“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?... And that the soldiers lighted torches, and put the two [convicts] in the centre, and that we went on to see the last of them, over the black marshes, with the torchlight shining on their faces.…Then, Mr. Pip, one of those two prisoners sat behind you to-night. I saw him over your shoulder.”
I looked into the room where I had left her, and I saw her seated in the ragged chair upon the hearth close to the fire, with her back towards me. In the moment when I was withdrawing my head to go quietly away, I saw a great flaming light spring up. In the same moment, I saw her running at me, shrieking, with a whirl of fire blazing all about her…
“[F]earing he should be called upon to depose about this destroyed child, and so be the cause of her death, he hid himself (much as he grieved for the child), kept himself dark, as he says, out of the way and out of the trial, and was only vaguely talked about of as a certain man called Abel, out of whom the jealousy arose. After the acquittal she disappeared, and thus he lost the child and the child’s mother.
“Put the case that the child grew up, and was married for money.… That the secret was still a secret…. For whose sake would you reveal the secret? For the father’s? I think he would not be much the better for the mother. For the mother’s? I think if she had done such a deed she would be safer where she was. For the daughter’s? I think it would hardly serve her, to establish parentage for the information of her husband, and to drag her back to disgrace…”
If you are not afraid to come to the old marshes to-night or to-morrow night at Nine, and to come to the little sluice-house by the limekiln, you had better come. If you want information regarding your uncle Provis, you had much better come and tell no one and lose no time. You must come alone. Bring this with you.