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Трек 13_02

“With me? No, dear boy, but I think there was a person who came in behind me.”

“Are you known in London?”

“I hope not!” said he, giving his neck a jerk with his finger that made me turn hot and sick.

“Were you—tried—in London?”

He nodded. “First got to know Mr. Jaggers that way. Jaggers spoke for me.”

It was on my lips to ask him what he was tried for, but he took up a knife and fell to at his breakfast, just like a hungry old dog. We said nothing more till he had finished, when he got up from the table and produced a short black pipe, which he filled with tobacco. When it was burning to his satisfaction he went through his favourite action of holding out both his hands for mine.

“And this,” he said, “is the gentleman that I made! It does me good to look at you, Pip.”

“I want to speak to you,” I told him, pulling my hands away. “I want to know how you are to be kept out of danger, and how long you are going to stay.”

“How long?” said he, taking his black pipe from his mouth. “I’m not going back. I’ve come home for good.”

“Where are you to live?” I asked. “What is to be done with you? Where will you be safe?”

“I need some new clothes,” he said, “and I perhaps need to make myself look a bit different to what I do now.” He took out a great thick pocket-book, bursting with papers, and threw it on the table. “There’s something worth spending in that there book, dear boy,” he went on, “and there’s more where that came from. You get me some fine new clothes, and no one will ever recognize me as Abel Magwitch.”

It appeared to me that I could do no better than find him some quiet lodging near at hand, of which he might take possession when Herbert returned: whom I expected in two or three days. I would get him some different clothing—the kind of things a well-to-do farmer might wear—and we arranged that he should cut his hair close and wear a little powder.

That afternoon I left him locked in my rooms, and went to a lodging-house in Essex Street, within shouting distance of my own windows. There I was lucky enough to secure the second floor for my uncle, Mr. Provis. I then went from shop to shop, buying such things as I thought necessary to work the change in his appearance.

I went straight home again, where I found the terrible Provis drinking rum-and-water and smoking his pipe in safety.

Next day the clothes I had ordered arrived. When I had cut his hair, and had put on the clothes, it seemed to my anxious fancy that it was useless to attempt to disguise him. The more I dressed him, and the better I dressed him, the more he looked to me like the escaped convict of the marshes, for he had a wild and savage air that no dress could tame.

Трек 13_03

Words cannot tell what a sense I had, at the same time, of the awful mystery he was to me. I doubt if a ghost could have seemed more terrible to me, up in those lonely rooms in the long evenings and long nights, with the wind and the rain always rushing by. A ghost could not have been taken and hanged on my account, and the thought that he could be, and the dread that he would be, added to my horrors.

This time of waiting and doing nothing seemed like a year. It lasted about five days. Expecting Herbert all the time, I dared not go out, except when I took Provis for a walk after dark. At length, one evening when dinner was over and I had fallen asleep quite worn out, I heard footsteps on the stairs. Provis, who had been sleeping too, sprang to his feet, and in an instant I saw an open jack-knife shining in his hand.

“Quiet! It’s Herbert!” I said; and Herbert came bursting in.

“How are you?” he cried. “Why, you’ve grown quite thin and pale! My dear fellow, I—hullo! I beg your pardon!”

He stopped when he saw Provis, who was putting the knife back in his pocket.

“Herbert,” said I, shutting the door, while Herbert stood staring and wondering, “something very strange has happened. This is—a visitor of mine. Sit down, Herbert, and I’ll tell you all about it.”

It would be hard to describe Herbert’s astonishment when he and I and Provis sat down before the fire, and I told the whole secret. And, when I had finished, it was the turn of Provis.

“Dear boy and Pip’s comrade,” he said, “I’m going to tell you the story of my life, and I’ll put it at once in a mouthful of English: in prison and out of prison, in prison and out of prison, since the time I was so high....

“I’ve no idea where I was born. I first became aware of myself down in Essex, thieving for my living. I knew my name was Magwitch—and I knew I was a ragged little creature that nobody wanted. What was I to do? I had to eat, didn’t I? Well, I worked and begged and stole for the next twenty years, and I got to be a man. I was married for a time—but, no, I won’t talk about that. I had a lot of trouble with her.

“At last I met a man named Compeyson, who set up to be a gentleman and who’d been to a good school and got learning. He was good-looking too, and a smooth one for talk. He took me on to be his partner. His business was any kind of fraud, passing stolen banknotes, and the like.

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