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go home now."
"You shall go soon," said Miss Havisham, aloud. "Play the game out."
Saving for the one weird smile at first, I should have felt almost sure
that Miss Havisham's face could not smile. It had dropped into a watchful and
brooding expression - most likely when all the things about her had become
transfixed - and it looked as if nothing could ever lift it up again. Her chest
had dropped, so that she stooped; and her voice had dropped, so that she spoke
low, and with a dead lull upon her; altogether, she had the appearance of having
dropped, body and soul, within and without, under the weight of a crushing blow.
I played the game to an end with Estella, and she beggared me. She threw
the cards down on the table when she had won them all, as if she despised them
for having been won of me.
"When shall I have you here again?" said miss Havisham. "Let me think."
I was beginning to remind her that to-day was Wednesday, when she checked
me with her former impatient movement of the fingers of her right hand.
"There, there! I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing of weeks
of the year. Come again after six days. You hear?"
"Estella, take him down. Let him have something to eat, and let him roam
and look about him while he eats. Go, Pip."
I followed the candle down, as I had followed the candle up, and she stood
it in the place where we had found it. Until she opened the side entrance, I
had fancied, without thinking about it, that it must necessarily be night-time.
The rush of the daylight quite confounded me, and made me feel as if I had been
in the candlelight of the strange room many hours.
"You are to wait here, you boy," said Estella; and disappeared and closed
I took the opportunity of being alone in the court-yard, to look at my
coarse hands and my common boots. My opinion of those accessories was not
favourable. They had never troubled me before, but they troubled me now, as
vulgar appendages. I determined to ask Joe why he had ever taught me to call
those picture-cards, Jacks, which ought to be called knaves. I wished Joe had
been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too.
She came back, with some bread and meat and a little mug of beer. She put
the mug down on the stones of the yard, and gave me the bread and meat without
looking at me, as insolently as if I were a dog in disgrace. I was so
humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry - I cannot hit upon the right
name for the smart - God knows what its name was - that tears started to my
eyes. The moment they sprang there, the girl looked at me with a quick delight
in having been the cause of them. This gave me power to keep them back and to
look at her: so, she gave a contemptuous toss - but with a sense, I thought, of
having made too sure that I was so wounded - and left me.
But, when she was gone, I looked about me for a place to hide my face in,
and got behind one of the gates in the brewery-lane, and leaned my sleeve
against the wall there, and leaned my forehead on it and cried. As I cried, I
kicked the wall, and took a hard twist at my hair; so bitter were my feelings,
and so sharp was the smart without a name, that needed counteraction.
My sister's bringing up had made me sensitive. In the little world in
which children have their existence whosoever brings them up, there is nothing
so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice. It may be only small
injustice that the child can be exposed to; but the child is small, and its
world is small, and its rocking-horse stands as many hands high, according to
scale, as a big-boned Irish hunter. Within myself, I had sustained, from my
babyhood, a perpetual conflict with injustice. I had known, from the time when
I could speak, that my sister, in her capricious and violent coercion, was
unjust to me. I had cherished a profound conviction that her bringing me up by
hand, gave her no right to bring me up by jerks. Through all my punishments,
disgraces, fasts and vigils, and other penitential performances, I had nursed
this assurance; and to my communing so much with it, in a solitary and
unprotected way, I in great part refer the fact that I was morally timid and
I got rid of my injured feelings for the time, by kicking them into the
brewery wall, and twisting them out of my hair, and then I smoothed my face with
my sleeve, and came from behind the gate. The bread and meat were acceptable,
and the beer was warming and tingling, and I was soon in spirits to look about
To be sure, it was a deserted place, down to the pigeon-house in the
brewery-yard, which had been blown crooked on its pole by some high wind, and
would have made the pigeons think themselves at sea, if there had been any
pigeons there to be rocked by it. But, there were no pigeons in the dove-cot,
no horses in the stable, no pigs in the sty, no malt in the store-house, no
smells of grains and beer in the copper or the vat. All the uses and scents of
the brewery might have evaporated with its last reek of smoke. In a by-yard,
there was a wilderness of empty casks, which had a certain sour remembrance of
better days lingering about them; but it was too sour to be accepted as a sample
of the beer that was gone - and in this respect I remember those recluses as
being like most others.
Behind the furthest end of the brewery, was a rank garden with an old wall:
not so high but that I could struggle up and hold on long enough to look over
it, and see that the rank garden was the garden of the house, and that it was
overgrown with tangled weeds, but that there was a track upon the green and
yellow paths, as if some one sometimes walked there, and that Estella was
walking away from me even then. But she seemed to be everywhere. For, when I
yielded to the temptation presented by the casks, and began to walk on them. I
saw her walking on them at the end of the yard of casks. She had her back
towards me, and held her pretty brown hair spread out in her two hands, and
never looked round, and passed out of my view directly. So, in the brewery
itself - by which I mean the large paved lofty place in which they used to make
the beer, and where the brewing utensils still were. When I first went into it,
and, rather oppressed by its gloom, stood near the door looking about me, I saw
her pass among the extinguished fires, and ascend some light iron stairs, and go
out by a gallery high overhead, as if she were going out into the sky.
It was in this place, and at this moment, that a strange thing happened to
my fancy. I thought it a strange thing then, and I thought it a stranger thing
long afterwards. I turned my eyes - a little dimmed by looking up at the frosty
light - towards a great wooden beam in a low nook of the building near me on my
right hand, and I saw a figure hanging there by the neck. A figure all in
yellow white, with but one shoe to the feet; and it hung so, that I could see
that the faded trimmings of the dress were like earthy paper, and that the face
was Miss Havisham's, with a movement going over the whole countenance as if she
were trying to call to me. In the terror of seeing the figure, and in the
terror of being certain that it had not been there a moment before, I at first
ran from it, and then ran towards it. And my terror was greatest of all, when I
found no figure there.
Nothing less than the frosty light of the cheerful sky, the sight of people
passing beyond the bars of the court-yard gate, and the reviving influence of
the rest of the bread and meat and beer, would have brought me round. Even with
those aids, I might not have come to myself as soon as I did, but that I saw
Estella approaching with the keys, to let me out. She would have some fair
reason for looking down upon me, I thought, if she saw me frightened; and she
would have no fair reason.
She gave me a triumphant glance in passing me, as if she rejoiced that my
hands were so coarse and my boots were so thick, and she opened the gate, and
stood holding it. I was passing out without looking at her, when she touched me
with a taunting hand.
"Why don't you cry?"
"Because I don't want to."
"You do," said she. "You have been crying till you are half blind, and you
are near crying again now."
She laughed contemptuously, pushed me out, and locked the gate upon me. I
went straight to Mr. Pumblechook's, and was immensely relieved to find him not
at home. So, leaving word with the shopman on what day I was wanted at Miss
Havisham's again, I set off on the four-mile walk to our forge; pondering, as I
went along, on all I had seen, and deeply revolving that I was a common
labouring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I had
fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was much more
ignorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that I was in a
low-lived bad way.
When I reached home, my sister was very curious to know all about Miss
Havisham's, and asked a number of questions. And I soon found myself getting
heavily bumped from behind in the nape of the neck and the small of the back,
and having my face ignominiously shoved against the kitchen wall, because I did
not answer those questions at sufficient length.
If a dread of not being understood be hidden in the breasts of other young
people to anything like the extent to which it used to be hidden in mine - which
I consider probable, as I have no particular reason to suspect myself of having
been a monstrosity - it is the key to many reservations. I felt convinced that
if I described Miss Havisham's as my eyes had seen it, I should not be
understood. Not only that, but I felt convinced that Miss Havisham too would
not be understood; and although she was perfectly incomprehensible to me, I
entertained an impression that there would be something coarse and treacherous
in my dragging her as she really was (to say nothing of Miss Estella) before the
contemplation of Mrs. Joe. Consequently, I said as little as I could, and had
my face shoved against the kitchen wall.
The worst of it was that that bullying old Pumblechook, preyed upon by a
devouring curiosity to be informed of all I had seen and heard, came gaping over
in his chaise-cart at tea-time, to have the details divulged to him. And the
mere sight of the torment, with his fishy eyes and mouth open, his sandy hair
inquisitively on end, and his waistcoat heaving with windy arithmetic, made me
vicious in my reticence.
"Well, boy," Uncle Pumblechook began, as soon as he was seated in the chair
of honour by the fire. "How did you get on up town?"
I answered, "Pretty well, sir," and my sister shook her fist at me.
"Pretty well?" Mr. Pumblechook repeated. "Pretty well is no answer. Tell
us what you mean by pretty well, boy?"
Whitewash on the forehead hardens the brain into a state of obstinacy
perhaps. Anyhow, with whitewash from the wall on my forehead, my obstinacy was
adamantine. I reflected for some time, and then answered as if I had discovered
a new idea, "I mean pretty well."
My sister with an exclamation of impatience was going to fly at me - I had
no shadow of defence, for Joe was busy in the forge when Mr. Pumblechook
interposed with "No! Don't lose your temper. Leave this lad to me, ma'am;
leave this lad to me." Mr. Pumblechook then turned me towards him, as if he
were going to cut my hair, and said:
"First (to get our thoughts in order): Forty-three pence?"
I calculated the consequences of replying "Four Hundred Pound," and finding
them against me, went as near the answer as I could - which was somewhere about
eightpence off. Mr. Pumblechook then put me through my pence-table from "twelve
pence make one shilling," up to "forty pence make three and fourpence," and then
triumphantly demanded, as if he had done for me, "Now! How much is forty-three
pence?" To which I replied, after a long interval of reflection, "I don't
know." And I was so aggravated that I almost doubt if I did know.
Mr. Pumblechook worked his head like a screw to screw it out of me, and
said, "Is forty-three pence seven and sixpence three fardens, for instance?"
"Yes!" said I. And although my sister instantly boxed my ears, it was
highly gratifying to me to see that the answer spoilt his joke, and brought him
to a dead stop.
"Boy! What like is Miss Havisham?" Mr. Pumblechook began again when he
had recovered; folding his arms tight on his chest and applying the screw.
"Very tall and dark," I told him.
"Is she, uncle?" asked my sister.
Mr. Pumblechook winked assent; from which I at once inferred that he had
never seen Miss Havisham, for she was nothing of the kind.
"Good!" said Mr. Pumblechook conceitedly. ("This is the way to have him!
We are beginning to hold our own, I think, Mum?")
"I am sure, uncle," returned Mrs. Joe, "I wish you had him always: you know
so well how to deal with him."
"Now, boy! What was she a-doing of, when you went in today?" asked Mr.
"She was sitting," I answered, "in a black velvet coach."
Mr. Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe stared at one another - as they well might -
and both repeated, "In a black velvet coach?"
"Yes," said I. "And Miss Estella - that's her niece, I think - handed her
in cake and wine at the coach-window, on a gold plate. And we all had cake and
wine on gold plates. And I got up behind the coach to eat mine, because she
told me to."
"Was anybody else there?" asked Mr. Pumblechook.
"Four dogs," said I.
"Large or small?"