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GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
BY CHARLES DICKENS.

CHAPTER XLV

TURNING from the Temple gate as soon as
I had read the warning, I made the best of
my way to Fleet street, and there got a late
hackney chariot and drove to the Hummums in
Covent Garden. In those times a bed was
always to be got there at any hour of the night,
and the chamberlain, letting me in at his ready
wicket, lighted the candle next in order on his
shelf, and showed me straight into the bedroom
next in order on his list. It was a sort of vault on
the ground floor at the back, with a despotic
monster of a four-post bedstead in it, straddling
over the whole place, putting one of his
arbitrary legs into the fireplace and another into
the doorway, and squeezing the wretched little
washing-stand in quite a Divinely Righteous
manner.

As I had asked for a night-light, the chamberlain
had brought me in, before he left me, the good
old constitutional rushlight of those virtuous
daysan object like the ghost of a walking
cane, which instantly broke its back if it were
touched, which nothing could ever be lighted at,
and which was placed in solitary confinement at
the bottom of a high tin tower, perforated with
round holes that made a staringly wide awake
pattern on the walls. When I had got into bed,
and lay there footsore, weary, and wretched, I
found that I could no more close my own eyes
than I could close the eyes of this foolish Argus.
And thus, in the gloom and death of the night,
we stared at one another.

What a doleful night! How anxious, how
dismal, how long! There was an inhospitable
smell in the room, of cold soot and hot dust; and,
as I looked up into the corners of the tester over
my head, I thought what a number of bluebottle
flies from the butchers', and earwigs from
the market, and grubs from the country, must
be holding on up there, lying by for next summer.
This led me to speculate whether any of
them ever tumbled down, and then I fancied
that I felt light falls on my facea disagreeable
turn of thought, suggesting other and more
objectionable approaches up my back. When I
had lain awake a little while, those extraordinary
voices with which silence teems, began to make
themselves audible. The closet whispered, the
fireplace sighed, the little washing-stand ticked,
and one guitar-string played occasionally in the
chest of drawers. At about the same time the
eyes on the wall acquired a new expression, and
in every one of those staring rounds I saw written,
DON'T GO HOME.

Whatever night fancies and night noises
crowded on me, they never warded off this
DON'T GO HOME. It plaited itself into whatever
I thought of, as a bodily pain would have done.
Not long before, I had read in the newspapers
how a gentleman unknown had come to the
Hummums in the night, and had gone to bed,
and had destroyed himself, and had been found
in the morning weltering in blood. It came
into my head that he must have occupied this
very vault of mine, and I got out of bed to
assure myself that there were no red marks
about; then opened the door to look out into
the passages, and cheer myself with the
companionship of a distant light, near which I knew
the chamberlain to be dozing. But all this
time, why I was not to go home, and what had
happened at home, and when I should go home,
and whether Provis was safe at home, were
questions occupying my mind so busily, that one
might have supposed there could be no room in
it tor any other theme. Even when I thought
of Estella, and how we had parted that day for
ever, and when I recalled all the circumstances
of our parting, and all her looks and tones, and
the action of her fingers while she knittedeven
then I was pursuing, here and there and everywhere,
the caution Don't go home. When at
last I  dozed, in sheer exhaustion of mind and
body, it became a vast shadowy verb which I
had to conjugate. Imperative mood, present
tense: Do not thou go home, let him not go
home, Let us not go home, do not ye or you
go home, let not them go home. Then,
potentially: I may not and I cannot go home; and I
might not, could not, would not, and should not
go home; until I  felt that I was going
distracted, and rolled over on the pillow, and looked
at the staring rounds upon the wall again.

I had left directions that I was to be called
at seven; for it was plain that I must see
Wemmick before seeing any one else, and
equally plain that this was a case in which his
Walworth sentiments, only, could be taken. It
was a relief to get out of the room where the
night had been so miserable, and I needed no

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