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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 554 pages of information about Great Expectations.
of being cut short in his flower after all, as if he had not been running to seed, leaf after leaf, ever since his course began.  This, however, was a mere question of length and wearisomeness.  What stung me, was the identification of the whole affair with my unoffending self.  When Barnwell began to go wrong, I declare that I felt positively apologetic, Pumblechook’s indignant stare so taxed me with it.  Wopsle, too, took pains to present me in the worst light.  At once ferocious and maudlin, I was made to murder my uncle with no extenuating circumstances whatever; Millwood put me down in argument, on every occasion; it became sheer monomania in my master’s daughter to care a button for me; and all I can say for my gasping and procrastinating conduct on the fatal morning, is, that it was worthy of the general feebleness of my character.  Even after I was happily hanged and Wopsle had closed the book, Pumblechook sat staring at me, and shaking his head, and saying, “Take warning, boy, take warning!” as if it were a well-known fact that I contemplated murdering a near relation, provided I could only induce one to have the weakness to become my benefactor.

It was a very dark night when it was all over, and when I set out with Mr. Wopsle on the walk home.  Beyond town, we found a heavy mist out, and it fell wet and thick.  The turnpike lamp was a blur, quite out of the lamp’s usual place apparently, and its rays looked solid substance on the fog.  We were noticing this, and saying how that the mist rose with a change of wind from a certain quarter of our marshes, when we came upon a man, slouching under the lee of the turnpike house.

“Halloa!” we said, stopping.  “Orlick, there?”

“Ah!” he answered, slouching out.  “I was standing by, a minute, on the chance of company.”

“You are late,” I remarked.

Orlick not unnaturally answered, “Well?  And you’re late.”

“We have been,” said Mr. Wopsle, exalted with his late performance, “we have been indulging, Mr. Orlick, in an intellectual evening.”

Old Orlick growled, as if he had nothing to say about that, and we all went on together.  I asked him presently whether he had been spending his half-holiday up and down town?

“Yes,” said he, “all of it.  I come in behind yourself.  I didn’t see you, but I must have been pretty close behind you.  By-the-bye, the guns is going again.”

“At the Hulks?” said I.

“Ay!  There’s some of the birds flown from the cages.  The guns have been going since dark, about.  You’ll hear one presently.”

In effect, we had not walked many yards further, when the wellremembered boom came towards us, deadened by the mist, and heavily rolled away along the low grounds by the river, as if it were pursuing and threatening the fugitives.

“A good night for cutting off in,” said Orlick.  “We’d be puzzled how to bring down a jail-bird on the wing, to-night.”

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