"Great Expectations"
by Charles Dickens

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     With those words, he released me--which I was glad of, for his hand smelt of scented soap--and went his way down stairs. I wondered whether he could be a doctor; but no, I thought; he couldn't be a doctor, or he would have a quieter and more persuasive manner. There was not much time to consider the subject, for we were soon in Miss Havisham's room, where she and everything else were just as I had left them. Estella left me standing near the door, and I stood there until Miss Havisham cast her eyes upon me from the dressing-table.

     "So!" she said, without being startled or surprised: "the days have worn away, have they?"

     "Yes, ma'am. To-day is--"


     "There, there, there!" with the impatient movement of her fingers. "I don't want to know. Are you ready to play?"

     I was obliged to answer in some confusion, "I don't think I am, ma'am."

     "Not at cards again?" she demanded, with a searching look.

     "Yes, ma'am; I could do that, if I was wanted."

     "Since this house strikes you old and grave, boy," said Miss Havisham, impatiently, "and you are unwilling to play, are you willing to work?"

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