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roughly: like a voyager by sea. That he had
long iron grey hair. That his age was about
sixty. That he was a muscular man, strong on
his legs, and that he was browned and hardened
by exposure to weather. As he ascended the
last stair or two, and the light of my lamp
included us both, I saw, with a stupid kind of
amazement, that he was holding out both his
hands to me.

"Pray what is your business?" I asked him.

"My business?" he repeated, pausing. "Ah!
Yes. I will explain my business, by your
leave."

"Do you wish to come in?"

"Yes," he replied; "I wish to come in,
Master."

I had asked him the question inhospitably
enough, for I resented the sort of bright and
gratified recognition that still shone in his face.
I resented it, because it seemed to imply that
he expected me to respond to it. But I took
him into the room I had just left, and, having
set the lamp on the table, asked him as civilly
as I could, to explain himself.

He looked about him with the strangest air
an air of wondering pleasure, as if he had
some part in the things he admiredand he
pulled off a rough outer coat, and his hat. Then
I saw that his head was furrowed and bald, and
that the long iron grey hair grew only on its
sides. But I saw nothing that in the least
explained him. On the contrary, I saw him next
moment, once more holding out both his hands
to me.

"What do you mean?" said I, half suspecting
him to be mad.

He stopped in his looking at me, and slowly
rubbed his right hand over his head. "It's
disapinting to a man," he said, in a coarse
broken voice, "arter having looked for'ard so
distant and come so fur; but you're not to
blame for thatneither on us is to blame for
that. I'll speak in half a minute. Give me
half a minute, please."

He sat down in a chair that stood before the
fire, and covered his forehead with his large
brown veinous hands. I looked at him
attentively then, and recoiled a little from him; but
I did not know him.

"There's no one nigh," said he, looking over
his shoulder; "is there?"

"Why do you, a stranger coming into my
rooms at this time of the night, ask that
question?" said I.

"You're a game one," he returned, shaking
his head at me with a deliberate affection, at once
most unintelligible and most exasperating; "I'm
glad you've grow'd up, a game one! But don't
catch hold of me. You'd be sorry arterwards
to have done it."

I relinquished the intention he had detected,
for I knew him! Even yet, I could not recal a
single feature, but I knew him! If the wind
and the rain had driven away the intervening
years, had scattered all the intervening objects,
had swept us to the churchyard where we first
stood face to face on such different levels, I could
not have known my convict more distinctly than I
knew him now, as he sat in the chair before the
fire. No need to take a file from his pocket and
show it to me; no need to take the handkerchief
from his neck and twist it round his head;
no need to hug himself with both his arms, and
take a shivering turn across the room, looking
back at me for recognition. I knew him before
he gave me one of those aids, though, a moment
before, I had not been conscious of remotely
suspecting his identity.

He came back to where I stood, and again
held out both his hands. Not knowing what to
dofor, in my astonishment I had lost my self-
possessionI reluctantly gave him my hands.
He grasped them heartily, raised them to his
lips, kissed them, and still held them.

"You acted noble, my boy," said he. "Noble,
Pip! And I have never forgot it!"

At a change in his manner as if he were even
going to embrace me, I laid a hand upon his
breast and put him away.

"Stay!" said I. "Keep off! If you are grateful
to me for what I did when I was a little child,
I hope you have shown your gratitude by mending
your way of life. If you have come here to
thank me, it was not necessary. Still, however
you have found me out, there must be something
good in the feeling that has brought you here,
and I will not repulse you; but surely you
must understand thatI——"

My attention was so attracted by the
singularity of his fixed look at me, that the words
died away on my tongue.

"You was a saying," he observed, when we
had confronted one another in silence, "that
surely I must understand. What, surely must I
understand?"

"That I cannot wish to renew that chance
intercourse with you of long ago, under these
different circumstances. I am glad to believe
you have repented and recovered yourself. I
am glad to tell you so. I am glad that, thinking
I deserve to be thanked, you have come to thank
me. But our ways are different ways, none the
less. You are wet, and you look weary. Will
you drink something before you go?"

He had replaced his neckerchief loosely,
and had stood, keenly observant of me, biting a
long end of it. "I think," he answered, still
with the end at his mouth and still observant
of me, "that I will drink (I thank you) afore I
go."

There was a tray ready on a side-table. I
brought it to the table near the fire, and asked
him what he would have? He touched one of
the bottles without looking at it or speaking,
and I made him some hot rum-and-water. I
tried to keep my hand steady while I did so, but
his look at me as he leaned back in his chair
with the long draggled end of his neckerchief
between his teethevidently forgottenmade
my hand very difficult to master. When at last
I put the glass to him, I saw with new amazement
that his eyes were full of tears.

Up to this time I had remained standing, not
to disguise that I wished him gone. But I was

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