`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 hand 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 not looking at me. `And how much money is wanting to complete the purchase?'

I was rather afraid of stating it, for it sounded a large sum. `Nine hundred pounds.'

`If I give you the money for this purpose, will you keep my secret as you have kept your own?'

`Quite as faithfully.'

`And your mind will be more at rest?'

`Much more at rest.'

`Are you very unhappy now?'

She asked this question, still without looking at me, but in an unwonted tone of sympathy. I could not reply at the moment, for my voice failed me. She put her left arm across the head of her stick, and softly laid her forehead on it.

`I am far from happy, Miss Havisham; but I have other causes of disquiet than any you know of. They are the secrets I have mentioned.'

After a little while, she raised her head and looked at the fire again.

`It is noble in you to tell me that you have other causes of unhappiness, Is it true?'

`Too true.'

`Can I only serve you, Pip, by serving your friend? Regarding that as done, is there nothing I can do for you yourself?'

`Nothing. I thank you for the question. I thank you even more for the tone of the question. But, there is nothing.'

She presently rose from her seat, and looked about the blighted room for the means of writing. There were non there, and she took from her pocket a yellow set of ivory tablets, mounted in tarnished gold, and wrote upon them with a pencil in a case of tarnished gold that hung from her neck.

`You are still on friendly terms with Mr Jaggers?'

`Quite. I dined with him yesterday.'

`This is an authority to him to pay you that money, to lay out at your irresponsible discretion for your friend. I keep no money here; but if you would rather Mr Jaggers knew nothing of the matter, I will send it to you.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.