Great Expectations

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Chapter1

1 My father?s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, a nd came to be called Pip. I give Pirrip as my father?s fami ly name, on the authority of his tomb stone and my sister - Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married th e blacksmi th. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonabl y derive d from their tombstones. The shape of the letters on my father?s, gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, d ark man, w ith curly black hair. F rom the cha racter and turn of the inscription, ?Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,? I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly. To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were arranged in a neat row beside their g rave, and were sacred to the memory of fi ve little brothers of mine - who gave u p trying to get a living, exceedingl y early in that universal struggle - I am indebted for a belief I religiously entertained that they had all been born on their 2 of 865 Great Expectations backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of existence. Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vi vid and bro ad impressio n of the id entity of things, seems to me to h ave been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain, that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried; and that Alex ander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and Roger, in fant childre n of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and tha t th e low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip. ?Hold your noise!? cried a terrible voice, as a man started up fr om among the graves at the side of the church porch. ?Keep still, you little devil, or I?ll cut your throat!? 3 of 865 Great Expectations A fearful man, all in coarse grey, wit h a great iro n on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered i n mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who l imped, and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in hi s head as he seized me by the chin. ?O! Don?t cut my throat, sir,? I pleaded in terror. ?Pray don?t do it, sir.? ?Tell us your name!? said the man. ?Quick!? ?Pip, sir.? ?Once more,? said the man, staring at me. ?Give it mouth!? ?Pip. Pip, sir.? ?Show us where you live,? sa id the man. ?Pint out the place!? I pointed to where our village lay, on the flat in-shore among the alder-trees and polla rds, a mile or more from the church. The man, after looking at me for a moment, turned me upside down, and emptied my pockets. There was nothing in them but a piece of bread. When the church came to itself - for h e was so sud den and stro ng that he made it go 4 of 865 Great Expectations head over h eels before me, and I saw the steeple under my feet - when the ch urch came to itself, I say, I was seated on a high tombstone, trembling, while he ate the bread ravenously. ?You young dog,? said the man, licking his lips, ?what fat cheeks you ha? got.? I believe they were fat, t hough I was at that time undersized for my years, and not strong. ?Darn me if I couldn?t ea t em,? sai d the man, with a threatening shake of his head, ?and if I han?t half a mind to?t!? I earnestly expressed my hope that he wouldn?t, and held tighter to the to mbstone on which he had put me; partly, to keep myself upon it; partly, to keep myself from crying. ?Now lookee here!? said the man. ?Where?s your mother?? ?There, sir!? said I. He started, made a shor t run, and stopped and looked over his shoulder. ?There, sir!? I timidly explained. ?Also Georgiana. That? s my mother.? ?Oh!? said he, coming back. ?And is that your father alonger your mother?? 5 of 865 Great Expectations ?Yes, sir,? said I; ?him too; late of this parish.? ?Ha!? he muttered then, considering. ?Who d?ye live with - supp osin? you?re kindly let to live, which I han? t made up my mind about?? ?My sister, sir - Mrs. Joe Gargery - w ife of Joe Gargery, the blacksmi th, sir.? ?Blacksmith, eh?? said he. And looked down at his leg. After darkly looking at his leg and m e several times, he came clo ser to my tomb stone, took me by both arms, and tilted me back as far as he could hold me; so that his eyes looked most powerfully down into mine, and mine looked most helplessly u p into his. ?Now lookee here,? he sa id, ?the question being whether you ?re to be let to live. You know what a file is?? ?Yes, sir.? ?And you know what wittles is?? ?Yes, sir.? After each question he ti lted me over a little more, so as to give me a greater sense of helplessness and danger. ?You get me a file.? He tilted me again. ?And y ou get me wittles.? He til ted me again. ? You bring ?em both to me.? He tilted me again. ?Or I?ll have your h eart and liver out.? He tilted me again. 6 of 865 Great Expectations I was dreadfully frightened, and so gi ddy that I cl ung to him with both hands, and said, ?If you would kindly please to let me keep upright, sir, perhaps I shouldn?t be sick, and perhaps I could attend more.? He gave me a most tremend ous dip and roll, so that the church jumped over its own weather-cock. The n, he held me by the a rms, in an u pright positi on on the top of the stone, and went on in these fearful terms: ?You bring me, to-morrow morning early, that fi le and them wittles. You bring the lot to me, at that old Battery over yonder. You do it, and you never dare to say a word or dare to make a sign co ncern ing your having seen such a person as me, or any person sumever, and you shall be let to live. Yo u fail, or you go from my words in any partickler, no matter how small it i s, and your heart and your liver s hall be tore out, roasted and ate. Now, I ain?t alone, as you may think I am. There?s a young man hid with me, in comparison with which young man I am a Angel. That young man hears the words I speak. That young man has a secr et way pecooliar to hi mself, of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his liver. It is in wain for a b oy to attempt to hide hi mself from that young man. A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck hi mself up, may dr aw the clo thes over his h ead, may 7 of 865 Great Expectations think himself comfortabl e and safe, but that young man will softly creep and creep his way to him and tear him open. I am a-keeping that y oung man from harming of you at the p resent moment, with gr eat difficul ty. I find it wery hard to hold that young man off of your inside. Now, what do you say?? I said that I would get him the file, and I would get him what broken bits of food I coul d, and I would come to him at the Battery, early in the m orning. ?Say Lord strike you dead if you don?t!? said the man. I said so, and he took me down. ?Now,? he pursued, ?you remember what you?ve undertook, and you remember that young man, and you get home!? ?Goo-good night, sir,? I faltered. ?Much of that!? said he, gl ancing about hi m over the cold wet flat. ?I wish I was a frog. Or a eel!? At the same time, he hugged his shuddering body in both hi s ar ms - cla sping himself, as if to h old himself together - a nd limped towards the low church wall. As I saw him go, picking his way among the ne ttles, and among the brambles that bo und the green mounds, he looked in my young eyes as if he were eluding the hands 8 of 865 Great Expectations of the dead people, stretching up cautiously out of their graves, to get a twist upon his ankle and pull him in. When he came to the low church wall, he got over it, like a man whose legs were numbed and stiff, and then turned round to look for me. When I saw him turning, I set my face towards ho me, and made the best use of my legs. But presently I lo oked over my shoulder, and saw him going on again towa rds the river, still huggin g himself in both arms, and picking his way with his sore feet among the great stones dropped into the marshes here and there, for stepping-places when the rains were heavy, or the tide was in. The marshes were just a long black horizontal line then, as I stopped to look after him; and the river was just another horizontal line, not nearly so broad nor yet so black; and the sky was just a ro w of long angry red lines and dense black lines intermixed. On the edge of the river I could fai ntly make out the only two black things in all the prospect that seemed to be standing upright; one of these was the beacon by whic h the sailors steered - like an unhooped cask upon a pole - an ugly thing w hen you were near it; the other a g ibbet, with some chains hanging to it which had once held a pirate. The man was limping on towards this latter, as if he were t he pirate come to life, 9 of 865 Great Expectations and come down, and going back to hook himself up again. It gav e me a terrible turn when I thought so; and as I saw the cattle lifting their heads to gaze afte r him, I wondered w hether they thought so too. I looked all round for the horrible young man, and coul d see no signs of him. But, now I was frightened again, and ran home without stopping. 10 of 865 Great Expectations
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