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"Yes, sir."

"I don't ask you what you owe, because you
don't know; and if you did know, you wouldn't
tell me; you would say less. Yes, yes, my
friend," cried Mr. Jaggers, waving his forefinger
to stop me, as I made a show of protesting:
" it's likely enough that you think you
wouldn't, but you would. You'll excuse me,
but I know better than you. Now, take this
piece of paper in your hand. You have got
it? Very good. Now, unfold it and tell me
what it is."

"This is a bank-note," said I, " for five
hundred pounds."

"That is a bank-note," repeated Mr. Jaggers,
"for five hundred pounds. And a very handsome
sum of money too, I think. You consider
it so?"

"How could I do otherwise!"

"Ah ! But answer the question," said Mr.


"You consider it, undoubtedly, a handsome
sum of money. Now, that handsome sum of
money, Pip, is your own. It is a present to you
on this day, in earnest of your expectations. And
at the rate of that handsome sum of money per
annum, and at no higher rate, you are to live
until the donor of the whole appears. That is
to say, you will now take your money affairs
entirely into your own hands, and you will draw
from Wemmick one hundred and twenty-five
pounds per quarter, until you are in communication
with the fountain-head, and no longer
with the mere agent. As I have told you before,
I am the mere agent. I execute my instructions,
and I am paid for doing so. I think them injudicious,
but I am not paid for giving any opinion
on their merits."

I was beginning to express my gratitude to
my benefactor for the great liberality with which
I was treated, when Mr. Jaggers stopped me.
"I am not paid, Pip," said he, coolly, " to carry
your words to any one;" and then gathered up
his coat-tails, as he had gathered up the subject,
and stood frowning at his boots as if he
suspected them of designs against him.

After a pause, I hinted:

"There was a question just now, Mr. Jaggers,
which you desired me to waive for a moment.
I hope I am doing nothing wrong in asking it

"What is it?" said he.

I might have known that he would never help
me out; but it took me aback to have to shape
the question afresh, as if it were quite new.
"Is it likely," I said, after hesitating, "that my
patron, the fountain-head you have spoken of,
Mr. Jaggers, will soon—" there I delicately

"Will soon what?" said Mr. Jaggers.
"That's no question as it stands, you know."

"Will soon come to London," said I, after
casting about for a precise form of words, " or
summon me anywhere else?"

"Now here," replied Mr. Jaggers, fixing me
for the first time with his dark deep- set eyes,
" we must revert to the evening when we first
encountered one another in your village. What
did I tell you then, Pip?"

"You told me, Mr. Jaggers, that it might be
years hence when that person appeared."

"Just so," said Mr. Jaggers, "that's my

As we looked full at one another, I felt my
breath come quicker in my strong desire to get
something out of him. And as I felt that it
came quicker, and as I felt that he saw that it
came quicker, I felt that I had less chance than
ever of getting anything out of him.

"Do you suppose it will still be years
hence, Mr. Jaggers?"

Mr. Jaggers shook his headnot in negativing
the question, but in altogether negativing
the notion that he could anyhow be got to
answer itand the two horrible casts of the
twitched faces looked, when my eyes strayed
up to them, as if they had come to a crisis in
their suspended attention, and were going to

"Come!" said Mr. Jaggers, warming the
backs of his legs with the backs of his warmed
hands, "I'll be plain with you, my friend Pip.
That's a question I must not be asked. You'll
understand that, better, when I tell you it's a
question that might compromise me. Come! I'll
go a little further with you; I'll say something

He bent down so low to frown at his boots,
that he was able to rub the calves of his legs
in the pause he made.

"When that person discloses," said Mr. Jaggers,
straightening himself, " you and that person
will settle your own affairs. When that
person discloses, my part in this business will
cease and determine. When that person
discloses, it will not be necessary for me to know
anything about it. And that's all I have got
to say."

We looked at one another until I withdrew
my eyes, and looked thoughtfully at the floor.
From this last speech I derived the notion that
Miss Havisham, for some reason or no reason,
had not taken him into her confidence as to her
designing me for Estella; that he resented this,
and felt a jealousy about it; or that he really
did object to that scheme, and would have
nothing to do with it. When I raised my
eyes again, I found that he had been shrewdly
looking at me all the time, and was doing so

"If that is all you have to say, sir," I remarked,
"there can be nothing left for me to

He nodded assent, and pulled out his thief-
dreaded watch, and asked me where I was going
to dine? I replied at my own chambers, with
Herbert. As a necessary sequence, I asked
him if he would favour us with his company,
and he promptly accepted the invitation. But
he insisted on walking home with me, in order
that I might make no extra preparation for him,
and first he had a letter or two to write, and (of
course) had his hands to wash. So, I said I