"What else could I do?"
"You did that, and that would be enough, without more. How dared you to come betwixt me and a young woman I liked?"
"When did I?"
"When didn't you? It was you as always give Old Orlick a bad name to her."
"You gave it to yourself; you gained it for yourself. I could have done you no harm, if you had done yourself none."
"You're a liar. And you'll take any pains, and spend any money, to drive me out of this country, will you?" said he, repeating my words to Biddy in the last interview I had with her. "Now, I'll tell you a piece of information. It was never so well worth your while to get me out of this country as it is to-night. Ah! If it was all your money twenty times told, to the last brass farden!" As he shook his heavy hand at me, with his mouth snarling like a tiger's, I felt that it was true.
"What are you going to do to me?"
"I'm a-going," said he, bringing his fist down upon the table with a heavy blow, and rising as the blow fell, to give it greater force, "I'm a-going to have your life!"
He leaned forward staring at me, slowly unclenched his hand and drew it across his mouth as if his mouth watered for me, and sat down again.
"You was always in Old Orlick's way since ever you was a child. You goes out of his way, this present night. He'll have no more on you. You're dead."
I felt that I had come to the brink of my grave. For a moment I looked wildly round my trap for any chance of escape; but there was none.
"More than that," said he, folding his arms on the table again, "I won't have a rag of you, I won't have a bone of you, left on earth. I'll put your body in the kiln — I'd carry two such to it, on my shoulders — and, let people suppose what they may of you, they shall never know nothing."
My mind, with inconceivable rapidity, followed out all the consequences of such a death. ">Estella's father would believe I had deserted him, would be taken, would die accusing me; even Herbert would doubt me, when he compared the letter I had left for him, with the fact that I had called at Miss Havisham's gate for only a moment; Joe and Biddy would never know how sorry I had been that night; none would ever know what I had suffered, how true I had meant to be, what an agony I had passed through. The death close before me was terrible, but far more terrible than death was the dread of being misremembered after death. And so quick were my thoughts, that I saw myself despised by unborn generations — Estella's children, and their children — while the wretch's words were yet on his lips.
"Now, wolf," said he, "afore I kill you like any other beast — which is wot I mean to do and wot I have tied you up for — I'll have a good look at you and a good goad at you. Oh, you enemy!"
It had passed through my thoughts to cry out for help again; though few could know better than I, the solitary nature of the spot, and the hopelessness of aid. But as he sat gloating over me, I was supported by a scornful detestation of him that sealed my lips. Above all things, I resolved that I would not entreat him, and that I would die making some last poor resistance to him. Softened as my thoughts of all the rest of men were in that dire extremity; humbly beseeching pardon, as I did, of Heaven; melted at heart, as I was, by the thought that I had taken no farewell, and never never now could take farewell, of those who were dear to me, or could explain myself to them, or ask for their compassion on my miserable errors; still, if I could have killed him, even in dying, I would have done it.
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