Charles Dickens

Wopsle in a high-crowned hat, with

a necromantic work in one volume under his arm. The business of

this enchanter on earth, being principally to be talked at, sung

at, butted at, danced at, and flashed at with fires of various

colours, he had a good deal of time on his hands. And I observed

with great surprise, that he devoted it to staring in my direction

as if he were lost in amazement.

There was something so remarkable in the increasing glare of Mr.

Wopsle's eye, and he seemed to be turning so many things over in

his mind and to grow so confused, that I could not make it out. I

sat thinking of it, long after he had ascended to the clouds in a

large watch-case, and still I could not make it out. I was still

thinking of it when I came out of the theatre an hour afterwards,

and found him waiting for me near the door.

"How do you do?" said I, shaking hands with him as we turned down

the street together. "I saw that you saw me."

"Saw you, Mr. Pip!" he returned. "Yes, of course I saw you. But who

else was there?"

"Who else?"

"It is the strangest thing," said Mr. Wopsle, drifting into his lost

look again; "and yet I could swear to him."

Becoming alarmed, I entreated Mr. Wopsle to explain his meaning.

"Whether I should have noticed him at first but for your being

there," said Mr. Wopsle, going on in the same lost way, "I can't be

positive; yet I think I should."

Involuntarily I looked round me, as I was accustomed to look round

me when I went home; for, these mysterious words gave me a chill.

"Oh! He can't be in sight," said Mr. Wopsle. "He went out, before I

went off, I saw him go."

Having the reason that I had, for being suspicious, I even

suspected this poor actor. I mistrusted a design to entrap me into

some admission. Therefore, I glanced at him as we walked on

together, but said nothing.

"I had a ridiculous fancy that he must be with you, Mr. Pip, till I

saw that you were quite unconscious of him, sitting behind you

there, like a ghost."

My former chill crept over me again, but I was resolved not to

speak yet, for it was quite consistent with his words that he might

be set on to induce me to connect these references with Provis. Of

course, I was perfectly sure and safe that Provis had not been


"I dare say you wonder at me, Mr. Pip; indeed I see you do. But it

is so very strange! You'll hardly believe what I am going to tell

you. I could hardly believe it myself, if you told me."

"Indeed?" said I.

"No, indeed. Mr. Pip, you remember in old times a certain Christmas

Day, when you were quite a child, and I dined at Gargery's, and

some soldiers came to the door to get a pair of handcuffs mended?"

"I remember it very well."

"And you remember that there was a chase after two convicts, and

that we joined in it, and that Gargery took you on his back, and

that I took the lead and you kept up with me as well as you could?"

"I remember it all very well." Better than he thought - except the

last clause.

"And you remember that we came up with the two in a ditch, and that

there was a scuffle between them, and that one of them had been

severely handled and much mauled about the face, by the other?"

"I see it all before me."

"And that the soldiers lighted torches, and put the two in the

centre, and that we went on to see the last of them, over the black

marshes, with the torchlight shining on their faces - I am

particular about that; with the torchlight shining on their faces,

when there was an outer ring of dark night all about us?"

"Yes," said I. "I remember all that."

"Then, Mr. Pip, one of those two prisoners sat behind you tonight. I

saw him over your shoulder."

"Steady!" I thought. I asked him then, "Which of the two do you

suppose you saw?"

"The one who had been mauled," he answered readily, "and I'll swear

I saw him! The more I think of him, the more certain I am of him."

"This is very curious!" said I, with the best assumption I could

put on, of its being nothing more to me.