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black canvas bag, and he looked as like a river-
pilot as my heart could have wished.

''Dear boy!" he said, putting his arm on my
shoulder as he took his seat. "Faithful dear boy,
well done. Thankye, thankye!"

Again among the tiers of shipping, in and out,
avoiding rusty chain-cables frayed hempen
hawsers and bobbing buoys, sinking for the
moment floating broken baskets, scattering floating
chips of wood and shaving, cleaving floating
scum of coal, in and out, under the figure-head
of the John of Sunderland making a speech to
the winds (as is done by many Johns), and the
Betsy of Yarmouth with a firm formality of
bosom and her knobby eyes starting two inches
out of her head, in and out, hammers going in
ship-builders' yards, saws going at timber, clashing
engines going at things unknown, pumps
going in leaky ships, capstans going, ships going
out to sea, and unintelligible sea-creatures
roaring curses over the bulwarks at
respondent lightermen, in and outout at last
upon the clearer river, where the ships' boys
might take their fenders in, no longer fishing
in troubled waters with them over the side,
and where the festooned sails might fly out to
the wind.

At the Stairs where we had taken him aboard,
and ever since, I had looked warily for any
token of our being suspected. I had seen none.
We certainly had not been, and at that time as
certainly we were not, either attended or followed
by any boat. If we had been waited on by any
boat, I should have run in to shore, and have
obliged her to go on, or to make her purpose
evident. But, we held our own, without any
appearance of molestation.

He had his boat-cloak on him, and looked, as
I have said, a natural part of the scene. It was
remarkable (but perhaps the wretched life he
had led, accounted for it), that he was the least
anxious of any of us. He was not indifferent,
for he told me that he hoped to live to see his
gentleman one of the best of gentlemen in a
foreign country; he was not disposed to be
passive or resigned, as I understood it; but he had
no notion of meeting danger half way. When it
came upon him, he confronted it, but it must
come, before he troubled himself.

"If you knowed, dear boy," he said to me,
"what it is to sit here alonger my dear boy and
have my smoke, arter having been day by day
betwixt four walls, you'd envy me. But you
don't know what it is."

"I think I know the delights of freedom," I

"Ah," said he, shaking his head gravely.
"But you don't know it equal to me. You
must have been under lock and key, dear boy, to
know it equal to mebut I ain't a going to be

It occurred to me as inconsistent, that for any
mastering idea, he should have endangered his
freedom and even his life. But I reflected that
perhaps freedom without danger was too much
apart from all the habit of his existence to be
to him what it would be to another man. I
was not far out, since he said, after smoking a

"You see, dear boy, when I was over yonder,
t'other side the world, I was always a looking
to this side; and it come flat to be there, for all I
was a growing rich. Everybody knowed
Magwitch, and Magwitch could come, and Magwitch.
could go, and nobody's head would be troubled
about him. They ain't so easy concerning me
here, dear boywouldn't be, leastwise, if they
knowed where I was."

"If all goes well," said I, "you will be
perfectly free and safe again, within a few hours."

"Well," he returned, drawing a long breath,
"I hope so."

"And think so?"

He dipped his hand in the water over the
boat's gunwale, and said, smiling with that
softened air upon him which was not new to me:

"Ay, I s'pose I think so, dear boy. We'd be
puzzled to be more quiet and easy-going than
we are at present. Butit's a flowing so soft
and pleasant through the water, p'raps, as makes
me think itI was a thinking through my smoke
just then, that we can no more see to the bottom
of the next few hours, than we can see to the
bottom of this river what I catches hold of.
Nor yet we can't no more hold their tide than I
can hold this. And it's run through my fingers
and gone, you see!" holding up his dripping

"But for your face, I should think you were
a little despondent," said I.

"Not a bit on it, dear boy! It comes of
flowing on so quiet, and of that there rippling
at the boat's head making a sort of a Sunday
tune. Maybe I'm a growing a trifle old besides."

He put his pipe back in his mouth with an
undisturbed expression of face, and sat as
composed and contented as if we were already out
of England. Yet he was as submissive to a word
of advice as if he had been in constant terror,
for, when we ran ashore to get some bottles of
beer into the boat, and he was stepping out, I
hinted that I thought he would be safest where
he was, and he said, "Do you, dear boy?" and
quietly sat down again.

The air felt cold upon the river, but it was
a bright day, and the sunshine was very cheering.
The tide ran strong, I took care to
lose none of it, and our steady stroke carried
us on thoroughly well. By imperceptible
degrees, as the tide ran out, we lost more and more
of the nearer woods and hills, and dropped lower
and lower between the muddy banks, but the
tide was yet with us when we were off Gravesend.
As our charge was wrapped in his cloak, I purposely
passed within a boat or two's length of
the floating Custom House, and so out to catch
the stream, alongside of two emigrant ships,
and under the bows of a large transport with
troops on the forecastle looking down at us.
And soon the tide began to slacken, and the
craft lying at anchor to swing, and presently
they had all swung round, and the ships that
were taking advantage of the new tide to get up