The kind of submission or resignation that he showed, was that of a man who was tired out. I sometimes derived an impression, from his manner, or from a whispered word or two which escaped him, that he pondered over the question whether he might have been a better man under better circumstances, But’ he never justified himself by a hint tending that way, or tried to bend the past out of its eternal shape.
“Dear Magwitch, I must tell you, now at last. You understand what I say?... You had a child once, whom you loved and lost….She lived and found powerful friends. She is living now. She is a lady and very beautiful. And I love her!”
After I had turned the worst point of my illness, I began to notice that while all its other features changed, this one consistent feature did not change. Whoever came about me, still settled down into Joe…. At last, one day, I took courage, and said “Is it Joe?”
“Dear Biddy,” said I, “you have the best husband in the whole world, and if you could have seen him by my bed you would have—But no, you couldn’t love him better than you do….And, dear Joe, you have the best wife in the whole world, and she will make you as happy as even you deserve to be, you dear, good, noble Joe!”
I had heard of her as leading a most unhappy life, and as being separated from her husband., who had used her with great cruelty, and who had become quite renowned as a compound of pride, avarice, brutality, and meanness. And I had heard of the death of her husband, from an accident consequent on his ill-treatment of a horse. This release has befallen her some two years before; for anything I knew, she was married again.