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Трек 12_04

Miss Havisham’s intentions towards me were all a dream. Estella was not meant for me at all. And, sharpest and deepest pain of all, it was for the convict that I had left Joe and Biddy. It was the most bitter hour of my life.

Gradually, however, I slipped from the chair and lay asleep on the floor. The church clocks were striking five when I awoke, the candles were burnt out, the fire was dead, and the noise of the wind and rain seemed louder than ever.

All that had happened came rushing back to my mind. I realized, in some alarm, that I could not keep the convict hidden in my rooms without someone knowing he was there. There were two women who came in each morning to clean up, and they would have to see him. I decided to tell them that my uncle had unexpectedly come from the country. Herbert must know the truth, since I should depend on him to help me.

I decided these things while I was feeling about in the darkness for the means of getting a light. Not finding what I wanted, I made up my mind to go down to the watchman’s lodge, and get the man to come with his lantern, thinking that I might, at the same time, let him know that my visitor—whom he must have seen arrive was my uncle from the country.

I unlocked the door and went softly down the stairs, one hand before me on the wall to guide me in the heavy blackness. I had reached the bottom of the stairs and was feeling my way along the angle of the wall, when I fell over something—something that moved and gave a little cry of pain and surprise—and that something was a man crouching in the corner.

Трек 13_01

Chapter Thirteen

Magwitch’s Story

I started back, in considerable alarm.

“Who’s there?” I asked, and my voice sounded strange in my own ears.

The man made no answer, but rushed quickly past me and along the dark passage at the foot of the stairs. It was no use going after him in the dark, so I ran straight to the lodge and urged the watchman to come quickly, telling him what had happened on the way. We examined the staircase from the bottom to the top and found no one there. It then occurred to me that the man might have slipped into my rooms. Lighting my candle at the watchman’s lamp, and leaving him standing at the door, I examined the place carefully, including the room in which my dreaded guest lay asleep. All was quiet; no other man was in those rooms.

It troubled me that there should have been an unknown watcher on the stairs, on that night of all nights in the year. I asked the watchman how many people he had admitted at his gate during the hours of darkness.

“Very few, sir,” he answered. “There were one or two gentlemen I know well, and I don’t call to mind another since about eleven o’clock, when a stranger asked for you.”

“My uncle,” I said. “Yes.”

“And the person with him.”

“Person with him?” I repeated.

“I judged the person to be with him,” returned the watchman. “The person stopped when he stopped to make inquiry of me, and the person took this way when he came this way.”

“What sort of person?”

The watchman had not particularly noticed.

When I had got rid of him, my mind was much troubled by the whole business, though there was little that I could do for the moment.

I lit the fire, then washed and dressed, and sat waiting for “my uncle” to come to breakfast. By and by, his door opened and he came out. I thought he had a worse look by daylight.

“I don’t even know,” I said, as he took his seat at the table, “by what name to call you. I have given out that you are my uncle. You used some name, I suppose, on board ship?”

“Yes, dear boy. I took the name of Provis.”

“What is your real name?” I asked.

“Magwitch. Abel Magwitch.”

“Had you anyone with you when you came here last night?”

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