It was as if I had to make up my mind to leap from the top of a high house, or plunge into a great depth of water.
And it was made the more difficult by the unconscious Joe.
In our already-mentioned freemasonry as fellow-sufferers, and in his good-natured companionship with me, it was our evening habit to compare the way we bit through our slices, by silently holding them up to each other's admiration now and then, -which stimulated us to new exertions.
To-night, Joe several times invited me, by the display of his fast diminishing slice, to enter upon our usual friendly competition; but he found me, each time, with my yellow mug of tea on one knee, and my untouched bread and butter on the other.
After darkly looking at his leg and me several times, he came closer to my tombstone, took me by both arms, and tilted me back as far as he could hold me; so that his eyes looked most powerfully down into mine, and mine looked most helplessly up into his. " "Yes, sir." After each question he tilted me over a little more, so as to give me a greater sense of helplessness and danger. Then, he held me by the arms, in an upright position on the top of the stone, and went on in these fearful terms:-"You bring me, to-morrow morning early, that file and them wittles.At last, I desperately considered that the thing I contemplated must be done, and that it had best be done in the least improbable manner consistent with the circumstances.I took advantage of a moment when Joe had just looked at me, and got my bread and butter down my leg. You can't have chawed it, Pip." "What's the matter now? "If you can cough any trifle on it up, Pip, I'd recommend you to do it," said Joe, all aghast.Joe and I being fellow-sufferers, and having confidences as such, Joe imparted a confidence to me, the moment I raised the latch of the door and peeped in at him opposite to it, sitting in the chimney corner. Joe has been out a dozen times, looking for you, Pip. For the fugitive out on the marshes with the ironed leg, the mysterious young man, the file, the food, and the dreadful pledge I was under to commit a larceny on those sheltering premises, rose before me in the avenging coals. After that, he sat feeling his right-side flaxen curls and whisker, and following Mrs.And she's out now, making it a baker's dozen." "Is she? Joe about with his blue eyes, as his manner always was at squally times.Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. The man, after looking at me for a moment, turned me upside down, and emptied my pockets. When the church came to itself,-for he was so sudden and strong that he made it go head over heels before me, and I saw the steeple under my feet,-when the church came to itself, I say, I was seated on a high tombstone, trembling while he ate the bread ravenously. I find it wery hard to hold that young man off of your inside. " I said that I would get him the file, and I would get him what broken bits of food I could, and I would come to him at the Battery, early in the morning. But presently I looked over my shoulder, and saw him going on again towards the river, still hugging himself in both arms, and picking his way with his sore feet among the great stones dropped into the marshes here and there, for stepping-places when the rains were heavy or the tide was in.My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. "You young dog," said the man, licking his lips, "what fat cheeks you ha' got." I believe they were fat, though I was at that time undersized for my years, and not strong. The marshes were just a long black horizontal line then, as I stopped to look after him; and the river was just another horizontal line, not nearly so broad nor yet so black; and the sky was just a row of long angry red lines and dense black lines intermixed." A fearful man, all in coarse gray, with a great iron on his leg. It gave me a terrible turn when I thought so; and as I saw the cattle lifting their heads to gaze after him, I wondered whether they thought so too.A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. I looked all round for the horrible young man, and could see no signs of him." "Yes, Pip," said Joe; "and what's worse, she's got Tickler with her." At this dismal intelligence, I twisted the only button on my waistcoat round and round, and looked in great depression at the fire. My sister had a trenchant way of cutting our bread and butter for us, that never varied.Tickler was a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame. First, with her left hand she jammed the loaf hard and fast against her bib,-where it sometimes got a pin into it, and sometimes a needle, which we afterwards got into our mouths.