Charles Dickens

I would tell

him before breakfast. I would dress at once and go to his room and

surprise him; for, it was the first day I had been up early. I went

to his room, and he was not there. Not only was he not there, but

his box was gone.

I hurried then to the breakfast-table, and on it found a letter.

These were its brief contents.

"Not wishful to intrude I have departured fur you are well again

dear Pip and will do better without JO.

"P.S. Ever the best of friends."

Enclosed in the letter, was a receipt for the debt and costs on

which I had been arrested. Down to that moment I had vainly

supposed that my creditor had withdrawn or suspended proceedings

until I should be quite recovered. I had never dreamed of Joe's

having paid the money; but, Joe had paid it, and the receipt was in

his name.

What remained for me now, but to follow him to the dear old forge,

and there to have out my disclosure to him, and my penitent

remonstrance with him, and there to relieve my mind and heart of

that reserved Secondly, which had begun as a vague something

lingering in my thoughts, and had formed into a settled purpose?

The purpose was, that I would go to Biddy, that I would show her

how humbled and repentant I came back, that I would tell her how I

had lost all I once hoped for, that I would remind her of our old

confidences in my first unhappy time. Then, I would say to her,

"Biddy, I think you once liked me very well, when my errant heart,

even while it strayed away from you, was quieter and better with

you than it ever has been since. If you can like me only half as

well once more, if you can take me with all my faults and

disappointments on my head, if you can receive me like a forgiven

child (and indeed I am as sorry, Biddy, and have as much need of a

hushing voice and a soothing hand), I hope I am a little worthier

of you that I was - not much, but a little. And, Biddy, it shall

rest with you to say whether I shall work at the forge with Joe, or

whether I shall try for any different occupation down in this

country, or whether we shall go away to a distant place where an

opportunity awaits me, which I set aside when it was offered, until

I knew your answer. And now, dear Biddy, if you can tell me that

you will go through the world with me, you will surely make it a

better world for me, and me a better man for it, and I will try

hard to make it a better world for you."

Such was my purpose. After three days more of recovery, I went down

to the old place, to put it in execution; and how I sped in it, is

all I have left to tell.

Chapter 58

The tidings of my high fortunes having had a heavy fall, had got

down to my native place and its neighbourhood, before I got there.

I found the Blue Boar in possession of the intelligence, and I

found that it made a great change in the Boar's demeanour. Whereas

the Boar had cultivated my good opinion with warm assiduity when I

was coming into property, the Boar was exceedingly cool on the

subject now that I was going out of property.

It was evening when I arrived, much fatigued by the journey I had

so often made so easily. The Boar could not put me into my usual

bedroom, which was engaged (probably by some one who had

expectations), and could only assign me a very indifferent chamber

among the pigeons and post-chaises up the yard. But, I had as sound

a sleep in that lodging as in the most superior accommodation the

Boar could have given me, and the quality of my dreams was about

the same as in the best bedroom.

Early in the morning while my breakfast was getting ready, I

strolled round by Satis House. There were printed bills on the

gate, and on bits of carpet hanging out of the windows, announcing

a sale by auction of the Household Furniture and Effects, next

week. The House itself was to be sold as old building materials and

pulled down. LOT 1 was marked in whitewashed knock-knee letters on

the brew house; LOT 2 on that part of the main building which had

been so long shut up.