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Pip
by [?]

My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing more explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

My mother and father both being dead, I was brought up by my sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, who was more than twenty years older than I, and a veritable shrew by nature. She had acquired a great reputation among the neighbours because she had brought me up by hand. Not understanding this expression, and knowing her to have a hard and heavy hand, and to be much in the habit of laying it upon her husband as well as upon me, I supposed that Joe Gargery and I were both brought up by hand.

Joe, her husband, was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow, with light curly hair and blue eyes, and he and I were great chums, as well as fellow-sufferers under the rule of my sharp-tongued sister.

One afternoon I was wandering in the church-yard where my mother and father were buried, when I was accosted by a fearful man all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. He wore no hat and had broken shoes, and an old rag tied round his head. He limped and shivered, and glared and growled, his teeth chattering, as he seized me by the chin.

“O don’t cut my throat, sir!” I pleaded in terror. “Pray don’t do it, sir!”

“Tell us your name,” said the man, “quick!”

“Pip, sir,”

“Show us where you live,” he said. “Point out the place!”

I pointed to where our village lay, and then the man, after looking at me for a moment, turned me upside down and emptied my pockets, but there was nothing in them except a piece of bread. When the church came to itself, for he was so sudden and strong that he made it go head over heels before me,–I was seated on a high tombstone trembling, while he ate the bread ravenously. Then he came nearer to my tombstone, took me by both arms, and tilted me back as far as he could hold me, looking into my eyes.

“Now lookee here,” he said, “you get me a file and you get me wittles; you bring both to me to-morrow morning early, that file and them wittles. You bring the lot to me at that old Battery yonder. You do it, and you never dare to say a word concerning your having seen such a person as me, and you shall be let live. You fail in any partickler and your heart and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate! Now I ain’t alone, as you may think. There is a young man hid with me who hears the words I speak. It is in wain for a boy to attempt to hide himself from that young man. A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will soon creep and creep his way to him and tear him open. I am a-keeping the young man from harming of you at the present moment with great difficulty. Now what do you say?”

I said I would get him the file and what food I could, and would come to him early in the morning.

“Say, Lord strike me dead, if you don’t!”

I said so and he took me down. I faltered a good night, and he turned to go, walking as if he were numb and stiff. When I saw him turn to look once more at me, I made the best use of my legs, having a terrible fear of him, and of the young man, and I ran home without once stopping.

I found the forge shut up and Joe alone in the kitchen. The minute I raised the latch, he said: