Chapter 39 Pip meets Magwitch

Chapter 39 Pip meets Magwitch

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  • I stood with my lamp held out over the stair-rail, and he came slowly within its light. It was a shaded lamp, to shine upon a book, and its circle of light was very contracted; so that he was in it for a mere instant, and then out of it. In the instant, I had seen a face that was strange to me, looking up with an incomprehensible air of being touched and pleased by the sight of me.
  • Moving the lamp as the man moved, I made out that he was substantially dressed, but 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.
  • "Do you wish to come in?"
  • "Pray what is your business?"
  • "My business?" "Ah! Yes. I will explain my business, by your leave."
  • "Yes," "I wish to come in, Master."
  • He looked about him with the strangest air - an air of wondering pleasure, as if he had some part in the things he admired - and 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?"
  • "It's disapinting to a man," "arter having looked for'ard so distant, and come so fur; but you're not to blame for that - neither on us is to blame for that. I'll speak in half a minute. Give me half a minute, please."
  • He sat down on 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.
  • "Why do you, a stranger coming into my rooms at this time of the night, ask that question?"
  • "There's no one nigh," "is there?"
  • "You're a game one," "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."
  • He came back to where I stood, and again held out both his hands. Not knowing what to do - for, in my astonishment I had lost my self-possession - I reluctantly gave him my hands. He grasped them heartily, raised them to his lips, kissed them, and still held them... 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!" "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 that - I--"
  • "You acted noble, my boy," "Noble, Pip! And I have never forgot it!"
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