be better to do
that, than to bemoan the past through a hundred