Great Expectations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 554 pages of information about Great Expectations.

I had had load enough upon my mind before the receipt of this strange letter.  What to do now, I could not tell.  And the worst was, that I must decide quickly, or I should miss the afternoon coach, which would take me down in time for to-night.  To-morrow night I could not think of going, for it would be too close upon the time of the flight.  And again, for anything I knew, the proffered information might have some important bearing on the flight itself.

If I had had ample time for consideration, I believe I should still have gone.  Having hardly any time for consideration — my watch showing me that the coach started within half an hour — I resolved to go.  I should certainly not have gone, but for the reference to my Uncle Provis; that, coming on Wemmick’s letter and the morning’s busy preparation, turned the scale.

It is so difficult to become clearly possessed of the contents of almost any letter, in a violent hurry, that I had to read this mysterious epistle again, twice, before its injunction to me to be secret got mechanically into my mind.  Yielding to it in the same mechanical kind of way, I left a note in pencil for Herbert, telling him that as I should be so soon going away, I knew not for how long, I had decided to hurry down and back, to ascertain for myself how Miss Havisham was faring.  I had then barely time to get my great-coat, lock up the chambers, and make for the coach-office by the short by-ways.  If I had taken a hackney-chariot and gone by the streets, I should have missed my aim; going as I did, I caught the coach just as it came out of the yard.  I was the only inside passenger, jolting away knee-deep in straw, when I came to myself.

For, I really had not been myself since the receipt of the letter; it had so bewildered me ensuing on the hurry of the morning.  The morning hurry and flutter had been great, for, long and anxiously as I had waited for Wemmick, his hint had come like a surprise at last.  And now, I began to wonder at myself for being in the coach, and to doubt whether I had sufficient reason for being there, and to consider whether I should get out presently and go back, and to argue against ever heeding an anonymous communication, and, in short, to pass through all those phases of contradiction and indecision to which I suppose very few hurried people are strangers.  Still, the reference to Provis by name, mastered everything.  I reasoned as I had reasoned already without knowing it - if that be reasoning — in case any harm should befall him through my not going, how could I ever forgive myself!

It was dark before we got down, and the journey seemed long and dreary to me who could see little of it inside, and who could not go outside in my disabled state.  Avoiding the Blue Boar, I put up at an inn of minor reputation down the town, and ordered some dinner.  While it was preparing, I went to Satis House and inquired for Miss Havisham; she was still very ill, though considered something better.

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Great Expectations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.