"Look'ee here, Pip. I'm your second father. You're my son - more to
me nor any son. I've put away money, only for you to spend. When I
was a hired-out shepherd in a solitary hut, not seeing no faces but
faces of sheep till I half forgot wot men's and women's faces wos
like, I see yourn. I drops my knife many a time in that hut when I
was a-eating my dinner or my supper, and I says, 'Here's the boy
again, a-looking at me whiles I eats and drinks!' I see you there a
many times, as plain as ever I see you on them misty marshes. 'Lord
strike me dead!' I says each time - and I goes out in the air to
say it under the open heavens - 'but wot, if I gets liberty and
money, I'll make that boy a gentleman!' And I done it. Why, look at
you, dear boy! Look at these here lodgings o'yourn, fit for a lord!
A lord? Ah! You shall show money with lords for wagers, and beat
In his heat and triumph, and in his knowledge that I had been
nearly fainting, he did not remark on my reception of all this. It
was the one grain of relief I had.
"Look'ee here!" he went on, taking my watch out of my pocket, and
turning towards him a ring on my finger, while I recoiled from his
touch as if he had been a snake, "a gold 'un and a beauty: that's a
gentleman's, I hope! A diamond all set round with rubies; that's a
gentleman's, I hope! Look at your linen; fine and beautiful! Look
at your clothes; better ain't to be got! And your books too,"
turning his eyes round the room, "mounting up, on their shelves, by
hundreds! And you read 'em; don't you? I see you'd been a reading
of 'em when I come in. Ha, ha, ha! You shall read 'em to me, dear
boy! And if they're in foreign languages wot I don't understand, I
shall be just as proud as if I did."
Again he took both my hands and put them to his lips, while my
blood ran cold within me.
"Don't you mind talking, Pip," said he, after again drawing his
sleeve over his eyes and forehead, as the click came in his throat
which I well remembered - and he was all the more horrible to me
that he was so much in earnest; "you can't do better nor keep
quiet, dear boy. You ain't looked slowly forward to this as I have;
you wosn't prepared for this, as I wos. But didn't you never think
it might be me?"
"O no, no, no," I returned, "Never, never!"
"Well, you see it wos me, and single-handed. Never a soul in it but
my own self and Mr. Jaggers."
"Was there no one else?" I asked.
"No," said he, with a glance of surprise: "who else should there
be? And, dear boy, how good looking you have growed! There's bright
eyes somewheres - eh? Isn't there bright eyes somewheres, wot you
love the thoughts on?"
O Estella, Estella!
"They shall be yourn, dear boy, if money can buy 'em. Not that a
gentleman like you, so well set up as you, can't win 'em off of his
own game; but money shall back you! Let me finish wot I was a-
telling you, dear boy. From that there hut and that there
hiring-out, I got money left me by my master (which died, and had
been the same as me), and got my liberty and went for myself. In
every single thing I went for, I went for you. 'Lord strike a
blight upon it,' I says, wotever it was I went for, 'if it ain't
for him!' It all prospered wonderful. As I giv' you to understand
just now, I'm famous for it. It was the money left me, and the
gains of the first few year wot I sent home to Mr. Jaggers - all for
you - when he first come arter you, agreeable to my letter."
O, that he had never come! That he had left me at the forge - far
from contented, yet, by comparison happy!
"And then, dear boy, it was a recompense to me, look'ee here, to
know in secret that I was making a gentleman. The blood horses of
them colonists might fling up the dust over me as I was walking;
what do I say? I says to myself, 'I'm making a better gentleman nor
ever you'll be!' When one of 'em says to another, 'He was a
convict, a few year ago, and is a ignorant common fellow now, for
all he's lucky,' what do I say? I says to myself, 'If I ain't a
gentleman, nor yet ain't got no learning, I'm the owner of such.