Great Expectations

by: Charles Dickens

Chapters 17–19

1

“Do you want to be a gentleman, to spite her, or to gain her over? Biddy quietly asked me, after a pause…. “Because, if it is to spite her, … I should think—but you know best—that might be better and more independently done by caring nothing for her words. And if it is to gain her over, I should think—but you know best—she was not worth gaining over.”

2

I am instructed to communicate to him, … that he will come into a handsome property. Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a gentleman—in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations.”

3

“[T]he name of the person who is your liberal benefactor remains a profound secret, until the person chooses to reveal it. … When or where that intention may be carried out, I cannot say; no one can say. It may be years hence. Now, you are distinctly to understand that you are most positively prohibited from making any inquiry on this head, or any allusion or reference, however distant, to any individual whomsoever as the individual, in all the communications you may have with me.”

4

Then he asked me tenderly if I remembered our boyish games at sums, and how we had gone together to have me bound apprentice, and, in effect, how he had ever been my favorite fancy and my chosen friend? If I had taken ten times as many glasses of wine as I had, I should have known that he never had stood in that relation towards me...

5

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth overlaying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before—more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle. If I had cried before, I should have had Joe with me then.