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THE "SUMTER," A REBEL SHIP OF
WAR.-[SKETCHED BY OUR SPECIAL ARTIST.]
THE " SUMTER."
ABOVE we give a picture of the
Sumter, a vessel of war belonging to the Southern Confederacy. She is the old
Marques de la Habana which was captured by our fleet off
Vera Cruz in April,
1860, and taken as a prize to
New Orleans. We published a picture of her in
the Weekly at that time. The secessionists have fitted her out, and are using
her as a vessel of war. She will probably be caught ere long by one of our
cruisers. Our picture is from a sketch by Mr. Davis, who has just returned from
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
Splendidly Illustrated by John McLenan.
PUTTING Miss Havisham's note in
my pocket, that it might serve as my credentials for so soon reappearing at
Satis House, in case her waywardness should lead her to express any surprise at
seeing me, I went down again by the coach next day. But I alighted at the
Halfway House, and breakfasted there, and walked the rest of the distance ; for
I sought to get into the town quietly, by the unfrequented ways, and to leave it
in the same manner.
The best light of the day was
gone when I passed along the quiet echoing courts behind the High Street. The
nooks of ruin where the old monks had once had their refectories and gardens,
and where the strong walls were now pressed into the service of humble sheds and
stables, were almost as silent as the old monks in their graves. The cathedral
chimes had at once a sadder and a more remote sound to me, as I hurried on
avoiding observation, than they had ever had before ; so, the swell of the old
organ was borne to my ears like funeral music ; and the rooks, as they hovered
about the gray tower and swung in the bare high trees of the priory-garden,
seemed to call to me that the place was changed, and that Estella was gone out
of it forever.
An elderly woman whom I had seen
before as one of the servants who lived in the supplementary house across the
back courtyard opened the gate. The lighted candle stood in the dark passage
within, as of old, and I took it up and ascended the staircase alone. Miss
Havisham was not in her own room, but was in the larger room across the landing.
Looking in at the door, after knocking in vain, I saw her sitting on the hearth
in a ragged chair, close before, and lost in the contemplation of, the ashy
Doing as I had often done, I went
in, and stood, touching the old chimney-piece, where she could see me when she
raised her eyes. There was an air of utter loneliness upon her that would have
moved me to pity though she had willfully done me a deeper injury than I could
charge her with. As I stood compassionating her, and thinking how in the
progress of time I too had come to be a part of the wrecked fortunes of that
house, her eyes rested on me. She stared, and said in a low voice, " Is it
" It is I, Pip. Mr. Jaggers gave
me your note yesterday, and I have lost no time." Thank you. Thank you."
As I brought another of the
ragged chairs to the hearth and sat down I remarked a new expression on her
face, as if she were afraid of me.
" I want," she said, " to pursue
that subject you mentioned to me when you were last here, and to show you that I
am not all stone. But
perhaps you can never believe,
now, that there is any thing human in my heart ?"
When I said some reassuring
words, she stretched out her tremulous right hand, as though she were going to
touch me ; but she recalled it again before I understood the action, or knew how
to receive it.
" You said, speaking for your
friend, that you could tell me how to do something useful and good. Something
that you would like done, is it not ?"
" Something that I would like
done, very, very much." '
" What is it ?"
I began explaining to her that
secret history of the partnership. I had not got far into it when I judged from
her look that she was thinking in a discursive way of me rather than of what I
said. It seemed to be so, for when I stopped speaking many moments passed before
she showed that she was conscious of the fact.
"Do you break off," she asked
then, with her former air of being afraid of me, " because you hate me too much
to bear to speak to me ?"
" No, no," I answered, " how can
you think so, Miss Havisham ! I stopped because I thought you were not following
what I said."
"Perhaps I was not," she
answered, putting a hand to her head. " Begin again, and let me look at
something else. Stay ! Now tell me."
She set her hands upon her stick
in the resolute way that sometimes was habitual to her, and looked at the fire
with a strong expression of forcing herself to attend. I went on with my
explanation, and told her how I had hoped to complete the transaction out of my
means, but how in this I was disappointed. That part of the subject (I reminded
her) involved matters which could form no part of my explanation, for they were
the weighty secrets of another.
"So !" said she, assenting with
her head, but not looking at me. "And how much money is wanting to complete the
I was rather afraid of stating
it, for it sounded a large sum. " Nine hundred pounds." "If I give you the money
for this purpose, will you keep my secret as you have kept your own ?"
Quite as faithfully."
" And your mind will be more at
rest ?" "Much more at rest."
" Are you very unhappy now ?"
She asked this question, still
without looking at me, but in an unwonted tone of sympathy. I could not reply at
the moment for my voice failed me. She put her left arm across the crutched head
of her stick, and softly laid her forehead on it.
"I am far from happy, Miss
Havisham ; but I have ether causes of disquiet than any you know of. They are
the secrets I have mentioned."
After a little while she raised
her head and looked at the fire again.
" It is noble in you to tell me
that you have other causes of unhappiness. Is it true?"
" Too true."
"Can I only serve you, Pip, by
serving your friend ? Regarding that as done, is there nothing I can do for you
" Nothing. I thank you for the
question. I thank you even more for the tone of the question. But there is
She presently rose from her seat,
and looked about the blighted room for the means of writing. There were none
there, and she took from her pocket a yellow set of ivory tablets, mounted in
tarnished gold, and wrote upon them with a pencil in a case of tarnished gold
that hung from her neck.
" You are still on friendly terms
with Mr. Jaggers ?"
" Quite. I dined with him
"This is an authority to him to
pay you that money to lay out at your irresponsible discretion for your friend.
I keep no money here, but if you would rather Mr. Jaggers knew nothing of the
matter, I will send it to you."
Thank you, Miss Havisham ; I have
not the least objection to receiving it from him." She read me what she had
written, and it was direct and clear, and evidently intended to absolve me from
any suspicion of profiting by the receipt of the money. I took the tablets from
her hand, and it trembled again, and it trembled more as she took off the chain
to which the pencil was attached and put it in mine. All this she did without
looking at me.
" My name is on the first leaf.
If you can ever write under my name, ' I forgive her,' though ever so long after
my broken heart is dust—pray do it !"
" Oh, Miss Havisham," said I, "I
can do it now. There have been sore mistakes, and my life has been a blind and
thankless one, and I want forgiveness and direction far too much to be bitter
She turned her face to me for the
first time since she had averted it, and, to my amazement, I may even add to my
terror, dropped on her knees at my feet, with her folded hands raised to me in
the manner in which, when her poor heart was young and fresh and whole, they
must often have been raised to Heaven from her mother's side.
To see her with her white hair
and her worn face kneeling at my feet, gave me a shock through all my frame. I
entreated her to rise, and got my arms about her to help her up ; but she only
pressed that hand of mine which was nearest to her grasp, and hung her head over
it and wept. I had never seen her shed a tear before, and, in the hope that the
relief might do her good, I bent over her without speaking. She was not kneeling
now, but was down upon the ground.
"Oh !" she cried, despairingly.
"What have I done ! What have I done !"
"If you mean, Miss Havisham, what
have you done to injure me, let me answer. Very little. I should have loved her
under any circumstances. —Is she married ?"
It was a needless question, for a
new desolation in the desolate house had told me so.
"What have I done ! What have I
done !" She wrung her hands, and crushed her white hair, and returned to this
cry, over and over again. " What have I done ! What have I done !"
I knew not how to answer, or how
to comfort her. That she had done a grievous thing in taking an impressionable
child to mould into the form that her wild resentment, spurned affection, and
wounded pride found vengeance in, I knew full well. But that, in shutting out
the light of day, she had shut out infinitely more than that; that, in
seclusion, she had secluded herself from a thousand natural and healing
influences ; that her mind, brooding solitary, had grown diseased, as all minds
do and must and will that reverse the appointed order of their Maker, I knew
equally well. And could I look upon her without compassion, seeing her
punishment in the ruin she was, in her profound unfitness for this earth on
which she was placed, in the vanity of sorrow which had become a master mania,
like the vanity of penitence, the vanity of remorse, the vanity of unworthiness,
and other monstrous vanities that have been curses in this world ?
"Until you spoke to her the other
day, and until I saw in you a looking-glass that showed me what I once felt
myself, I did not know what I had done. What have I done ! what have I done !"
And so again, twenty, fifty times over, What had she done !
" Miss Havisham," I said, when
her cry died
away, " you may dismiss me from
your mind and conscience. But Estella is a different case. and if you can ever
undo any scrap of what you have done amiss in keeping a part of her right nature
away from her, it will be better to do that than to bemoan the past through a
" Yes, yes, I know it. But,
Pip—my dear!" There was an earnest womanly compassion for me in her new
affection. " My dear ! Believe this : when she first came to me, I meant to save
her from misery like my own. At first I meant no more."
Well, well !" said I. " I hope
"But as she grew, and promised to
be very beautiful, I gradually did worse, and with my praises, and with my
jewels, and with my teachings, and with this figure of myself always before her
a warning to back and point my lessons, I stole her heart away and put ice in
"Better," I could not help
saying, ' to have left her a natural heart, even to be bruised or broken."
With that Miss Havisham looked
distractedly at me for a while and then burst out again, What had she done !
" If you knew all my story," she
pleaded, "you would have some compassion for me and a better understanding of
" Miss Havisham," I answered, as
delicately as I could, " I believe I may say that I do know your story, and have
known it ever since I first left this neighborhood. It has inspired me with
great commiseration, and I hope I understand it and its influences. Does what
has passed between us give me any excuse for asking you a question relative to
Estella ? Not as she is, but as she was when she first came here ?"
She was seated on the ground,
with her arms on the ragged chair, and her head leaning on them. She looked full
at me when I said this, and replied, " Go on."
"Whose child was Estella?"
She shook her head.
"You don't know?"
She shook her head again.
" But Mr. Jaggers brought her
here, or sent her here ?"
" Brought her here."
"Will you tell me how that came
about?" She answered in a low whisper and with great caution : "I I had been
shut up in these rooms a long time (I don't know how long ; you know what time
the clocks keep here), when I told him that I wanted a little girl to rear and
save from my fate. I had first seen him when I sent for him to lay this place
waste for me ; having read of him in the newspapers, before I and the world
parted. He told me that he would look about him for such an orphan child. One
night he brought her here asleep, and I called her Estella."
" Might I ask her age then ?"
" About three. She herself knows
nothing, but that she was left an orphan and I adopted her."
So convinced I was of that
woman's being her mother, that I wanted no evidence to establish the fact in my
own mind. But to any mind, I thought, the connection here was clear and
What more could I hope to do by
prolonging the interview ? I had succeeded on behalf of Herbert, Miss Havisham
had told me all she knew of Estella, I had said and done what I could to ease
her mind. No matter with what other words we parted ; we parted.
Twilight was closing in when I
went down stairs into the natural air. I called to the woman who had opened the
gate when I entered that I would not trouble her just yet, but would walk round
the place before leaving. For I had a presentiment that I should never be there
" I SAW HER RUNNING AT ME, SHRIEKING,
WITH A WHIRL OF FIRE BLAZING ALL ABOUT HER," ETC.