Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - HTML preview

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"At the Hulks?" said I.

 

"Ay! There's some of the birds flown from the cages. The guns have

 

been going since dark, about. You'll hear one presently."

 

In effect, we had not walked many yards further, when the

 

well-remembered boom came towards us, deadened by the mist, and

 

heavily rolled away along the low grounds by the river, as if it

 

were pursuing and threatening the fugitives.

 

"A good night for cutting off in," said Orlick. "We'd be puzzled

 

how to bring down a jail-bird on the wing, to-night."

 

The subject was a suggestive one to me, and I thought about it in

 

silence. Mr. Wopsle, as the ill-requited uncle of the evening's

 

tragedy, fell to meditating aloud in his garden at Camberwell.

 

Orlick, with his hands in his pockets, slouched heavily at my side.

 

It was very dark, very wet, very muddy, and so we splashed along.

 

Now and then, the sound of the signal cannon broke upon us again,

 

and again rolled sulkily along the course of the river. I kept

 

myself to myself and my thoughts. Mr. Wopsle died amiably at

 

Camberwell, and exceedingly game on Bosworth Field, and in the

 

greatest agonies at Glastonbury. Orlick sometimes growled, "Beat it out, beat it out,--Old Clem! With a clink for the stout,--Old

 

Clem!" I thought he had been drinking, but he was not drunk.

 

Thus, we came to the village. The way by which we approached it

 

took us past the Three Jolly Bargemen, which we were surprised to

 

find--it being eleven o'clock --in a state of commotion, with the

 

door wide open, and unwonted lights that had been hastily caught up

 

and put down scattered about. Mr. Wopsle dropped in to ask what was

 

the matter (surmising that a convict had been taken), but came

 

running out in a great hurry.

 

"There's something wrong," said he, without stopping, "up at your

 

place, Pip. Run all!"

 

"What is it?" I asked, keeping up with him. So did Orlick, at my

 

side.

 

"I can't quite understand. The house seems to have been violently

 

entered when Joe Gargery was out. Supposed by convicts. Somebody

 

has been attacked and hurt."

 

We were running too fast to admit of more being said, and we made

 

no stop until we got into our kitchen. It was full of people; the

 

whole village was there, or in the yard; and there was a surgeon,

 

and there was Joe, and there were a group of women, all on the floor in the midst of the kitchen. The unemployed bystanders drew back

 

when they saw me, and so I became aware of my sister,--lying

 

without sense or movement on the bare boards where she had been

 

knocked down by a tremendous blow on the back of the head, dealt by

 

some unknown hand when her face was turned towards the fire,--

 

destined never to be on the Rampage again, while she was the wife

 

of Joe.

 

Chapter XVI

 

With my head full of George Barnwell, I was at first disposed to

 

believe that I must have had some hand in the attack upon my

 

sister, or at all events that as her near relation, popularly known

 

to be under obligations to her, I was a more legitimate object of

 

suspicion than any one else. But when, in the clearer light of next

 

morning, I began to reconsider the matter and to hear it discussed

 

around me on all sides, I took another view of the case, which was

 

more reasonable.

 

Joe had been at the Three Jolly Bargemen, smoking his pipe, from a

 

quarter after eight o'clock to a quarter before ten. While he was

 

there, my sister had been seen standing at the kitchen door, and

 

had exchanged Good Night with a farm-laborer going home. The man

 

could not be more particular as to the time at which he saw her (he got into dense confusion when he tried to be), than that it must

 

have been before nine. When Joe went home at five minutes before

 

ten, he found her struck down on the floor, and promptly called in

 

assistance. The fire had not then burnt unusually low, nor was the

 

snuff of the candle very long; the candle, however, had been blown

 

out.

 

Nothing had been taken away from any part of the house. Neither,

 

beyond the blowing out of the candle,--which stood on a table

 

between the door and my sister, and was behind her when she stood

 

facing the fire and was struck,--was there any disarrangement of

 

the kitchen, excepting such as she herself had made, in falling and

 

bleeding. But, there was one remarkable piece of evidence on the

 

spot. She had been struck with something blunt and heavy, on the

 

head and spine; after the blows were dealt, something heavy had

 

been thrown down at her with considerable violence, as she lay on

 

her face. And on the ground beside her, when Joe picked her up, was

 

a convict's leg-iron which had been filed asunder.

 

Now, Joe, examining this iron with a smith's eye, declared it to

 

have been filed asunder some time ago. The hue and cry going off to

 

the Hulks, and people coming thence to examine the iron, Joe's

 

opinion was corroborated. They did not undertake to say when it had

 

left the prison-ships to which it undoubtedly had once belonged;

 

but they claimed to know for certain that that particular manacle had not been worn by either of the two convicts who had escaped last

 

night. Further, one of those two was already retaken, and had not

 

freed himself of his iron.

 

Knowing what I knew, I set up an inference of my own here. I

 

believed the iron to be my convict's iron,--the iron I had seen and

 

heard him filing at, on the marshes,--but my mind did not accuse

 

him of having put it to its latest use. For I believed one of two

 

other persons to have become possessed of it, and to have turned it

 

to this cruel account. Either Orlick, or the strange man who had

 

shown me the file.

 

Now, as to Orlick; he had gone to town exactly as he told us when

 

we picked him up at the turnpike, he had been seen about town all

 

the evening, he had been in divers companies in several

 

public-houses, and he had come back with myself and Mr. Wopsle.

 

There was nothing against him, save the quarrel; and my sister had

 

quarrelled with him, and with everybody else about her, ten

 

thousand times. As to the strange man; if he had come back for his

 

two bank-notes there could have been no dispute about them, because

 

my sister was fully prepared to restore them. Besides, there had

 

been no altercation; the assailant had come in so silently and

 

suddenly, that she had been felled before she could look round.

 

It was horrible to think that I had provided the weapon, however undesignedly, but I could hardly think otherwise. I suffered

 

unspeakable trouble while I considered and reconsidered whether I

 

should at last dissolve that spell of my childhood and tell Joe

 

all the story. For months afterwards, I every day settled the

 

question finally in the negative, and reopened and reargued it next

 

morning. The contention came, after all, to this;--the secret was

 

such an old one now, had so grown into me and become a part of

 

myself, that I could not tear it away. In addition to the dread

 

that, having led up to so much mischief, it would be now more

 

likely than ever to alienate Joe from me if he believed it, I had a

 

further restraining dread that he would not believe it, but would

 

assort it with the fabulous dogs and veal-cutlets as a monstrous

 

invention. However, I temporized with myself, of course--for, was

 

I not wavering between right and wrong, when the thing is always

 

done?--and resolved to make a full disclosure if I should see any

 

such new occasion as a new chance of helping in the discovery of

 

the assailant.

 

The Constables and the Bow Street men from London--for, this

 

happened in the days of the extinct red-waistcoated police--were

 

about the house for a week or two, and did pretty much what I have

 

heard and read of like authorities doing in other such cases. They

 

took up several obviously wrong people, and they ran their heads

 

very hard against wrong ideas, and persisted in trying to fit the

 

circumstances to the ideas, instead of trying to extract ideas from the circumstances. Also, they stood about the door of the Jolly

 

Bargemen, with knowing and reserved looks that filled the whole

 

neighborhood with admiration; and they had a mysterious manner of

 

taking their drink, that was almost as good as taking the culprit.

 

But not quite, for they never did it.

 

Long after these constitutional powers had dispersed, my sister lay

 

very ill in bed. Her sight was disturbed, so that she saw objects

 

multiplied, and grasped at visionary teacups and wineglasses

 

instead of the realities; her hearing was greatly impaired; her

 

memory also; and her speech was unintelligible. When, at last, she

 

came round so far as to be helped down stairs, it was still

 

necessary to keep my slate always by her, that she might indicate

 

in writing what she could not indicate in speech. As she was (very

 

bad handwriting apart) a more than indifferent speller, and as Joe

 

was a more than indifferent reader, extraordinary complications

 

arose between them which I was always called in to solve. The

 

administration of mutton instead of medicine, the substitution of

 

Tea for Joe, and the baker for bacon, were among the mildest of my

 

own mistakes.

 

However, her temper was greatly improved, and she was patient. A

 

tremulous uncertainty of the action of all her limbs soon became a

 

part of her regular state, and afterwards, at intervals of two or

 

three months, she would often put her hands to her head, and would then remain for about a week at a time in some gloomy aberration of

 

mind. We were at a loss to find a suitable attendant for her, until

 

a circumstance happened conveniently to relieve us. Mr. Wopsle's

 

great-aunt conquered a confirmed habit of living into which she had

 

fallen, and Biddy became a part of our establishment.

 

It may have been about a month after my sister's reappearance in

 

the kitchen, when Biddy came to us with a small speckled box

 

containing the whole of her worldly effects, and became a blessing

 

to the household. Above all, she was a blessing to Joe, for the

 

dear old fellow was sadly cut up by the constant contemplation of

 

the wreck of his wife, and had been accustomed, while attending on

 

her of an evening, to turn to me every now and then and say, with

 

his blue eyes moistened, "Such a fine figure of a woman as she once

 

were, Pip!" Biddy instantly taking the cleverest charge of her as

 

though she had studied her from infancy; Joe became able in some

 

sort to appreciate the greater quiet of his life, and to get down

 

to the Jolly Bargemen now and then for a change that did him good.

 

It was characteristic of the police people that they had all more

 

or less suspected poor Joe (though he never knew it), and that they

 

had to a man concurred in regarding him as one of the deepest

 

spirits they had ever encountered.

 

Biddy's first triumph in her new office, was to solve a difficulty

 

that had completely vanquished me. I had tried hard at it, but had made nothing of it. Thus it was:--

 

Again and again and again, my sister had traced upon the slate, a

 

character that looked like a curious T, and then with the utmost

 

eagerness had called our attention to it as something she

 

particularly wanted. I had in vain tried everything producible that

 

began with a T, from tar to toast and tub. At length it had come

 

into my head that the sign looked like a hammer, and on my lustily

 

calling that word in my sister's ear, she had begun to hammer on

 

the table and had expressed a qualified assent. Thereupon, I had

 

brought in all our hammers, one after another, but without avail.

 

Then I bethought me of a crutch, the shape being much the same, and

 

I borrowed one in the village, and displayed it to my sister with

 

considerable confidence. But she shook her head to that extent when

 

she was shown it, that we were terrified lest in her weak and

 

shattered state she should dislocate her neck.

 

When my sister found that Biddy was very quick to understand her,

 

this mysterious sign reappeared on the slate. Biddy looked

 

thoughtfully at it, heard my explanation, looked thoughtfully at my

 

sister, looked thoughtfully at Joe (who was always represented on

 

the slate by his initial letter), and ran into the forge, followed

 

by Joe and me.

 

"Why, of course!" cried Biddy, with an exultant face. "Don't you see? It's him!"

 

Orlick, without a doubt! She had lost his name, and could only

 

signify him by his hammer. We told him why we wanted him to come

 

into the kitchen, and he slowly laid down his hammer, wiped his

 

brow with his arm, took another wipe at it with his apron, and came

 

slouching out, with a curious loose vagabond bend in the knees that

 

strongly distinguished him.

 

I confess that I expected to see my sister denounce him, and that I

 

was disappointed by the different result. She manifested the

 

greatest anxiety to be on good terms with him, was evidently much

 

pleased by his being at length produced, and motioned that she

 

would have him given something to drink. She watched his

 

countenance as if she were particularly wishful to be assured that

 

he took kindly to his reception, she showed every possible desire

 

to conciliate him, and there was an air of humble propitiation in

 

all she did, such as I have seen pervade the bearing of a child

 

towards a hard master. After that day, a day rarely passed without

 

her drawing the hammer on her slate, and without Orlick's slouching

 

in and standing doggedly before her, as if he knew no more than I

 

did what to make of it.

 

Chapter XVII I now fell into a regular routine of apprenticeship life, which was

 

varied beyond the limits of the village and the marshes, by no

 

more remarkable circumstance than the arrival of my birthday and my

 

paying another visit to Miss Havisham. I found Miss Sarah Pocket

 

still on duty at the gate; I found Miss Havisham just as I had left

 

her, and she spoke of Estella in the very same way, if not in the

 

very same words. The interview lasted but a few minutes, and she

 

gave me a guinea when I was going, and told me to come again on my

 

next birthday. I may mention at once that this became an annual

 

custom. I tried to decline taking the guinea on the first occasion,

 

but with no better effect than causing her to ask me very angrily,

 

if I expected more? Then, and after that, I took it.

 

So unchanging was the dull old house, the yellow light in the

 

darkened room, the faded spectre in the chair by the dressing-table

 

glass, that I felt as if the stopping of the clocks had stopped

 

Time in that mysterious place, and, while I and everything else

 

outside it grew older, it stood still. Daylight never entered the

 

house as to my thoughts and remembrances of it, any more than as to

 

the actual fact. It bewildered me, and under its influence I

 

continued at heart to hate my trade and to be ashamed of home.

 

Imperceptibly I became conscious of a change in Biddy, however. Her

 

shoes came up at the heel, her hair grew bright and neat, her hands were always clean. She was not beautiful,--she was common, and

 

could not be like Estella,--but she was pleasant and wholesome and

 

sweet-tempered. She had not been with us more than a year (I

 

remember her being newly out of mourning at the time it struck me),

 

when I observed to myself one evening that she had curiously

 

thoughtful and attentive eyes; eyes that were very pretty and very

 

good.

 

It came of my lifting up my own eyes from a task I was poring at--

 

writing some passages from a book, to improve myself in two ways at

 

once by a sort of stratagem--and seeing Biddy observant of what I

 

was about. I laid down my pen, and Biddy stopped in her needlework

 

without laying it down.

 

"Biddy," said I, "how do you manage it? Either I am very stupid, or

 

you are very clever."

 

"What is it that I manage? I don't know," returned Biddy, smiling.

 

She managed our whole domestic life, and wonderfully too; but I did

 

not mean that, though that made what I did mean more surprising.

 

"How do you manage, Biddy," said I, "to learn everything that I

 

learn, and always to keep up with me?" I was beginning to be rather

 

vain of my knowledge, for I spent my birthday guineas on it, and set aside the greater part of my pocket-money for similar

 

investment; though I have no doubt, now, that the little I knew was

 

extremely dear at the price.

 

"I might as well ask you," said Biddy, "how you manage?"

 

"No; because when I come in from the forge of a night, any one can

 

see me turning to at it. But you never turn to at it, Biddy."

 

"I suppose I must catch it like a cough," said Biddy, quietly;

 

and went on with her sewing.

 

Pursuing my idea as I leaned back in my wooden chair, and looked at

 

Biddy sewing away with her head on one side, I began to think her

 

rather an extraordinary girl. For I called to mind now, that she

 

was equally accomplished in the terms of our trade, and the names

 

of our different sorts of work, and our various tools. In short,

 

whatever I knew, Biddy knew. Theoretically, she was already as good

 

a blacksmith as I, or better.

 

"You are one of those, Biddy," said I, "who make the most of every

 

chance. You never had a chance before you came here, and see how

 

improved you are!"

 

Biddy looked at me for an instant, and went on with her sewing. "I was your first teacher though; wasn't I?" said she, as she sewed.

 

"Biddy!" I exclaimed, in amazement. "Why, you are crying!"

 

"No I am not," said Biddy, looking up and laughing. "What put that

 

in your head?"

 

What could have put it in my head but the glistening of a tear as

 

it dropped on her work? I sat silent, recalling what a drudge she

 

had been until Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt successfully overcame that

 

bad habit of living, so highly desirable to be got rid of by some

 

people. I recalled the hopeless circumstances by which she had been

 

surrounded in the miserable little shop and the miserable little

 

noisy evening school, with that miserable old bundle of

 

incompetence always to be dragged and shouldered. I reflected that

 

even in those untoward times there must have been latent in Biddy

 

what was now developing, for, in my first uneasiness and discontent

 

I had turned to her for help, as a matter of course. Biddy sat

 

quietly sewing, shedding no more tears, and while I looked at her

 

and thought about it all, it occurred to me that perhaps I had not

 

been sufficiently grateful to Biddy. I might have been too

 

reserved, and should have patronized her more (though I did not use

 

that precise word in my meditations) with my confidence.

 

"Yes, Biddy," I observed, when I had done turning it over, "you were my first teacher, and that at a time when we little thought of

 

ever being together like this, in this kitchen."

 

"Ah, poor thing!" replied Biddy. It was like her

 

self-forgetfulness to transfer the remark to my sister, and to get

 

up and be busy about her, making her more comfortable; "that's

 

sadly true!"

 

"Well!" said I, "we must talk together a little more, as we used to

 

do. And I must consult you a little more, as I used to do. Let us

 

have a quiet walk on the marshes next Sunday, Biddy, and a long

 

chat."

 

My sister was never left alone now; but Joe more than readily

 

undertook the care of her on that Sunday afternoon, and Biddy and I

 

went out together. It was summer-time, and lovely weather. When we

 

had passed the village and the church and the churchyard, and were

 

out on the marshes and began to see the sails of the ships as they

 

sailed on, I began to combine Miss Havisham and Estella with the

 

prospect, in my usual way. When we came to the river-side and sat

 

down on the bank, with the water rippling at our feet, making it

 

all more quiet than it would have been without that sound, I

 

resolved that it was a good time and place for the admission of

 

Biddy into my inner confidence. "Biddy," said I, after binding her to secrecy, "I want to be a

 

gentleman."

 

"O, I wouldn't, if I was you!" she returned. "I don't think it

 

would answer."

 

"Biddy," said I, with some severity, "I have particular reasons for

 

wanting to be a gentleman."

 

"You know best, Pip; but don't you think you are happier as you

 

are?"

 

"Biddy," I exclaimed, impatiently, "I am not at all happy as I am.

 

I am disgusted with my calling and with my life. I have never taken

 

to either, since I was bound. Don't be absurd."

 

"Was I absurd?" said Biddy, quietly raising her eyebrows; "I am

 

sorry for that; I didn't mean to be. I only want you to do well,

 

and to be comfortable."

 

"Well, then, understand once for all that I never shall or can be

 

comfortable--or anything but miserable--there, Biddy!--unless I

 

can lead a very different sort of life from the life I lead now."

 

"That's a pity!" said Biddy, shaking her head with a sorrowful air. Now, I too had so often thought it a pity, that, in the singular

 

kind of quarrel with myself which I was always carrying on, I was

 

half inclined to shed tears of vexation and distress when Biddy

 

gave utterance to her sentiment and my own. I told her she was

 

right, and I knew it was much to be regretted, but still it was not

 

to be helped.

 

"If I could have settled down," I said to Biddy, plucking up the

 

short grass within reach, much as I had once upon a time pulled my

 

feelings out of my hair and kicked them into the brewery wall,--"if

 

I could have settled down and been but half as fond of the forge as

 

I was when I was little, I know it would have been much better for

 

me. You and I and Joe would have wanted nothing then, and Joe and I

 

would perhaps have gone partners when I was out of my time, and I

 

might even have grown up to keep company with you, and we might

 

have sat on this very bank on a fine Sunday, quite different

 

people. I should have been good enough for you; shouldn't I,

 

Biddy?"

 

Biddy sighed as she looked at the ships sailing on, and returned

 

for answer, "Yes; I am not over-particular." It scarcely sounded

 

flattering, but I knew she meant well.

 

"Instead of that," said I, plucking up more grass and chewing a blade or two, "see how I am going on. Dissatisfied, and

 

uncomfortable, and--what would it signify to me, being coarse and

 

common, if nobody had told me so!"

 

Biddy turned her face suddenly towards mine, and looked far more

 

attentively at me than she had looked at the sailing ships.

 

"It was neither a very true nor a very polite thing to say," she

 

remarked, directing her eyes to the ships again. "Who said it?"

 

I was disconcerted, for I had broken away without quite seeing

 

where I was going to. It was not to be shuffled off now, however,

 

and I answered, "The beautiful young lady at Miss Havisham's, and

 

she's more beautiful than anybody ever was, and I admire her

 

dreadfully, and I want to be a gentleman on her account." Having

 

made this lunatic confession, I began to throw my torn-up grass

 

into the river, as if I had some thoughts of following it.

 

"Do you want to be a gentleman, to spite her or to gain her over?"

 

Biddy quietly asked me, after a pause.

 

"I don't know," I moodily answered.

 

"Because, if it is to spite her," Biddy pursued, "I should think--

 

but you know best--that might be better and more independently done by caring nothing for her words. And if it is to gain her

 

over, I should think--but you know best--she was not worth

 

gaining over."

 

Exactly what I myself had thought, many times. Exactly what was

 

perfectly manifest to me at the moment. But how could I, a poor

 

dazed village lad, avoid that wonderful inconsistency into which

 

the best and wisest of men fall every day?

 

"It may be all quite true," said I to Biddy, "but I admire her

 

dreadfully."

 

In short, I turned over on my face when I came to that, and got a

 

good grasp on the hair on each side of my head, and wrenched it

 

well. All the while knowing the madness of my heart to be so very

 

mad and misplaced, that I was quite conscious it would have served

 

my face right, if I had lifted it up by my hair, and knocked it

 

against the pebbles as a punishment for belonging to such an idiot.

 

Biddy was the wisest of girls, and she tried to reason no more with

 

me. She put her hand, which was a comfortable hand though roughened

 

by work, upon my hands, one after another, and gently took them out

 

of my hair. Then she softly patted my shoulder in a soothing way,

 

while with my face upon my sleeve I cried a little,--exactly as I

 

had done in the brewery yard,--and felt vaguely convinced that I was very much ill-used by somebody, or by everybody; I can't say

 

which.

 

"I am glad of one thing," said Biddy, "and that is, that you have

 

felt you could give me your confidence, Pip. And I am glad of

 

another thing, and that is, that of course you know you may depend

 

upon my keeping it and always so far deserving it. If your first

 

teacher (dear! such a poor one, and so much in need of being taught

 

herself!) had been your teacher at the present time, she thinks she

 

knows what lesson she would set. But it would be a hard one to

 

learn, and you have got beyond her, and it's of no use now." So,

 

with a quiet sigh for me, Biddy rose from the bank, and said, with

 

a fresh and pleasant change of voice, "Shall we walk a little

 

farther, or go home?"

 

"Biddy," I cried, getting up, putting my arm round her neck, and

 

giving her a kiss, "I shall always tell you everything."

 

"Till you're a gentleman," said Biddy.

 

"You know I never shall be, so that's always. Not that I have any

 

occasion to tell you anything, for you know everything I know,--as

 

I told you at home the other night."

 

"Ah!" said Biddy, quite in a whisper, as she looked away at the ships. And then repeated, with her former pleasant change, "shall

 

we walk a little farther, or go home?"

 

I said to Biddy we would walk a little farther, and we did so, and

 

the summer afternoon toned down into the summer evening, and it was

 

very beautiful. I began to consider whether I was not more

 

naturally and wholesomely situated, after all, in these

 

circumstances, than playing beggar my neighbor by candle-light in

 

the room with the stopped clocks, and being despised by Estella. I

 

thought it would be very good for me if I could get her out of my

 

head, with all the rest of those remembrances and fancies, and

 

could go to work determined to relish what I had to do, and stick

 

to it, and make the best of it. I asked myself the question whether

 

I did not surely know that if Estella were beside me at that moment

 

instead of Biddy, she would make me miserable? I was obliged to

 

admit that I did know it for a certainty, and I said to myself,

 

"Pip, what a fool you are!"

 

We talked a good deal as we walked, and all that Biddy said seemed

 

right. Biddy was never insulting, or capricious, or Biddy to-day

 

and somebody else to-morrow; she would have derived only pain, and

 

no pleasure, from giving me pain; she would far rather have wounded

 

her own breast than mine. How could it be, then, that I did not

 

like her much the better of the two? "Biddy," said I, when we were walking homeward, "I wish you could

 

put me right."

 

"I wish I could!" said Biddy.

 

"If I could only get myself to fall in love with you,--you don't

 

mind my speaking so openly to such an old acquaintance?"

 

"Oh dear, not at all!" said Biddy. "Don't mind me."

 

"If I could only get myself to do it, that would be the thing for

 

me."

 

"But you never will, you see," said Biddy.

 

It did not appear quite so unlikely to me that evening, as it would

 

have done if we had discussed it a few hours before. I therefore

 

observed I was not quite sure of that. But Biddy said she was, and

 

she said it decisively. In my heart I believed her to be right; and

 

yet I took it rather ill, too, that she should be so positive on

 

the point.

 

When we came near the churchyard, we had to cross an embankment,

 

and get over a stile near a sluice-gate. There started up, from the

 

gate, or from the rushes, or from the ooze (which was quite in his stagnant way), Old Orlick.

 

"Halloa!" he growled, "where are you two going?"

 

"Where should we be going, but home?"

 

"Well, then," said he, "I'm jiggered if I don't see you home!"

 

This penalty of being jiggered was a favorite supposititious case

 

of his. He attached no definite meaning to the word that I am aware

 

of, but used it, like his own pretended Christian name, to affront

 

mankind, and convey an idea of something savagely damaging. When I

 

was younger, I had had a general belief that if he had jiggered me

 

personally, he would have done it with a sharp and twisted hook.

 

Biddy was much against his going with us, and said to me in a

 

whisper, "Don't let him come; I don't like him." As I did not like

 

him either, I took the liberty of saying that we thanked him, but

 

we didn't want seeing home. He received that piece of information

 

with a yell of laughter, and dropped back, but came slouching after

 

us at a little distance.

 

Curious to know whether Biddy suspected him of having had a hand in

 

that murderous attack of which my sister had never been able to

 

give any account, I asked her why she did not like him. "Oh!" she replied, glancing over her shoulder as he slouched after

 

us, "because I--I am afraid he likes me."

 

"Did he ever tell you he liked you?" I asked indignantly.

 

"No," said Biddy, glancing over her shoulder again, "he never told

 

me so; but he dances at me, whenever he can catch my eye."

 

However novel and peculiar this testimony of attachment, I did not

 

doubt the accuracy of the interpretation. I was very hot indeed

 

upon Old Orlick's daring to admire her; as hot as if it were an

 

outrage on myself.

 

"But it makes no difference to you, you know," said Biddy, calmly.

 

"No, Biddy, it makes no difference to me; only I don't like it; I

 

don't approve of it."

 

"Nor I neither," said Biddy. "Though that makes no difference to

 

you."

 

"Exactly," said I; "but I must tell you I should have no opinion of

 

you, Biddy, if he danced at you with your own consent." I kept an eye on Orlick after that night, and, whenever

 

circumstances were favorable to his dancing at Biddy, got before

 

him to obscure that demonstration. He had struck root in Joe's

 

establishment, by reason of my sister's sudden fancy for him, or I

 

should have tried to get him dismissed. He quite understood and

 

reciprocated my good intentions, as I had reason to know

 

thereafter.

 

And now, because my mind was not confused enough before, I

 

complicated its confusion fifty thousand-fold, by having states and

 

seasons when I was clear that Biddy was immeasurably better than

 

Estella, and that the plain honest working life to which I was

 

born had nothing in it to be ashamed of, but offered me sufficient

 

means of self-respect and happiness. At those times, I would decide

 

conclusively that my disaffection to dear old Joe and the forge

 

was gone, and that I was growing up in a fair way to be partners

 

with Joe and to keep company with Biddy,--when all in a moment some

 

confounding remembrance of the Havisham days would fall upon me

 

like a destructive missile, and scatter my wits again. Scattered

 

wits take a long time picking up; and often before I had got them

 

well together, they would be dispersed in all directions by one

 

stray thought, that perhaps after all Miss Havisham was going to

 

make my fortune when my time was out.

 

If my time had run out, it would have left me still at the height of my perplexities, I dare say. It never did run out, however, but

 

was brought to a premature end, as I proceed to relate.

 

Chapter XVIII

 

It was in the fourth year of my apprenticeship to Joe, and it was a

 

Saturday night. There was a group assembled round the fire at the

 

Three Jolly Bargemen, attentive to Mr. Wopsle as he read the

 

newspaper aloud. Of that group I was one.

 

A highly popular murder had been committed, and Mr. Wopsle was

 

imbrued in blood to the eyebrows. He gloated over every abhorrent

 

adjective in the description, and identified himself with every

 

witness at the Inquest. He faintly moaned, "I am done for," as the

 

victim, and he barbarously bellowed, "I'll serve you out," as the

 

murderer. He gave the medical testimony, in pointed imitation of

 

our local practitioner; and he piped and shook, as the aged

 

turnpike-keeper who had heard blows, to an extent so very paralytic

 

as to suggest a doubt regarding the mental competency of that

 

witness. The coroner, in Mr. Wopsle's hands, became Timon of Athens;

 

the beadle, Coriolanus. He enjoyed himself thoroughly, and we all

 

enjoyed ourselves, and were delightfully comfortable. In this cosey

 

state of mind we came to the verdict Wilful Murder. Then, and not sooner, I became aware of a strange gentleman leaning

 

over the back of the settle opposite me, looking on. There was an

 

expression of contempt on his face, and he bit the side of a great

 

forefinger as he watched the group of faces.

 

"Well!" said the stranger to Mr. Wopsle, when the reading was done,

 

"you have settled it all to your own satisfaction, I have no

 

doubt?"

 

Everybody started and looked up, as if it were the murderer. He

 

looked at everybody coldly and sarcastically.

 

"Guilty, of course?" said he. "Out with it. Come!"

 

"Sir," returned Mr. Wopsle, "without having the honor of your

 

acquaintance, I do say Guilty." Upon this we all took courage to

 

unite in a confirmatory murmur.

 

"I know you do," said the stranger; "I knew you would. I told you

 

so. But now I'll ask you a question. Do you know, or do you not

 

know, that the law of England supposes every man to be innocent,

 

until he is proved-proved--to be guilty?"

 

"Sir," Mr. Wopsle began to reply, "as an Englishman myself, I--" "Come!" said the stranger, biting his forefinger at him. "Don't

 

evade the question. Either you know it, or you don't know it. Which

 

is it to be?"

 

He stood with his head on one side and himself on one side, in a

 

Bullying, interrogative manner, and he threw his forefinger at Mr.

 

Wopsle,--as it were to mark him out--before biting it again.

 

"Now!" said he. "Do you know it, or don't you know it?"

 

"Certainly I know it," replied Mr. Wopsle.

 

"Certainly you know it. Then why didn't you say so at first? Now,

 

I'll ask you another question,"--taking possession of Mr. Wopsle, as

 

if he had a right to him,--"do you know that none of these witnesses

 

have yet been cross-examined?"

 

Mr. Wopsle was beginning, "I can only say--" when the stranger

 

stopped him.

 

"What? You won't answer the question, yes or no? Now, I'll try you

 

again." Throwing his finger at him again. "Attend to me. Are you

 

aware, or are you not aware, that none of these witnesses have yet

 

been cross-examined? Come, I only want one word from you. Yes, or

 

no?" Mr. Wopsle hesitated, and we all began to conceive rather a poor

 

opinion of him.

 

"Come!" said the stranger, "I'll help you. You don't deserve help,

 

but I'll help you. Look at that paper you hold in your hand. What

 

is it?"

 

"What is it?" repeated Mr. Wopsle, eyeing it, much at a loss.

 

"Is it," pursued the stranger in his most sarcastic and suspicious

 

manner, "the printed paper you have just been reading from?"

 

"Undoubtedly."

 

"Undoubtedly. Now, turn to that paper, and tell me whether it

 

distinctly states that the prisoner expressly said that his legal

 

advisers instructed him altogether to reserve his defence?"

 

"I read that just now," Mr. Wopsle pleaded.

 

"Never mind what you read just now, sir; I don't ask you what you

 

read just now. You may read the Lord's Prayer backwards, if you

 

like,--and, perhaps, have done it before to-day. Turn to the paper.

 

No, no, no my friend; not to the top of the column; you know better than that; to the bottom, to the bottom." (We all began to think Mr.

 

Wopsle full of subterfuge.) "Well? Have you found it?"

 

"Here it is," said Mr. Wopsle.

 

"Now, follow that passage with your eye, and tell me whether it

 

distinctly states that the prisoner expressly said that he was

 

instructed by his legal advisers wholly to reserve his defence?

 

Come! Do you make that of it?"

 

Mr. Wopsle answered, "Those are not the exact words."

 

"Not the exact words!" repeated the gentleman bitterly. "Is that

 

the exact substance?"

 

"Yes," said Mr. Wopsle.

 

"Yes," repeated the stranger, looking round at the rest of the

 

company with his right hand extended towards the witness, Wopsle.

 

"And now I ask you what you say to the conscience of that man who,

 

with that passage before his eyes, can lay his head upon his pillow

 

after having pronounced a fellow-creature guilty, unheard?"

 

We all began to suspect that Mr. Wopsle was not the man we had

 

thought him, and that he was beginning to be found out. "And that same man, remember," pursued the gentleman, throwing his

 

finger at Mr. Wopsle heavily,--"that same man might be summoned as a

 

juryman upon this very trial, and, having thus deeply committed

 

himself, might return to the bosom of his family and lay his head

 

upon his pillow, after deliberately swearing that he would well and

 

truly try the issue joined between Our Sovereign Lord the King and

 

the prisoner at the bar, and would a true verdict give according to

 

the evidence, so help him God!"

 

We were all deeply persuaded that the unfortunate Wopsle had gone

 

too far, and had better stop in his reckless career while there was

 

yet time.

 

The strange gentleman, with an air of authority not to be disputed,

 

and with a manner expressive of knowing something secret about

 

every one of us that would effectually do for each individual if he

 

chose to disclose it, left the back of the settle, and came into

 

the space between the two settles, in front of the fire, where he

 

remained standing, his left hand in his pocket, and he biting the

 

forefinger of his right.

 

"From information I have received," said he, looking round at us as

 

we all quailed before him, "I have reason to believe there is a

 

blacksmith among you, by name Joseph--or Joe--Gargery. Which is the man?"

 

"Here is the man," said Joe.

 

The strange gentleman beckoned him out of his place, and Joe went.

 

"You have an apprentice," pursued the stranger, "commonly known as

 

Pip? Is he here?"

 

"I am here!" I cried.

 

The stranger did not recognize me, but I recognized him as the

 

gentleman I had met on the stairs, on the occasion of my second

 

visit to Miss Havisham. I had known him the moment I saw him

 

looking over the settle, and now that I stood confronting him with

 

his hand upon my shoulder, I checked off again in detail his large

 

head, his dark complexion, his deep-set eyes, his bushy black

 

eyebrows, his large watch-chain, his strong black dots of beard and

 

whisker, and even the smell of scented soap on his great hand.

 

"I wish to have a private conference with you two," said he, when

 

he had surveyed me at his leisure. "It will take a little time.

 

Perhaps we had better go to your place of residence. I prefer not

 

to anticipate my communication here; you will impart as much or as

 

little of it as you please to your friends afterwards; I have nothing to do with that."

 

Amidst a wondering silence, we three walked out of the Jolly

 

Bargemen, and in a wondering silence walked home. While going

 

along, the strange gentleman occasionally looked at me, and

 

occasionally bit the side of his finger. As we neared home, Joe

 

vaguely acknowledging the occasion as an impressive and ceremonious

 

one, went on ahead to open the front door. Our conference was held

 

in the state parlor, which was feebly lighted by one candle.

 

It began with the strange gentleman's sitting down at the table,

 

drawing the candle to him, and looking over some entries in his

 

pocket-book. He then put up the pocket-book and set the candle a

 

little aside, after peering round it into the darkness at Joe and

 

me, to ascertain which was which.

 

"My name," he said, "is Jaggers, and I am a lawyer in London. I am

 

pretty well known. I have unusual business to transact with you,

 

and I commence by explaining that it is not of my originating. If

 

my advice had been asked, I should not have been here. It was not

 

asked, and you see me here. What I have to do as the confidential

 

agent of another, I do. No less, no more."

 

Finding that he could not see us very well from where he sat, he

 

got up, and threw one leg over the back of a chair and leaned upon it; thus having one foot on the seat of the chair, and one foot on

 

the ground.

 

"Now, Joseph Gargery, I am the bearer of an offer to relieve you of

 

this young fellow your apprentice. You would not object to cancel

 

his indentures at his request and for his good? You would want

 

nothing for so doing?"

 

"Lord forbid that I should want anything for not standing in Pip's

 

way," said Joe, staring.

 

"Lord forbidding is pious, but not to the purpose," returned Mr.

 

Jaggers. "The question is, Would you want anything? Do you want

 

anything?"

 

"The answer is," returned Joe, sternly, "No."

 

I thought Mr. Jaggers glanced at Joe, as if he considered him a fool

 

for his disinterestedness. But I was too much bewildered between

 

breathless curiosity and surprise, to be sure of it.

 

"Very well," said Mr. Jaggers. "Recollect the admission you have

 

made, and don't try to go from it presently."

 

"Who's a going to try?" retorted Joe. "I don't say anybody is. Do you keep a dog?"

 

"Yes, I do keep a dog."

 

"Bear in mind then, that Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a

 

better. Bear that in mind, will you?" repeated Mr. Jaggers, shutting

 

his eyes and nodding his head at Joe, as if he were forgiving him

 

something. "Now, I return to this young fellow. And the

 

communication I have got to make is, that he has Great

 

Expectations."

 

Joe and I gasped, and looked at one another.

 

"I am instructed to communicate to him," said Mr. Jaggers, throwing

 

his finger at me sideways, "that he will come into a handsome

 

property. Further, that it is the desire of the present possessor

 

of that property, that he be immediately removed from his present

 

sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a

 

gentleman,--in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations."

 

My dream was out; my wild fancy was surpassed by sober reality;

 

Miss Havisham was going to make my fortune on a grand scale.

 

"Now, Mr. Pip," pursued the lawyer, "I address the rest of what I have to say, to you. You are to understand, first, that it is the

 

request of the person from whom I take my instructions that you

 

always bear the name of Pip. You will have no objection, I dare

 

say, to your great expectations being encumbered with that easy

 

condition. But if you have any objection, this is the time to

 

mention it."

 

My heart was beating so fast, and there was such a singing in my

 

ears, that I could scarcely stammer I had no objection.

 

"I should think not! Now you are to understand, secondly, Mr. Pip,

 

that the name of the person who is your liberal benefactor remains

 

a profound secret, until the person chooses to reveal it. I am

 

empowered to mention that it is the intention of the person to

 

reveal it at first hand by word of mouth to yourself. When or where

 

that intention may be carried out, I cannot say; no one can say. It

 

may be years hence. Now, you are distinctly to understand that you

 

are most positively prohibited from making any inquiry on this

 

head, or any allusion or reference, however distant, to any

 

individual whomsoever as the individual, in all the communications

 

you may have with me. If you have a suspicion in your own breast,

 

keep that suspicion in your own breast. It is not the least to the

 

purpose what the reasons of this prohibition are; they may be the

 

strongest and gravest reasons, or they may be mere whim. This is

 

not for you to inquire into. The condition is laid down. Your acceptance of it, and your observance of it as binding, is the only

 

remaining condition that I am charged with, by the person from whom

 

I take my instructions, and for whom I am not otherwise

 

responsible. That person is the person from whom you derive your

 

expectations, and the secret is solely held by that person and by

 

me. Again, not a very difficult condition with which to encumber

 

such a rise in fortune; but if you have any objection to it, this

 

is the time to mention it. Speak out."

 

Once more, I stammered with difficulty that I had no objection.

 

"I should think not! Now, Mr. Pip, I have done with stipulations."

 

Though he called me Mr. Pip, and began rather to make up to me, he

 

still could not get rid of a certain air of bullying suspicion; and

 

even now he occasionally shut his eyes and threw his finger at me

 

while he spoke, as much as to express that he knew all kinds of

 

things to my disparagement, if he only chose to mention them. "We

 

come next, to mere details of arrangement. You must know that,

 

although I have used the term "expectations" more than once, you

 

are not endowed with expectations only. There is already lodged in

 

my hands a sum of money amply sufficient for your suitable

 

education and maintenance. You will please consider me your

 

guardian. Oh!" for I was going to thank him, "I tell you at once, I

 

am paid for my services, or I shouldn't render them. It is

 

considered that you must be better educated, in accordance with your altered position, and that you will be alive to the importance

 

and necessity of at once entering on that advantage."

 

I said I had always longed for it.

 

"Never mind what you have always longed for, Mr. Pip," he retorted;

 

"keep to the record. If you long for it now, that's enough. Am I

 

answered that you are ready to be placed at once under some proper

 

tutor? Is that it?"

 

I stammered yes, that was it.

 

"Good. Now, your inclinations are to be consulted. I don't think

 

that wise, mind, but it's my trust. Have you ever heard of any

 

tutor whom you would prefer to another?"

 

I had never heard of any tutor but Biddy and Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt;

 

so, I replied in the negative.

 

"There is a certain tutor, of whom I have some knowledge, who I

 

think might suit the purpose," said Mr. Jaggers. "I don't recommend

 

him, observe; because I never recommend anybody. The gentleman I

 

speak of is one Mr. Matthew Pocket."

 

Ah! I caught at the name directly. Miss Havisham's relation. The Matthew whom Mr. and Mrs. Camilla had spoken of. The Matthew whose

 

place was to be at Miss Havisham's head, when she lay dead, in her

 

bride's dress on the bride's table.

 

"You know the name?" said Mr. Jaggers, looking shrewdly at me, and

 

then shutting up his eyes while he waited for my answer.

 

My answer was, that I had heard of the name.

 

"Oh!" said he. "You have heard of the name. But the question is,

 

what do you say of it?"

 

I said, or tried to say, that I was much obliged to him for his

 

recommendation--

 

"No, my young friend!" he interrupted, shaking his great head very

 

slowly. "Recollect yourself!"

 

Not recollecting myself, I began again that I was much obliged to

 

him for his recommendation--

 

"No, my young friend," he interrupted, shaking his head and

 

frowning and smiling both at once,--"no, no, no; it's very well

 

done, but it won't do; you are too young to fix me with it.

 

Recommendation is not the word, Mr. Pip. Try another." Correcting myself, I said that I was much obliged to him for his

 

mention of Mr. Matthew Pocket--

 

"That's more like it!" cried Mr. Jaggers.

 

--And (I added), I would gladly try that gentleman.

 

"Good. You had better try him in his own house. The way shall be

 

prepared for you, and you can see his son first, who is in London.

 

When will you come to London?"

 

I said (glancing at Joe, who stood looking on, motionless), that I

 

supposed I could come directly.

 

"First," said Mr. Jaggers, "you should have some new clothes to come

 

in, and they should not be working-clothes. Say this day week.

 

You'll want some money. Shall I leave you twenty guineas?"

 

He produced a long purse, with the greatest coolness, and counted

 

them out on the table and pushed them over to me. This was the

 

first time he had taken his leg from the chair. He sat astride of

 

the chair when he had pushed the money over, and sat swinging his

 

purse and eyeing Joe. "Well, Joseph Gargery? You look dumbfoundered?"

 

"I am!" said Joe, in a very decided manner.

 

"It was understood that you wanted nothing for yourself, remember?"

 

"It were understood," said Joe. "And it are understood. And it ever

 

will be similar according."

 

"But what," said Mr. Jaggers, swinging his purse,--"what if it was in

 

my instructions to make you a present, as compensation?"

 

"As compensation what for?" Joe demanded.

 

"For the loss of his services."

 

Joe laid his hand upon my shoulder with the touch of a woman. I

 

have often thought him since, like the steam-hammer that can crush

 

a man or pat an egg-shell, in his combination of strength with

 

gentleness. "Pip is that hearty welcome," said Joe, "to go free

 

with his services, to honor and fortun', as no words can tell him.

 

But if you think as Money can make compensation to me for the loss

 

of the little child--what come to the forge--and ever the best of

 

friends!--" O dear good Joe, whom I was so ready to leave and so unthankful to,

 

I see you again, with your muscular blacksmith's arm before your

 

eyes, and your broad chest heaving, and your voice dying away. O

 

dear good faithful tender Joe, I feel the loving tremble of your

 

hand upon my arm, as solemnly this day as if it had been the rustle

 

of an angel's wing!

 

But I encouraged Joe at the time. I was lost in the mazes of my

 

future fortunes, and could not retrace the by-paths we had trodden

 

together. I begged Joe to be comforted, for (as he said) we had

 

ever been the best of friends, and (as I said) we ever would be so.

 

Joe scooped his eyes with his disengaged wrist, as if he were bent

 

on gouging himself, but said not another word.

 

Mr. Jaggers had looked on at this, as one who recognized in Joe the

 

village idiot, and in me his keeper. When it was over, he said,

 

weighing in his hand the purse he had ceased to swing:--

 

"Now, Joseph Gargery, I warn you this is your last chance. No half

 

measures with me. If you mean to take a present that I have it in

 

charge to make you, speak out, and you shall have it. If on the

 

contrary you mean to say--" Here, to his great amazement, he was

 

stopped by Joe's suddenly working round him with every

 

demonstration of a fell pugilistic purpose. "Which I meantersay," cried Joe, "that if you come into my place

 

bull-baiting and badgering me, come out! Which I meantersay as sech

 

if you're a man, come on! Which I meantersay that what I say, I

 

meantersay and stand or fall by!"

 

I drew Joe away, and he immediately became placable; merely stating

 

to me, in an obliging manner and as a polite expostulatory notice

 

to any one whom it might happen to concern, that he were not a

 

going to be bull-baited and badgered in his own place. Mr. Jaggers

 

had risen when Joe demonstrated, and had backed near the door.

 

Without evincing any inclination to come in again, he there

 

delivered his valedictory remarks. They were these.

 

"Well, Mr. Pip, I think the sooner you leave here--as you are to be

 

a gentleman--the better. Let it stand for this day week, and you

 

shall receive my printed address in the meantime. You can take a

 

hackney-coach at the stage-coach office in London, and come

 

straight to me. Understand, that I express no opinion, one way or

 

other, on the trust I undertake. I am paid for undertaking it, and

 

I do so. Now, understand that, finally. Understand that!"

 

He was throwing his finger at both of us, and I think would have

 

gone on, but for his seeming to think Joe dangerous, and going off.

 

Something came into my head which induced me to run after him, as he was going down to the Jolly Bargemen, where he had left a hired

 

carriage.

 

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Jaggers."

 

"Halloa!" said he, facing round, "what's the matter?"

 

"I wish to be quite right, Mr. Jaggers, and to keep to your

 

directions; so I thought I had better ask. Would there be any

 

objection to my taking leave of any one I know, about here, before

 

I go away?"

 

"No," said he, looking as if he hardly understood me.

 

"I don't mean in the village only, but up town?"

 

"No," said he. "No objection."

 

I thanked him and ran home again, and there I found that Joe had

 

already locked the front door and vacated the state parlor, and

 

was seated by the kitchen fire with a hand on each knee, gazing

 

intently at the burning coals. I too sat down before the fire and

 

gazed at the coals, and nothing was said for a long time.

 

My sister was in her cushioned chair in her corner, and Biddy sat at her needle-work before the fire, and Joe sat next Biddy, and I

 

sat next Joe in the corner opposite my sister. The more I looked

 

into the glowing coals, the more incapable I became of looking at

 

Joe; the longer the silence lasted, the more unable I felt to

 

speak.

 

At length I got out, "Joe, have you told Biddy?"

 

"No, Pip," returned Joe, still looking at the fire, and holding his

 

knees tight, as if he had private information that they intended to

 

make off somewhere, "which I left it to yourself, Pip."

 

"I would rather you told, Joe."

 

"Pip's a gentleman of fortun' then," said Joe, "and God bless him

 

in it!"

 

Biddy dropped her work, and looked at me. Joe held his knees and

 

looked at me. I looked at both of them. After a pause, they both

 

heartily congratulated me; but there was a certain touch of sadness

 

in their congratulations that I rather resented.

 

I took it upon myself to impress Biddy (and through Biddy, Joe)

 

with the grave obligation I considered my friends under, to know

 

nothing and say nothing about the maker of my fortune. It would all come out in good time, I observed, and in the meanwhile nothing was

 

to be said, save that I had come into great expectations from a

 

mysterious patron. Biddy nodded her head thoughtfully at the fire

 

as she took up her work again, and said she would be very

 

particular; and Joe, still detaining his knees, said, "Ay, ay, I'll

 

be ekervally partickler, Pip;" and then they congratulated me

 

again, and went on to express so much wonder at the notion of my

 

being a gentleman that I didn't half like it.

 

Infinite pains were then taken by Biddy to convey to my sister some

 

idea of what had happened. To the best of my belief, those efforts

 

entirely failed. She laughed and nodded her head a great many

 

times, and even repeated after Biddy, the words "Pip" and

 

"Property." But I doubt if they had more meaning in them than an

 

election cry, and I cannot suggest a darker picture of her state of

 

mind.

 

I never could have believed it without experience, but as Joe and

 

Biddy became more at their cheerful ease again, I became quite

 

gloomy. Dissatisfied with my fortune, of course I could not be; but

 

it is possible that I may have been, without quite knowing it,

 

dissatisfied with myself.

 

Any how, I sat with my elbow on my knee and my face upon my hand,

 

looking into the fire, as those two talked about my going away, and about what they should do without me, and all that. And whenever I

 

caught one of them looking at me, though never so pleasantly (and

 

they often looked at me,--particularly Biddy), I felt offended: as

 

if they were expressing some mistrust of me. Though Heaven knows

 

they never did by word or sign.

 

At those times I would get up and look out at the door; for our

 

kitchen door opened at once upon the night, and stood open on

 

summer evenings to air the room. The very stars to which I then

 

raised my eyes, I am afraid I took to be but poor and humble stars

 

for glittering on the rustic objects among which I had passed my

 

life.

 

"Saturday night," said I, when we sat at our supper of

 

bread and cheese and beer. "Five more days, and then the day before

 

the day! They'll soon go."

 

"Yes, Pip," observed Joe, whose voice sounded hollow in his beer

 

mug. "They'll soon go."

 

"Soon, soon go," said Biddy.

 

"I have been thinking, Joe, that when I go down town on Monday, and

 

order my new clothes, I shall tell the tailor that I'll come and

 

put them on there, or that I'll have them sent to Mr. Pumblechook's. It would be very disagreeable to be stared at by all the people

 

here."

 

"Mr. and Mrs. Hubble might like to see you in your new gen-teel figure

 

too, Pip," said Joe, industriously cutting his bread, with his

 

cheese on it, in the palm of his left hand, and glancing at my

 

untasted supper as if he thought of the time when we used to

 

compare slices. "So might Wopsle. And the Jolly Bargemen might take

 

it as a compliment."

 

"That's just what I don't want, Joe. They would make such a

 

business of it,--such a coarse and common business,--that I

 

couldn't bear myself."

 

"Ah, that indeed, Pip!" said Joe. "If you couldn't abear

 

yourself--"

 

Biddy asked me here, as she sat holding my sister's plate, "Have

 

you thought about when you'll show yourself to Mr. Gargery, and your

 

sister and me? You will show yourself to us; won't you?"

 

"Biddy," I returned with some resentment, "you are so exceedingly

 

quick that it's difficult to keep up with you."

 

("She always were quick," observed Joe.) "If you had waited another moment, Biddy, you would have heard me

 

say that I shall bring my clothes here in a bundle one evening,--

 

most likely on the evening before I go away."

 

Biddy said no more. Handsomely forgiving her, I soon exchanged an

 

affectionate good night with her and Joe, and went up to bed. When

 

I got into my little room, I sat down and took a long look at it,

 

as a mean little room that I should soon be parted from and raised

 

above, for ever. It was furnished with fresh young remembrances

 

too, and even at the same moment I fell into much the same confused

 

division of mind between it and the better rooms to which I was

 

going, as I had been in so often between the forge and Miss

 

Havisham's, and Biddy and Estella.

 

The sun had been shining brightly all day on the roof of my attic,

 

and the room was warm. As I put the window open and stood looking

 

out, I saw Joe come slowly forth at the dark door, below, and take a

 

turn or two in the air; and then I saw Biddy come, and bring him a

 

pipe and light it for him. He never smoked so late, and it seemed

 

to hint to me that he wanted comforting, for some reason or other.

 

He presently stood at the door immediately beneath me, smoking his

 

pipe, and Biddy stood there too, quietly talking to him, and I knew

 

that they talked of me, for I heard my name mentioned in an endearing tone by both of them more than once. I would not have

 

listened for more, if I could have heard more; so I drew away from

 

the window, and sat down in my one chair by the bedside, feeling it

 

very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my bright

 

fortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known.

 

Looking towards the open window, I saw light wreaths from Joe's

 

pipe floating there, and I fancied it was like a blessing from Joe,

 

--not obtruded on me or paraded before me, but pervading the air we

 

shared together. I put my light out, and crept into bed; and it was

 

an uneasy bed now, and I never slept the old sound sleep in it any

 

more.

 

Chapter XIX

 

Morning made a considerable difference in my general prospect of

 

Life, and brightened it so much that it scarcely seemed the same.

 

What lay heaviest on my mind was, the consideration that six days

 

intervened between me and the day of departure; for I could not

 

divest myself of a misgiving that something might happen to London

 

in the meanwhile, and that, when I got there, it would be either

 

greatly deteriorated or clean gone.

 

Joe and Biddy were very sympathetic and pleasant when I spoke of our approaching separation; but they only referred to it when I

 

did. After breakfast, Joe brought out my indentures from the press

 

in the best parlor, and we put them in the fire, and I felt that I

 

was free. With all the novelty of my emancipation on me, I went to

 

church with Joe, and thought perhaps the clergyman wouldn't have

 

read that about the rich man and the kingdom of Heaven, if he had

 

known all.

 

After our early dinner, I strolled out alone, purposing to finish

 

off the marshes at once, and get them done with. As I passed the

 

church, I felt (as I had felt during service in the morning) a

 

sublime compassion for the poor creatures who were destined to go

 

there, Sunday after Sunday, all their lives through, and to lie

 

obscurely at last among the low green mounds. I promised myself

 

that I would do something for them one of these days, and formed a

 

plan in outline for bestowing a dinner of roast-beef and

 

plum-pudding, a pint of ale, and a gallon of condescension, upon

 

everybody in the village.

 

If I had often thought before, with something allied to shame, of

 

my companionship with the fugitive whom I had once seen limping

 

among those graves, what were my thoughts on this Sunday, when the

 

place recalled the wretch, ragged and shivering, with his felon

 

iron and badge! My comfort was, that it happened a long time ago,

 

and that he had doubtless been transported a long way off, and that he was dead to me, and might be veritably dead into the bargain.

 

No more low, wet grounds, no more dikes and sluices, no more of

 

these grazing cattle,--though they seemed, in their dull manner, to

 

wear a more respectful air now, and to face round, in order that

 

they might stare as long as possible at the possessor of such great

 

expectations,--farewell, monotonous acquaintances of my childhood,

 

henceforth I was for London and greatness; not for smith's work in

 

general, and for you! I made my exultant way to the old Battery,

 

and, lying down there to consider the question whether Miss

 

Havisham intended me for Estella, fell asleep.

 

When I awoke, I was much surprised to find Joe sitting beside me,

 

smoking his pipe. He greeted me with a cheerful smile on my opening

 

my eyes, and said,--

 

"As being the last time, Pip, I thought I'd foller."

 

"And Joe, I am very glad you did so."

 

"Thankee, Pip."

 

"You may be sure, dear Joe," I went on, after we had shaken hands,

 

"that I shall never forget you." "No, no, Pip!" said Joe, in a comfortable tone, "I'm sure of that.

 

Ay, ay, old chap! Bless you, it were only necessary to get it well

 

round in a man's mind, to be certain on it. But it took a bit of

 

time to get it well round, the change come so oncommon plump;

 

didn't it?"

 

Somehow, I was not best pleased with Joe's being so mightily secure

 

of me. I should have liked him to have betrayed emotion, or to have

 

said, "It does you credit, Pip," or something of that sort.

 

Therefore, I made no remark on Joe's first head; merely saying as

 

to his second, that the tidings had indeed come suddenly, but that

 

I had always wanted to be a gentleman, and had often and often

 

speculated on what I would do, if I were one.

 

"Have you though?" said Joe. "Astonishing!"

 

"It's a pity now, Joe," said I, "that you did not get on a little

 

more, when we had our lessons here; isn't it?"

 

"Well, I don't know," returned Joe. "I'm so awful dull. I'm only

 

master of my own trade. It were always a pity as I was so awful

 

dull; but it's no more of a pity now, than it was--this day

 

twelvemonth--don't you see?"

 

What I had meant was, that when I came into my property and was able to do something for Joe, it would have been much more

 

agreeable if he had been better qualified for a rise in station. He

 

was so perfectly innocent of my meaning, however, that I thought I

 

would mention it to Biddy in preference.

 

So, when we had walked home and had had tea, I took Biddy into our

 

little garden by the side of the lane, and, after throwing out in a

 

general way for the elevation of her spirits, that I should never

 

forget her, said I had a favor to ask of her.

 

"And it is, Biddy," said I, "that you will not omit any opportunity

 

of helping Joe on, a little."

 

"How helping him on?" asked Biddy, with a steady sort of glance.

 

"Well! Joe is a dear good fellow,--in fact, I think he is the

 

dearest fellow that ever lived,--but he is rather backward in some

 

things. For instance, Biddy, in his learning and his manners."

 

Although I was looking at Biddy as I spoke, and although she opened

 

her eyes very wide when I had spoken, she did not look at me.

 

"O, his manners! won't his manners do then?" asked Biddy,

 

plucking a black-currant leaf. "My dear Biddy, they do very well here--"

 

"O! they do very well here?" interrupted Biddy, looking closely at

 

the leaf in her hand.

 

"Hear me out,--but if I were to remove Joe into a higher sphere, as

 

I shall hope to remove him when I fully come into my property, they

 

would hardly do him justice."

 

"And don't you think he knows that?" asked Biddy.

 

It was such a very provoking question (for it had never in the most

 

distant manner occurred to me), that I said, snappishly,--

 

"Biddy, what do you mean?"

 

Biddy, having rubbed the leaf to pieces between her hands,--and the

 

smell of a black-currant bush has ever since recalled to me that

 

evening in the little garden by the side of the lane,--said, "Have

 

you never considered that he may be proud?"

 

"Proud?" I repeated, with disdainful emphasis.

 

"O! there are many kinds of pride," said Biddy, looking full at me

 

and shaking her head; "pride is not all of one kind--" "Well? What are you stopping for?" said I.

 

"Not all of one kind," resumed Biddy. "He may be too proud to let

 

any one take him out of a place that he is competent to fill, and

 

fills well and with respect. To tell you the truth, I think he is;

 

though it sounds bold in me to say so, for you must know him far

 

better than I do."

 

"Now, Biddy," said I, "I am very sorry to see this in you. I did

 

not expect to see this in you. You are envious, Biddy, and

 

grudging. You are dissatisfied on account of my rise in fortune,

 

and you can't help showing it."

 

"If you have the heart to think so," returned Biddy, "say so. Say

 

so over and over again, if you have the heart to think so."

 

"If you have the heart to be so, you mean, Biddy," said I, in a

 

virtuous and superior tone; "don't put it off upon me. I am very

 

sorry to see it, and it's a--it's a bad side of human nature. I

 

did intend to ask you to use any little opportunities you might

 

have after I was gone, of improving dear Joe. But after this I ask

 

you nothing. I am extremely sorry to see this in you, Biddy," I

 

repeated. "It's a--it's a bad side of human nature." "Whether you scold me or approve of me," returned poor Biddy, "you

 

may equally depend upon my trying to do all that lies in my power,

 

here, at all times. And whatever opinion you take away of me, shall

 

make no difference in my remembrance of you. Yet a gentleman should

 

not be unjust neither," said Biddy, turning away her head.

 

I again warmly repeated that it was a bad side of human nature (in

 

which sentiment, waiving its application, I have since seen reason

 

to think I was right), and I walked down the little path away from

 

Biddy, and Biddy went into the house, and I went out at the garden

 

gate and took a dejected stroll until supper-time; again feeling it

 

very sorrowful and strange that this, the second night of my bright

 

fortunes, should be as lonely and unsatisfactory as the first.

 

But, morning once more brightened my view, and I extended my

 

clemency to Biddy, and we dropped the subject. Putting on the best

 

clothes I had, I went into town as early as I could hope to find

 

the shops open, and presented myself before Mr. Trabb, the tailor,

 

who was having his breakfast in the parlor behind his shop, and

 

who did not think it worth his while to come out to me, but called

 

me in to him.

 

"Well!" said Mr. Trabb, in a hail-fellow-well-met kind of way. "How

 

are you, and what can I do for you?" Mr. Trabb had sliced his hot roll into three feather-beds, and was

 

slipping butter in between the blankets, and covering it up. He was

 

a prosperous old bachelor, and his open window looked into a

 

prosperous little garden and orchard, and there was a prosperous

 

iron safe let into the wall at the side of his fireplace, and I did

 

not doubt that heaps of his prosperity were put away in it in bags.

 

"Mr. Trabb," said I, "it's an unpleasant thing to have to mention,

 

because it looks like boasting; but I have come into a handsome

 

property."

 

A change passed over Mr. Trabb. He forgot the butter in bed, got up

 

from the bedside, and wiped his fingers on the tablecloth,

 

exclaiming, "Lord bless my soul!"

 

"I am going up to my guardian in London," said I, casually drawing

 

some guineas out of my pocket and looking at them; "and I want a

 

fashionable suit of clothes to go in. I wish to pay for them," I

 

added--otherwise I thought he might only pretend to make them,

 

"with ready money."

 

"My dear sir," said Mr. Trabb, as he respectfully bent his body,

 

opened his arms, and took the liberty of touching me on the outside

 

of each elbow, "don't hurt me by mentioning that. May I venture to

 

congratulate you? Would you do me the favor of stepping into the shop?"

 

Mr. Trabb's boy was the most audacious boy in all that country-side.

 

When I had entered he was sweeping the shop, and he had sweetened

 

his labors by sweeping over me. He was still sweeping when I came

 

out into the shop with Mr. Trabb, and he knocked the broom against

 

all possible corners and obstacles, to express (as I understood it)

 

equality with any blacksmith, alive or dead.

 

"Hold that noise," said Mr. Trabb, with the greatest sternness, "or

 

I'll knock your head off!--Do me the favor to be seated, sir. Now,

 

this," said Mr. Trabb, taking down a roll of cloth, and tiding it

 

out in a flowing manner over the counter, preparatory to getting

 

his hand under it to show the gloss, "is a very sweet article. I

 

can recommend it for your purpose, sir, because it really is extra

 

super. But you shall see some others. Give me Number Four, you!"

 

(To the boy, and with a dreadfully severe stare; foreseeing the

 

danger of that miscreant's brushing me with it, or making some

 

other sign of familiarity.)

 

Mr. Trabb never removed his stern eye from the boy until he had

 

deposited number four on the counter and was at a safe distance

 

again. Then he commanded him to bring number five, and number

 

eight. "And let me have none of your tricks here," said Mr. Trabb,

 

"or you shall repent it, you young scoundrel, the longest day you have to live."

 

Mr. Trabb then bent over number four, and in a sort of deferential

 

confidence recommended it to me as a light article for summer wear,

 

an article much in vogue among the nobility and gentry, an article

 

that it would ever be an honor to him to reflect upon a

 

distinguished fellow-townsman's (if he might claim me for a

 

fellow-townsman) having worn. "Are you bringing numbers five and

 

eight, you vagabond," said Mr. Trabb to the boy after that, "or

 

shall I kick you out of the shop and bring them myself?"

 

I selected the materials for a suit, with the assistance of Mr.

 

Trabb's judgment, and re-entered the parlor to be measured. For

 

although Mr. Trabb had my measure already, and had previously been

 

quite contented with it, he said apologetically that it "wouldn't

 

do under existing circumstances, sir,--wouldn't do at all." So, Mr.

 

Trabb measured and calculated me in the parlor, as if I were an

 

estate and he the finest species of surveyor, and gave himself such

 

a world of trouble that I felt that no suit of clothes could

 

possibly remunerate him for his pains. When he had at last done and

 

had appointed to send the articles to Mr. Pumblechook's on the

 

Thursday evening, he said, with his hand upon the parlor lock, "I

 

know, sir, that London gentlemen cannot be expected to patronize

 

local work, as a rule; but if you would give me a turn now and then

 

in the quality of a townsman, I should greatly esteem it. Good morning, sir, much obliged.--Door!"

 

The last word was flung at the boy, who had not the least notion

 

what it meant. But I saw him collapse as his master rubbed me out

 

with his hands, and my first decided experience of the stupendous

 

power of money was, that it had morally laid upon his back

 

Trabb's boy.

 

After this memorable event, I went to the hatter's, and the

 

bootmaker's, and the hosier's, and felt rather like Mother

 

Hubbard's dog whose outfit required the services of so many trades.

 

I also went to the coach-office and took my place for seven o'clock

 

on Saturday morning. It was not necessary to explain everywhere

 

that I had come into a handsome property; but whenever I said

 

anything to that effect, it followed that the officiating tradesman

 

ceased to have his attention diverted through the window by the

 

High Street, and concentrated his mind upon me. When I had ordered

 

everything I wanted, I directed my steps towards Pumblechook's,

 

and, as I approached that gentleman's place of business, I saw him

 

standing at his door.

 

He was waiting for me with great impatience. He had been out early

 

with the chaise-cart, and had called at the forge and heard the

 

news. He had prepared a collation for me in the Barnwell parlor,

 

and he too ordered his shopman to "come out of the gangway" as my sacred person passed.

 

"My dear friend," said Mr. Pumblechook, taking me by both hands,

 

when he and I and the collation were alone, "I give you joy of your

 

good fortune. Well deserved, well deserved!"

 

This was coming to the point, and I thought it a sensible way of

 

expressing himself.

 

"To think," said Mr. Pumblechook, after snorting admiration at me

 

for some moments, "that I should have been the humble instrument of

 

leading up to this, is a proud reward."

 

I begged Mr. Pumblechook to remember that nothing was to be ever

 

said or hinted, on that point.

 

"My dear young friend," said Mr. Pumblechook; "if you will allow me

 

to call you so--"

 

I murmured "Certainly," and Mr. Pumblechook took me by both hands

 

again, and communicated a movement to his waistcoat, which had an

 

emotional appearance, though it was rather low down, "My dear young

 

friend, rely upon my doing my little all in your absence, by

 

keeping the fact before the mind of Joseph.--Joseph!" said Mr.

 

Pumblechook, in the way of a compassionate adjuration. "Joseph!! Joseph!!!" Thereupon he shook his head and tapped it, expressing

 

his sense of deficiency in Joseph.

 

"But my dear young friend," said Mr. Pumblechook, "you must be

 

hungry, you must be exhausted. Be seated. Here is a chicken had

 

round from the Boar, here is a tongue had round from the Boar,

 

here's one or two little things had round from the Boar, that I

 

hope you may not despise. But do I," said Mr. Pumblechook, getting

 

up again the moment after he had sat down, "see afore me, him as I

 

ever sported with in his times of happy infancy? And may I--may

 

I--?"

 

This May I, meant might he shake hands? I consented, and he was

 

fervent, and then sat down again.

 

"Here is wine," said Mr. Pumblechook. "Let us drink, Thanks to

 

Fortune, and may she ever pick out her favorites with equal

 

judgment! And yet I cannot," said Mr. Pumblechook, getting up again,

 

"see afore me One--and likewise drink to One--without again

 

expressing--May I--may I--?"

 

I said he might, and he shook hands with me again, and emptied his

 

glass and turned it upside down. I did the same; and if I had

 

turned myself upside down before drinking, the wine could not have

 

gone more direct to my head. Mr. Pumblechook helped me to the liver wing, and to the best slice

 

of tongue (none of those out-of-the-way No Thoroughfares of Pork

 

now), and took, comparatively speaking, no care of himself at all.

 

"Ah! poultry, poultry! You little thought," said Mr. Pumblechook,

 

apostrophizing the fowl in the dish, "when you was a young

 

fledgling, what was in store for you. You little thought you was to

 

be refreshment beneath this humble roof for one as--Call it a

 

weakness, if you will," said Mr. Pumblechook, getting up again, "but

 

may I? may I--?"

 

It began to be unnecessary to repeat the form of saying he might,

 

so he did it at once. How he ever did it so often without wounding

 

himself with my knife, I don't know.

 

"And your sister," he resumed, after a little steady eating, "which

 

had the honor of bringing you up by hand! It's a sad picter, to

 

reflect that she's no longer equal to fully understanding the

 

honor. May--"

 

I saw he was about to come at me again, and I stopped him.

 

"We'll drink her health," said I.

 

"Ah!" cried Mr. Pumblechook, leaning back in his chair, quite flaccid with admiration, "that's the way you know 'em, sir!" (I

 

don't know who Sir was, but he certainly was not I, and there was

 

no third person present); "that's the way you know the noble-minded,

 

sir! Ever forgiving and ever affable. It might," said the servile

 

Pumblechook, putting down his untasted glass in a hurry and getting

 

up again, "to a common person, have the appearance of repeating--

 

but may I--?"

 

When he had done it, he resumed his seat and drank to my sister.

 

"Let us never be blind," said Mr. Pumblechook, "to her faults of

 

temper, but it is to be hoped she meant well."

 

At about this time, I began to observe that he was getting flushed

 

in the face; as to myself, I felt all face, steeped in wine and

 

smarting.

 

I mentioned to Mr. Pumblechook that I wished to have my new clothes

 

sent to his house, and he was ecstatic on my so distinguishing him.

 

I mentioned my reason for desiring to avoid observation in the

 

village, and he lauded it to the skies. There was nobody but

 

himself, he intimated, worthy of my confidence, and--in short,

 

might he? Then he asked me tenderly if I remembered our boyish

 

games at sums, and how we had gone together to have me bound

 

apprentice, and, in effect, how he had ever been my favorite fancy

 

and my chosen friend? If I had taken ten times as many glasses of wine as I had, I should have known that he never had stood in that

 

relation towards me, and should in my heart of hearts have

 

repudiated the idea. Yet for all that, I remember feeling convinced

 

that I had been much mistaken in him, and that he was a sensible,

 

practical, good-hearted prime fellow.

 

By degrees he fell to reposing such great confidence in me, as to

 

ask my advice in reference to his own affairs. He mentioned that

 

there was an opportunity for a great amalgamation and monopoly of

 

the corn and seed trade on those premises, if enlarged, such as had

 

never occurred before in that or any other neighborhood. What

 

alone was wanting to the realization of a vast fortune, he

 

considered to be More Capital. Those were the two little words,

 

more capital. Now it appeared to him (Pumblechook) that if that

 

capital were got into the business, through a sleeping partner, sir,

 

--which sleeping partner would have nothing to do but walk in, by

 

self or deputy, whenever he pleased, and examine the books,--and

 

walk in twice a year and take his profits away in his pocket, to

 

the tune of fifty per cent,--it appeared to him that that might be

 

an opening for a young gentleman of spirit combined with property,

 

which would be worthy of his attention. But what did I think? He

 

had great confidence in my opinion, and what did I think? I gave it

 

as my opinion. "Wait a bit!" The united vastness and distinctness

 

of this view so struck him, that he no longer asked if he might

 

shake hands with me, but said he really must,--and did. We drank all the wine, and Mr. Pumblechook pledged himself over and

 

over again to keep Joseph up to the mark (I don't know what mark),

 

and to render me efficient and constant service (I don't know what

 

service). He also made known to me for the first time in my life,

 

and certainly after having kept his secret wonderfully well, that

 

he had always said of me, "That boy is no common boy, and mark me,

 

his fortun' will be no common fortun'." He said with a tearful

 

smile that it was a singular thing to think of now, and I said so

 

too. Finally, I went out into the air, with a dim perception that

 

there was something unwonted in the conduct of the sunshine, and

 

found that I had slumberously got to the turnpike without having

 

taken any account of the road.

 

There, I was roused by Mr. Pumblechook's hailing me. He was a long

 

way down the sunny street, and was making expressive gestures for

 

me to stop. I stopped, and he came up breathless.

 

"No, my dear friend," said he, when he had recovered wind for

 

speech. "Not if I can help it. This occasion shall not entirely

 

pass without that affability on your part.--May I, as an old

 

friend and well-wisher? May I?"

 

We shook hands for the hundredth time at least, and he ordered a

 

young carter out of my way with the greatest indignation. Then, he blessed me and stood waving his hand to me until I had passed the

 

crook in the road; and then I turned into a field and had a long

 

nap under a hedge before I pursued my way home.

 

I had scant luggage to take with me to London, for little of the

 

little I possessed was adapted to my new station. But I began

 

packing that same afternoon, and wildly packed up things that I

 

knew I should want next morning, in a fiction that there was not a

 

moment to be lost.

 

So, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, passed; and on Friday morning

 

I went to Mr. Pumblechook's, to put on my new clothes and pay my

 

visit to Miss Havisham. Mr. Pumblechook's own room was given up to

 

me to dress in, and was decorated with clean towels expressly for

 

the event. My clothes were rather a disappointment, of course.

 

Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since

 

clothes came in, fell a trifle short of the wearer's expectation.

 

But after I had had my new suit on some half an hour, and had gone

 

through an immensity of posturing with Mr. Pumblechook's very

 

limited dressing-glass, in the futile endeavor to see my legs, it

 

seemed to fit me better. It being market morning at a neighboring

 

town some ten miles off, Mr. Pumblechook was not at home. I had not

 

told him exactly when I meant to leave, and was not likely to shake

 

hands with him again before departing. This was all as it should

 

be, and I went out in my new array, fearfully ashamed of having to pass the shopman, and suspicious after all that I was at a personal

 

disadvantage, something like Joe's in his Sunday suit.

 

I went circuitously to Miss Havisham's by all the back ways, and

 

rang at the bell constrainedly, on account of the stiff long

 

fingers of my gloves. Sarah Pocket came to the gate, and positively

 

reeled back when she saw me so changed; her walnut-shell

 

countenance likewise turned from brown to green and yellow.

 

"You?" said she. "You? Good gracious! What do you want?"

 

"I am going to London, Miss Pocket," said I, "and want to say

 

good by to Miss Havisham."

 

I was not expected, for she left me locked in the yard, while she

 

went to ask if I were to be admitted. After a very short delay, she

 

returned and took me up, staring at me all the way.

 

Miss Havisham was taking exercise in the room with the long spread

 

table, leaning on her crutch stick. The room was lighted as of

 

yore, and at the sound of our entrance, she stopped and turned. She

 

was then just abreast of the rotted bride-cake.

 

"Don't go, Sarah," she said. "Well, Pip?" "I start for London, Miss Havisham, to-morrow," I was exceedingly

 

careful what I said, "and I thought you would kindly not mind my

 

taking leave of you."

 

"This is a gay figure, Pip," said she, making her crutch stick play

 

round me, as if she, the fairy godmother who had changed me, were

 

bestowing the finishing gift.

 

"I have come into such good fortune since I saw you last, Miss

 

Havisham," I murmured. "And I am so grateful for it, Miss

 

Havisham!"

 

"Ay, ay!" said she, looking at the discomfited and envious Sarah,

 

with delight. "I have seen Mr. Jaggers. I have heard about it, Pip.

 

So you go to-morrow?"

 

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

 

"And you are adopted by a rich person?"

 

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

 

"Not named?"

 

"No, Miss Havisham." "And Mr. Jaggers is made your guardian?"

 

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

 

She quite gloated on these questions and answers, so keen was her

 

enjoyment of Sarah Pocket's jealous dismay. "Well!" she went on;

 

"you have a promising career before you. Be good--deserve it--and

 

abide by Mr. Jaggers's instructions." She looked at me, and looked

 

at Sarah, and Sarah's countenance wrung out of her watchful face a

 

cruel smile. "Good by, Pip!--you will always keep the name of

 

Pip, you know."

 

"Yes, Miss Havisham."

 

"Good by, Pip!"

 

She stretched out her hand, and I went down on my knee and put it

 

to my lips. I had not considered how I should take leave of her; it

 

came naturally to me at the moment to do this. She looked at Sarah

 

Pocket with triumph in her weird eyes, and so I left my fairy

 

godmother, with both her hands on her crutch stick, standing in the

 

midst of the dimly lighted room beside the rotten bride-cake that

 

was hidden in cobwebs. Sarah Pocket conducted me down, as if I were a ghost who must be

 

seen out. She could not get over my appearance, and was in the last

 

degree confounded. I said "Good by, Miss Pocket;" but she merely

 

stared, and did not seem collected enough to know that I had

 

spoken. Clear of the house, I made the best of my way back to

 

Pumblechook's, took off my new clothes, made them into a bundle,

 

and went back home in my older dress, carrying it--to speak the

 

truth--much more at my ease too, though I had the bundle to carry.

 

And now, those six days which were to have run out so slowly, had

 

run out fast and were gone, and to-morrow looked me in the face

 

more steadily than I could look at it. As the six evenings had

 

dwindled away, to five, to four, to three, to two, I had become

 

more and more appreciative of the society of Joe and Biddy. On this

 

last evening, I dressed my self out in my new clothes for their

 

delight, and sat in my splendor until bedtime. We had a hot supper

 

on the occasion, graced by the inevitable roast fowl, and we had

 

some flip to finish with. We were all very low, and none the higher

 

for pretending to be in spirits.

 

I was to leave our village at five in the morning, carrying my

 

little hand-portmanteau, and I had told Joe that I wished to walk

 

away all alone. I am afraid--sore afraid--that this purpose

 

originated in my sense of the contrast there would be between me

 

and Joe, if we went to the coach together. I had pretended with myself that there was nothing of this taint in the arrangement; but

 

when I went up to my little room on this last night, I felt

 

compelled to admit that it might be so, and had an impulse upon me

 

to go down again and entreat Joe to walk with me in the morning. I

 

did not.

 

All night there were coaches in my broken sleep, going to wrong

 

places instead of to London, and having in the traces, now dogs,

 

now cats, now pigs, now men,--never horses. Fantastic failures of

 

journeys occupied me until the day dawned and the birds were

 

singing. Then, I got up and partly dressed, and sat at the window

 

to take a last look out, and in taking it fell asleep.

 

Biddy was astir so early to get my breakfast, that, although I did

 

not sleep at the window an hour, I smelt the smoke of the kitchen

 

fire when I started up with a terrible idea that it must be late in

 

the afternoon. But long after that, and long after I had heard the

 

clinking of the teacups and was quite ready, I wanted the

 

resolution to go down stairs. After all, I remained up there,

 

repeatedly unlocking and unstrapping my small portmanteau and

 

locking and strapping it up again, until Biddy called to me that I

 

was late.

 

It was a hurried breakfast with no taste in it. I got up from the

 

meal, saying with a sort of briskness, as if it had only just occurred to me, "Well! I suppose I must be off!" and then I kissed

 

my sister who was laughing and nodding and shaking in her usual

 

chair, and kissed Biddy, and threw my arms around Joe's neck. Then

 

I took up my little portmanteau and walked out. The last I saw of

 

them was, when I presently heard a scuffle behind me, and looking

 

back, saw Joe throwing an old shoe after me and Biddy throwing

 

another old shoe. I stopped then, to wave my hat, and dear old Joe

 

waved his strong right arm above his head, crying huskily

 

"Hooroar!" and Biddy put her apron to her face.

 

I walked away at a good pace, thinking it was easier to go than I

 

had supposed it would be, and reflecting that it would never have

 

done to have had an old shoe thrown after the coach, in sight of

 

all the High Street. I whistled and made nothing of going. But the

 

village was very peaceful and quiet, and the light mists were

 

solemnly rising, as if to show me the world, and I had been so

 

innocent and little there, and all beyond was so unknown and great,

 

that in a moment with a strong heave and sob I broke into tears. It

 

was by the finger-post at the end of the village, and I laid my

 

hand upon it, and said, "Good by, O my dear, dear friend!"

 

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are

 

rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I

 

was better after I had cried than before,--more sorry, more aware

 

of my own ingratitude, more gentle. If I had cried before, I should have had Joe with me then.

 

So subdued I was by those tears, and by their breaking out again in

 

the course of the quiet walk, that when I was on the coach, and it

 

was clear of the town, I deliberated with an aching heart whether I

 

would not get down when we changed horses and walk back, and have

 

another evening at home, and a better parting. We changed, and I

 

had not made up my mind, and still reflected for my comfort that it

 

would be quite practicable to get down and walk back, when we

 

changed again. And while I was occupied with these deliberations, I

 

would fancy an exact resemblance to Joe in some man coming along

 

the road towards us, and my heart would beat high.--As if he could

 

possibly be there!

 

We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too

 

far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen

 

now, and the world lay spread before me.

 

This is the end of the first stage of Pip's expectations.

 

Chapter XX

 

The journey from our town to the metropolis was a journey of about

 

five hours. It was a little past midday when the four-horse

 

stage-coach by which I was a passenger, got into the ravel of traffic frayed out about the Cross Keys, Wood Street, Cheapside,

 

London.

 

We Britons had at that time particularly settled that it was

 

treasonable to doubt our having and our being the best of

 

everything: otherwise, while I was scared by the immensity of

 

London, I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was

 

not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty.

 

Mr. Jaggers had duly sent me his address; it was, Little Britain,

 

and he had written after it on his card, "just out of Smithfield,

 

and close by the coach-office." Nevertheless, a hackney-coachman,

 

who seemed to have as many capes to his greasy great-coat as he was

 

years old, packed me up in his coach and hemmed me in with a

 

folding and jingling barrier of steps, as if he were going to take

 

me fifty miles. His getting on his box, which I remember to have

 

been decorated with an old weather-stained pea-green hammercloth

 

moth-eaten into rags, was quite a work of time. It was a wonderful

 

equipage, with six great coronets outside, and ragged things behind

 

for I don't know how many footmen to hold on by, and a harrow below

 

them, to prevent amateur footmen from yielding to the temptation.

 

I had scarcely had time to enjoy the coach and to think how like a

 

straw-yard it was, and yet how like a rag-shop, and to wonder why

 

the horses' nose-bags were kept inside, when I observed the coachman beginning to get down, as if we were going to stop

 

presently. And stop we presently did, in a gloomy street, at

 

certain offices with an open door, whereon was painted MR. JAGGERS.

 

"How much?" I asked the coachman.

 

The coachman answered, "A shilling--unless you wish to make it

 

more."

 

I naturally said I had no wish to make it more.

 

"Then it must be a shilling," observed the coachman. "I don't want

 

to get into trouble. I know him!" He darkly closed an eye at Mr.

 

Jaggers's name, and shook his head.

 

When he had got his shilling, and had in course of time completed

 

the ascent to his box, and had got away (which appeared to relieve

 

his mind), I went into the front office with my little portmanteau

 

in my hand and asked, Was Mr. Jaggers at home?

 

"He is not," returned the clerk. "He is in Court at present. Am I

 

addressing Mr. Pip?"

 

I signified that he was addressing Mr. Pip. "Mr. Jaggers left word, would you wait in his room. He couldn't say

 

how long he might be, having a case on. But it stands to reason,

 

his time being valuable, that he won't be longer than he can help."

 

With those words, the clerk opened a door, and ushered me into an

 

inner chamber at the back. Here, we found a gentleman with one eye,

 

in a velveteen suit and knee-breeches, who wiped his nose with his

 

sleeve on being interrupted in the perusal of the newspaper.

 

"Go and wait outside, Mike," said the clerk.

 

I began to say that I hoped I was not interrupting, when the clerk

 

shoved this gentleman out with as little ceremony as I ever saw

 

used, and tossing his fur cap out after him, left me alone.

 

Mr. Jaggers's room was lighted by a skylight only, and was a most

 

dismal place; the skylight, eccentrically pitched like a broken

 

head, and the distorted adjoining houses looking as if they had

 

twisted themselves to peep down at me through it. There were not so

 

many papers about, as I should have expected to see; and there were

 

some odd objects about, that I should not have expected to see,-

 

such as an old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard, several

 

strange-looking boxes and packages, and two dreadful casts on a

 

shelf, of faces peculiarly swollen, and twitchy about the nose. Mr.

 

Jaggers's own high-backed chair was of deadly black horsehair, with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin; and I fancied I

 

could see how he leaned back in it, and bit his forefinger at the

 

clients. The room was but small, and the clients seemed to have had

 

a habit of backing up against the wall; the wall, especially

 

opposite to Mr. Jaggers's chair, being greasy with shoulders. I

 

recalled, too, that the one-eyed gentleman had shuffled forth

 

against the wall when I was the innocent cause of his being turned

 

out.

 

I sat down in the cliental chair placed over against Mr. Jaggers's

 

chair, and became fascinated by the dismal atmosphere of the place.

 

I called to mind that the clerk had the same air of knowing

 

something to everybody else's disadvantage, as his master had. I

 

wondered how many other clerks there were up-stairs, and whether

 

they all claimed to have the same detrimental mastery of their

 

fellow-creatures. I wondered what was the history of all the odd

 

litter about the room, and how it came there. I wondered whether

 

the two swollen faces were of Mr. Jaggers's family, and, if he were

 

so unfortunate as to have had a pair of such ill-looking relations,

 

why he stuck them on that dusty perch for the blacks and flies to

 

settle on, instead of giving them a place at home. Of course I had

 

no experience of a London summer day, and my spirits may have been

 

oppressed by the hot exhausted air, and by the dust and grit that

 

lay thick on everything. But I sat wondering and waiting in Mr.

 

Jaggers's close room, until I really could not bear the two casts on the shelf above Mr. Jaggers's chair, and got up and went out.

 

When I told the clerk that I would take a turn in the air while I

 

waited, he advised me to go round the corner and I should come into

 

Smithfield. So I came into Smithfield; and the shameful place,

 

being all asmear with filth and fat and blood and foam, seemed to

 

stick to me. So, I rubbed it off with all possible speed by turning

 

into a street where I saw the great black dome of Saint Paul's

 

bulging at me from behind a grim stone building which a bystander

 

said was Newgate Prison. Following the wall of the jail, I found

 

the roadway covered with straw to deaden the noise of passing

 

vehicles; and from this, and from the quantity of people standing

 

about smelling strongly of spirits and beer, I inferred that the

 

trials were on.

 

While I looked about me here, an exceedingly dirty and partially

 

drunk minister of justice asked me if I would like to step in and

 

hear a trial or so: informing me that he could give me a front

 

place for half a crown, whence I should command a full view of the

 

Lord Chief Justice in his wig and robes,--mentioning that awful

 

personage like waxwork, and presently offering him at the reduced

 

price of eighteen-pence. As I declined the proposal on the plea of

 

an appointment, he was so good as to take me into a yard and show

 

me where the gallows was kept, and also where people were publicly

 

whipped, and then he showed me the Debtors' Door, out of which culprits came to be hanged; heightening the interest of that

 

dreadful portal by giving me to understand that "four on 'em" would

 

come out at that door the day after to-morrow at eight in the

 

morning, to be killed in a row. This was horrible, and gave me a

 

sickening idea of London; the more so as the Lord Chief Justice's

 

proprietor wore (from his hat down to his boots and up again to his

 

pocket-handkerchief inclusive) mildewed clothes which had

 

evidently not belonged to him originally, and which I took it into

 

my head he had bought cheap of the executioner. Under these

 

circumstances I thought myself well rid of him for a shilling.

 

I dropped into the office to ask if Mr. Jaggers had come in yet, and

 

I found he had not, and I strolled out again. This time, I made the

 

tour of Little Britain, and turned into Bartholomew Close; and now

 

I became aware that other people were waiting about for Mr. Jaggers,

 

as well as I. There were two men of secret appearance lounging in

 

Bartholomew Close, and thoughtfully fitting their feet into the

 

cracks of the pavement as they talked together, one of whom said to

 

the other when they first passed me, that "Jaggers would do it if

 

it was to be done." There was a knot of three men and two women

 

standing at a corner, and one of the women was crying on her dirty

 

shawl, and the other comforted her by saying, as she pulled her own

 

shawl over her shoulders, "Jaggers is for him, 'Melia, and what

 

more could you have?" There was a red-eyed little Jew who came into

 

the Close while I was loitering there, in company with a second little Jew whom he sent upon an errand; and while the messenger was

 

gone, I remarked this Jew, who was of a highly excitable

 

temperament, performing a jig of anxiety under a lamp-post and

 

accompanying himself, in a kind of frenzy, with the words, "O

 

Jaggerth, Jaggerth, Jaggerth! all otherth ith Cag-Maggerth, give me

 

Jaggerth!" These testimonies to the popularity of my guardian made

 

a deep impression on me, and I admired and wondered more than ever.

 

At length, as I was looking out at the iron gate of Bartholomew

 

Close into Little Britain, I saw Mr. Jaggers coming across the road

 

towards me. All the others who were waiting saw him at the same

 

time, and there was quite a rush at him. Mr. Jaggers, putting a hand

 

on my shoulder and walking me on at his side without saying

 

anything to me, addressed himself to his followers.

 

First, he took the two secret men.

 

"Now, I have nothing to say to you," said Mr. Jaggers, throwing his

 

finger at them. "I want to know no more than I know. As to the

 

result, it's a toss-up. I told you from the first it was a toss-up.

 

Have you paid Wemmick?"

 

"We made the money up this morning, sir," said one of the men,

 

submissively, while the other perused Mr. Jaggers's face. "I don't ask you when you made it up, or where, or whether you made

 

it up at all. Has Wemmick got it?"

 

"Yes, sir," said both the men together.

 

"Very well; then you may go. Now, I won't have it!" said Mr

 

Jaggers, waving his hand at them to put them behind him. "If you

 

say a word to me, I'll throw up the case."

 

"We thought, Mr. Jaggers--" one of the men began, pulling off his

 

hat.

 

"That's what I told you not to do," said Mr. Jaggers. "You thought!

 

I think for you; that's enough for you. If I want you, I know where

 

to find you; I don't want you to find me. Now I won't have it. I

 

won't hear a word."

 

The two men looked at one another as Mr. Jaggers waved them behind

 

again, and humbly fell back and were heard no more.

 

"And now you!" said Mr. Jaggers, suddenly stopping, and turning on

 

the two women with the shawls, from whom the three men had meekly

 

separated,--"Oh! Amelia, is it?"

 

"Yes, Mr. Jaggers." "And do you remember," retorted Mr. Jaggers, "that but for me you

 

wouldn't be here and couldn't be here?"

 

"O yes, sir!" exclaimed both women together. "Lord bless you, sir,

 

well we knows that!"

 

"Then why," said Mr. Jaggers, "do you come here?"

 

"My Bill, sir!" the crying woman pleaded.

 

"Now, I tell you what!" said Mr. Jaggers. "Once for all. If you

 

don't know that your Bill's in good hands, I know it. And if you

 

come here bothering about your Bill, I'll make an example of both

 

your Bill and you, and let him slip through my fingers. Have you

 

paid Wemmick?"

 

"O yes, sir! Every farden."

 

"Very well. Then you have done all you have got to do. Say another

 

word--one single word--and Wemmick shall give you your money

 

back."

 

This terrible threat caused the two women to fall off immediately.

 

No one remained now but the excitable Jew, who had already raised the skirts of Mr. Jaggers's coat to his lips several times.

 

"I don't know this man!" said Mr. Jaggers, in the same devastating

 

strain: "What does this fellow want?"

 

"Ma thear Mithter Jaggerth. Hown brother to Habraham Latharuth?"

 

"Who's he?" said Mr. Jaggers. "Let go of my coat."

 

The suitor, kissing the hem of the garment again before

 

relinquishing it, replied, "Habraham Latharuth, on thuthpithion of

 

plate."

 

"You're too late," said Mr. Jaggers. "I am over the way."

 

"Holy father, Mithter Jaggerth!" cried my excitable acquaintance,

 

turning white, "don't thay you're again Habraham Latharuth!"

 

"I am," said Mr. Jaggers, "and there's an end of it. Get out of the

 

way."

 

"Mithter Jaggerth! Half a moment! My hown cuthen'th gone to Mithter

 

Wemmick at thith prethent minute, to hoffer him hany termth.

 

Mithter Jaggerth! Half a quarter of a moment! If you'd have the

 

condethenthun to be bought off from the t'other thide--at hany thuperior prithe!--money no object!--Mithter Jaggerth--Mithter -

 

!"

 

My guardian threw his supplicant off with supreme indifference, and

 

left him dancing on the pavement as if it were red hot. Without

 

further interruption, we reached the front office, where we found

 

the clerk and the man in velveteen with the fur cap.

 

"Here's Mike," said the clerk, getting down from his stool, and

 

approaching Mr. Jaggers confidentially.

 

"Oh!" said Mr. Jaggers, turning to the man, who was pulling a lock

 

of hair in the middle of his forehead, like the Bull in Cock Robin

 

pulling at the bell-rope; "your man comes on this afternoon. Well?"

 

"Well, Mas'r Jaggers," returned Mike, in the voice of a sufferer

 

from a constitutional cold; "arter a deal o' trouble, I've found

 

one, sir, as might do."

 

"What is he prepared to swear?"

 

"Well, Mas'r Jaggers," said Mike, wiping his nose on his fur cap

 

this time; "in a general way, anythink."

 

Mr. Jaggers suddenly became most irate. "Now, I warned you before," said he, throwing his forefinger at the terrified client, "that if

 

you ever presumed to talk in that way here, I'd make an example of

 

you. You infernal scoundrel, how dare you tell ME that?"

 

The client looked scared, but bewildered too, as if he were

 

unconscious what he had done.

 

"Spooney!" said the clerk, in a low voice, giving him a stir with

 

his elbow. "Soft Head! Need you say it face to face?"

 

"Now, I ask you, you blundering booby," said my guardian, very

 

sternly, "once more and for the last time, what the man you have

 

brought here is prepared to swear?"

 

Mike looked hard at my guardian, as if he were trying to learn a

 

lesson from his face, and slowly replied, "Ayther to character, or

 

to having been in his company and never left him all the night in

 

question."

 

"Now, be careful. In what station of life is this man?"

 

Mike looked at his cap, and looked at the floor, and looked at the

 

ceiling, and looked at the clerk, and even looked at me, before

 

beginning to reply in a nervous manner, "We've dressed him up

 

like--" when my guardian blustered out,-- "What? You WILL, will you?"

 

("Spooney!" added the clerk again, with another stir.)

 

After some helpless casting about, Mike brightened and began again:--

 

"He is dressed like a 'spectable pieman. A sort of a pastry-cook."

 

"Is he here?" asked my guardian.

 

"I left him," said Mike, "a setting on some doorsteps round the

 

corner."

 

"Take him past that window, and let me see him."

 

The window indicated was the office window. We all three went to

 

it, behind the wire blind, and presently saw the client go by in an

 

accidental manner, with a murderous-looking tall individual, in a

 

short suit of white linen and a paper cap. This guileless

 

confectioner was not by any means sober, and had a black eye in the

 

green stage of recovery, which was painted over.

 

"Tell him to take his witness away directly," said my guardian to

 

the clerk, in extreme disgust, "and ask him what he means by bringing such a fellow as that."

 

My guardian then took me into his own room, and while he lunched,

 

standing, from a sandwich-box and a pocket-flask of sherry (he

 

seemed to bully his very sandwich as he ate it), informed me what

 

arrangements he had made for me. I was to go to "Barnard's Inn," to

 

young Mr. Pocket's rooms, where a bed had been sent in for my

 

accommodation; I was to remain with young Mr. Pocket until Monday;

 

on Monday I was to go with him to his father's house on a visit,

 

that I might try how I liked it. Also, I was told what my allowance

 

was to be,--it was a very liberal one,--and had handed to me from

 

one of my guardian's drawers, the cards of certain tradesmen with

 

whom I was to deal for all kinds of clothes, and such other things

 

as I could in reason want. "You will find your credit good, Mr.

 

Pip," said my guardian, whose flask of sherry smelt like a whole

 

caskful, as he hastily refreshed himself, "but I shall by this

 

means be able to check your bills, and to pull you up if I find you

 

outrunning the constable. Of course you'll go wrong somehow, but

 

that's no fault of mine."

 

After I had pondered a little over this encouraging sentiment, I

 

asked Mr. Jaggers if I could send for a coach? He said it was not

 

worth while, I was so near my destination; Wemmick should walk

 

round with me, if I pleased. I then found that Wemmick was the clerk in the next room. Another

 

clerk was rung down from up stairs to take his place while he was

 

out, and I accompanied him into the street, after shaking hands

 

with my guardian. We found a new set of people lingering outside,

 

but Wemmick made a way among them by saying coolly yet decisively,

 

"I tell you it's no use; he won't have a word to say to one of

 

you;" and we soon got clear of them, and went on side by side.

 

Chapter XXI

 

Casting my eyes on Mr. Wemmick as we went along, to see what he was

 

like in the light of day, I found him to be a dry man, rather short

 

in stature, with a square wooden face, whose expression seemed to

 

have been imperfectly chipped out with a dull-edged chisel. There

 

were some marks in it that might have been dimples, if the material

 

had been softer and the instrument finer, but which, as it was,

 

were only dints. The chisel had made three or four of these

 

attempts at embellishment over his nose, but had given them up

 

without an effort to smooth them off. I judged him to be a bachelor

 

from the frayed condition of his linen, and he appeared to have

 

sustained a good many bereavements; for he wore at least four

 

mourning rings, besides a brooch representing a lady and a weeping

 

willow at a tomb with an urn on it. I noticed, too, that several

 

rings and seals hung at his watch-chain, as if he were quite laden with remembrances of departed friends. He had glittering eyes,--

 

small, keen, and black,--and thin wide mottled lips. He had had

 

them, to the best of my belief, from forty to fifty years.

 

"So you were never in London before?" said Mr. Wemmick to me.

 

"No," said I.

 

"I was new here once," said Mr. Wemmick. "Rum to think of now!"

 

"You are well acquainted with it now?"

 

"Why, yes," said Mr. Wemmick. "I know the moves of it."

 

"Is it a very wicked place?" I asked, more for the sake of saying

 

something than for information.

 

"You may get cheated, robbed, and murdered in London. But there

 

are plenty of people anywhere, who'll do that for you."

 

"If there is bad blood between you and them," said I, to soften it

 

off a little.

 

"O! I don't know about bad blood," returned Mr. Wemmick; "there's

 

not much bad blood about. They'll do it, if there's anything to be got by it."

 

"That makes it worse."

 

"You think so?" returned Mr. Wemmick. "Much about the same, I should

 

say."

 

He wore his hat on the back of his head, and looked straight before

 

him: walking in a self-contained way as if there were nothing in

 

the streets to claim his attention. His mouth was such a post-office

 

of a mouth that he had a mechanical appearance of smiling. We had

 

got to the top of Holborn Hill before I knew that it was merely a

 

mechanical appearance, and that he was not smiling at all.

 

"Do you know where Mr. Matthew Pocket lives?" I asked Mr. Wemmick.

 

"Yes," said he, nodding in the direction. "At Hammersmith, west of

 

London."

 

"Is that far?"

 

"Well! Say five miles."

 

"Do you know him?" "Why, you're a regular cross-examiner!" said Mr. Wemmick, looking at

 

me with an approving air. "Yes, I know him. I know him!"

 

There was an air of toleration or depreciation about his utterance

 

of these words that rather depressed me; and I was still looking

 

sideways at his block of a face in search of any encouraging note

 

to the text, when he said here we were at Barnard's Inn. My

 

depression was not alleviated by the announcement, for, I had

 

supposed that establishment to be an hotel kept by Mr. Barnard, to

 

which the Blue Boar in our town was a mere public-house. Whereas I

 

now found Barnard to be a disembodied spirit, or a fiction, and his

 

inn the dingiest collection of shabby buildings ever squeezed

 

together in a rank corner as a club for Tom-cats.

 

We entered this haven through a wicket-gate, and were disgorged by

 

an introductory passage into a melancholy little square that looked

 

to me like a flat burying-ground. I thought it had the most dismal

 

trees in it, and the most dismal sparrows, and the most dismal

 

cats, and the most dismal houses (in number half a dozen or so),

 

that I had ever seen. I thought the windows of the sets of chambers

 

into which those houses were divided were in every stage of

 

dilapidated blind and curtain, crippled flower-pot, cracked glass,

 

dusty decay, and miserable makeshift; while To Let, To Let, To Let,

 

glared at me from empty rooms, as if no new wretches ever came

 

there, and the vengeance of the soul of Barnard were being slowly appeased by the gradual suicide of the present occupants and their

 

unholy interment under the gravel. A frowzy mourning of soot and

 

smoke attired this forlorn creation of Barnard, and it had strewn

 

ashes on its head, and was undergoing penance and humiliation as a

 

mere dust-hole. Thus far my sense of sight; while dry rot and wet

 

rot and all the silent rots that rot in neglected roof and cellar,--

 

rot of rat and mouse and bug and coaching-stables near at hand

 

besides--addressed themselves faintly to my sense of smell, and

 

moaned, "Try Barnard's Mixture."

 

So imperfect was this realization of the first of my great

 

expectations, that I looked in dismay at Mr. Wemmick. "Ah!" said he,

 

mistaking me; "the retirement reminds you of the country. So it

 

does me."

 

He led me into a corner and conducted me up a flight of stairs,--

 

which appeared to me to be slowly collapsing into sawdust, so that

 

one of those days the upper lodgers would look out at their doors

 

and find themselves without the means of coming down,--to a set of

 

chambers on the top floor. MR. POCKET, JUN., was painted on the

 

door, and there was a label on the letter-box, "Return shortly."

 

"He hardly thought you'd come so soon," Mr. Wemmick explained. "You

 

don't want me any more?" "No, thank you," said I.

 

"As I keep the cash," Mr. Wemmick observed, "we shall most likely

 

meet pretty often. Good day."

 

"Good day."

 

I put out my hand, and Mr. Wemmick at first looked at it as if he

 

thought I wanted something. Then he looked at me, and said,

 

correcting himself,--

 

"To be sure! Yes. You're in the habit of shaking hands?"

 

I was rather confused, thinking it must be out of the London

 

fashion, but said yes.

 

"I have got so out of it!" said Mr. Wemmick,--"except at last. Very

 

glad, I'm sure, to make your acquaintance. Good day!"

 

When we had shaken hands and he was gone, I opened the staircase

 

window and had nearly beheaded myself, for, the lines had rotted

 

away, and it came down like the guillotine. Happily it was so quick

 

that I had not put my head out. After this escape, I was content to

 

take a foggy view of the Inn through the window's encrusting dirt,

 

and to stand dolefully looking out, saying to myself that London was decidedly overrated.

 

Mr. Pocket, Junior's, idea of Shortly was not mine, for I had nearly

 

maddened myself with looking out for half an hour, and had written

 

my name with my finger several times in the dirt of every pane in

 

the window, before I heard footsteps on the stairs. Gradually there

 

arose before me the hat, head, neckcloth, waistcoat, trousers,

 

boots, of a member of society of about my own standing. He had a

 

paper-bag under each arm and a pottle of strawberries in one hand,

 

and was out of breath.

 

"Mr. Pip?" said he.

 

"Mr. Pocket?" said I.

 

"Dear me!" he exclaimed. "I am extremely sorry; but I knew there

 

was a coach from your part of the country at midday, and I thought

 

you would come by that one. The fact is, I have been out on your

 

account,--not that that is any excuse,--for I thought, coming from

 

the country, you might like a little fruit after dinner, and I went

 

to Covent Garden Market to get it good."

 

For a reason that I had, I felt as if my eyes would start out of my

 

head. I acknowledged his attention incoherently, and began to think

 

this was a dream. "Dear me!" said Mr. Pocket, Junior. "This door sticks so!"

 

As he was fast making jam of his fruit by wrestling with the door

 

while the paper-bags were under his arms, I begged him to allow me

 

to hold them. He relinquished them with an agreeable smile, and

 

combated with the door as if it were a wild beast. It yielded so

 

suddenly at last, that he staggered back upon me, and I staggered

 

back upon the opposite door, and we both laughed. But still I felt

 

as if my eyes must start out of my head, and as if this must be a

 

dream.

 

"Pray come in," said Mr. Pocket, Junior. "Allow me to lead the way.

 

I am rather bare here, but I hope you'll be able to make out

 

tolerably well till Monday. My father thought you would get on more

 

agreeably through to-morrow with me than with him, and might like

 

to take a walk about London. I am sure I shall be very happy to

 

show London to you. As to our table, you won't find that bad, I

 

hope, for it will be supplied from our coffee-house here, and (it

 

is only right I should add) at your expense, such being Mr.

 

Jaggers's directions. As to our lodging, it's not by any means

 

splendid, because I have my own bread to earn, and my father hasn't

 

anything to give me, and I shouldn't be willing to take it, if he

 

had. This is our sitting-room,--just such chairs and tables and

 

carpet and so forth, you see, as they could spare from home. You mustn't give me credit for the tablecloth and spoons and castors,

 

because they come for you from the coffee-house. This is my little

 

bedroom; rather musty, but Barnard's is musty. This is your

 

bedroom; the furniture's hired for the occasion, but I trust it

 

will answer the purpose; if you should want anything, I'll go and

 

fetch it. The chambers are retired, and we shall be alone together,

 

but we shan't fight, I dare say. But dear me, I beg your pardon,

 

you're holding the fruit all this time. Pray let me take these bags

 

from you. I am quite ashamed."

 

As I stood opposite to Mr. Pocket, Junior, delivering him the bags,

 

One, Two, I saw the starting appearance come into his own eyes that

 

I knew to be in mine, and he said, falling back,--

 

"Lord bless me, you're the prowling boy!"

 

"And you," said I, "are the pale young gentleman!"

 

Chapter XXII

 

The pale young gentleman and I stood contemplating one another in

 

Barnard's Inn, until we both burst out laughing. "The idea of its

 

being you!" said he. "The idea of its being you!" said I. And then

 

we contemplated one another afresh, and laughed again. "Well!" said the pale young gentleman, reaching out his hand good-humoredly,

 

"it's all over now, I hope, and it will be magnanimous in you if

 

you'll forgive me for having knocked you about so."

 

I derived from this speech that Mr. Herbert Pocket (for Herbert was

 

the pale young gentleman's name) still rather confounded his

 

intention with his execution. But I made a modest reply, and we

 

shook hands warmly.

 

"You hadn't come into your good fortune at that time?" said Herbert

 

Pocket.

 

"No," said I.

 

"No," he acquiesced: "I heard it had happened very lately. I was

 

rather on the lookout for good fortune then."

 

"Indeed?"

 

"Yes. Miss Havisham had sent for me, to see if she could take a

 

fancy to me. But she couldn't,--at all events, she didn't."

 

I thought it polite to remark that I was surprised to hear that.

 

"Bad taste," said Herbert, laughing, "but a fact. Yes, she had sent for me on a trial visit, and if I had come out of it successfully,

 

I suppose I should have been provided for; perhaps I should have

 

been what-you-may-called it to Estella."

 

"What's that?" I asked, with sudden gravity.

 

He was arranging his fruit in plates while we talked, which divided

 

his attention, and was the cause of his having made this lapse of a

 

word. "Affianced," he explained, still busy with the fruit.

 

"Betrothed. Engaged. What's-his-named. Any word of that sort."

 

"How did you bear your disappointment?" I asked.

 

"Pooh!" said he, "I didn't care much for it. She's a Tartar."

 

"Miss Havisham?"

 

"I don't say no to that, but I meant Estella. That girl's hard and

 

haughty and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up

 

by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex."

 

"What relation is she to Miss Havisham?"

 

"None," said he. "Only adopted." "Why should she wreak revenge on all the male sex? What revenge?"

 

"Lord, Mr. Pip!" said he. "Don't you know?"

 

"No," said I.

 

"Dear me! It's quite a story, and shall be saved till dinner-time.

 

And now let me take the liberty of asking you a question. How did

 

you come there, that day?"

 

I told him, and he was attentive until I had finished, and then

 

burst out laughing again, and asked me if I was sore afterwards? I

 

didn't ask him if he was, for my conviction on that point was

 

perfectly established.

 

"Mr. Jaggers is your guardian, I understand?" he went on.

 

"Yes."

 

"You know he is Miss Havisham's man of business and solicitor, and

 

has her confidence when nobody else has?"

 

This was bringing me (I felt) towards dangerous ground. I answered

 

with a constraint I made no attempt to disguise, that I had seen Mr.

 

Jaggers in Miss Havisham's house on the very day of our combat, but never at any other time, and that I believed he had no recollection

 

of having ever seen me there.

 

"He was so obliging as to suggest my father for your tutor, and he

 

called on my father to propose it. Of course he knew about my

 

father from his connection with Miss Havisham. My father is Miss

 

Havisham's cousin; not that that implies familiar intercourse

 

between them, for he is a bad courtier and will not propitiate

 

her."

 

Herbert Pocket had a frank and easy way with him that was very

 

taking. I had never seen any one then, and I have never seen any

 

one since, who more strongly expressed to me, in every look and

 

tone, a natural incapacity to do anything secret and mean. There

 

was something wonderfully hopeful about his general air, and

 

something that at the same time whispered to me he would never be

 

very successful or rich. I don't know how this was. I became imbued

 

with the notion on that first occasion before we sat down to

 

dinner, but I cannot define by what means.

 

He was still a pale young gentleman, and had a certain conquered

 

languor about him in the midst of his spirits and briskness, that

 

did not seem indicative of natural strength. He had not a handsome

 

face, but it was better than handsome: being extremely amiable and

 

cheerful. His figure was a little ungainly, as in the days when my knuckles had taken such liberties with it, but it looked as if it

 

would always be light and young. Whether Mr. Trabb's local work

 

would have sat more gracefully on him than on me, may be a

 

question; but I am conscious that he carried off his rather old

 

clothes much better than I carried off my new suit.

 

As he was so communicative, I felt that reserve on my part would be

 

a bad return unsuited to our years. I therefore told him my small

 

story, and laid stress on my being forbidden to inquire who my

 

benefactor was. I further mentioned that as I had been brought up a

 

blacksmith in a country place, and knew very little of the ways of

 

politeness, I would take it as a great kindness in him if he would

 

give me a hint whenever he saw me at a loss or going wrong.

 

"With pleasure," said he, "though I venture to prophesy that you'll

 

want very few hints. I dare say we shall be often together, and I

 

should like to banish any needless restraint between us. Will you

 

do me the favour to begin at once to call me by my Christian name,

 

Herbert?"

 

I thanked him and said I would. I informed him in exchange that my

 

Christian name was Philip.

 

"I don't take to Philip," said he, smiling, "for it sounds like a

 

moral boy out of the spelling-book, who was so lazy that he fell into a pond, or so fat that he couldn't see out of his eyes, or so

 

avaricious that he locked up his cake till the mice ate it, or so

 

determined to go a bird's-nesting that he got himself eaten by

 

bears who lived handy in the neighborhood. I tell you what I

 

should like. We are so harmonious, and you have been a blacksmith,---

 

would you mind it?"

 

"I shouldn't mind anything that you propose," I answered, "but I

 

don't understand you."

 

"Would you mind Handel for a familiar name? There's a charming

 

piece of music by Handel, called the Harmonious Blacksmith."

 

"I should like it very much."

 

"Then, my dear Handel," said he, turning round as the door opened,

 

"here is the dinner, and I must beg of you to take the top of the

 

table, because the dinner is of your providing."

 

This I would not hear of, so he took the top, and I faced him. It

 

was a nice little dinner,--seemed to me then a very Lord Mayor's

 

Feast,--and it acquired additional relish from being eaten under

 

those independent circumstances, with no old people by, and with

 

London all around us. This again was heightened by a certain gypsy

 

character that set the banquet off; for while the table was, as Mr. Pumblechook might have said, the lap of luxury,--being entirely

 

furnished forth from the coffee-house,--the circumjacent region of

 

sitting-room was of a comparatively pastureless and shifty

 

character; imposing on the waiter the wandering habits of putting

 

the covers on the floor (where he fell over them), the melted

 

butter in the arm-chair, the bread on the bookshelves, the cheese in

 

the coal-scuttle, and the boiled fowl into my bed in the next room,--

 

where I found much of its parsley and butter in a state of

 

congelation when I retired for the night. All this made the feast

 

delightful, and when the waiter was not there to watch me, my

 

pleasure was without alloy.

 

We had made some progress in the dinner, when I reminded Herbert of

 

his promise to tell me about Miss Havisham.

 

"True," he replied. "I'll redeem it at once. Let me introduce the

 

topic, Handel, by mentioning that in London it is not the custom to

 

put the knife in the mouth,--for fear of accidents,--and that while

 

the fork is reserved for that use, it is not put further in than

 

necessary. It is scarcely worth mentioning, only it's as well to do

 

as other people do. Also, the spoon is not generally used

 

over-hand, but under. This has two advantages. You get at your

 

mouth better (which after all is the object), and you save a good

 

deal of the attitude of opening oysters, on the part of the right

 

elbow." He offered these friendly suggestions in such a lively way, that we

 

both laughed and I scarcely blushed.

 

"Now," he pursued, "concerning Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham, you

 

must know, was a spoilt child. Her mother died when she was a baby,

 

and her father denied her nothing. Her father was a country

 

gentleman down in your part of the world, and was a brewer. I don't

 

know why it should be a crack thing to be a brewer; but it is

 

indisputable that while you cannot possibly be genteel and bake,

 

you may be as genteel as never was and brew. You see it every day."

 

"Yet a gentleman may not keep a public-house; may he?" said I.

 

"Not on any account," returned Herbert; "but a public-house may

 

keep a gentleman. Well! Mr. Havisham was very rich and very proud.

 

So was his daughter."

 

"Miss Havisham was an only child?" I hazarded.

 

"Stop a moment, I am coming to that. No, she was not an only child;

 

she had a half-brother. Her father privately married again--his

 

cook, I rather think."

 

"I thought he was proud," said I. "My good Handel, so he was. He married his second wife privately,

 

because he was proud, and in course of time she died. When she was

 

dead, I apprehend he first told his daughter what he had done, and

 

then the son became a part of the family, residing in the house you

 

are acquainted with. As the son grew a young man, he turned out

 

riotous, extravagant, undutiful,--altogether bad. At last his

 

father disinherited him; but he softened when he was dying, and

 

left him well off, though not nearly so well off as Miss Havisham.

 

--Take another glass of wine, and excuse my mentioning that society

 

as a body does not expect one to be so strictly conscientious in

 

emptying one's glass, as to turn it bottom upwards with the rim on

 

one's nose."

 

I had been doing this, in an excess of attention to his recital. I

 

thanked him, and apologized. He said, "Not at all," and resumed.

 

"Miss Havisham was now an heiress, and you may suppose was looked

 

after as a great match. Her half-brother had now ample means again,

 

but what with debts and what with new madness wasted them most

 

fearfully again. There were stronger differences between him and

 

her than there had been between him and his father, and it is

 

suspected that he cherished a deep and mortal grudge against her

 

as having influenced the father's anger. Now, I come to the cruel

 

part of the story,--merely breaking off, my dear Handel, to remark that a dinner-napkin will not go into a tumbler."

 

Why I was trying to pack mine into my tumbler, I am wholly unable