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Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
Chapter 9 (continued)
"No, I am ignorant and backward, Joe."
"Why, see what a letter you wrote last night! Wrote in print even! I've seen letters - Ah! and from gentlefolks! - that I'll swear weren't wrote in print," said Joe.
"I have learnt next to nothing, Joe. You think much of me. It's only that."
"Well, Pip," said Joe, "be it so or be it son't, you must be a common scholar afore you can be a oncommon one, I should hope! The king upon his throne, with his crown upon his 'ed, can't sit and write his acts of Parliament in print, without having begun, when he were a unpromoted Prince, with the alphabet - Ah!" added Joe, with a shake of the head that was full of meaning, "and begun at A too, and worked his way to Z. And I know what that is to do, though I can't say I've exactly done it."
There was some hope in this piece of wisdom, and it rather encouraged me.
"Whether common ones as to callings and earnings," pursued Joe, reflectively, "mightn't be the better of continuing for a keep company with common ones, instead of going out to play with oncommon ones - which reminds me to hope that there were a flag, perhaps?"
"(I'm sorry there weren't a flag, Pip). Whether that might be, or mightn't be, is a thing as can't be looked into now, without putting your sister on the Rampage; and that's a thing not to be thought of, as being done intentional. Lookee here, Pip, at what is said to you by a true friend. Which this to you the true friend say. If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight, you'll never get to do it through going crooked. So don't tell no more on 'em, Pip, and live well and die happy."
"You are not angry with me, Joe?"
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