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WE publish herewith a view of
NEWPORT NEWS, near Fortress Monroe, Virginia, which General Butler has just
occupied, and is now fortifying. A Virginian writer, speaking of the spot, says:
"Newport News, so named after Captain Christopher Newport, the commodore of the
little fleet of three vessels, of the aggregate burden of one hundred and sixty
tons, which brought over the adventurers, and who 'returned for England with newes' 'the 15. of June 1607,' is the sister promontory to Jamestown. Its
pine-clad spit divides James River from Hampton Roads. The water-view at this
point, east, south, and northwest, is superb. When 'Master Gookin, out of
Ireland, with fifty men of his owne, and thirty Passengers,' baptized the
shamrock in its blue and teeming waters, it was deemed a small paradise. ' The
cotten-trees in a yeere grew so thicke as one's arme, and so high as a man; here
any thing that is planted doth prosper so well as in no place better.' The soil
is doubtless as good as it ever was, since the moisture from the neighboring
ocean prevents land in this region from being permanently exhausted, even under
the most reckless system of tillage ; but we hear of no such growth now.
Cotton-planting has given place to oyster-planting, as the leading culture.
Master Gookin must have shared the hydrophobic propensities of his countrymen,
or he would have delved in the waves for riches and comfort."
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
Splendidly Illustrated by John McLenan.
SOME weeks passed without
bringing any change. We waited for Wemmick, and he made no sign. If I had never
known him out of Little Britain, and had never enjoyed the privilege of being on
a familiar footing at the Castle, I might have doubted him ; not so for a
moment, knowing him as I did.
My worldly affairs began to wear
a gloomy appearance, and I was pressed for money by more than one creditor. Even
I myself began to know the want of money (I mean of ready money in my own
pocket), and to relieve it by converting some easily spared articles of jewelry
into cash. But I had quite determined that it would be a heartless fraud to take
more money from my patron in the existing state of my uncertain thoughts and
plans. Therefore, I had sent him the unopened pocket-book by Herbert, to hold in
his own keeping, and I felt a kind of satisfaction—whether it was a false kind
or a true, I hardly know—in not having profited by his generosity since his
revelation of himself.
As the time wore on, an
impression settled heavily upon me that Estella was married. Fearful of having
it confirmed, though it was all but a conviction, I avoided the newspapers, and
begged Herbert (to whom I had confided the circumstances of our last interview)
never to speak of her to me. Why I hoarded up this last wretched little rag of
the robe of hope that was rent and given to the winds, how do I know ? Why did
you read this, commit that not dissimilar inconsistency of your own last year,
last month, last week ?
It was an unhappy life that I
lived, and its one dominant anxiety, towering over all its other anxieties like
a high mountain above a range of mountains, never disappeared from my view.
Still, no new cause for fear arose. Let me start from my bed as I would, with
the terror fresh upon me that he was discovered ; let me sit listening as I
would, with dread, for Herbert's returning step at night, lest it should be
fleeter than ordinary, and winged with evil news ; for all that, and much more
to like purpose, the round of things went on. Condemned to inaction and a state
of constant restlessness and suspense, I rowed about in my boat, and waited,
waited, waited, as I best could.
There were states of the tide
when, having been down the river, I could not get back through
the eddy-chafed arches and
starlings of old London Bridge ; then, I left my boat at a wharf near the
Custom-house, to be brought up afterward to the Temple stairs. I was not averse
to doing this, as it served to make me and my boat a commoner incident among the
water-side people there. From this slight occasion sprang two meetings that I
have now to tell of.
One afternoon, late in the month
of February, I came ashore at the wharf at dusk. I had pulled down as far as
Greenwich with the ebb tide, and had turned with the tide. It had been a fine
bright day, but had become foggy as the sun dropped, and I had had to feel my
way back among the shipping pretty carefully. Both in going and returning I had
seen the signal in his window, All well.
As it was a raw evening and I was
cold, I thought I would comfort myself with dinner at once ; and as I had hours
of dejection and solitude before me if I went home to the Temple, I thought I
would afterward go to the play. The theatre where Mr. Wopsle had achieved his
questionable triumph was in that water-side neighborhood (it is nowhere now),
and to that theatre I resolved to go. I was aware that Mr. Wopsle had not
succeeded in reviving the Drama, but, on the contrary, had rather partaken of
its decline. He had been ominously heard of as a faithful Black, in connection
with a little girl of noble birth, and a monkey. And Herbert had seen him as a
predatory Tartar, of comic propensities, with a face like a red brick, and an
outrageous hat all over bells.
I dined at what Herbert and I
used to call a Geographical chop-house—where there were maps of the world in
porter-pot rims on every half-yard of the table-cloths, and charts of gravy on
every one of the knives—to this day there is scarcely a single chop-house in the
Lord Mayor's dominions which is not Geographical—and wore out the time in dozing
over crumbs, staring at gas, and baking in a hot blast of dinners. By-and-by I
roused myself and went to the play.
There I found a virtuous
boatswain in his Majesty's service—a most excellent man, though I could have
wished his trowsers not quite so tight in some places and not quite so loose in
others—who knocked all the little men's hats over their eyes, though he was very
generous and brave, and who wouldn't hear of any body's paying taxes on any
account, though he was very patriotic. He had a bag of money in his pocket, like
a pudding in the cloth, and on that property married a young person in
bed-furniture with great rejoicings ; the whole population of Portsmouth (nine
in number at the last Census) turning out on the beach to rub their own hands
and shake every body else's, and sing "Fill, fill !" A certain dark-complexioned
Swab, however, who wouldn't fill, or do any thing else that was proposed to him,
and whose heart was openly stated (by the boatswain) to be as black as his
figure-head, proposed to two other Swabs to get all mankind into difficulties ;
which was so effectually done (the Swab family having considerable political
influence) that it took half the evening to set things right, and then it was
only brought about through an honest little grocer with a white hat, black
gaiters, and red nose, getting into a clock with a gridiron, and listening, and
coming out, and knocking every body down from behind with the gridiron whom he
couldn't confute with what he had overheard. This led to Mr. Wopsle's (who had
never been heard of before) coming in with a star and garter on, as a
plenipotentiary of great power direct from the Admiralty, to say that the Swabs
were all to go to prison on the spot, and that he had brought the boatswain down
the Union Jack, as a slight acknowledgment of his public services. The
boatswain, unmanned for the first time, respectfully dried his eyes on the Jack,
and then cheering up and addressing Mr. Wopsle as Your Honor, solicited
permission to take him by the fin. Mr. Wopsle conceding his fin with a gracious
dignity, was immediately shoved into a dusty corner while every body danced a
horn-pipe ; and, from that corner, surveying the public with a discontented eye,
became aware of me.
The second piece was the last new
grand comic Christmas pantomime, in the first scene of which it pained me to
suspect that I detected Mr. Wopsle, with red worsted legs under a highly
magnified phosphoric countenance
and a shock of red fringe for his hair, engaged in the manufacture of
thunderbolts in a mine, and displaying great cowardice when his gigantic master
came home, very hoarse, to dinner. But he presently presented himself under
worthier circumstances ; for, the Genius of Youthful Love being in want of
assistance—on account of the parental brutality of an ignorant farmer who
opposed the choice of his daughter's heart, by purposely falling upon the object
in a flour sack, out of the first-floor window—summoned a sententious Enchanter
; and he, coming up from the antipodes rather unsteadily, after an apparently
violent journey, proved to be Mr. Wopsle in a high-crowned hat, with a
necromantic work in one volume under his arm. The business of this enchanter on
earth being principally to be talked at, sung at, butted at, danced at, and
flashed at with fires of various colors, he had a good deal of time on his
hands. And I observed with great surprise that he devoted it to staring in my
direction as if he were lost in amazement.
There was something so remarkable
in the increasing glare of Mr. Wopsle's eye, and he seemed to be turning so many
things over in his mind and to grow so confused, that I could not make it out. I
sat thinking of it long after he had ascended to the clouds in a large
watchcase, and still I could not make it out. I was still thinking of it when I
came out of the theatre an hour afterward, and found him waiting for me near the
"How do you do?" said I, shaking
hands with him as we turned down the street together. "I saw that you saw me."
" Saw you, Mr. Pip !" he
returned. " Yes, of course I saw you. But who else was there ?" " Who else ?"
"It is the strangest thing," said
Mr. Wopsle, drifting into his lost look again ; "and yet I could swear to him."
Becoming alarmed, I entreated Mr.
Wopsle to explain his meaning.
" Whether I should have noticed
him at first but for your being there," said Mr. Wopsle, going on in the same
lost way, I can't be positive ; yet I think I should."
Involuntarily I looked round me,
as I was accustomed to look round me when I went home; for these mysterious
words gave me a chill.
" Oh ! He can't be in sight,"
said Mr. Wopsle. "He went out before I went off. I saw him go."
Having the reason that I had for
being suspicious, I even suspected this poor actor. I mistrusted a design to
entrap me into some admission. Therefore I glanced at him as we walked on
together, but said nothing.
"I had a ridiculous fancy that he
must be with you, Mr. Pip, till I saw that you were quite unconscious of him
sitting behind you there, like a ghost."
My former chill crept over me
again, but I was resolved not to speak yet, for it was quite consistent with his
words that he might be set on to induce me to connect these references with
Provis. Of course I was perfectly sure and safe that Provis had not been there.
"I dare say you wonder at me, Mr.
Pip ; indeed I see you do. But it is so very strange ! You'll hardly believe
what I am going to tell you. I could hardly believe it myself if you told me."
"Indeed ?" said I.
"No, indeed. Mr. Pip, you
remember in old times a certain Christmas-day, when you were quite a child, and
I dined at Gargery's, and some soldiers came to the door to get a pair of
handcuffs mended ?"
" I remember it very well."
" And you remember that there was
a chase after two convicts, and that we joined in it, and that Gargery took you
on his back, and that I
took the lead, and you kept up
with me as well as you could ?"
"I remember it all very well."
Better than he thought—except the last clause.
"And you remember that we came up
with the two in a ditch, and that there was a scuffle between them, and that one
of them had been severely handled and much mauled about the face by the other ?"
" I see it all before me."
"And that the soldiers lighted
torches, and put the two in the centre; and that we went on to see the last of
them, over the black marshes, with the torch-light shining on their faces—I am
particular about that ; with the torch-light shining on their faces, when there
was an outer ring of dark night all about us ?"
"Yes," said I. "I remember all
" Then, Mr. Pip, one of those two
prisoners sat behind you to-night. I saw him over your shoulder."
" Steady !" I thought. I asked
him then, "Which of the two do you suppose you saw ?"
"The one who had been mauled," he
answered readily, " and I'll swear I saw him! The more I think of him the more
certain I am of him."
" This is very curious !" said I,
with the best assumption I could put on, of its being nothing more to me. "Very
curious indeed !"
I can not exaggerate the enhanced
disquiet into which this conversation threw me, or the special and peculiar
terror I felt at Compeyson's having been behind me "like a ghost." For, if he
had ever been out of my thoughts for a few moments together since the hiding had
begun, it was in those very moments when he was closest to me ; and to think
that I should be so unconscious and off my guard after all my care, was as if I
had shut an avenue of a hundred doors to keep him out, and then had found him at
my elbow. I could not doubt either that he was there, because I was there, and
that however slight an appearance of danger there might be about us, danger was
always near and active.
I put such questions to Mr.
Wopsle as, When did the man come in ? He could not tell me that ; he saw me, and
over my shoulder he saw the man. It was not until he had seen him for some time
that he began to identify him ; but he had from the first vaguely associated him
with me, and known him as somehow belonging to me in the old village time. How
was he dressed ? Prosperously, but not noticeably otherwise ; he thought in
black. Was his face at all disfigured ? No, he believed not. I believed not too,
for, although in my brooding state I had taken no especial notice of the people
behind me, I thought it likely that a face at all disfigured would have
attracted my attention.
When Mr. Wopsle had imparted to
me all that he could recall or I extract, and when I had treated him to a little
appropriate refreshment after the fatigues of the evening, we parted. It was
between twelve and one o'clock when I reached the Temple, and the gates were
shut. No one was near me when I went in and went home.
Herbert had come in, and we held
a very serious council by the fire. But there was nothing to be done, saving to
communicate to Wemmick what I had that night found out, and to remind him that
we waited for his hint. As I thought that I might compromise him if I went too
often to the Castle, I made this communication by letter. I wrote it before I
went to bed, and went out and posted it ; and again no one was near me. Herbert
and I agreed that we could do nothing else but be very cautious. And we were
very cautious indeed—more cautious than before, if that were possible —and I,
for my part, never went near Chinks's Basin, except when I rowed by, and then I
"LET ME SIT LISTENING AS I
WOULD, WITH DREAD," ETC.