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GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

BY CHARLES DICKENS.

CHAPTER XLIX.

PUTTING Miss Havisham's note in my pocket,
that it might serve as my credentials for so soon
reappearing at 'Satis House, in case her
waywardness should lead her to express any surprise
at seeing me, I went down again by the coach next
day. But I alighted at the Half-way House,
and breakfasted there, and walked the rest of
the distance; for I sought to get into the town
quietly, by the unfrequented ways, and to leave
it in the same manner.

The best light of the day was gone when I
passed along the quiet echoing courts behind the
High-street. The nooks of ruin where the old
monks had once had their refectories and gardens,
and where the strong walls were now pressed into
the service of humble sheds and stables, were
almost as silent as the old monks in their
graves. The cathedral chimes had at once a
sadder and a more remote sound to me, as I
hurried on avoiding observation, than they had ever
had before; so, the swell of the old organ was
borne to my ears like funeral music; and the
rooks, as they hovered about the grey tower
and swung in the bare high trees of the priory
garden, seemed to call to me that the place was
changed, and that Estella was gone out of it forever.

An elderly woman whom I had seen before as
one of the servants who lived in the
supplementary house across the back courtyard, opened
the gate. The lighted candle stood in the dark
passage within, as of old, and I took it up and
ascended the staircase alone. Miss Havisham
was not in her own room, but was in the larger
room across the landing. Looking in at the
door, after knocking in vain, I saw her sitting on
the hearth in a ragged chair, close before, and
lost in the contemplation of, the ashy fire.

Doing as I had often done, I went in, and
stood, touching the old chimney-piece, where
she could see me when she raised her eyes.
There was an air of utter loneliness upon her
that would have moved me to pity though she
had wilfully done me a deeper injury than I
could charge her with. As l stood compassionating
her, and thinking how in the progress of time I
too had come to be a part of the wrecked fortunes
of that house, her eyes rested on me. She
stared, and said in a low voice, "Is it real!"

"It is I, Pip. Mr. Jaggers gave me your
note yesterday, and I have lost no time."

"Thank you. Thank you."

As I brought another of the ragged chairs to
the hearth and sat down, I remarked a new
expression on her face, as if she were afraid of me.

"I want," she said, " to pursue that subject
you mentioned to me when you were last here,
and to show you that I am not all stone. But
perhaps you can never believe, now, that there is
anything human in my heart?"

When I said some reassuring words, she
stretched out her tremulous right hand, as
though she were going to touch me; but she
recalled it again before I understood the action,
or knew how to receive it.

"You said, speaking for your friend, that, you
could tell me how to do something useful and
good. Something that you would like done, is it
not?"

"Something that I would like done, very very
much."

"What is it?"

I began explaining to her that secret history
of the partnership. I had not got far into it,
when I judged from her look that she was thinking
in a discursive way of me, rather than of
what I said. It seemed to be so, for when I
stopped speaking, many moments passed before
she showed that she was conscious of the fact.

"Do you break off," she asked then, with her
former air of being afraid of me, "because you
hate me too much to bear to speak to me?"

"No, no," I answered, "how can you think
so, Miss Havisham! I stopped because I
thought you were not following what I said."

"Perhaps I was not," she answered, putting
a hand to her head. "Begin again, and let
me look at something else. Stay! Now tell
me."

She set her hands upon her stick in the resolute
way that sometimes was habitual to her,
and looked at the fire with a strong expression
of forcing herself to attend. I went on with
my explanation, and told her how I had hoped
to complete the transaction out of my means,
but how in this I was disappointed. That part
of the subject (I reminded her) involved matters
which could form no part of my explanation,
for they were the weighty secrets of another.

"So!" said she, assenting with her head, but

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